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|WEEKEND UPDATE: No shortage of upsets at U.S. World Team Trials|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
How important was it for Trent Paulson of the Sunkist Kids to win the University Nationals?
Or for a guy like Andy Hrovat of the New York Athletic Club to place fifth at the U.S. Nationals?
Just ask Joe Williams of the Sunkist Kids and Mo Lawal of the Gator Wrestling Club, the wrestlers who suffered stunning losses to those wrestlers May 28 at the U.S. World Team Trials. Once you qualify for the World Team Trials, like Paulson and Hrovat did in the aforementioned events, anything can happen.
Paulson's quarterfinal upset of Williams at 163 pounds in freestyle and Hrovat's stunning pin of Lawal in the 185-pound freestyle semifinals were the two biggest shockers on a weekend filled with upsets at the event in Sioux City, Iowa.
Williams is a two-time World bronze medalist while Lawal made his first World Team last year and had knocked off the reigning World champion just a couple of months ago.
Hrovat went on to make his first World Team while Paulson nearly pulled off another upset in the semis before dropping a close match to Tyrone Lewis of the Gator Wrestling Club.
Three-time World Team member Chris Bono of the Sunkist Kids was upset in the 145.5-pound freestyle semifinals by Jared Frayer of the Gator Wrestling Club. Three-time World Team member and 2004 Olympian Brad Vering of the New York AC was upset by Aaron Sieracki of the U.S. Army in the 185-pound semis in Greco-Roman.
It still turned out to be a banner weekend for the New York AC, which placed a combined five wrestlers on the World Team in freestyle and Greco-Roman. The 14 champions crowned at the World Team Trials advance to the World Championships on Sept. 26-Oct. 2 in Guangzhou, China.
Also making it to the World Championships from the NYAC were Donny Pritzlaff in freestyle at 163 along with Lindsey Durlacher (121), Joe Warren (132) and Justin Ruiz (211.5) in Greco-Roman. Clint Wattenberg of the NYAC was second to Hrovat after knocking off No. 2 seed Lee Fullhart of the Gator Wrestling Club in the semifinals.
Ruiz is a returning World bronze medalist while Durlacher and Warren made their second straight World Teams.
First-time World Team members include Hrovat, Pritzlaff, Mike Zadick of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club (132, freestyle) and Jacob Clark of the U.S. Marines (185, Greco-Roman).
Mike Zadick will be joined on the team by older brother Bill, who made his second World Team. Bill won the freestyle title at 145.5 in Sioux City.
Two of the best matchups of the World Team Trials came at 121 and 264.5 in freestyle.
Veteran Sammie Henson of the Sunkist Kids held off a determined charge by 19-year-old Henry Cejudo of the Sunkist Kids in the 121 finals. Tolly Thompson of the Sunkist Kids pinned Steve Mocco of the New York AC in the 264.5 finals in freestyle. Henson was a 1998 World champion and 2000 Olympic silver medalist. Thompson is a returning World bronze medalist.
Dremiel Byers of the U.S. Army, a 2002 World champion, made his fourth World Team in Greco-Roman at 264.5. T.C. Dantzler of the Gator Wrestling Club made his fourth World Team in Greco-Roman at 163.
Daniel Cormier of the Gator Wrestling Club made his third straight World Team at 211.5 in freestyle. He also made the 2004 Olympic Team. Harry Lester of the U.S. Olympic Education Center/Gator WC made his second straight World Team in Greco-Roman at 145.5.
The World Team Trials for women are set for June 30 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The women's event is usually held in conjunction with the World Team Trials for men, but was pushed back this year to allow the women to compete at the World Cup in Japan.
Busy weekend for Kids/Cadets in Michigan, South Carolina
Some of the country's aspiring young wrestlers were busy this past weekend with Kids/Cadet events being staged in Michigan and South Carolina.
The Central Regional Championships were held May 26-28 in Battle Creek, Mich., while the Southeast Regional Championships were held May 26-29 in Greenville, S.C.
Double Cadet winners in Greco-Roman and freestyle from the Central Regional included Ryan Madson of Minnesota (125), Trent Weatherman of Iowa (145), Eric Cubberly of Ohio (160), Ryan Houchens of Kentucky (189) and Orlando Scales of Ohio (275).
Coming Up: Pan American Championships
Five wrestlers who made the World Team this past weekend - Lindsey Durlacher, Joe Warren, Jacob Clark, Dremiel Byers and Donny Pritzlaff - are among the 21 American wrestlers set to compete at the Pan American Championships on Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 4, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Durlacher (121), Warren (132), Clark (185) and Byers (264.5) will compete in Greco-Roman with Pritzlaff (163) wrestling in freestyle. Durlacher, Warren and Pritzlaff compete for the New York Athletic Club, Clark is with the U.S. Marines and Byers with the U.S. Army.
Also on the U.S. Greco-Roman team are Mike Ellsworth of the Michigan Wrestling Club (145.5), Brandon McNab of the U.S. Army (163) and Adam Wheeler of the U.S. Olympic Education Center/Gator Wrestling Club (211.5).
The balance of the freestyle team includes Henry Cejudo (121) and Zach Roberson (132) of the Sunkist Kids, Doug Schwab of the Gator Wrestling Club (145.5), and Clint Wattenberg (185), Nik Fekete (211.5) and Steve Mocco (264.5) of the New York AC.
The women's freestyle team includes Mary Kelly of the USOEC/New York AC (105.5), Jenny Wong (112), Malinda Ripley (121) and Erin Tomeo (130) of the Sunkist Kids, Jackie Cataline of Cataline's Wildcats (138.5), Randi Miller of the USOEC (147.5) and Stephany Lee of Missouri Valley (158.5).
Also coming up: Hall of Fame weekend in Stillwater
A star-studded lineup of wrestling greats will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame this weekend in Stillwater, Okla. The event is set for Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3.
The 2006 Hall of Fame class includes two-time World champion and Olympic bronze medalist Terry Brands, four-time World champion Tricia Saunders, four-time NCAA champion Pat Smith, and Olympic bronze medalist and international wrestling leader Josiah Henson.
Terry Brands also won two NCAA titles at Iowa and is now USA Wrestling's Resident Freestyle Coach. Saunders will be the first woman inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Hall of Fame. Smith became the first four-timer in NCAA history while competing at Oklahoma State. Henson joins his older brother, Stanley, a three-time NCAA champion, in the Hall of Fame.