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15 of 21 U.S. Nationals champions earn automatic berths into best-of-3 finals for U.S. World Team Trials



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Making the trip to the 2005 World University Games is still paying off for Nate Gallick and Tommy Rowlands.

The past NCAA champions both won World University gold medals that year.

Winning World-level medals that year, coupled with the freestyle titles each won last weekend at the U.S. Nationals, has landed each a spot in the best-of-3 finals for the U.S. World Team Trials on June 9-10 in Las Vegas. Gallick competes at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Rowlands at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Six of the seven freestyle champions from the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas earned berths directly into the U.S. World Team Trials best-of-3 final series by virtue of meeting the following criteria established by USA Wrestling:

- Junior World medalist within the current Olympic quadrennium
- University World medalist within the current Olympic quadrennium
- Top 10 from the World Championship within the current Olympic quadrennium
- Multiple Senior-level World Team member

Also meeting those criteria for freestyle were U.S. Nationals champions Henry Cejudo (55 kg/121 lbs.), Chris Bono (66 kg/145.5 lbs.), Joe Williams (84 kg/185 lbs.) and Daniel Cormier (96 kg/211.5 lbs.). Cejudo is a past Junior World medalist and Williams is a past World medalist. Bono and Cormier are multiple Senior-level World Team members.

Rowlands, Gallick, Cejudo, Bono and Williams compete for the Sunkist Kids. Cormier is with the Gator Wrestling Club.

The second- and third-place finishers from the U.S. Nationals in those six freestyle weight classes will be the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the Challenge Tournament at the World Team Trials. The remaining seeds will be determined prior to the Trials. The winner of the Challenge Tournament will advance later that day to meet the wrestler who already has clinched a spot in the best-of-3 finals.

The other U.S. Nationals freestyle champion - Joe Heskett (74 kg/163 lbs.) - did not meet the criteria to advance directly to the best-of-3 finals. But Heskett will still draw the No. 1 seed for the World Team Trials by virtue of winning in Las Vegas. Heskett will have to advance through the tournament with the rest of the qualifiers in his class. U.S. Nationals runner-up Casey Cunningham will be the No. 2 seed behind Heskett. The two wrestlers who reach the finals of the tournament then meet in a best-of-3 series in the finals.

Heskett competes for the Gator Wrestling Club and Cunningham for the Sunkist Kids.

Only two of the U.S. Nationals champions in Greco-Roman - Joe Warren (60 kg/132 lbs.) and T.C. Dantzler (74 kg/163 lbs.) - advance directly to the best-of-3 finals of the World Team Trials. Only U.S. Nationals champions in Greco-Roman who finished in the top five at the 2006 World Championships advance to the best-of-3 finals of the World Team Trials. Warren won a World title in 2006 and Dantzler placed fifth.

Warren wrestles for the New York Athletic Club and Dantzler for the Gator Wrestling Club.

The second- and third-place finishers from the U.S. Nationals in those two Greco-Roman weight classes will be the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the Challenge Tournament at the World Team Trials. The winner of the Challenge Tournament will advance later that day to meet the wrestler who already clinched a spot in the best-of-3 finals.

The remaining five U.S. Nationals Greco-Roman champions - Sam Hazewinkel (55 kg/121 lbs.), Glenn Garrison (66 kg/145.5 lbs.), Brad Vering (84 kg/185 lbs.), Justin Ruiz (96 kg/211.5 lbs.) and Russ Davie (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) - will be the No. 1 seeds for the World Team Trials. Each wrestler will have to advance through the tournament with the rest of the qualifiers in their class. The two wrestlers who reach the finals of the tournament then meet in a best-of-3 series in the finals.

Hazewinkel competes for the Gator Wrestling Club, Garrison for the U.S. Army and Vering, Ruiz and Davie for the New York Athletic Club.

All seven U.S. Nationals champions in women's freestyle automatically advance directly to the best-of-3 finals of the World Team Trials. No criteria needs to be met for the women relating to past performances.

The seven U.S. Nationals women's champions include Stephanie Murata (48 kg/105.5 lbs.), Patricia Miranda (51 kg/112.25 lbs.), Marcie Van Dusen (55 kg/121 lbs.), Leigh Jaynes (59 kg/130 lbs.), Sara McMann (63 kg/138.75 lbs.), Katie Downing (67 kg/147.5 lbs.) and Kristie Marano (72 kg/158.5 lbs.).

Murata, Miranda, Van Dusen, McMann and Downing compete for the Sunkist Kids. Jaynes is with the U.S. Army. Marano wrestles for the New York Athletic Club.

The second- and third-place finishers from the U.S. Nationals in women's freestyle draw the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the Challenge Tournament at the World Team Trials. The winner of the Challenge Tournament will advance later that day to meet the wrestler who already has clinched a spot in the best-of-3 finals.

Eleven weight classes at the World Team Trials will be contested in each of the three styles on June 9 with the remaining 10 classes to be contested on June 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. All the competition in a weight class will be wrestled in one day to mirror the format followed by FILA at the World Championships.

The champions in each weight class in freestyle, women's freestyle and Greco-Roman from the U.S. World Team Trials advance to the World Championships on Sept. 17-23 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

In addition, the U.S. Grappling World Team Trials will be held alongside these events in Las Vegas. The results of this tournament will determine the U.S. Grappling World Team which will compete in the World Wrestling Games in Antalya, Turkey, Sept. 7-9. More information on the Grappling Trials will be announced soon.
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