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|U.S. World Team Trials preview in Greco-Roman at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Winning his first U.S. Open title is the amazing John Wechter, a 33-year old orthopedic surgeon who had his best Greco season ever. He was also second at the Dave Schultz Memorial International. For many years, Wechter was living and training in Michigan and a national ranked athlete. After taking off time for medical school, Wechter moved to Minneapolis for work, but also started training under legendary coach Dan Chandler. He has quickly improve in that environment, and is now No. 1 going in the Trials.
Wechter beat a surprise finalist at the U.S. Open, Ryan Halsey, who has done limited Senior level events in recent years. His big achievements were a decade ago, when he was on a FILA Junior World Greco-Roman team in 2003, won a Junior National title in 2001 and earned a bronze medal at the 2002 University Nationals. Halsey had a great run in Las Vegas, one of the great stories at the event.
Young Marcus Finau was third at the U.S. Open and has been on University and FILA Junior World Teams in the past. Because of his age-group success, Finau has extensive international experience although he is still in college at Northern Michigan.
Daren Burns, a Greco veteran, was a solid fourth at the Open. Burns has paid his dues on the Senior level in recent seasons, but is seeking a breakthrough in an attempt to get on the national team.
Young Caylor Williams, a rising age-group star, took fifth in Las Vegas. Williams made a University World team and has been getting more experience on recent tours. He also wrestled both styles at the FILA Golden Grand Prix last summer. Williams won a University Nationals title this year.
Pete Gounaridis, a past National Team member and U.S. Open finalist in the past, was not pleased with his sixth place at the Open. He joined the U.S. Army WCAP program this year, after many years at the Olympic Training Center. He has shown the potential to be a finalist in this event. He has great experience, including a spot on the 2011 Pan American Games team. Gounaridis has been very active this season, something which could pay off during the Trials event.
Also qualifying by taking seventh in Las Vegas was Patrick Carey. Also in the field are Romero Cotton, who was second in the University Nationals behind Williams and Tyler Lehmann, the Northern Plains Regional champion. Lehmann competed at a high level in freestyle in the past, but has a solid Greco-Roman background from his youth days.
Of any of the Greco-Roman weight classes, this one may be the most up for grabs. Because nobody sits out, it is possible we might see two different finalists at World Team Trials than were at the U.S. Open. Because of his age and his job responsibilities, Wechter may not have such a great opportunity to make a World Team than he will have at the World Team Trials this year. His time is now, while some of his challengers have a longer future ahead of them.
2013 U.S. Open Greco-Roman results at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
1st – John Wechter, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Ryan Halsey, Oceanside, Calif. (No Mercy School of Wrestling), 1-0, 0-1, 1-0
3rd – Marcus Finau, Ewa Beach, Hawaii (New York AC/USOEC) dec. Daren Burns, Boone, N.C. (AppState RTC), 3-0, 0-2, 2-0
5th – Caylor Williams, Greensboro, N.C. (U.S. Army WCAP) dec. Pete Gounaridis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), 1-0, 3-0
7th – Patrick Carey, St. Paul, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Charles Fish, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines), 1-0, 0-6, 4-0
2013 U.S. World Team Trials qualifiers at 96 kg/211.5 pounds in Greco-Roman
’12 Olympic Team Trials Champion – RC Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
’12 Olympic Team Trials second place – Daren Burns, Greensboro, N.C. (Y.E.S. Wrestling)
’12 Olympic Team Trials, true third place – Robert Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC)
’13 GR U.S. Open Champion – John Wechter, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
’13 GR U.S. Open second place – Ryan Halsey, Oceanside, Calif. (No Mercy School of Wrestling)
’13 GR U.S. Open third place – Marcus Finau, Ewa Beach, Hawaii (New York AC/USOEC)
’13 GR U.S. Open fourth place – Daren Burns, Boone, N.C. (AppState RTC)
’13 GR U.S. Open fifth place – Caylor Williams, Greensboro, N.C. (U.S. Army WCAP)
’13 GR U.S. Open sixth place – Pete Gounaridis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
’13 GR U.S. Open seventh place – Patrick Carey, St. Paul, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
’13 GR University National Champion – Caylor Williams, Greensboro, N.C. (YES Wrestling)
’13 GR University National second place – Romero Cotton, Partridge, Kan. (Titan Mercury WC)
’13 Northern Plains Regional Champion – Tyler Lehmann, Fargo, N.D. (Minnesota Storm)
’13 Granma Cup second place – Caylor Williams, Greensboro, N.C. (U.S. Army WCAP)
Wildcard Selection –
Past Olympic Team member –
Past World Team member –