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2003 Greco-Roman World Team Trials preview at 84 kg/185 lbs.



The new star in Greco-Roman at this division is Brad Vering of the New York AC, who placed a strong fifth at the 2002 World Championships. Vering won his first career U.S. Nationals title this year, and captured last year's World Team Trials after placing second at the nationals. He has been nationally ranked in Greco-Roman since his college years, when he was a NCAA champion at Nebraska. Vering is gaining the international experience and the confidence that will make him difficult to dislodge from the top of the ladder. Vering defeated longtime workout partner and mentor Matt Lindland of the Sunkist Kids in the U.S. Nationals finals this year. Lindland was a 2000 Olympic silver medalist, and followed that up with a 2001 World silver medal. Lindland has been competing in professional mixed martial arts, and made his wrestling return in Las Vegas. The question is whether Lindland is serious about another run at the Olympic Games. A second-place finish at nationals after over a year away from competitive Greco-Roman is a strong indication that Lindland will be a factor if he chooses to continue his comeback. There have been some successful U.S. wrestlers who have done mixed martial arts on the side. Right now, Lindland is the opposite, a nationally-respected mixed martial artist who might do some more serious international wrestling. Placing second to Vering at the 2002 World Team Trials, after beating Vering at the 2002 U.S. Nationals, was veteran Ethan Bosch of the New York AC. He was also second at the 2000 Olympic Trials. Bosch was sixth at this year's nationals but is a serious finals contender for Indianapolis. Bosch is a pinner, and can put a match away even when trailing on points. He has paid his dues, has the skill and experience to be a champion, but has not yet made a U.S. World or Olympic team. Talented Jake Clark of the U.S. Marine Corps was third at the U.S. Nationals, followed by many-time Armed Forces champion Aaron Sieracki of the U.S. Air Force. Both Clark and Sieracki have defeated top opponents at this division and will be tough Challenge Tournament draws. Clark won the University Nationals this year and was named Outstanding Wrestler. Sieracki seems to win the Armed Forces gold, and has looked very strong at other times. He will need to have his best performance at the World Team Trials if he hopes to win, something that has been elusive for him in the past. Tom Ciezki of the Wildcat WC, who has been a Greco-Roman specialist since college, placed a solid fifth at U.S. Nationals. Ciezki could be one of the athletes that will be ready for international stardom in future Olympic cycles. Kenny Owens, who has starred for both the Army and Marines during his career, joined the World Team Trials field by taking seventh in Las Vegas. Owens has placed as high as second at the U.S. Nationals, but has not always been at the top of his game at the World Team Trials. Now that he is back in the U.S. Army for a second stint there, it will be interesting to see how his change in uniform affects his final performance. 2000 Olympian Quincey Clark of the Minnesota Storm controlled this division for two years and remains a serious threat. He placed eighth at the 1999 World Championships. If Clark can get on a roll, he has a good chance to make the finals. Two-time Olympian Dan Henderson of the Dave Schultz WC, also a mixed-martial artist, was No. 2 behind Lindland in the 2001 season. Henderson has not been at any major wrestling events since then, but if he decides to give the World Team Trials a try, his legendary toughness, along with experienced technique, could get him past many of the other challengers. Veteran Chael Sonnen of the Dave Schultz WC joins the field by winning an international medal. Sonnen has competed at 96 kg at times in recent seasons, but has his best shot at success at this weight division. He was third in the 2000 Olympic Team Trials, a strong indication that he can be a factor now and in the future. Aaron Boone from the USOEC program was a Regional champion, adding more depth to the field. Veteran Jeff Funicello of the Sunkist Kids won a regional at this weight class, but is expected to drop to 74 kg. All of the NCAA Div. I finalists qualify, but Carl Fronhofer of Pitt is a serious threat to make Greco-Roman Team USA. Fronhofer has been a U.S. Senior Nationals placewinner in Greco-Roman and an age-group World team member. He is a Greco-Roman specialist who has made an impact on college wrestling with his runner-up finish at the 2003 NCAA meet. Fronhofer is a living example that Greco-Roman wrestlers can be successful in folkstyle. Robbie Waller of Oklahoma, Jake Rosholt of Oklahoma State and Scott Barker of Missouri could enter if they choose, but there is no indication that they will participate in the classic style this year. The Challenge Tournament at this division is a toss-up, just like in other years. There is quality and depth at this weight class, and a number of people have legitimate chances to make the Championship Series. Based upon past performance, Matt Lindland and Ethan Bosch are the most likely to move to the finals, but talents such as Jake Clark, Aaron Sieracki and Kenny Owens should also be considered contenders. Waiting in the finals series will be Brad Vering, who proved in Las Vegas this year that he truly remains the man to beat. Vering would like nothing better than a chance to go to the World Championships in France in 2003, and attempt to turn his fifth place finish last year into a medal this year. 2003 U.S. Greco-Roman Nationals results at 84 kg/185 lbs. 1st - Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) dec. Matt Lindland (Eagle Creek, Ore./Sunkist Kids), 3-0 OT 3rd - Jake Clark (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marine Corps) dec. Aaron Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Air Force), 3-0 5th - Tom Ciezki (Evanston, Ill./Wildcat WC) by inj. default over Ethan Bosch (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) 7th - Kenny Owens (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) dec. Brad Ahearn (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marine Corps), 3-2 2003 Greco-Roman World Team Trials qualifiers at 84 kg/185 lbs. National champion - Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) National placerwinners - 2. Matt Lindland (Eagle Creek, Ore./Sunkist Kids); 3. Jake Clark (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marine Corps); 4. Aaron Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Air Force); 5. Tom Ciezki (Evanston, Ill./Wildcat WC); 6. Ethan Bosch (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC); 7. Kenny Owens (Ft. Carson, Colo./U.S. Army) Past World or Olympic team member - Quincey Clark (Davis, Calif./Minnesota Storm); Dan Henderson (Gresham, Ore./Dave Schultz WC); NCAA Div. I finalists - Robbie Waller (Norman, Okla., OU Underdogs); Carl Fronhofer (Pittsburgh, Pa./PWC); Jake Rosholt (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC); Scott Barker (Columbia, Mo./Missouri Elite); Regional champions - Brandon McNab (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC); Jeff Funicello (Gilbert, Ariz./Sunkist Kids); Aaron Boone (Marquette, Mich./USOEC); Medalist at Group A Tournament - Chael Sonnen (Eugene, Ore./Dave Schultz WC)
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