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Shawn Bunch named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for April 24-30



Shawn Bunch (Columbus, Ohio/Gator WC) has been named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for April 24-30.

Each week, TheMat.com will select an Athlete of the Week, based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling, from youth programs through the Senior level.

Bunch qualified the United States to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games at 60 kg/132 lbs. in men’s freestyle by placing third at the World Olympic Games Qualifying Tourmament in Taiyuan, China this past Friday.

At this event, an athlete must place in the top three of their weight class to qualify their nation for the London Games. Only athletes whose weights were not yet qualified for the Olympics were eligible to enter the tournament.

Bunch won five of six matches during the day to emerge with the true-third place in the tournament. He defeated Bazar Bazarguruev of Kyrgyzstan in the third-place match to qualify the United States for the Olympics. Each period was scoreless and went to the ball pull. Bunch won the first period from the offensive position in the clinch and Bazarguruev won the second period from the offensive clinch position. In the third period, Bunch won the ball pull, secured the leg and scored the winning point.

Bunch opened against John Pineda of Canada, winning a 2-0, 2-0 shutout. Pineda represented Canada at the last three World Championships. In his second match, he scored a dominant 7-0, 7-0 technical fall over Radouan Ouled Bentle of Morocco.

Bunch lost in a tough three-period match in the quarterfinals to Seung-Chul Lee of Korea, 0-2, 1-0, 2-3. When Lee reached the championship finals, Bunch was pulled back into the repechage, where he was eligible to wrestle back for the true third place and the Olympic qualification.

Bunch rallied back with a 2-0, 1-0 win over Muenir Recep Aktas of Turkey, who had placed second at the 2011 Olympic Test Event in London, England. He next defeated Feng Gao of China, 3-0, 0-1, 1-0 to win his repechage pool. The victory over Gao earned Bunch a spot in the true-third match against Bazarguruev with the Olympic spot up for grabs.

Now that the USA has qualified at this weight class, there will be a Secondary Olympic Trials at 60 kg/132 lbs. in men’s freestyle at a date and location to be determined. As the athlete who qualified the USA for the Olympics, Bunch moves directly into the best-of-three Championship Series for the Olympic berth. There will be a preliminary match between 2011 U.S. World Team member Reece Humphrey (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC), and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion Coleman Scott (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) to determine which athlete advances to the Championship Series against Bunch.

Note: To nominate a wrestler for TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week, send the athlete's name, accomplishments for the week and career accomplishments to Craig Sesker at csesker@usawrestling.org
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