By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Winning his first U.S. Open title this year was Cheney Haight of the New York AC, who defeated 2009 U.S. World Team member Chas Betts of the Minnesota Storm in the finals. Haight was second at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials at 74 kg, and had a great season at his new weight class. Haight won the Sunkist Kids International and Betts won the New York AC International, and both wrestlers won medals at international events overseas this winter. Both are products of the USOEC program at Northern Michigan, and have seen steady improvement in recent years.
Expected back for the World Team Trials is 2008 Olympian and five-time World team member T.C. Dantzler of the New York AC, who has not competed since placing second to Betts at last year’s World Team Trials. Dantzler remains dangerous because of his vast experience and talent. One of the reasons that Dantzler continues to compete is that he seeks his first World medal, with his highest placement being fifth at the 2006 World Championships. It will be interesting to see if missing the entire winter season affects Dantzler’s performance or not.
Aaron Sieracki of the U.S. Army, who has placed as high as second in past World Team Trials, was third at the U.S. Open in Cleveland. Sieracki has been one of the dominant wrestlers from the military programs, and is seeking a spot on his first U.S. World Team. He began his career with the U.S. Air Force before joining the Army.
Another veteran to watch is 2006 World Team member Jake Clark of the U.S. Air Force, who has returned to competition and has the talent and experience to challenge here. Clark made his name competing for the U.S. Marine Corps, then got out of the military, before joining back with the Air Force this year. Although Clark competed at 96 kg at the U.S. Open, where he placed a strong third, his plan is to make a run at the World Team down at 84 kg.
Young Travis Rutt of the Badger WC was fourth at the U.S. Open, going 1-1 against Sieracki in the tournament. Rutt has continued to excel in Greco-Roman, even as he pursues his college career with the Univ. of Wisconsin.
Also qualifying by placing in the top seven at the Open were Chad Hemerson of the New York AC, who was fifth, Talon Knox of the Sunkist Kids, who was sixth, and Ben Provisor of the Sunkist Kids, who was seventh. Knox and Provisor qualified for age-group World Team this past weekend, with Knox winning the University World Team Trials and Provisor winnng the FILA Junior World Team Trials.
Also qualifying was University Nationals champion and FILA Junior Nationals champion Mark Stenberg of the USOEC. Stenberg beat Provisor in the FILA Junior Nationals, but Provisor came back to defeat him in the FILA Junior World Team Trials final series.
Winning Regional titles this year were Peter Hicks of the U.S. Army at the Northeast and Jordan Holm of the Minnesota Storm at the Northern Plains. Hicks won the Armed Forces title this year, and has shown progress in international competition. Holm has not competed in a number of years, but had a strong performance at the Northern Plains, winning both the Greco-Roman and freestyle titles.
This weight class is loaded with talent. Cheney Haight and Chas Betts have climbed the ladder of success, first on the age-group level and now on the Senior level. Veterans T.C. Dantzler, Aaron Sieracki and Jake Clark are all capable of winning this weight class. There is depth throughout the division, making for some exciting matchups even in the early rounds of the World Team Trials.
2010 U.S. Open results at 84 kg/185 lbs. in Greco-Roman
1st - Cheney Haight, Boise, Idaho (New York AC) dec. Chas Betts, St. Michael, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 1-0,0-1,2-0
3rd - Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Travis Rutt, Belle Plaine, Minn. (Badger WC), 1-0,3-0
5th - Chad Hemerson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Talan Knox, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 0-1, 1-0, 1-0
7th - Ben Provisor, Stevens Point, Wis. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Nate Patrick, Chicago, Ill. (Sunkist Kids), 5-0, 7-0
World Team Trials qualifiers at 84 kg/185 pounds in Greco-Roman
U.S. Open Champion – Cheney Haight, Boise, Idaho (New York AC)
U.S. Open, second place – Chas Betts, St. Michael, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
U.S. Open, third place - Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
U.S. Open, fourth place – Travis Rutt, Belle Plaine, Minn. (Badger WC),
U.S. Open, fifth place – Chad Hemerson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
U.S. Open, sixth place – Talan Knox, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids),
U.S. Open, seventh place - Ben Provisor, Stevens Point, Wis. (Sunkist Kids)
Northeast Regional Trials Champion – Peter Hicks, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
Northern Plains Trials Champion – Jordan Holm, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
Past U.S. World Team member – Jake Clark, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
Past U.S. Olympic Team member – T.C. Dantzler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
University Nationals Champion – Mark Stenberg, Silverton, Ore. (USOEC)