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|McNab, Zadick, Johnston among surprise finalists on Day 1 of U.S. World Team Trials|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Brandon McNab and Mike Zadick have collected their share of top-five finishes in big events like the U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials and U.S. World Team Trials.
But neither wrestler has ever made a World or Olympic team in wrestling.
That could change Saturday night.
The third-seeded McNab knocked off No. 2 Keith Sieracki in the Greco-Roman semifinals at 74 kg/163 lbs. while the No. 4 Zadick upset top seed Zach Roberson in the freestyle semifinals at 60 kg/132 lbs. Saturday morning at the Tyson Events Center.
The best-of-3 finals were scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Saturday.
McNab, who competes for the U.S. Army, advanced to the best-of-3 finals where he will meet No. 1 seed T.C. Dantzler of the Gator Wrestling Club in the finals. McNab beat Army teammate and 2001 World Team member Keith Sieracki 3-0, 1-1 in the semis. Zadick, who is with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, downed Roberson 0-1, 1-0, 2-0 in the semifinals.
Zadick advances to face No. 2 Michael Lightner of the Sunkist Kids in the finals. Lightner made the 2005 World Team. Lightner beat Nate Gallick of the Sunkist Kids 2-0, 1-0 in the semifinals. It was a rematch of last year's World Team Trials finals.
The winners of Saturday's finals will represent the U.S. at the World Championships on Sept. 26-Oct. 2 in Guangzhou, China. The seven remaining weight classes - four in freestyle and three in Greco-Roman - will be decided on Sunday.
Another upset came in Greco-Roman at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. when No. 2 seed Phil Johnston of the U.S. Army knocked off No. 1 seed Adam Wheeler of the Gator Wrestling Club 2-1, 1-1 in the Challenge Tournament finals. Johnston now faces 2005 World bronze medalist Justin Ruiz of the New York Athletic Club, who received a bye into the best-of-3 finals by virtue of being a returning World medalist and since he won the U.S. Nationals title last month.
Top seed and fan favorite Henry Cejudo of the Sunkist Kids, a recent graduate of Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, survived a pair of close calls to reach the finals at 55 kg/121 lbs. in freestyle. The 19-year-old Cejudo will face past World champion and Olympic silver medalist Sammie Henson of the Sunkist Kids in the finals. Henson is 35.
Cejudo dropped the first period in his quarterfinal match with Frank Gomez of the Michigan Wrestling Club, but rallied to win 0-1, 2-1, 3-1. He then dropped the first period to Luke Eustice of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, but came back to pull out a 2-4, 3-2, 2-2 win.
Cejudo trailed 2-1 in the deciding period against Eustice before he shot in on a single and drove Eustice out of bounds to tie the match 2-2 with 22 seconds left in the period. Eustice was unable to score and Cejudo prevailed by virtue of being the last wrestler to score.
Past World and Olympic team member Daniel Cormier of the Gator Wrestling Club reached the freestyle finals at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and will meet No. 3 seed Damion Hahn of the Minnesota Storm. Hahn downed No. 2 seed Nik Fekete of the New York Athletic Club in the semis.
The Greco-Roman finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. will match a pair of past World Team members in 35-year-old Marcel Cooper of the U.S. Army and 22-year-old Harry Lester of the Gator Wrestling Club.
2002 World champion Dremiel Byers of the U.S. Army will look to make his third World Team in Greco-Roman at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. when he meets Russ Davie of the New York Athletic Club in the finals.
SATURDAY'S FINAL ROUND PAIRINGS
55 KG/121 LBS. FREESTYLE
Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) vs. Sammie Henson, Flintstone, Ga. (Sunkist Kids)
60 KG/132 LBS. FREESTYLE
Mike Zadick, Solon, Iowa (Hawkeye WC) vs. Michael Lightner, Norman, Okla. (Sunkist Kids)
96 KG/211.5 LBS. FREESTYLE
Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) vs. Damion Hahn, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
66 KG/145.5 LBS. GRECO-ROMAN
Marcel Cooper, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) vs. Harry Lester, Akron, Ohio (USOEC/Gator WC)
74 KG/163 LBS. GRECO-ROMAN
T.C. Dantzler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) vs. Brandon McNab, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
96 KG/211.5 LBS.
Justin Ruiz, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) vs. Phil Johnston, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
120 KG/264.5 LBS.
Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) vs. Russ Davie, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)