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Returning champ Sergent drops a bout, as Junior Nationals freestyle heats up



FARGO, N.D. - The second session of the ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals in freestyle saw one of the eight returning champions drop a match in the double elimination format at the FargoDome.

Ben Sergent of Ohio lost in the third round at 112 pounds to David Thorn of Minnesota, 3-2, 2-4, 1-0. Sergent was the champion last year at 105 pounds last year. He remains alive in the draw after receiving a bye in his next match.

Returning champion Kellen Russell of New Jersey has had a great day at 140 pounds, winning three matches by technical fall and another by pin. Russell was the champion last year at 130 pounds.

The rest of the returning champions also remain unbeaten after the first day of action in Fargo: Zachary Sanders of Minnesota (119), Boris Novachkov of California (125), Mike Mangrum of Washington (140), Albert White of Illinois (145), Kirk Smith of Idaho (171), and Dom Bradley of Missouri (275).

All seven runners-up in the field are also without a loss: Donte Butler of Missouri (112), Jon Morrison of Illinois (112), Tyler Graff of Colorado (130), Jake Deitchler of Minnesota (145), Sonny Yohn of Colorado (189), Jared Platt of New Jersey (189) and Cameron Wade of Ohio (275).

The top placewinner from last year who has been eliminated is Nathan Furches of Kansas at 112 pounds, who was third a year ago at 98 pounds. Furches won his first match, then fell to Mitchell Lofstedt of Oregon and George Ivanov of Iowa. Furches placed fifth in the Junior Nationals in Greco-Roman at 105 pounds on Monday.

One of last year's third-place finishers, Tucker Lane of Colorado, has moved up in weight this year, with considerable success. Lane was third a year ago at 215 pounds. Now competing at 285 pounds, Lane is 4-0 so far, including a 4-0, 4-0 victory over Ben Kuhar of Ohio, a 2005 Cadet Nationals champion.

Another third-place finisher last year, Vicente Varela of New Mexico, was also eliminated. He dropped his opening match at 135 pounds to 2007 Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion Norman Richmond, 4-0, 6-0. After winning his next four matches, Varela was eliminated by Trevor Melde of New Jersey, 6-0, 3-1.

Melde, who was sixth at the Junior Nationals a year ago, could not afford another loss. He had been beaten in the fifth round by Peter Yates of Georgia, 4-1, 4-1.

One of the top favorites at 189 pounds, Reiland Geiger of Oregon, withdrew with an injury default. Geiger won his first three matches, then took an injury default in the fourth round against Erich Schmidtke of Washington. Geiger won the Junior Nationals Greco-Roman title on Monday, and was a Cadet Nationals double champion in 2006.
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