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World champion Marano, bronze medalist Ruiz to lead U.S. squad at Henri Deglane Challenge in Nice, France

Colorado Springs, Colo. - USA Wrestling has announced its tentative rosters for the Henri Deglane Challenge, which will begin on Nov. 24 in Nice, France. The U.S. will send wrestlers from all three Olympic styles of wrestling. All the athletes competing in this event are being sent by their respective clubs.

This annual event features many talented athletes from European nations.

U.S. National Team members Joe Heskett (Grover Beach, Calif./Gator WC) and Chris Pendleton (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) will lead the men's freestyle squad.

Heskett, competing at 74 kg/163 lbs., is a two-time U.S. Nationals runner-up and was a U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up last year. He has won two silver medals at the Henri Deglane Challenge (2003-04).

Pendleton, wrestling at 84 kg/185 lbs. placed third at this year's U.S. World Team Trials. He was a two-time NCAA champion at Oklahoma State Univ. (2004-05).

Another former NCAA champion, Aaron Holker (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) will compete at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Holker recently finished serving one year in Iraq. He won an NCAA title in 2002 at Iowa State Univ.

Competing at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. will be Nik Fekete (Blacksburg, Va./New York AC), who placed third at this year's U.S. Nationals and fourth at this year's U.S. World Team Trials.

Angel Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), a resident-athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, will round out the men's freestyle roster by competing at 60 kg/132 lbs.

The team will be coached by USA Wrestling Freestyle Resident Coach Terry Brands (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

The U.S. men's freestyle team had a strong finish last year, winning five medals at this event as the team finished first. Jesse Jantzen won a gold medal. Winning bronze medals were Scott Schatzman, Heskett, Nick Preston and Ryan Tobin.

The U.S. Greco-Roman squad will feature three U.S. National Team members from this year - Willie Madison (Metairie, La./USOEC/Gator WC) at 60 kg/132 lbs., Mark Rial (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and Adam Wheeler (Lancaster, Calif./USOEC/Gator WC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Madison placed third at this year's U.S. World Team Trials and fifth in the U.S. Nationals. Rial also placed third at the U.S. World Team Trials and was fourth in the U.S. Nationals. Wheeler was a runner-up in both the U.S. World Team Trials and the U.S. Nationals.

Madison and Wheeler are both student-athletes at the U.S. Olympic Education Center (USOEC) at Northern Michigan Univ.

John Wechter (East Lansing, Mich./Sunkist Kids), who placed fourth at this year's U.S. World Team Trials and fifth in the U.S. Nationals, will compete at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Rounding out the Greco-Roman squad will be another USOEC wrestler, Jake Fisher (Platte City, Mo./USOEC) at 74 kg/163 lbs.

In the Greco-Roman competition last year, Justin Ruiz won a silver medal and Joe Warren won a bronze medal leading the U.S. to a second-place finish behind only Ukraine. Ruiz and Warren both competed in this year's World Championships, with Ruiz winning a bronze medal.

The U.S. women's freestyle squad will be led by two-time World champion and seven-time World medalist Kristie Marano (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.

Also on the U.S. women's freestyle team are 2005 World University Games bronze medalists Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 59 kg/130 lbs. and Alaina Berube (Escanaba, Mich./New York AC) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

Both Marano and Berube U.S. women competing at the Henri Deglane Challenge placed second at this year's U.S. World Team Trials.

Brands will also coach the U.S. women's team at this event.

In last year's women's competition, Tela O'Donnell won a gold medal and Laura Felix captured a bronze medal as the U.S. team placed third behind Spain and France.

Henri Deglane Challenge:
at Nice, France, Nov. 24-27, 2005
U.S. Rosters

Men's Freestyle
60 kg/132 lbs. - Angel Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Aaron Holker, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Joe Heskett, Grover Beach, Calif. (Gator WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Chris Pendleton, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Nik Fekete, Blacksburg, Va. (New York AC)
Coach: Terry Brands, Colorado Springs, Colo.

60 kg/132 lbs. - Willie Madison, Metairie, La. (USOEC/Gator WC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Mark Rial, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Jake Fisher, Platte City, Mo. (USOEC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - John Wechter, East Lansing, Mich. (Sunkist Kids)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Adam Wheeler, Lancaster, Calif. (USOEC/Gator WC)
Coach: Brian Church, Columbus, Ohio

Women's Freestyle
59 kg/130 lbs. - Marcie Van Dusen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Alania Berube, Escanaba, Mich. (New York AC)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Kristie Marano, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
Coach: Terry Brands, Colorado Springs, Colo.
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