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|Thompson named 2005 John Smith Award winner, as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) has been named the winner of the 2005 John Smith Award as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling. It is the first time that Thompson has won this prestigious award.
Thompson won a bronze medal at 120 kg/264.5 pounds at the World Championships of Wrestling in Budapest, Hungary on Sept. 28. He was one of two U.S. medalists at the World meet and helped lead the U.S. to an eighth-place finish in the standings.
He opened the World Championships with a loss to Turkey's Aydin Polatci. When Polatci qualified for the gold-medal finals, Thompson became eligible for the wrestleback rounds.
After waiting nearly six hours after his first-round loss, Thompson won three straight matches to claim his first World medal. He capped his impressive effort with a 1-0, 1-0 win over 1997 World champion Kuramagomed Kuramagomedov of Russia in the bronze-medal match.
In his first round repechage (wrestleback) match, Thompson defeated Vadim Tasoev of Ukraine, 3-1, 4-1 In Thompson's second repechage match, he dominated Rares Chintoan of Romania. Thompson scored seven points on the Romanian before earning the fall only 47 seconds into the first period.
Thompson claimed the No. 1 position on Freestyle Team USA by capturing the World Team Trials in June, defeating Steve Mocco of the New York AC in the championship finals in Ames, Iowa. He also won his second career U.S. Nationals title in Las Vegas in May, pinning Mocco in the championship match.
He had a successful season in international tournaments, including a gold medal at the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs, Colo. Thompson won silver medals at the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba and the Super Cup in Russia. He added a bronze medal at the 2005 World Cup.
Thompson has been a nationally-ranked wrestler in freestyle for a decade. He placed second in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and was also second in the 2003 World Team Trials.
Thompson competed a the Univ. of Nebraska, where he was a 1995 NCAA champion, and placed third at the NCAA Championships in 1996 and 1997. He was a star at Janesville High School in Iowa, where he was second in the state championships twice.
He is currently an assistant coach at the Univ. of Northern Iowa, and previously was on the coaching staff at the Univ. of Nebraska.
USA Wrestling will be announcing major award winners each day this week on TheMat.com.
PAST JOHN SMITH AWARD WINNERS AS FREESTYLE WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
2005 - Tolly Thompson, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2004 - Cael Sanderson, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2003 - Cael Sanderson, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2002 - Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2001 - Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2000 - Brandon Slay, Amarillo, Texas, Dave Schultz WC
1999 - Stephen Neal, Bakerfield, Calif., Dave Schultz WC
1998 - Sammie Henson, Norman, Okla., Sunkist Kids
1997 - Les Gutches, Corvallis, Ore., Sunkist Kids
1996 - Kendall Cross, Raleigh, N.C., Sunkist Kids
1995 - Kevin Jackson, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1994 - Melvin Douglas, Mesa, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1993 - Terry and Tom Brands, Iowa City, Iowa, Team Foxcatcher
1992 - John Smith, Stillwater, Okla., Sunkist Kids