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Bono vs. Frayer is the new “Bout of the Week” on USA Wrestling Audio/Video website



USA Wrestling has updated its new "Bout of the Week" which has been posted as a video file on-line on TheMat.com Audio/Video website .

The featured match this week is the 2007 Chris Bono vs. Jared Frayer men's freestyle gold medal match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. at the U.S. National Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, Nev.

It is unusual for a defending champion to be considered a bit of an underdog the following season, but that was the case when 2006 U.S. Nationals champion Chris Bono entered the 2007 Natonal Championships at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Much had changed for Chris Bono in the year following his 2006 Nationals title in Las Vegas. Bono accepted the head coaching job at the Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga late in the spring last year, and decided to continue his wrestling career, as well. He entered the 2006 World Team Trials in Sioux City, Iowa, and was defeated in the semifinals by Jared Frayer and then Jared Lawrence in the wrestlebacks, placing fourth.

During the following months, Bono concentrated on his head coaching duties, helping lead UT-Chattanooga to one of its greatest seasons in history. Bono did not compete at all during the college season, and when he entered the 2007 U.S. Nationals, he had not wrestled since losing at the 2006 World Team Trials. Except for the success of the legendary Bruce Baumgartner, it has proven an almost impossible task to seek international success as an athlete while handling the demands of being a college head coach.

Bono continues to wrestle because he has yet to reach his goal of winning a World or Olympic medal. A high school star in Florida, Bono went to Iowa State Univ., where he became a 1996 NCAA champion and three-time All-American. His career moved forward into freestyle, where his longtime rivalry with former Iowa star Lincoln McIlravy continued for many years, with McIlravy winning many close battles and making the U.S. teams.

Bono made his first U.S. World Team in 2001, where he did not place in the World meet. In 2002, he again won the World Team Trials, but was unable to compete in the World Championships in Iran after the U.S. decided not to attend because of a threat of violence against the team. In 2003, Jamill Kelly made a historic run through the division, earning the World Team spot as an underdog. In 2004, Kelly earned the spot on the Olympic team, then went on to win a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games.

Bono returned to the top spot in 2005, but once again was unable to win a medal at the World Championships. In 2006, one of Bono's regular rivals, Bill Zadick, put together an amazing run at the World Team Trials, and then the World Championships in China, becoming the World Champion at this weight class. Bono entered the 2007 season as a three-time U.S. Nationals champion and a three-time World Team member, but still without a World-level medal.

Frayer has emerged as one of the true contenders in this loaded weight class. Like Bono, he was a high school star in Florida. His career at the Univ. of Oklahoma was noteworthy, where he was a 2001 NCAA runner-up and two-time All-American. Frayer's true talents lie in freestyle wrestling, and after his college career ended, he entered the Senior-level scene with success and improved performances.

The 2004 Olympic year was one of improvement for Frayer, who was third in the U.S. Nationals and sixth at the Olympic Team Trials. By 2005, he was moving up the ladder, taking third at both the U.S. Nationals and the World Team Trials. His 2006 season began with a fourth place at the U.S. Nationals. At the World Team Trials, after upsetting Bono in the semifinals, Frayer lost in the finals to Bill Zadick, claiming the No. 2 spot on Freestyle National Team. Frayer has made the move to the U.S. Olympic Training Center and has been competing regularly on international tours, looking to make the final step to the top of the weight class.

At the 2007 U.S. Nationals, Jared Lawrence got the No. 1 seed after a strong winter season, with Frayer at No. 2, Eric Larkin at No. 3 and Bono at No. 4. Bono opened the tournament with wins over young talents Joe Johnston and Zack Esposito, then defeated top seed Lawrence in the semifinals, 3-0, 1-3, 1-0. On the other side, Frayer held his seed, beating Ron Tarquino, Doug Schwab and Larkin in progression.

The finals match, between the experienced and cagy Bono and the active and exciting Frayer went the full three periods. Frayer won the first period, 6-2, but Bono came back with 3-1, 1-0 wins in the last two periods to claim his fourth U.S. Nationals titles and the No. 1 spot at the 2007 World Team Trials. Will Bono be able to return in June to qualify for a fourth World Team?

This popular feature will be changed on a regular basis, allowing members to enjoy many of the greatest matches in wrestling history. Posted in the archive section of the Members Only web page was the 2007 Zack Esposito vs. Damien Jakobczyk men's freestyle gold medal match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. at the Trophe Milone Tournament in Rome, Italy. Many other entertaining and historic matches are in the archive section for the Bout of the Week.
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