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|U.S. seeks success at FILA Junior World Championships in China, Aug. 21-26|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling has been busy this summer preparing the 2007 U.S. Junior World Teams in all three Olympic styles for competition at the FILA Junior World Championships in Beijing, China, Aug. 21-26.
The top 17-20 year old wrestlers in the world will compete at the event, which is also being used as the test event for the 2008 Olympic Games wrestling competition in Beijing. The Junior World Championships will be held in the same arena as the Olympic Games wrestling tournament next summer.
The United States has had considerable success on the FILA Junior level in the past, and seeks to return from China with a number of medals.
In 2006, at the Junior World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala, the United States captured seven individual medals. The U.S. women's team placed third in the team standings with four medalists, including Junior World champion Nicole Woody (44 kg/97 lbs.). The men's freestyle team placed fifth in the standings, with two medalists. The men's Greco-Roman team placed 11th, with one medalist. None of the U.S. medalists from 2006 are eligible to compete at this level this year.
The U.S. Greco-Roman team brings back the most experience, with three members of last year's team returning for another shot at a medal. Included on the team is Robbie Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., who is competing in his third Junior World Championships. Smith placed ninth in the Junior World meet last year.
Also returning for the U.S. Junior World Greco-Roman team are Eric Grajales (Brandon, Fla./Brandon WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Erik Nye (Red Bluff, Calif./unattached) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Last year, Nye competed in both styles at the Junior World Championships, and Nye was fifth in freestyle. This year, Nye will be wrestling in the Greco-Roman division only. Also competing for Team USA is the 2007 USA Wrestling Junior Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year, Jake Deitchler (Ramsey, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
The volunteer coaches in Greco-Roman are Olympian John Matthews and veteran coach Isaac Ramaswamy, who are working with National Greco-Roman Developmental Coach Ike Anderson.
The U.S. men's freestyle team has one returning member from last year's squad, Louis Caputo (Blue Springs, Mo./Harvard WC) at 84 kg/185 lbs. Two members of this team were NCAA Div. I All-Americans last year, Caputo for Harvard and Angel Escobedo (Griffith, Ind./Hoosier WC) of Indiana at 60 kg/132 lbs. Penn State Univ. has placed two members on this team, Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va./Penn State WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and Stefan Tighe (Erie, Pa./Penn State WC) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
The two lightest divisions on the men's freestyle team feature talented high school stars, David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio/unattached) at 50 kg/110 lbs. and Tyler Graff (Loveland, Colo./Loveland Wrestling Academy) at 55 kg/121 lbs.
The volunteer coaches for the Junior World Team in freestyle are three-time World champion Lee Kemp and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Jamill Kelly, who will work with National Freestyle Developmental Coach Dave Bennett.
The U.S. women's team has only one member of last year's team returning, Deanna Rix (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. The team includes five athletes who compete for the U.S. Olympic Education Program at Northern Michigan Univ., college students Alyssa Lampe (Tomahawk, Wis. (USOEC) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. , Whitney Conder (Payallup, Wash. (USOEC) at 51 kg/112.25 lbs., Cherae Pascua (Oahu, Hawaii (USOEC) at 55 kg/121 lbs., plus high school athletes Erin Clodgo (Richmond, Vermont/USOEC) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. and Paige Rife (Fowlerville, Mich./USOEC) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Tatiana Padilla (LaVerne, Calif./California Grapplers), the 2007 TheMat.com/ASICS Girls High School Wrestler of the Year, will compete at 59 kg/130 lbs. Padilla placed second at the U.S. Senior World Team Trials this season.
The volunteer coaches for the women's Junior team are Olympian Rob Eiter, along with Trevor Keifer, who are working with National Women's Developmental Coach Izzy Izboinikov.
The men's Junior World Teams were determined at the Junior World Team Trials, held in Colorado Springs, Colo. in late May. The women's Junior World Team was set at the Body Bar FILA Junior Nationals in Colorado Springs, Colo. in early May.
U.S. JUNIOR WORLD TEAMS
50 kg/110 lbs. - David Taylor, St. Paris, Ohio (unattached)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Tyler Graff, Loveland, Colo. (Loveland Wrestling Academy)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Angel Escobedo, Griffith, Ind. (Hoosier WC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Bubba Jenkins, Virginia Beach, Va. (Penn State WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Jake Kerr, Oskaloosa, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Louis Caputo, Blue Springs, Mo. (Harvard WC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Taylor Moore, Kansas, City, Mo. (unattached)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Stefan Tighe, Erie, Pa. (Penn State WC)
Coaches - National Freestyle Developmental Coach Dave Bennett, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Jamill Kelly, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Lee Kemp, Alpharetta, Ga.
Colleges represented: Penn State (Jenkins, Tighe), Indiana (Escobedo), Iowa (Kerr), Harvard (Caputo), Cornell (Moore)
50 kg/110 lbs. - Tyler Cox, Gillette, Wyo. (Camel Kids)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Eric Grajales, Brandon, Fla. (Brandon WC)
60 kg/132 lbs.- Jake Swenson, Moroni, Utah (Sunkist Kids/USOEC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Jake Deitchler, Ramsey, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Chad Hemerson, Monterey, Calif. (USOEC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Brandon Sitch, Kelso, Wash. (Minnesota Storm)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Robbie Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Erik Nye, Red Bluff, Calif (unattached)
Coaches - National Greco-Roman Developmental Coach Ike Anderson, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Isaac Ramaswamy, Rocky Point, N.Y.; John Matthews, Phoenix, Ariz.
Colleges represented: Northern Michigan (Swenson, Hemerson), Minnesota (Sitch)
44 kg/97 lbs. - Amy Whitbeck, Duanesburg, N.Y. (Team New York)
48 kg/105.5 lbs. -Alyssa Lampe, Tomahawk, Wis. (USOEC)
51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Whitney Conder, Payallup, Wash. (USOEC)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Cherae Pascua, Oahu, Hawaii (USOEC)
59 kg/130 lbs. - Tatiana Padilla, LaVerne, Calif. (California Grapplers)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Deanna Rix, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Erin Clodgo, Richmond, Vermont (USOEC)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Paige Rife, Fowlerville, Mich. (USOEC)
Coaches - National Women's Developmental Coach Izzy Izboinikov, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Rob Eiter, Ocean City, N.J.; Trevor Keifer, La Mesa, Calif.
Colleges represented: Northern Michigan (Lampe, Conder, Pascua)
JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
At Beijing, China, August 21-26
Tuesday, August 21 - Greco-Roman: 50 kg, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg (Cox, Swenson, Hemerson, Smith)
Wednesday, August 22 - Greco-Roman: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg (Grajales, Dietchler, Sitch, Nye)
Thursday, August 23 - Women's Freestyle: 44 kg, 51 kg, 59 kg, 67 kg (Whitbeck, Conder, Padilla, Clodgo)
Friday, August 24 - Women's Freestyle: 48 kg, 55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg (Lampe, Pascua, Rix, Rife)
Saturday, August 25 - Men's Freestyle: 50 kg, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg (Taylor, Escobedo, Kerr, Moore)
Sunday, August 26 - Men's Freestyle: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg (Graff, Jenkins, Caputo, Tighe)