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|Spenser Mango named OW after winning Greco-Roman title at Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
TEMPE, Ariz. - He finished a close second at the U.S. Nationals.
He won a World University Championship.
And added a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships.
It was a breakthrough 2005-06 season for Spenser Mango.
So what will the budding Greco-Roman standout do for an encore?
If Friday provides any indication, it promises to be another memorable season for the explosive 5-foot-2 sparkplug from the U.S. Olympic Education Center.
The 20-year-old Mango (Flourissant, Mo./Gator WC) blitzed to the championship at the Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open on Friday, putting on a crowd-pleasing display of spectacular lifts and throws at Wells Fargo Arena. The end result was Mango being named Outstanding Wrestler after rolling to the title at 55 kg/121 pounds.
"It was definitely a good way to start the new season," Mango said. "I came in less than 100 percent after I hurt my knee the day before we left to come here. But I got pumped up when I got out here, the adrenaline started flowing and I was able to get the job done."
The U.S. Army, which crowned champions in James Johnson (60 kg/132 pounds), Aaron Sieracki (84 kg/185 pounds) and Dremiel Byers (120 kg/264.5 pounds), won the team title with 35 points.
The New York Athletic Club, led by champion Cheney Haight (74 kg/163 pounds), was second with 29 points. The Gator Wrestling Club, which had champions in Mango, Jacob Curby (66 kg/145.5 pounds) and Adam Wheeler (96 kg/211.5 pounds), was third with 21 points.
The two-day tournament concludes on Saturday with the men's and women's freestyle competition. Wrestling is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Mango put on another of his trademark, highlight-reel performances in the finals in rolling past Michael Santos. Mango hit spectacular lifts in each period, winning the first 9-3 before recording a fall in the second.
Mango has not had much of a break after competing in two World meets over the summer.
"I like to have fun when I wrestle and make it exciting," Mango said. "If I'm not having fun, I don't want to be out there. It was good to get back out there and compete."
Mango hopes to build and capitalize on the experience he gained earlier this year.
"Last season I was kind of the underdog," Mango said. "Now I go out there and I'm the one that's supposed to win this season. I just need to keep it going."
Byers, a past World Champion who just competed at the World Championships a couple weeks ago in Guangzhou, China, continued his dominance of the American heavyweight division. Byers needed just 11 seconds to pin Brandon Ruiz of the Sunkist Kids in the semifinals before he controlled Russ Davie of the New York Athletic Club 4-0, 1-1 in the finals.
Davie placed second to Byers at the U.S. World Team Trials.
Johnson downed Kerry Regner of the Angry Fish Wrestling Club 4-1, 3-0 in the finals. Curby outlasted James Shillow of the U.S. Marine Corps 1-4, 2-2, 1-1 in the gold-medal match while Haight pulled out a 1-1, 1-2, 2-1 win over Jess Hargrave of the U.S. Army in the title bout.
They didn't wrestle the finals at 185 as brothers Keith and Aaron Sieracki elected not to face off. Keith forfeited to younger brother Aaron in the finals.
Wheeler scored a 1-1, 3-2 win over R.C. Johnson of the Sunkist Kids in the finals at 211.5.