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|World gold medalist Bill Zadick set to return to competition at Pan American Championships|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
The return to competition of 2006 World champion Bill Zadick is one of the top storylines to watch as 21 wrestlers from the United States prepare to compete at the Pan American Championships on May 17-20 in San Salvador, El Salvador.
The Pan American nations are from North, Central and South America. The top eight finishers in each weight class qualify their countries for July's Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Greco-Roman team will compete in the Pan American Championships on May 18 with the women's freestyle competition May 19 and the freestyle competition May 20.
Zadick is joined on the U.S. freestyle team for the Pan American Championships by 2006 Junior World medalist Henry Cejudo at 55 kg/121 lbs. Cejudo won the U.S. Nationals last month for the second straight year. Cejudo won a gold medal at the 2006 Pan American Championships. 2007 U.S. Nationals champions Joe Heskett (74 kg/163 lbs.) and Tommy Rowlands (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) also are expected to compete.
It will be the first competition for Zadick since he won the World freestyle title at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. last September in Guangzhou, China. Zadick has been sidelined by a number of injuries and ailments, including a staph infection.
"Bill looks good," USA Wrestling National Freestyle Coach Kevin Jackson said. "He's finally healthy and he's as close to 100 percent as he's been over the last five months. He is really eager and really excited to compete again. This is a great opportunity for Bill to compete after missing some tournaments he had planned to compete in. Hopefully, this will help him peak for the World Team Trials (on June 9-10)."
U.S. Nationals second-place finishers Lee Fullhart (84 kg/185 lbs.) and Mo Lawal (96 kg/211.5 lbs.) also are entered at the Pan Am Championships in freestyle along with third-place finisher Shawn Bunch (60 kg/132 lbs.).
"Our goal obviously is to go down there and win as many medals as possible and qualify all seven weight classes for the Pan Am Games," Jackson said. "It's a good opportunity for us to see Canada, Cuba and the South American countries. It's also a good opportunity for some of our guys to wrestle against some good competition prior to the World Team Trials. We're sending over a strong team and I'm pretty confident we'll qualify all seven weight classes for the Pan Am Games."
Six of the seven U.S. Nationals champions in Greco-Roman are slated to compete at the Pan Am Championships. The members of the American team include Sam Hazewinkel (55 kg/121 lbs.), Joe Betterman (60 kg/132 lbs.), Glenn Garrison (66 kg/145.5 lbs.), T.C. Dantzler (74 kg/163 lbs.), Brad Vering (84 kg/185 lbs.), Justin Ruiz (96 kg/211.5 lbs.) and Russ Davie (120 kg/264.5 lbs.).
Ruiz is a past World bronze medalist, Vering is a past World and Olympic Team member and Dantzler placed fifth at the 2006 World Championships.
The American women's freestyle team is comprised of the seven wrestlers who won titles at last month's University Nationals. The team includes Sara Fulp-Allen (48 kg/105.5 lbs.), Jessica Medina (51 kg/112.25 lbs.), Brandy Rosenbrock (55 kg/121 lbs.), Othella Lucas (59 kg/130 lbs.), Alaina Berube (63 kg/138.75 lbs.), Elena Pirozhkov (67 kg/147.5 lbs.) and Ashley Sword (72 kg/158.5 lbs.).
Pirozhkov placed second at the U.S. Nationals, Berube third, Fulp-Allen and Rosenbrock fourth, Medina and Sword fifth, and Lucas sixth.
"We are taking our University Nationals champions since there is not a World Championship for the University age group this year," USA Wrestling National Women's Coach Terry Steiner said. "We wanted to reward them and this fit the bill. It will be a good tuneup for a lot of these girls for the World Team Trials in June. This is a good chance for them to get an international competition in this year and it is a good chance for these girls to get some experience."
The Pan American Championships are held each year, and this is a wrestling only event. The Pan American Games happens every four years and is a multi-sport event.
U.S. ROSTERS FOR PAN AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
MAY 17-20, SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR
55 kg/121 lbs. - Sam Hazewinkel, Pensasola, Fla. (Gator WC)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Joe Betterman, Chicago, Ill. (Gator WC/USOEC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Glenn Garrison, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
74 kg/163 lbs. - T.C. Dantzler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Justin Ruiz, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Russ Davie, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
Coaches - Steve Fraser (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Dan Chandler (Minneapolis, Minn.)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Shawn Bunch, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Bill Zadick, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Joe Heskett, Columbus, Ohio. (Gator WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Lee Fullhart, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Mo Lawal, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Tommy Rowlands, Columbus, Ohio. (Sunkist Kids)
Coaches - Zeke Jones (Philadelphia, Pa.), Terry Brands (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Sara Fulp-Allen, El Granada, Calif. (New York AC)
51 kg/112 lbs. - Jessica Medina, Pomona, Calif. (New York AC)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Brandy Rosenbrock, Harrison, Mich. (Michigan WC)
59 kg/130 lbs. - Othella Lucas, San Diego, Calif. (New York AC)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Alaina Berube, Escanaba, Mich. (New York AC)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Elena Pirozhkov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Ashley Sword, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Unattached)
Coaches - Vladislav Izboinikov (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Kevin Black (River Falls, Wis.)
PAN AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
6-6:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins, Greco-Roman, all weight classes
10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. - Elimination rounds, Greco-Roman, all weight classes
5-6 - Repechage, Greco-Roman, all weight classes
6-6:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins, women's freestyle, all weight classes
7-8 p.m. - Bronze medal matches, Greco-Roman, all weight classes
8-9 p.m. - Finals, Greco-Roman, all weight classes
9 a.m.-noon - Elimination rounds, women's freestyle, all weight classes
4-5 p.m. - Repechage, women's freestyle, all weight classes
5-5:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins, freestyle, all weight classes
5-6 p.m. - Bronze medal matches, women's freestyle, all weight classes
6-7 p.m. - Finals, women's freestyle, all weight classes
9 a.m.-1 p.m. - Elimination rounds, freestyle, all weight classes
4-5 p.m. - Repechage, freestyle, all weight classes
5-6 p.m. - Bronze medal matches, freestyle, all weight classes
6-7 p.m. - Finals, freestyle, all weight classes