|U.S. menís and womenís freestyle teams to compete at World Cup, March 22-25|
By Michelle Thilges USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling has announced its 2007 men's and women's freestyle World Cup teams, which will compete in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, March 22-25.
The World Cup is a dual meet competition, with the top six teams from last year's World Championships competing.
The women's freestyle team will battle Japan, China, Russia, Germany and Belarus. National Women's Coach Terry Steiner said each country will be very talented.
"Russia will be at home with a new national coach (Sergei Beloglazov). They will want to make a statement," said Steiner. "The Russian team wants to do well, as well as the other teams."
Steiner brings a veteran World Cup team this year, but expects the four World medalists on the team to lead the pack. The World medalists include:
- Patricia Miranda (New Haven, Conn./Sunkist Kids), 2004 Olympic bronze and three-time World medalist
- Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids), 2004 Olympic silver and two-time World medalist
- Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), 2005 World bronze medalist
- Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 2005 World champion
In last year's World Cup in Nagoya, Japan, the women finished third behind Japan and Canada. This year, Steiner said the team is going into the tournament with more confidence.
"Our approach to it has changed all year. We have focused on team support for one another and improve together," Steiner said. "The team knows this is their shot to do something. All the team members will compete hard for themselves and the team."
The men's freestyle team will be competing in the World Cup, after a year off. In 2005, the men competed in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and finished fourth behind Cuba, Ukraine and Russia.
This year, the men will be facing teams from Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Georgia.
Kevin Jackson, National Freestyle Coach and five of the World Cup wrestlers have been to Krasnoyarsk recently when they competed in the Ivan Yarygin International Championships in January.
"We are used to the environment and the surrounding. They are not going to let that affect our performance," he said.
Five of the seven 2006 U.S. World team members will attend the trip including World silver medalist Mike Zadick (Solon, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) and World bronze medalist Donny Pritzlaff (Madison, Wis./NYAC).
2006 World champion Bill Zadick (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) had to pull out at the last minute due to health issues and is replaced by Jesse Jantzen (Cambridge, Mass./NYAC).
Sammie Henson, 1998 World champion and Olympic silver medalist, decided not to attend the World Cup, moving Henry Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), to his spot at 55kg/121 lbs. Cejudo won the U.S. Nationals last year.
"Henry has had great experience and I am excited to see what he does," Jackson said.
Kendall Cross, the 1996 Olympic champion, will also be in attendance, as a back-up. Jackson said Cross can cover the 60 and 66 kg weight classes if needed.
Daniel Cormier (Stillwater Okla./Gator WC) and Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids), are both on the roster at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Cormier competed at 96 kg at the 2006 World Championships. After Cormier's victory at the Dave Schultz Memorial International at 120 kg, Jackson said he is ready to see what Cormier can do on an international level.
"I expect to find out where we stand in the world," said Jackson. "This is one of the toughest international competitions, with the toughest seven countries."
Women's freestyle World Cup Delegation
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Mary Kelly, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Patricia Miranda, New Haven, Conn. (Sunkist Kids)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Marcie Van Dusen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
59 kg/130 lbs. - Sara McMann, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Randi Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Katie Downing, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
Coaches Izzy Izboinikov, Levi Weikel-Magden and team leader Terry Steiner
Men's freestyle World Cup Delegation
55 kg/121 lbs. - Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Michael Zadick, Solon, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Kendall Cross, Colorado Springs, Colo.
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Jesse Jantzen, Cambridge, Mass. (New York AC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Donny Pritzlaff, Madison, Wis. (New York AC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Andrew Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Mo Lawal, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Tolly Thompson, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
Coaches Sean Bormet, Shawn Charles and team leader Kevin Jackson