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|Cooper, Grajales, Long, Chaires, Long and Robinson receive USA Wrestling Greco-Roman awards for April|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
The USA Wrestling Greco-Roman National Team has created a series of new awards recognizing outstanding achievements within in Greco-Roman wrestling community.
The Greco-Roman Recognition Program will run from April through July each season, and will give monthly awards within Greco-Roman in the category of athlete, coach and leader.
There will be monthly awards will be announced on TheMat.com in the following areas:
* Senior Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Month
* Junior Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Month
* Youth Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Month
* Greco-Roman Developmental Coach of the Month
* Greco-Roman Leader of the Month
At the Junior/Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D. each year, the following annual awards will be announced, with a special trophy presented:
* Cadet Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year
* Junior Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year
* Cadet Greco-Roman Coach of the Year
* Junior Greco-Roman Coach of the Year
* Greco-Roman Leader of the Year
"We are excited to recognize those who are challenging themselves in all styles of wrestling," said Ike Anderson, National Greco-Roman Developmental Coach. "Most of those involved in Greco-Roman wrestling participate in every style of wrestling. By competing in Greco-Roman wrestling, athletes and coaches improve in all aspects of the sport. By recognizing those who are successful in Greco-Roman wrestling, we are honoring those who are doing what it takes to get better in wrestling."
Senior Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Month for April 2006
Marcel Cooper (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)
Cooper won the U.S. Greco-Roman National Championships at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in Las Vegas, Nev., his second career U.S. Nationals title. Cooper, who is 35 years old, defeated Mike Ellsworth of the New York AC in the gold-medal finals of the U.S. Nationals, 2-1, 5-0.
Cooper was seeded No. 3 in the tournament. He won four matches in the tournament. He opened with a 1-2, 3-0, 6-0 decision over Mervin Ford of the USOEC/Gator WC in the first round, then stopped James Shillow of the U.S. Marines in the second round, 1-1, 2-1. He earned a 4-0, 5-0 decision over No. 2 Mark Rial of the Gator WC in the semifinals.
Cooper has had a long career in Greco-Roman on the Senior level, including winning a U.S. Nationals title in 2001 and qualifying for the U.S. World Team that year. Cooper served many years in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.
Junior Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Month for April 2006
Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon WC)
Grajales won a gold medal at 110 pounds at the FILA Junior National Championships in Greco-Roman, held in Las Vegas, Nev., April 12-15. He was the only high school wrestler to win a Greco-Roman title. Grajales stopped John Connor McDonald of Delaware in the Championship finals, 3-1, 7-1. He scored a second -period pin over Kellen Aura of CYC in the semifinals.
Also competing at 110 pounds, Grajales won a gold medal at the FILA Cadet National Championships, held in Evanston, Ill. April 27-30. In the finals, he defeated Demetrius Johnson of Tennessee in the finals by injury default. He had five victories prior to the finals, including two technical falls and two pins. He was also third in freestyle at the competition.
Grajales was a Cadet National Greco-Roman champion in Fargo, N.D. last summer, competing at 98 pounds.
Youth Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Month for April 2006 (co-winners)
Andrew Long, Creston, Iowa
Michael Chaires, Scotia, New York
Long won a gold medal at 101.25 pounds at the FILA Cadet National Championships, held in Evanston, Ill. April 27-30. In the gold-medal finals, he defeated Eric Chandler of Florida in the gold-medal finals. Long won five matches to qualify for the finals, including three technical falls and a pin. He was also third in freestyle at the competition.
Long was a Western Junior Regional Greco-Roman champion in Las Vegas, Nev., April 12-15 at 105 pounds. He defeated Tyler Cox of Wyoming in the championship finals, 7-0, 6-8, 5-2. Long also attended the Big Brother/Future Freestyle Training Camp in Colorado Springs this spring, working with USA Wrestling's National Coaches and Resident Athletes.
Long was a Cadet National Greco-Roman champion in Fargo, N.D. last summer, competing at 84 pounds.
Chaires won a gold medal at 167.5 pounds at the FILA Cadet National Championships, held in Evanston, Ill. April 27-30. He was named Outstanding Wrestler in Greco-Roman. In the gold-medal finals, he defeated Kirk Smith of Idaho, 5-0, 0-4, 7-0. He won six matches to qualify for the finals, including three technical falls and a pin.
Chaires was also a Greco-Roman champion at 160 pounds at the Northeast Junior Regionals in Brockport, N.Y., April 20-23.
Chaires was a Cadet National Greco-Roman champion in Fargo, N.D. last summer, competing at 152 pounds.
Greco-Roman Developmental Coach of the Month for April 2006
Matt Long, Creston, Iowa
Long has been very active as a coach this year, mentoring athletes who have attended many of the major USA Wrestling national events this spring. Included in the events that he has coached during the month was the FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas and the FILA Cadet Nationals in Evanston, Ill. In addition, Long was a participant at the Big Brother/Future Freestyle Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., learning new techniques and strategies in both of the Olympic styles.
Long has served as a volunteer coach since 1980, working with many athletes who have had success at the highest levels within the sport, specifically in USA Wrestling programs. Long has coached on the club level and state level for many years. He has coached Iowa's Cadet and Junior teams, both in freestyle and Greco-Roman for a number of years. In 2005, he was a coach with the Iowa team that won the title at the National Junior Duals.
Among the athletes he has coached is his younger brother, who won two South Dakota state high school titles, his oldest son Dylan and his younger son Andrew. Dylan Long placed in both styles at the Junior Nationals when he was in high school, and went on to be a NCAA runner-up for the Univ. of Northern Iowa. His son Andrew was a Cadet National champion in both styles in 2005, and is one of the nation's top high school wrestlers.
Greco-Roman Leader of the Month for April 2006
John Robinson, Waianae, Hawaii
Robinson, who serves as the USA Wrestling State Chairperson for Hawaii, has been a strong supporter of the national Greco-Roman program, and works hard to provide Greco-Roman opportunities for the wrestlers in his state.
He and his state association leaders work hard to get their athletes to attend major competitions and compete in all styles of wrestling, including Greco-Roman. The Hawaii athletes and coaches make an effort to attend the clinics provided in Greco-Roman at these tournaments. In addition, Robinson and the state association leaders have brought top clinicians, including Greco-Roman coaches and athletes, to teach the wrestlers in Hawaii in USA Wrestling clinics.
Robinson has been the State Chairperson in Hawaii since 1999. He is an assistant wrestling coach at Mililani High School, and coaches at a number of USA Wrestling chartered clubs across the state. He has been a wrestling referee since 1985, holding an M-1 ranking, and works many national competitions each year. Robinson placed second in the 2003 Veterans Nationals in Greco-Roman. He competed for the U.S. Army in the mid-1980s, and also wrestled in a number of Regional Olympic Trials events in Greco-Roman.
To nominate an athlete, coach or leader for this awards program, please contact National Developmental Coach Ike Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org