By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
More than any weight class in Greco-Roman, this one may be more wide open and up for grabs than any of the others. The results at the U.S. Open were a bit surprising, and a number of athletes have legitimate chances to come out as the World Team Trials champion.
Nathan Piasecki of the U.S. Army won his first U.S. Open title in Cleveland in April, defeating Chad Vandiver of the Sunkist Kids in the championship finals. Neither had ever reached a U.S. Open finals in the past, with the highest placement being Piasecki’s third place at the 2009 U.S. Open. Both athletes have shown considerable progress in the past year, and should have additional confidence going into Council Bluffs.
Last year’s U.S. World Team member Jeremiah Davis of the U.S. Army placed third at the U.S. Open. Davis was a U.S. Open champion back in 2006, and has been a top contender in this division over the last few seasons. Davis has increased his international experience in the last year which should make him better prepared if he makes the World Team.
The top athlete missing at the World Team Trials was 2007 World Team member Joe Betterman of the Sunkist Kids. Betterman was injured in January while winning a silver medal in the respected Poddubny Grand Prix in Russia. Betterman had a great season going, winning the Sunkist Kids International and the New York AC Internaitonal as well. Originally, it was expected that Betterman would not be back in time for the World Team Trials, but his rehab is going well and there is an outside possibility that we might see Betterman in Council Bluffs.
Donovan Depatto of the U.S. Marines was fourth and Marco Lara of the U.S. Army placed fourth and fifth respectively at the U.S. Open. Both have extensive experience and are capable of making a run at the finals. Anthony Jerome, one of the top young stars, qualified by placing true second at the University Nationals, then took sixth at the U.S. Open. The final qualifier from the U.S. Open was Mark Bradley of the U.S. Army, who placed seventh.
In January, 2006 World champion Joe Warren of the New York AC entered the Kit Carson Cup in Colorado and had a pair of international matches. Warren has not competed since 2007 and is involved in Mixed Martial Arts, but has indicated that he still has goals in Greco-Roman.
Qualifying through the regionals were Leigh Tobias of the Shamrock WC (Northeast) and Seth Klinefelter of Millennium (Northern Plains). Neither have much experience on the Senior level.
A longshot possibility here is 2008 Olympian Spenser Mango, who was the 55 kg U.S. Open champion. Mango has wrestled at 60 kg many times, taking a U.S. Open silver medal in 2009 and winning the University Nationals in 2010. Mango is not expected to go up, but if he did, he would be one of the top favorites at this division.
Take a pick. This weight class will be hard to predict, which could make many of the matches at the World Team Trials very exciting.
2010 U.S. Open results at 60 kg/132 lbs. in Greco-Roman
1st - Nathan Piasecki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) inj. dft. Chad Vandiver, Colorado Springs, Colo (Sunkist Kids)
3rd - Jeremiah Davis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Donavan Depatto, Camp LeJeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines), 0-3,1-0,2-0
5th - Marco Lara, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Anthony Jerome, Dryden, N.Y. (Shamrock), 3-0,1-0
7th - Mark Bradley, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Jimmy Chase, Carol Stream, Ill. (New York AC), 1-0,6-0
World Team Trials qualifiers at 60 kg/132 pounds in Greco-Roman
U.S. Open Champion – Nathan Piasecki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
U.S. Open, second place – Chad Vandiver, Colorado Springs, Colo (Sunkist Kids)
U.S. Open, third place – Jeremiah Davis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
U.S. Open, fourth place – Donavan Depatto, Camp LeJeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines),
U.S. Open, fifth place – Marco Lara, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
U.S. Open, sixth place – Anthony Jerome, Freeville, N.Y. (Shamrock),
U.S. Open, seventh place - Mark Bradley, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
Northeast Regional Trials Champion – Leigh Tobias, Binghamton, N.Y. (Shamrock WC)
Northern Plains Trials Champion – Seth Klinefelter, De Witt, Iowa (Millennium)
Past U.S. World Team member – Joe Betterman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
Past U.S. World Team member – Joe Warren, Denver, Colo. (New York AC)
University Nationals Champion – Spenser Mango, St. Louis, Mo. (New York AC/USOEC)