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|USA Wrestling Triple Crown on the line for the first time in the Junior age-group|
By Michelle Thilges USA Wrestling
There is a new major honor up for grabs for the Junior age-group within USA Wrestling this year. For the first time, there could be a Junior Triple Crown winner announced.
The Triple Crown is an award given to wrestlers who win Nationals in freestyle, Greco-Roman and folkstyle in the same year. The Junior age-group are students in grades 9-12.
This was the first year for a Junior Folkstyle National Championship. The competition was held in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in March. There were 406 wrestlers that entered the highly competitive tournament.
The competition was fierce, and all of the winners have the chance at becoming the first Junior Triple Crown winners.
Grant Gambrall of Iowa is looking to win his second career Triple Crown. Gambrall was a Kids Triple Crown winner as a Schoolboy in 2004. Gambrall was a 2006 Cadet National champion in Greco-Roman and place third in freestyle that year.
Minnesota's Travis Rutt was almost crowned a Cadet Triple Crown last year, but pulled out of the freestyle competition due to a hand injury. He was the champion at the 2006 Cadet National Folkstyle Championships and had won in the Greco-Roman competition as well. Rutt has four Kids' National titles in Greco-Roman and three in freestyle. Rutt won the folkstyle event this year at 160 pounds.
Another potential Junior Triple Crown contestant is Tyler Cox of Wyoming, who won at the Folkstyle Nationals at 112 pounds. Cox came close to winning the Cadet Triple Crown in 2005, when he won the Greco-Roman and folkstyle legs of the competition. In 2006, Cox was named to the Cadet National All-Dual team in Greco-Roman. To make this team, a wrestler must have finished the competition undefeated and have wrestled in at least six bouts.
Cole Schmitt of Wisconsin was also named to the 2006 Cadet National All-Dual team in Greco-Roman. Schmitt went 10-0 during the Cadet Duals. He wrestled at 140 pounds in the Junior Folkstyle Nationals. Schmitt is the 2006 Northern Plains champion in both styles and he also won the Accelerade Cadet National Championships last year.
The chance for these winners and others from the Foklstyle Nationals to win the freestyle and Greco-Roman titles will come July 20-26, when the ASICS/Vaughan Junior National Championships will be held in Fargo, N.D.
In 2003, USA Wrestling created the Cadet Triple Crown for wrestlers in all three styles (15-16 years olds). In the four years of the program, only two wrestlers have won the Cadet Triple Crown, Tyler Moore of Missouri in 2003 and Zachary Sanders of Minnesota in 2004.
Many expect the Junior Triple Crown will be as difficult to win, based upon the quality of the competition at the national level.
Each wrestler will have to qualify for their state Junior National Team in order to participate at Fargo. All have a chance to make history as the first Junior Triple Crown winner.
Winners from the 2007 ASICS/USA Wrestling Junior Folkstyle Nationals
98 - Steven Vanwychen of Kaukauna, Wis.
105 - Brandon Goodwin of Lawrence, Kan. (Team Scarecrow)
112 - Tyler Cox of Gillette, Wyo. (Camel Kids Wrestling)
119 - Tyler Grask of Des Moines, Iowa (Golden Eagles Wrestling Academy)
125 - Cole Von Ohlen of Jackson, Minn. (Flat Earth)
130 - James Berdan of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (Wisconsin Rapids)
135 - Jeff Wood of Gillette, Wyo. (Camel Kids Wrestling)
140 - Cole Schmitt of New Glarus, Wis. (Advance Wrestling)
145 - Trent Weatherman of Ballard, Iowa (Ballard)
152 - T.J. Moen of Des Moines, Iowa (Saydel)
160 - Travis Rutt of Jackson, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
171 - Grant Gambrall of Iowa City, Iowa (ICW Trojan Wrestling Club)
189 - Joe Budi of Kaukauna, Wis. (Kaukauna)
215 - Tyler Manning of Westby, Wis. (Westby)
285 - Corey James of Kingston, N.Y. (Warwick)