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WEEKEND UPDATE: Plenty of firepower featured on Women's World Team



Experience won't be a problem for the United States women's freestyle team when it heads to the World Championships this fall.

The Americans figure to put a strong team on the mat in China with five past World medalists on the team in Kristie Marano, Sara McMann, Patricia Miranda, Tina George and Katie Downing making the 2006 World Team.

Past World Team member Erin Tomeo also earned a spot on the American squad during the U.S. World Team Trials on June 30 at Colorado Springs Christian School.

Marano made her eighth World Team, but first since 2003. She is a two-time World champion and seven-time World medalist.

Marano qualified at 72 kg/158.5 pounds and will be joined on the American team by Miranda (51 kg/112 lbs.), George (55 kg/121 lbs.), Tomeo (59 kg/130 lbs.), McMann (63 kg/138.5 lbs.) and Downing (67 kg/147.5 lbs.). Miranda, Tomeo, McMann and Downing compete for the Sunkist Kids. Marano wrestles for the New York Athletic Club and George competes for the U.S. Army.

Those six wrestlers qualify for the World Championships on Sept. 26-Oct. 2 in Guangzhou, China.

The seventh and final spot on the U.S. team has still not been decided. Mary Kelly of the New York Athletic Club won the World Team Trials at 48 kg/105.5 pounds and will face U.S. Nationals champion Clarissa Chun of the Sunkist Kids at a later date for a spot on the team. Chun is recovering from a knee injury and is permitted to wrestle-off at a later date by virtue of winning the U.S. Nationals.

Marano came out aggressively in the finals against Stephany Lee, a past World University champion. Marano rolled to a 6-0 first-period win before pinning Lee in the second period. Marano won the second match 2-0, 1-0.

McMann coasted to a pair of lopsided wins over Alaina Berube of the New York Athletic Club. McMann is shooting for her fourth straight World-level medal this year. She won silver at the 2003 World Championships and 2004 Olympics before earning a bronze medal at the 2005 World meet. The 25-year-old McMann has made the last six U.S. World Teams, in addition to being a 2004 Olympian.

Miranda, who took last year off to focus on her first year of Law School after winning a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics, swept Jenny Wong in a pair of tight matches in the finals. Miranda is a two-time World silver medalist.

George, a two-time World silver medalist, made her seventh World Team by outlasting U.S. Nationals champion Sharon Jacobson in a physical, bruising series in the finals. George won the first match 1-1, 4-6, 5-3 before prevailing 6-4, 7-1 in the second match.

Downing, a 2005 World bronze medalist, pinned Stefenie Shaw in the first period of their first bout. She then came back with a dominant 7-0, 5-0 win in the second bout.

Tomeo made her second World Team, but first since 2001, by knocking off two-time World bronze medalist Sally Roberts of the Gator Wrestling Club in the finals. Roberts won the first period of the first match 11-5 before Tomeo rebounded to pin her in the third period. Tomeo won the first period of the second match 7-4 before rallying from a 4-0 deficit in the second period by catching Roberts on her back to win 5-4.

Kelly pinned seven-time World Team member and past World silver medalist Stephanie Murata of the Sunkist Kids in both matches of their championship series. Kelly now will try to knock off Chun at a later date to make her first World Team. Kelly beat Murata for the first time in her career.

The U.S. World Team Trials for women typically are held in conjunction with the Trials for men's freestyle and Greco-Roman. But the women's event had to be held at a later date this year because of a conflict with the Women's World Cup.

Junior Duals: Illinois, Missouri win titles

Illinois captured the Junior Dual National Championships by winning 10 of 15 matches against New Jersey in posting a 39-21 freestyle victory in the final round on July 2.

Ohio defeated Iowa 37-23 in the match for third place. The Ohio team won 11 of 15 bouts in the dual. In the fifth-place match, Oklahoma 1 defeated California Silver 36-27. In the seventh-place match, Pennsylvania defeated Florida 48-20.

Missouri downed Illinois 33-28 on June 29 in the finals of the Junior Duals in Greco-Roman.

Coming Up: All roads lead to the FargoDome

The countdown to Fargo continues.

Every year, the nation's best young wrestlers come together for the world's largest wrestling competition, the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D.

This competition produces great stories of champions, many who go on to glory in college wrestling, and ultimately at the World and Olympic levels. In 2005, the big story from Fargo was the record-setting performance by Brent Metcalf of Michigan, who tied the national record of six career Junior National titles after winning his third straight double championship on the center mats.

The tournament is scheduled for July 22-29 and is expected to feature outstanding wrestlers in every weight class.

The Junior Nationals features high school wrestlers in grades 9-12. Returning Junior National double champions, winners of both freestyle and Greco-Roman, are Boris Novachkov of California (98) and David Craig of Florida (171).

Junior National freestyle champions who are eligible to return are Mark Kist of Iowa (105) and Mike Grey of New Jersey (125). A returning Junior National Greco-Roman champions is Marty Eng of Oregon (105).

The Cadet Nationals are for wrestlers who are 15 and 16 years old. One of the exciting stars expected back this year is 2005 Cadet National double champion Tyrell Fortune of Oregon (215).

The women's division will be held earlier in the week than past years, and will feature numerous athletes who are already respected on the Senior level. Returning champions include Nicole Woody of Maryland (95), Joey Miller of Oklahoma (102), Caitlyn Chase of Illinois (110), Tatiana Padilla of California (119), Desiree Memea of Hawaii (175) and Lakia Henderson of Florida (220).

The Women's Junior Duals will also be held in Fargo for the second straight year. Texas is the returning team champion, beating California in the championship match last year. Hawaii placed third and Ohio fourth in the last year's team standings. The field is expected to be larger this year, and numerous top talents will be showcased.
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