|U.S. taking strong contingent to Pan American Championships|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Six reigning U.S. Nationals champions, including past World super heavyweight champion Dremiel Byers of the U.S. Army, headline the list of American wrestlers expected to take part in the Pan American Championships on June 1-4 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Pan American nations are from North, Central and South America.
The U.S. men's freestyle and Greco-Roman teams are scheduled to compete on June 2-3. Cuba is expected to field strong teams in freestyle and Greco-Roman. The Pan Am Championships come just after the U.S. World Team Trials for men on May 27-28 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Men's freestyle and Greco-Roman athletes at the Pan Ams will compete at 60 kg/132 pounds, 74 kg/163 pounds and 96 kg/211.5 pounds on June 2. Athletes in both styles will compete in the other four classes - 55 kg/121 pounds, 66 kg/145.5 pounds, 84 kg/185 pounds and 120 kg/264.5 pounds.
The entire women's competition is set for June 4. The U.S. World Team Trials for women are June 30 in Colorado Springs.
The men's freestyle team is led by U.S. Nationals champions Henry Cejudo (121 pounds) and Zach Roberson (132) of the Sunkist Kids, and Donny Pritzlaff of the New York Athletic Club at 163 pounds.
"We're excited about this event," said Kevin Jackson, USA Wrestling's National Freestyle coach. "This gives us an opportunity to see the Cubans and Canadians, and hopefully we'll see some of their No. 1 guys. This event will give some of our young guys a taste of international competition. They need that for their development, plus that experience can help them in preparation for the World Championships."
The Greco-Roman squad is led by Byers along with U.S. Nationals champions Lindsey Durlacher of the New York Athletic Club at 121 pounds and Jake Clark of the U.S. Marine Corps at 185.
"We have a very strong team," said Steve Fraser, USA Wrestling's National Greco-Roman coach. "Even though we will be coming directly from the World Team Trials to the Pan Ams, I am very confident this team will perform well. Our goal is to beat the Cuban team, which is one of the best in the world."
The women's team includes six women who placed second at the U.S. Nationals and one who placed third. Jenny Wong of the Sunkist Kids, a 2003 World bronze medalist, will compete at 112 pounds for the United States. The team from Canada likely will provide the toughest test for the American women.
"We are taking a good team down there - I think we should do very well," said Terry Steiner, USA Wrestling's National Women's Coach. "It's a great time for those athletes to get a competition in between the Nationals and the World Team Trials. It is the location of the 2007 Pan Am Games, so I think the athletes will be very excited to see it all first-hand."
The Pan American Championships are held each year, and this is a wrestling only event. The Pan American Games happens every four years and is a multi-sport event. The next Pan Am Games are in 2007 in Brazil.
U.S. ROSTERS FOR PAN AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
JUNE 1-4, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
55 kg/121 lbs. - Lindsey Durlacher, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Joe Warren, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Mike Ellsworth, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Michigan WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Brandon McNab, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Jacob Clark, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Adam Wheeler, Lancaster, Calif. (USOEC/Gator WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
Coaches - Steve Fraser (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Shon Lewis (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Rob Hermann (Pensacola, Fla.)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Zach Roberson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Doug Schwab, Blacksburg, Va. (Gator WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Donny Pritzlaff, Northport, N.Y. (New York AC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Clint Wattenburg, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Nik Fekete, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Steve Mocco, N. Bergen, N.J. (New York AC)
Coaches - Zeke Jones (Philadelphia, Pa.), Mike Duroe (Iowa City, Iowa), Mark Schwab (Storm Lake, Iowa)
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Mary Kelly, Mahomet, Ill. (USOEC/New York AC)
51 kg/112 lbs. - Jenny Wong, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
55 KG/121 lbs. - Malinda Ripley, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
59 KG/130 lbs. - Erin Tomeo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
63 KG/138.5 lbs. - Jackie Cataline, Corono, Calif. (Cataline's Wildcats)
67 KG/147.5 lbs. - Randi Miller, Arlington, Texas (USOEC)
72 KG/158.5 lbs. - Stephany Lee, Honolulu, Hawaii (Missouri Valley)
Coaches - Vladislav Izboinikov (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Tony DeAnda (Marquette, Mich.)
PAN AM CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
THURSDAY, JUNE 1
6:30-7 p.m. - Weigh-ins - Greco-Roman and freestyle, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg
FRIDAY, JUNE 2
9 a.m.-1 p.m. - Elimination rounds, Greco-Roman and freestyle, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg
2:30-3 p.m. - Weigh-ins, Greco-Roman and freestyle: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
6-7 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
7-9 p.m. - Finals, Greco-Roman and freestyle, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg
SATURDAY, JUNE 3
9 a.m.-1 p.m. - Elimination rounds, Greco-Roman and freestyle, 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
2:30-3 p.m. - Weigh-ins, women's freestyle, 48 kg, 51 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 63 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg
6-8 p.m. - Finals, Greco-Roman and freestyle, 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
SUNDAY, JUNE 4
9 a.m.-1 p.m. - Elimination rounds, women's freestyle, 48 kg, 51 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 63 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg
5-7 p.m. - Finals, women's freestyle, 48 kg, 51 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 63 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg
9 p.m. - Official banquet