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This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

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McMann, Sieracki, Blackmon star at Dave Schultz Memorial International



The United States swept the three Outstanding Wrestler awards given at the 3rd Annual Dave Schultz Memorial Wrestling Tournament, held in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 12. Claiming the Outstanding Wrestler trophies were Sara McMann (Lock Haven, Pa./Sunkist Kids) in the women's freestyle division, Keith Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in the men's Greco-Roman division and Ramico Blackmon (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) in the men's freestyle division. All three Outstanding Wrestler award winners were 2001 U.S. Nationals champions, and all three wrestled spectacular gold-medal matches to claim the title in their weight division. McMann pinned two-time World Champion Sara Eriksson of Sweden in the gold-medal match at 136.5 pounds. McMann was leading 6-0 when she pressed Eriksson for the fall at 5:09. McMann is a two-time U.S. Nationals champion and competed in the 2000 World Championships. Sieracki lifted and threw Dan Niebuhr (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) with a spectacular throw and scored a touch fall just 1:32 into the first period at 187.25 pounds. Sieracki, a two-time U.S. Nationals champion, and Niebuhr, also a past U.S. Nationals champion, were both wrestling up one weight class from their normal 167.5 pounds. Blackmon defeated talented Russian star Miron Dzadzaev, 4-2 in the gold medal match at 152 pounds. Blackmon jumped to a 3-0 lead on Dzadzaev and was in control for most of the match. Blackmon is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete, and won his first national title this year. Dzadzaev was sixth in the 1999 World Championships. The U.S. won a number of individual gold medals in all three of the competition divisions. In freestyle, the U.S. champions included Blackmon, plus Eric Larkin (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) at 138.75 pounds and Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Sunkist Kids) at 213.75 pounds. Larkin and Cormier are star college wrestlers who are making a major impact in international wrestling. Larkin defeated Omer Cubukci of Turkey, 13-9 in an exciting gold-medal match. Larkin placed third in the 2001 NCAA Championships for Arizona State. He was also third in the 2000 Olympic Team Trials. Trailing 1-0 late in the match, Cormier turned and held Zach Thompson (Ames, Iowa/Cyclone) , scoring three late points for a 3-0 win in the finals. Cormier was second in the 2001 NCAA Championships for Oklahoma State. He also placed seventh in the 2001 U.S. Freestyle Nationals. The U.S. Greco-Roman champions were Sieracki, plus Shawn Sheldon, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) at 119 pounds, Chael Sonnen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC) at 213.75 pounds and Corey Farkas (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Air Force) at 286 pounds. Sheldon, a two-time Olympian, claimed the gold medal when his finals opponent did not show and forfeited the match. Sonnen was the only entry in his weight division. In an all-military finals, Farkas from the Air Force beat U.S. Army wrestler Paul Devlin, 3-0 for the gold medal. Farkas was the only wrestler to qualify for the finals in both styles, also winning a silver medal in freestyle. In the women's division, McMann was joined by U.S. champions Julie Gonzalez (Vallejo, Calif./Dave Schultz WC) at 101.25 pounds, Sandra Bacher (San Jose, Calif./Dave Schultz WC) at 149.75 pounds and Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 165.25 pounds. Gonzales won a three-athlete round-robin competition to claim the gold medal at her weight class. She was the 2001 U.S. Nationals runner-up at her weight class. Bacher, a 1999 World Champion and three-time World medalist, claimed her weight class uncontested. She is also a three-time Olympian in judo. Smith, a two-time U.S. Nationals champion, dominated Cecelia Alenius of Sweden, before pinning her in 5:08. A number of impressive international stars claimed individual gold medals in the finals. In Greco-Roman, Uzbekistan won four gold medals, led by champions Dilshod Aripov at 127.75 pounds, Bakhatir Kurbanov at 138.75 pounds, Ruslan Bektayov at 152 pounds and Yuri Vitt at 167.5 pounds. All four Uzbekistan wrestlers defeated Americans in the championship match. The most competitive of these bouts came at 152 pounds, when Bektayov defeated Mike Ellsworth (Colorado Springs, Colo./Michigan WC), 11-8. Ellsworth jumped out fast and had an 8-6 lead after the first period. Bektayov, who was 10th in the 2000 Olympics, scored a three-point throw and a two-point tilt in the second period to win the match. In freestyle, Russia had four individual champions: Alexandre Kontoev at 119 pounds, Inal Dzagourov at 167.5 pounds and Khadimourat Magomedov at 187.25 pounds and Nikolay Telegin at 286 pounds. The 187.25 pound final was the most compelling, as Magomedov, a 1996 Olympic champion, faced talented 19-year-old Khadjimourat Gatsalov for the gold medal. In an active and aggressive match, the veteran Magomedov beat the newcomer Gatsalov by a 7-4 margin. The other international champion was Arif Kama of Turkey, who scored a 10-0 technical fall over Cody Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) in the 127.75 pound finals. Sweden claimed a pair of individual champions in the women's division, led by Ida Hellstrom at 112.25 pounds and Ida-Therese Karlsson at 123.25 pounds. In the freestyle team standings, the Sunkist Kids claimed the title with 74 points, followed by Russia with 67 points. In the Greco-Roman team standings, the U.S. Army placed first with 51 points, followed by Uzbekistan with 47 points. The Women's champion team was Sweden, with 54 points, followed by the Sunkist Kids with 38 points.
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