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|Bill Zadick named 2006 John Smith Award winner, as USA Wrestling’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Bill Zadick (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) has been named the winner of the 2006 John Smith Award as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling. It is the first time that Zadick has won this prestigious award.
Zadick captured a gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in freestyle wrestling at the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China on September 28. Zadick was one of four U.S. freestyle wrestlers to win a medal, and the only gold medalist on the freestyle team. His effort helped lead the U.S. to a third place finish at the World Championships.
Zadick defeated 2005 World bronze medalist Otari Tushishvili of Georgia 1-2, 3-0, 1-0 in the gold-medal finals, with the match going down to a third-period leg clinch, which was won by Zadick.
Zadick won five matches to claim the title. He opened with a 3-0, 4-0 decision over Elar Hani of Estonia, then knocked off World bronze medalist Geandry Garzon of Cuba 4-0, 1-4, 3-1 in the second round. After a 2-2, 2-0 win over Fred Jessy of Nigeria in the quarterfinals, Zadick then rallied to beat Albert Batryov of Belarus 0-1, 1-0, 2-1 in the semifinals.
Zadick qualified for the U.S. World Team by winning the World Team Trials in Sioux City, Iowa in June, defeating Jared Frayer of the Gator WC in the Championship Series in two straight matches. He defeated Frayer 5-0, 3-1 in the first match, and won the second match, 1-0, 2-0. It was his second career U.S. World Team berth, along with his title at the 2001 World Team Trials. To reach the finals, Zadick defeated Mitch Mueller of the Sunkist Kids and Doug Schwab of the Gator WC.
Zadick placed second at the 2006 U.S. Nationals, dropping the gold-medal match to three-time U.S. World Team member Chris Bono of the Sunkist Kids, 0-1, 1-0, 3-0.
His younger brother Mike was also a member of the 2006 U.S. World Team, capturing a World silver medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. They were the first U.S. brothers to reach the World Championships finals since Tom and Terry Brands were champions at the 1993 World Championships in Toronto, Canada.
Zadick, 33, is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. He was a 1996 NCAA Div. I champion and two-time All-American at the Univ. of Iowa. A native of Great Falls, Montana, Zadick was a four-time Montana state high school champion.
Zadick was named U.S. Olympic Committee Male Wrestler of the Year for 2006. He has also been named as a finalist for the James E. Sullivan Award, presented to the nation's top amateur athlete. Zadick will attend the Sullivan Award ceremonies in New York City on April 11.
USA Wrestling will be announcing major award winners each day this week on TheMat.com.
PAST JOHN SMITH AWARD WINNERS AS FREESTYLE WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
2006 - Bill Zadick, Colorado Springs, Colo., Gator WC
2005 - Tolly Thompson, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Sun kist Kids
2004 - Cael Sanderson, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2003 - Cael Sanderson, Ames, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2002 - Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2001 - Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa, Sunkist Kids
2000 - Brandon Slay, Amarillo, Texas, Dave Schultz WC
1999 - Stephen Neal, Bakerfield, Calif., Dave Schultz WC
1998 - Sammie Henson, Norman, Okla., Sunkist Kids
1997 - Les Gutches, Corvallis, Ore., Sunkist Kids
1996 - Kendall Cross, Raleigh, N.C., Sunkist Kids
1995 - Kevin Jackson, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1994 - Melvin Douglas, Mesa, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1993 - Terry and Tom Brands, Iowa City, Iowa, Team Foxcatcher
1992 - John Smith, Stillwater, Okla., Sunkist Kids