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Wrestle-offs for 2012 U.S. Women’s World Team set for Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 15
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Elena Pirozhkova competing at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. John Sachs photo

Many of the nation’s top women’s wrestlers will have a wrestle-off for six spots on the 2012 U.S. Women’s World Team during the National Team Training Camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Saturday, Sept. 15.

The winners of these six weights will compete on Team USA at the Women’s World Championships in Strathcona County, Canada, Sept. 27-29.

At the Olympic Games, women’s wrestling has just four weight divisions. During the Olympic year, FILA also hosts a separate Women’s World Championships in the seven women’s international weights.

One spot on the U.S. team is already decided, as 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Clarissa Chun of the Sunkist Kids automatically makes the team at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. due to her medal performance at the London Games.

2012 Olympian Elena Pirozhkova of the Gator WC will enter the Team Trials at 63 kg/138.75 lbs As an Olympian, Pirozhkova gets to sit out until the Championship Series, where she must win a best-of-three series with the Challenge Tournament champion to make her sixth straight U.S. team.

The field features a number of talented athletes seeking to return for a shot at a World medal, including:
• 2005 World champion Iris Smith of the U.S. Army at 72 kg/158 lbs.
• 2011 World bronze medalist Adeline Gray of the New York AC at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.
• Two-time World Team member Helen Maroulis of the New York AC at 55 kg/121 lbs.
• Past World Team members Alyssa Lampe of the Sunkist Kids and Whitney Conder of the Gator WC at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.
• Past World Team member Leigh Jaynes of the New York AC at 59 kg/130 lbs.
• Two-time Junior World champion Victoria Anthony of the New York AC at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.

Pirozhkova is the only entry who advances directly to the best-of-three Championship Series.

In the other five weight classes, the finalists of the Challenge Tournament will advance to the best-of-three Championship Series to determine to team berth.

“It’s a World Championships coming up. You don’t get many chances in your career to wrestle for a World title. Everyone has to come in with a burning desire to win a World title. It has to be important to them every day,” said National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner.

Regardless of who wins the Wrestle-off, Steiner has high expectations of the U.S. team heading into the World meet in Canada.

“We have high expectations going in. When you make a U.S. World Team, you are capable of winning a medal. I expect us to go in with that attitude and mindset. To win as a team, you have to win four, five or six medals. We are going into this to win. We have a tough national program on the Senior level,” said Steiner.

The United States placed in a tie for third at the 2011 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. will have complete coverage of the Wrestle-off, and matches from the event will be posted afterwards on TheMat.TV.

At Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 15

Saturday, September 15
9:00 a.m. – Challenge Tourmament (51 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 63 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg)
2:30 p.m. – Best-of-Three Championship Series (51 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 63 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg)

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