By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Les Sigman turns Tervel Dlagnev in his finals win. Larry Slater photo.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Les Sigman returned to the area where he’s enjoyed most of his wrestling success to win the two biggest matches of his life.
The four-time NCAA Division II champion from Nebraska-Omaha turned in a sparkling and dominating performance in sweeping 2009 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev to win the U.S. World Team Trials.
Sigman, backed by a boisterous cheering section, beat Dlagnev 1-0, 2-1 in the first match before taking the second match 3-3, 4-1 on Saturday night at the Mid-America Center.
Sigman qualified for his first World Team in Council Bluffs, just across the Missouri River from where he wrestled collegiately. He competes in freestyle at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
“The hard work has paid off,” Sigman said. “I have a lot of friends here supporting me. It makes it more enjoyable.”
Sigman and nine other champions from Saturday earned berths to September’s World Championships in Moscow, Russia. The other 11 Trials champions were crowned on Friday.
Sigman has made major strides this season after moving to train at State College, Pa. Sigman wrestles for the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club where he is coached by Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson and past National Team member Casey Cunningham.
Sigman has beaten both returning World bronze medalists from 2009, in addition to Olympian Steve Mocco this season.
“The coaching staff is totally committed to our freestyle success,” Sigman said. “We go through a lot of situations in training. Our coaching staff does a great job peaking us for this. We know what to do when the time comes.
“This is the first year I’ve had in freestyle wrestling where I have been healthy. It is nice to be able to reach my potential. A year ago, I was pretty down after the injuries. I was able to come back and have some success. I have had my doubts. Times like this make it all worthwhile.”
Brent Metcalf prevailed in one of the most exciting matches of the night when he downed Jared Frayer in three matches to win the freestyle finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Metcalf won the final match in the third period from the defensive position on a controversial call in the clinch. Metcalf, who won his second NCAA title for Iowa less than two months ago in Omaha, makes his first World Team.
“It’s what you aim for – a chance to take on the best wrestlers in the World,” Metcalf said. “That’s what I’m shooting for, World and Olympic titles. I’m ready to take the next step.”
Alyssa Lampe turned in one of the biggest wins of the night when she knocked off World champion and Olympian Clarissa Chun in the women’s freestyle finals at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Lampe lost the first match before rallying to win the next two. Lampe lost to Chun in this tournament the previous two years.
“It feels good. I feel like a whole lot of pressure has been relieved since I lost to her every time I wrestled her,” Lampe said. “It is a big relief to actually beat her. I wanted to capitalize on every mistake she made.”
Past World medalist Justin Ruiz made his fifth World Team in Greco-Roman, downing 2009 World Team member R.C. Johnson in the Greco-Roman finals at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
2009 World silver medalist Jake Herbert outlasted a tough opponent in past NCAA champion Keith Gavin in the freestyle finals at 84 kg/185 lbs. Gavin came out aggressively and was dominant in winning the first match.
Herbert battled back to prevail in the final two matches to make his second straight World Team.
Past World bronze medalist Tatiana Padilla won a battle of talented teenagers in rallying by past World Team member Helen Maroulis in women’s freestyle at 55 kg/121 lbs.
Padilla dropped the first match before coming from behind to win.
Elena Pirozhkova made her third straight World Team by downing Veronica Carlson in the women’s finals at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Obe Blanc made his first World Team by outlasting past NCAA champion Angel Escobedo in freestyle at 55 kg/121 lbs. Blanc also beat Escobedo in the U.S. Open finals.
Faruk Sahin earned his second straight World Team berth by beating Army teammate Glenn Garrison in the Greco-Roman finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Sahin lost to Garrison in the U.S. Open finals.
Jeremiah Davis made his second straight World Team after downing Army teammate Nathan Piasecki in the Greco-Roman finals at 60 kg/132 lbs.
The World Team Trials will move to Oklahoma City in 2011.
SATURDAY NIGHT’S FINALS RESULTS
55 kg/121 lbs.
Obe Blanc (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) def. Angel Escobedo (Griffith, Ind./New York AC), 2 matches to 1
Blanc dec. Escobedo, 1-0, 2-0
Escobedo dec. Blanc, 1-0, 1-1
Blanc dec. Escobedo, 1-0, 4-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Brent Metcalf (Iowa City, Iowa/New York AC) def. Jared Frayer (Madison, Wis./Gator WC), 2 matches to 1
Frayer dec. Metcalf, 1-0, 1-0
Metcalf dec. Frayer, 3-0,3-4,2-1
Metcalf dec. Frayer, 0-6,4-0,2-0
84 kg/185 lbs.
Jake Herbert (Evanston, Ill./New York AC) def. Keith Gavin (Pittsburgh, Pa./Lehigh Valley AC), 2 matches to 1
Gavin dec. Herbert, 4-1, 7-3
Herbert dec. Gavin, 0-3, 3-2, 2-1
Herbert dec. Gavin, 1-0, 1-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Les Sigman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) def. Tervel Dlagnev (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 0
Sigman dec. Dlagnev, 1-0, 2-1
Sigman dec. Dlagnev, 3-3, 4-1
48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Alyssa Lampe (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) def. Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 1
Chun dec. Lampe, 3-2, 1-0
Lampe dec. Chun, 2-1, 4-1
Lampe dec. Chun, 1-0, 0-1, 3-1
55 kg/121 lbs.
Tatiana Padilla (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) def. Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./New York AC), 2 matches to 1
Maroulis dec. Padilla, 1-0, 1-1
Padilla dec. Maroulis, 0-2,1-0,2-0
Padilla dec. Maroulis, 3-1, 1-0
63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Elena Pirozhkova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) def. Veronica Carlson (Addison, Ill./New York AC), 2 matches to 0
Pirozhkova dec. Carlson, 2-0, 1-0
Pirozhkova dec. Carlson, 3-0, 1-0
60 kg/132 lbs.
Jeremiah Davis (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) def. Nathan Piasecki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Davis dec. Piasecki, 2-0, 4-1
Davis dec. Piasecki, 2-0, 5-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Faruk Sahin (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) def. Glenn Garrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 2 matches to 1
Sahin dec. Garrison, 1-0, 3-0
Garrison dec. Sahin, 2-2, 0-1, 4-0
Sahin dec. Garrison, 1-0, 0-1, 2-0
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Justin Ruiz (Meridian, Idaho/New York AC) def. R.C. Johnson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 0
Ruiz dec. Johnson, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0
Ruiz dec. Johnson, 1-0, 2-0