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December 24, 2008

U.S. edges France for Gi team title at Grappling Worlds in Switzerland

U.S. edges France for Gi team title at Grappling Worlds in Switzerland
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND – A day after dominating the No-Gi division, the United States came back with a smaller team yet emerged as the team champions in the Gi division at the Grappling World Championships on Sunday.

The U.S. was led by two gold medalists, Lisa Ward (Olympia, Wash./United Fight Team) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. in women’s Grappling and Ian Murphy (Fullerton, Calif. (Alpha Male/Ultimate Fitness) at 92 kg/202.5 lbs. in men’s Grappling.

Ward became the only U.S. Grappler to win a double title, capturing both the No-Gi and Gi competitions. She scored a submission over Lisa Newton of Great Britain in the fnals with an armbar.

Murphy was the only U.S. men’s Grappler to be a finalist in both the No-Gi and Gi events. He won a silver medal in the No-Gi competition on Saturday.

In the finals, he defeated a talented competitor with a strong background in Gi jiu jitsu, Pierre Pilat of France, 2-1. It was the first time that Murphy had competed in a Gi Grappling competition.

Murphy’s victory in the finals allowed the United States to edge France in the team standings in Gi Grappling by one point.

"I was just going out there to give it a shot. I have learned a couple things over the years for the Gi, so I was hoping I could get by with my wrestling and No-Gi stuff,? said Murphy. “I just tried to get the guys tired and pass their guard at the end of the match and it worked. I was surprised!"

The U.S. added silver medals in the Gi competition from Brian Peterson (Valencia, Calif./Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Center) at 62 kg/136.5 lbs. and Tara LaRosa, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Fight Factory) at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Peterson was defeated in the finals by Herminio Garcia of Spain by submission. LaRosa fell in the finals to Laurence Fouillat of France, 0-1. Fouillat was a gold-medalist both the No-Gi and Gi competitions.

“On Sunday, we only had a few athletes compete, but everyone pulled their weight,? said USA Wrestling Manager of Developing Styles Jason Townsend. “Ian Murphy pulled the victory through with his win in the finals. It was a dramatic win for the team. I was surprised that the USA won both styles. It was a great experience."

For more information on the FILA Grappling World Championships, visit the official website at:

At Lucerne, Switzerland, Dec. 21

U.S. Men’s results

62 kg/136.5 lbs. - Brian Peterson, Valencia, Calif. (Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Center), 2nd
WIN Tom Barlow (Great Britain)
LOSS Herminio Garcia (Spain), submission

70 kg/154 lbs. - Tom LeCuyer, Plano, Ill. (Atlas Xtreme Team, Torres Martial Arts), dnp
LOSS Michael Karkula (Canada)
LOSS Simone Franceschini (Italy)

80 kg/176 lbs. - Mike Kelly, Hebron, Ill. (Gilbert Grappling), dnp
Match results not currently available

92 kg/202.5 lbs. - Raphael Davis, Lomita, Calif. (Team Caique), dnp
LOSS Herb (Germany), submission

92 kg/202.5 lbs. - Ian Murphy, Fullerton, Calif. (Alpha Male/Ultimate Fitness), 1st
WIN Yaman Nakdali (Spain), submission
WIN Gregor Herb (Germany), 4-1
WIN Pierre Pilat (France), 2-1

U.S. women’s results

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Lisa Ward, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team), 1st
WIN Lisa Newton (Great Britain), submission

55 kg/121 lbs. - Tara LaRosa, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Fight Factory), 2nd
Preliminary bouts not available
LOSS Laurence Fouillat (France), 0-1

63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Molly Helsel, San Diego, Calif. (North County Fight Club), dnp
LOSS Julia Klammsteiner (Italy)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Miesha Tate, Olympia, Wash. (Victory Athletics), dnp
LOSS Julia Klammsteiner (Italy)

72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Angela Poe, Craig, Colo. (Grappler’s Edge), 5th
LOSS Alaina Hardie (Canada)
LOSS Julia Klammsteiner (Italy)

More results will be posted when available.

December 21, 2008

U.S. wins No-Gi team title at Grappling World Championships in Switzerland

U.S. wins No-Gi team title at Grappling World Championships in Switzerland
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND - The United States dominated the competition to capture the team title in the No-Gi style at the Grappling World Championships on Saturday, December 20.

The United States swept the gold medals in the five men’s weight classes, and added an individual champion in the women’s division to take the No-Gi team title. The USA scored 135 team points, well ahead of runner-up France with 53 points. Canada, Great Britain and Poland rounded out the top five teams.

Claiming individual gold medals in the men’s competition were:
• Matt Sanchez (Sacramento, Calif./Alpha Male/Ultimate Fitness) at 62 kg/136.5 lbs.
• Ricky Lundell (Ames, Iowa/Grappler’s Edge) at 70 kg/154 lbs.
• Jacob Volkmann (White Bear Lake, Minn./Minnesota Martial Arts Academy) at 80 kg/176 lbs.
• Raphael Davis (Lomita, Calif./Team Caique) at 92 kg/202.5 lbs.
• Jeff Monson (Olympia, Wash./American Top Team) at 125 kg/275 lbs.

Sanchez had a dominant performance, winning all four of his matches by submission. He stopped Tom Barlow of Great Britain in the finals by submission.

All five of the individual champions from the United States were winners at the Dollamur U.S. Grappling World Team Trials in Rocklin, Calif. in September, and hold the No. 1 ranking in the United States.

Both Lundell and Monson won World gold medals in Grappling at the 2007 World Wrestling Games in Antalya, Turkey. Sanchez was second at the 2007 World Wrestling Games, as well.

Two of the men’s finals were all-American contests. At 96 kg/211.5 pounds, Davis defeated Ian Murphy (Fullerton, Calif./Alpha Male/Ultimate Fitness) in the finals by submission. At 120 kg/275 lbs., Monson stopped Brandon Ruiz (West Jordan, Utah/Grappler’s Edge) in the finals, 6-1. Both were rematches from the U.S. Grappling World Team Trials.

Lundell defeated Nicolas Renier of France in the finals by submission. Volkmann stopped Marcello Salazar Mousinho of Brazil in the finals, 4-1.

The U.S. won a total of nine medals in men’s Grappling. Along with the five champions and two silver medalists, the U.S. also brought home bronze medals by Brian Peterson, (Valencia, Calif./Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Center) at 62 kg/136.5 lbs. and Tom LeCuyer (Plano, Ill./Atlas Xtreme Team, Torres Martial Arts) at 70 kg/154 lbs. The only losses by Peterson and LeCuyer were to their American teammates.

In the women’s division, the U.S. placed four athletes in the finals. Capturing a gold medal was Lisa Ward (Olympia, Wash./United Fight Team) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., who defeated Lisa Newton of Great Britain in the finals by submission.

Ward was also a World champion at the 1997 World Wrestling shoes Games in Antalya, Turkey.

Three U.S. women won silver medals: Felicia Oh (Valencia, Calif./Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Fitness Center) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Molly Helsel (San Diego, Calif./North County Fight Club) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Miesha Tate (Olympia, Wash./Victory Athletics) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. All three were defeated by submission in the finals.

Complete information on the women’s results from the World Grappling Championships is not currently available and will be posted when received.

Grappling, also known as submission wrestling, was recognized as an international style of wrestling in 2006. FILA held its first major international event in Grappling in 2007 at World Wrestling Games in Antalya, Turkey. The United States swept all nine World titles in Antalya, with gold medals in the five men’s weight classes and four women’s weight classes.

This year, FILA will hold both a No-Gi and a Gi competition at the Grappling World Championships. The U.S. team qualified in No-Gi Grappling, and all of the team members competed in the No-Gi tournament on Saturday, December 20.

Many of the U.S. team members are also expected to enter the Gi tournament on Sunday, December 21.

For more information on the FILA Grappling World Championships, visit the official website at:

At Lucerne, Switzerland

62 kg/136.5 lbs.
Gold – Matt Sanchez (USA)
Silver – Tom Barlow (Great Britain)
Bronze – Brian Peterson (USA)
Bronze – John Louro (Canada)
5th – Jose Zapater (Spain)
5th – Fabian Brechetelle (France)

70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold – Ricky Lundell (USA)
Silver – Nicolas Renier (France)
Bronze – Tom LeCuyer (USA)
Bronze – Jose Fernando Ferreira (Spain)
5th – Joao Catisti (Brazil)
5th – Peter Mettler (Switzerland)

80 kg/176 lbs.
Gold – Jacob Volkmann (USA)
Silver – Marcello Salazar Mousinho (Brazil)
Bronze – Tomasz Michalowski (Poland)
Bronze – Davied Pierre-Louis (France)
5th – Ivalo Andreeve Kemnov (Bulgaria)
5th – Miguel Campos (Spain)

92 kg/202.5 lbs.
Gold – Raphael Davis (USA)
Silver – Ian Murphy (USA)
Bronze – Takanori Kuno (Japan)
Bronze – Nick Ring (Canada)
5th – Piotr Baginski (Poland)
5th – Stefan Osinski (Poland)

125 kg/275 lbs.
Gold – Jeff Monson (USA)
Silver – Brandon Ruiz (USA)
Bronze – Ioannis Arzoumanidis (Greece)
Bronze – Rodrigo Munduruca (Canada)
5th – Svetoslav Samoilov Zahariev (Bulgaria)
5th – Vlado Pilipovic (Croatia)

U.S. Men’s results

62 kg/136.5 lbs. - Matt Sanchez, Sacramento, Calif. (Alpha Male/Ultimate Fitness), 1st
WIN Volkan Icki (Switzerland), submission
WIN John Louro (Canada), submission
WIN Jose Zapater (Spain), submission WIN Tom Barlow (Great Britain), submission

62 kg/136.5 lbs. - Brian Peterson, Valencia, Calif. (Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Center), 3rd
WIN Patrick Oppliger (Switzerland)
LOSS Tom Barlow (Great Britain)
WIN Herminio Garcia (Spain)
WIN Fabien Brechetelle (France)

70 kg/154 lbs. - Ricky Lundell, Ames, Iowa (Grappler’s Edge), 1st
WIN A. Panoussis (Canada)
WIN Tom LeCuyer (USA)
WIN Aleksandar Milicevic (Serbia)
WIN Joao Catisti (Brazil)
WIN Nicolas Renier (France), submission

70 kg/154 lbs. - Tom LeCuyer, Plano, Ill. (Atlas Xtreme Team, Torres Martial Arts), 3rd WIN Patrick Berisha (Kosovo)
LOSS Ricky Lundell (USA)
WIN A. Panoussis (Canada)
WIN Aleksandar Milicevic (Serbia)

80 kg/176 lbs. - Jacob Volkmann, White Bear Lake, Minn. (Minnesota Martial Arts Academy), 1st
Preliminary match results unavailable
WIN Marcello Salazar Mousinho (Brazil), 4-1

80 kg/176 lbs. - Mike Kelly, Hebron, Ill. (Gilbert Grappling), dnp/22nd
LOSS Hiroshi Tsuruya (Japan)

92 kg/202.5 lbs. - Raphael Davis, Lomita, Calif. (Team Caique), 1st
WIN Takanori Kuno (Japan)
WIN Kevin Webb (Great Britain)
WIN Piotr Baginski (Poland)
WIN Ian Murphy (USA), submission

92 kg/202.5 lbs. - Ian Murphy, Fullerton, Calif. (Alpha Male/Ultimate Fitness), 2nd
WIN Kemal Tajic (Bosnia and Herzoginiva)
WIN Stefan Osinski (Poland)
WIN Nick Ring (Canada)
LOSS Raphael Davis (USA), submission

125 kg/275 lbs. - Jeff Monson, Olympia, Wash. (American Top Team), 1st
WIN Hermann Binek (Germany)
WIN Vlado Pilipovic (Croatia)
WIN Ioannis Arzomanidis (Greece)
WIN Brandon Ruiz (USA), 6-1

125 kg/275 lbs. - Brandon Ruiz,West Jordan, Utah (Grappler’s Edge), 2nd
WIN Svetoslav Samoilov Zahariev (Bulgaria)
WIN Mohammed Cherif (France)
WIN Rodrigo Munduruca (Canada)
LOSS Jeff Monson (USA), 1-6

Women’s results (Incomplete at this time)

48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Gold – Lisa Ward (USA)
Silver – Lisa Newton (Great Britain)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Laurence Fouillat (France)
Silver – Felicia Oh (USA)

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Gold – Sheila Bird (Canada)
Silver – Molly Helsel (USA)
Bronze – Sara DeLuna (France)
Bronze – Caolimhe McGill (Great Britain)
5th – Sonia Raeber (Switzerland)
5th – Rosa Wellenzhon (Italy)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Gold – Romy Ruyssen (France)
Silver – Miesha Tate (USA)

U.S. women’s performances

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Lisa Ward, Olympia, Wash. (United Fight Team), 1st

55 kg/121 lbs. - Felicia Oh, Valencia, Calif. (Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Fitness Center), 2nd

63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Molly Helsel, San Diego, Calif. (North County Fight Club), 2nd
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Miesha Tate, Olympia, Wash. (Victory Athletics), 2nd

55 kg/121 lbs. - Tara LaRosa, Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Fight Factory) results unavailable at this time

72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Angela Poe, Craig, Colo. (Grappler’s Edge) results unavailable at this time

Team Standings
1 United States, 135
2 France, 53
3 Canada, 43
4 Great Britain, 36
5 Poland, 34
6 Spain, 23
7 Brazil, 15
8 Switzerland, 14
9 Bulgaria, 14
10 Germany, 13

December 20, 2008

Oklahoma State captures team title at Reno Tournament of Champions

Oklahoma State captures team title at Reno Tournament of Champions
Roger Moore For TheMat.com

Related Links
College Wrestling Network

RENO, Nev. – Oklahoma State crowned just one champion – 285-pounder Jared Rosholt - but had enough to hold off Edinboro for the team title at the 14th Reno Tournament of Champions on Thursday.

The Cowboys totaled 146.5 points, placing eight among the top six, outdistancing the Fighting Scots by 14 points. Edinboro had three champions and eight among the top six.

North Carolina (94), Bakersfield (87.5) and Navy (79) rounded out the top five in the 30-team field.

“With this team, any win is a good win,? said O-State head coach John Smith. “It’s been a long week for us, a lot of traveling. We had some guys have pretty good tournaments. At the end of the day it isn’t what I was hoping for.

“Conditioning-wise, we aren’t where we need to be, but some of that probably has to do with the travel.?

The Cowboys beat Cal Poly on Tuesday night in San Luis Obispo before showing up in Reno on Wednesday afternoon.

Rosholt, the No. 1-ranked heavyweight in the country, survived a major scare in the finals against Duke’s Konrad Dudziak. The Cowboy junior appeared to be in control, taking a 4-0 lead into the final two minutes. But Dudziak scored a takedown, received a stalling point and nearly had a takedown at the edge of the mat as the final buzzer sounded in a 5-4 match.

Four Oklahoma State wrestlers lost in the finals, including Obe Blanc, who fell to top-seeded Anthony Robles of Arizona State in the 125-pound finals. Robles, named the Outstanding Wrestler, had two technical falls, a pin, a major and a 9-2 decision of Blanc in the finals.

“Obe is tough, I have a lot of respect for him,? said Robles, who was a win away from being an All-American in 2008. “I knew I had to go tough for seven minutes because he is a former All-American and those are the guys I have to beat to reach my goals.?

Arizona State also crowned Chris Drouin, who beat Oklahoma State’s Jamal Parks in the 141-pound finale. Parks appeared to have a victory with a third-period takedown, but Drouin scored with a double-leg attack in the final 10 seconds to force overtime where he scored with another double-leg shot for a 7-5 victory.

Edinboro had a solid day, crowning Gregor Gillespie (157), Jared King (165) and Chris Honeycutt (184).

Gillespie, a three-time All-American and national champ two seasons ago, beat O-State’s Neil Erisman, 8-0, in his finals bout.

A handful of teams sat out many starters, including Edinboro.

“I don’t know why guys wouldn’t come to this tournament … maybe they want an early Christmas break,? said Gillespie, who survived a scare from North Carolina’s Thomas Scotton in the quarterfinals. “I’d rather be here, you have to make weight one time so that can’t be it.

“I underestimated (Scotton). Sometimes it’s hard for me to get going, but our new coach (Kyle Cerminara) really gets me going.?

King, the top seed at 165, handled O-State’s Brandon Mason, 4-2, in his finals match.

Honeycutt was never really challenged all day, beating Wyoming freshman Joe LeBlanc, 4-1, in the finals.

The top seed won seven of the weight classes.

O-State’s Clayton Foster, the top seed at 197, lost a heartbreaker to California-Bakersfield’s Brandon Halsey. Foster scored a takedown in the final 15 seconds for a 7-6 lead, but Halsey, who beat Rosholt in the 215-pound Junior freestyle finals in Fargo in 2004, turned Foster’s cheap-tilt attempt into a headlock for a reversal and three near-fall points. Riding time gave Halsey a 12-7 victory.

Halsey, ineligible a year ago, made it stand up with three more wins and the title. He beat Stanford’s Luke Feist, 6-3, in the finals.
Another unseeded wrestler, Nebraska-Kearney’s Kamarudeen Usman, upset No. 1 seed Austin Trotman of Appalachian State in the 174-pound semifinals. However, Usman lost to Navy’s Luke Rebertus in the finals.

The Midshipmen also saw top-seeded Bryce Saddoris win a title, beating unseeded Nick Stabile of North Carolina, 7-4, in the finals at 149.
California-Fullerton’s TJ Dillashaw, seeded No. 1 at 133, survived three close matches on his way to a title. He beat Edinboro’s Ricky Deubel, 3-1, in the finals.

OSU’s Foster defaulted out of the tournament after his loss to Halsey. Kevin Wainscott, an unattached entry at 174 for Smith, also defaulted out of the tournament and Cody Hill, OSU’s entry at 174, battled an injury in his final match in the consolations.

Newly McSpadden, the starter at 157, lost to Cal Poly’s Chase Pami on Tuesday. Neither competed on Thursday.

“There is some concern right now with some of the injuries,? Smith said.

The iron-man award goes to OSU’s Jared Shelton. The 184-pound senior was pinned in his first match but won seven straight to take third.

Teammate Chris McNeil, unattached at 184, hammered Liberty’s Chris Daggett in the first round then proceeded to reach the semifinals before falling to LeBlanc. McNeil was fifth.

OSU’s Chris Notte took Dillishaw to the wire in the semifinals before losing a 7-5 match. He came back to beat Bakersfield’s Thomas Kimbrell for third.

“I liked what Chris Notte did, he had a good tournament,? said Smith. “For Jared (Shelton) to come back the way he did is good and Chris (McNeil) had a good showing.?

December 18, 2008


Roger Moore National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Even if Edward Eichelberger had never wrestled a match for Lehigh University he’d be remembered as one of the great individuals to ever set foot on the Pennsylvania campus.

“He was a real inspiration to me, a great teammate to have,? said Joe Gratto, a two-time All-American and 1957 NCAA champion. “There was never any question about his integrity and he was a 4.0 (GPA) or close in the toughest major at Lehigh.?

“He was Senior Resident in the dormitories and a very strong member of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Just a class guy.?

After graduating from Lehigh in 1956 with a B.S. in electrical engineering, Eichelberger joined IBM where he would spend the next 38 years until his retirement in 1994. He received his Masters and Ph.D. from Princeton, and along the way received 25 patents in the fields of chip, circuit and test design.

In 1974 he received the “Outstanding Contributor Award? from IBM for technical publications and patents.

“I was never the best student, but it turned out that I was a pretty good engineer,? said Eichelberger, who will be one of four inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum next June as the Class of 2009’s Distinguished Members. “Someone once said that nothing succeeds like success. I had a good wrestling career and some of that work I put in translated into my career after Lehigh.?

His wrestling credentials mirrored his accomplishments from IBM.
He was coached by a legend in high school – Billy Martin at Granby High School in Norfolk, Va. – and by another legend in college – Gerald Leeman at Lehigh.

Eichelberger was undefeated his final three years of high school, winning three state titles in Virginia.

“I wrestled in Billy Martin’s first intramural tournament,? Eichelberger said. “I was actually going to go camping that weekend when I was in the Boy Scouts, but after a long talk with Coach Martin he talked me into wrestling in that tournament.

“He told me ‘I could go camping anytime, but that this tournament was only going to be one weekend.’ It was my first real exposure to wrestling. Nobody knew what wrestling was at that time in the state of Virginia.?

Martin had begun teaching some wrestling as a gym teacher at Granby. As a junior high student, Eichelberger’s first exposure came when a neighbor came home and started talking about something new that was going on in gym class.

A very quick learner, Eichelberger’s career at Lehigh included two NCAA championships and a 55-3-1 record with 37 pins. One of his losses came in the 1954 College finals to Myron Roderick of Oklahoma A&M.

He was named the EIWA Tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler in 1955 and 1956 and the sports NCAA Tournament’s OW in 1955 when he pinned 4 of 5 opponents.

“There was this interest we had at Granby in winning by fall,? Eichelberger said. “If you didn’t pin it was almost like a loss. We always worked on pinning combinations. (Coach) Martin always let you experiment with things. If you came up with something, and you thought it might work, he’d work with you on it.

“It wasn’t really like that when I got to Lehigh. The pin just didn’t seem as important.?

Martin, a member of the NWHOF’s Class of 1980, was also about competition. His first Granby team had a dual meet against Frank “Sprig? Gardner’s powerful Mepham High School squad in New York.

“That’s where I learned the cross-faced cradle, from those workouts with Mepham,? Eichelberger said. “I wrestled in three National AAU tournaments while I was still in high school. My sophomore year (at Granby) I wrestled the NCAA champion from two or three weeks earlier. Coach (Martin) just told me he was some guy from out west.?

As a senior at Granby, Eichelberger caught the eye of Lehigh coach Billy Sheridan. Already wanting to be an engineer, the move from Norfolk to Bethlehem was an easy one.

However, Leeman, a silver medalist in freestyle at the 1948 Olympics, would be Sheridan’s hand-picked successor and took over in the fall of 1952.

“(Leeman) was about my size so I got to train with him,? Eichelberger said. “My weakness was takedowns and he was one of the best. He really worked with me.?

For dual meets, Leeman would often weigh-in both Eichelberger and Gratto at 147 pounds.

“There were a lot of coaches who tried to duck Eichelberger in duals,? Gratto said. “If they threw out a back-up, I’d generally take him apart and Ed would whip their starter up a weight.?

“I was always pleasured to participate in a dual meet because it meant a day away from Eichelberger in the practice room. He was mild-mannered … and there was nothing cocky about him … but you were generally on your back within about 45 seconds when you wrestled him.?

Added Eichelberger, “We had three 147-pounders and we’d kind of flip a coin to see who was going down to 137. The other guy would wear a coat and wrestle at 157.?

As a senior, Eichelberger wrestled most duals at 157 pounds.

His competitive days would soon come to an end after 1956, spending most of his time focused on his new job at IBM.

“It was a little of a lot of things,? he said. “A friend who wrestled at Harvard came to IBM the same time I did and we worked out some together, but it was hard to stay involved with so little competition around.?

“I went back to Princeton for graduate school and worked out briefly with their team, but oddly enough the coach didn’t really want me around.?

After returning from Princeton, Eichelberger helped coach a high school team in Endicott, N.Y., for a semester.

A devout Catholic, Eichelberger always added Galatians 6:14 to his signature.

It reads: But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

December 15, 2008


Roger Moore National Wrestling Hall of Fame

On the mat Peter Steele Blair was as tough and intimidating as anybody who’s ever put on a wrestling singlet.

Off the mat he put forth the same effort in regards to his fellow man and service to his country.

Blair, who died June 29, 1994, after a short bout with cancer, will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum next June as part of the Class of 2009’s Distinguished Members.

Joe Gattuso, a two-time All-American, was a teammate of Blair from 1951-55 at the Naval Academy. Midshipmen head coach Ray Swartz tabbed Gattuso, a 167-pounder, and Blair, a 177-pounder, the “Goldust Twins.?

“I don’t really remember why, they just called us that because we were special at the time,? said Gattuso, who was also fullback for Navy’s 1954 Sugar Bowl-winning team. “We worked with each other quite a bit. He was absolutely as tough as anybody I wrestled.?

“The thing about him was that he could go forever, his endurance was pretty incredible.?

While at the Naval Academy, Blair compiled a 57-5 record – he did not lose a match as a junior and senior – and won back-to-back NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956.

Swartz, a 1990 inductee into the NWHOF called Blair “the greatest I ever coached.?

“He’s a true champion, capable of turning his nervous system off or on almost at will,? said Swartz in an article for All Hands in July of 1956. “Before a match, Pete will fool most people with his apparent disinterest. But when the match begins, he’s as crafty and dangerous as a stalking tiger. He’s a terrific competitor.?

Were it not for a growth spurt, Blair may have never made it to the mat.

At just 5-foot-6 as a high school senior at Granby High School, Blair was not part of Billy Martin’s first wrestling team in 1949 – Ed Eichelberger, also part of the Class of 2009, was Martin’s first star at Granby, winning three state titles.

Blair enlisted in the Navy at the age of 16, and during his recruit training grew an amazing 6 inches. By the time his two years at Bainbridge Prep Academy were done that total was 7.5 inches.

“Martin started varsity wrestling at Granby when I was a senior,? said Blair in a 1978 story for the Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star. “He picked his team from an intramural tournament. When I got to Annapolis I told them I was from Granby and they thought I was already an established wrestler.?

In Blair’s final collegiate match he pinned Ken Leuer of the University of Iowa in the 1956 NCAA finals. Leuer would win the 1957 NCAA championship at 191.

“He was an individual who certainly understood what he was doing on the mat,? said Leuer, elected to the NWHOF as an Outstanding American in 2002. “He was well-conditioned and very strong. I remember that match very well because it was the last match I lost in college.?

“I also remember (Blair) as being a complete gentleman as well.?

Dan Muthler, a champion in 1973, is the only other Navy wrestler to win an NCAA title.

Blair’s post-college career was short, although very successful.
Soon after winning the 1956 NCAA title, Blair pinned five opponents in winning a National AAU title. Two weeks later he was the Olympic Trials champion at 192 pounds and would be elected team captain by his freestyle teammates.

In Melbourne at the 1956 Olympics, Blair would earn a bronze medal, finishing behind Iran’s Gholamreza Takhiti and the Soviet Union’s Boris Kulaev.

“It was a great honor to participate in the Olympics,? said Blair in 1978. “I won a bronze medal. I think I could have probably done better, but nervousness detracted from my efficiency. Four years later they invited me back, to try out for the Olympic team, but I rejected it.?

Academy graduates were expected to be officers in their respective fields. Unlike today, competitive careers in athletics were not the norm.

An officer in the Navy from 1955 until his retirement in 1974, Blair served on ships and submarines and taught at the Academy.

He returned to Annapolis in the summer of 1966 for a 3-year tour as an instructor in the Physics Department. He served as Officer Representative for the Midshipmen wrestling team coached by Ed Peery, a member of the Class of 1980’s Distinguished Members.

“The thing I remember about Pete Blair more than anything was the strength he had,? Peery said. “He had incredible hand strength. Danny Hodge got a lot more attention, but Pete was right there. He’d been off the mat for awhile when he came back (in 1966) but he still crushed everybody in the room.?

“As tough as Pete was as a wrestler, he was just a real salt-of-the-earth kind of guy.?

The son of Rear Admiral Leon N. Blair, Peter Steele Blair married his wife Margot in June of 1955. They have seven children – Barbara, Peter, Lynn, Sarah, Elaine, Mary and John.

December 14, 2008

Bigger, stronger and better: Tervel Dlagnev making plenty of noise in heavyweight division

Bigger, stronger and better: Tervel Dlagnev making plenty of noise in heavyweight division
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Tervel Dlagnev's day usually starts with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast.

It ends with a small meal about an hour before bedtime.

In between, Dlagnev sits down for brunch, a big lunch, a snack and a big dinner. After his morning and afternoon workouts, he will consume a 300-calorie protein shake.

It's all part of his 6,000 calorie-a-day plan, coupled with strength work in the weight room, to become bigger, stronger and more competitive at his freestyle weight class of 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

The plan has worked to perfection so far for Dlagnev. Now about 25 pounds heavier than he was at June's U.S. Olympic Team Trials, the 260-pound Dlagnev's commitment to becoming bigger paid off late last month when he won the New York Althetic Club International (A Sports Club).

“My goal is to keep my weight right around 120 kilos and be as strong and as physical and as fast as I possibly can,? Dlagnev said. “I’m basically just trying to eat a lot, and keep it as healthy as I can. The added weight is going to really help me. I feel really good right now.?

Dlagnev, a 2008 World University champion who celebrated his 23rd birthday last month, upset 2008 U.S. Olympian Steve Mocco in the New York AC finals.

Since competing in the Olympics in August, Mocco had knocked off a past Olympic champion and Olympic bronze medalist to open the 2008-09 season.

"Mocco’s physical and intense, and I knew he was going to bring it,? Dlagnev said. “He’s very hard to score on. It was a big win for me. He placed seventh in the Olympics, and he’s a great wrestler. It’s a great confidence-builder. It’s early in the season, but it’s good to know I’m improving. I know I will obviously see him quite a bit more this season.?

For a guy who weighed in about 30 pounds under the maximum allowed for his weight class at the Olympic Trials, Dlagnev was facing numerous competitors who have to cut weight to make 120 kilos.

With international governing body FILA's one-point pushout rule, which was implemented in 2005, bigger wrestlers like Mocco have feasted on smaller heavyweights like Dlagnev.

“It is tough being 240 pounds, and getting pushed out of bounds by guys who are a lot bigger than me,? Dlagnev said. “I just wasn’t big enough in the past. I’m getting there now.?

At the New York AC International, Dlagnev did a better job holding his ground against Mocco. Dlagnev won the match, 1-1, 0-2, 2-1.

"My goal was to stay in there and not get pushed out, but I think Mocco still pushed me out of bounds four times in the match,? Dlagnev said. “Plus, he scored more points than I did overall. I can’t let that happen. He definitely exposed a lot of weaknesses. I still have a lot of work to do.?

The athletic Dlagnev thrives with an array of leg attacks, including a lethal low single that he took Mocco down with in New York.

“I’m 260 now, but I still feel like I have my speed and quickness and agility,? Dlagnev said. “I’m still looking to get stronger, but I need to be able to keep moving like I am now.?

Dlagnev, now helping as a club coach at the University of Northern Iowa, continues to raise his level of wrestling as he's now ranked No. 2 in the U.S. behind Mocco at 120 kilos. He is 1-1 in his career against Mocco.

The first time they wrestled, Mocco won 3-0, 3-0 at the 2007 U.S. Nationals.

“He got a couple of pushouts and a couple of go-behinds off my shots,? said Dlagnev, who competes for the Sunkist Kids. “He really put it on me.?

Dlagnev and Mocco trained together in Iowa just a few weeks before the New York AC meet. Mocco trains in Iowa City now, just down the road from where Dlagnev is in Cedar Falls.

The heavyweight class in the U.S. also may still include Tommy Rowlands, who placed fifth in the World in 2007 before falling to Mocco in the finals of the 2008 Olympic Trials. Rowlands is still weighing his options as far as continuing to compete.

Among the other top heavyweights competing are Les Sigman and Scott Steele. Sigman finished fifth at the Olympic Trials. Steele, who wrestles collegiately for Navy, was a surprising third-place finisher at the Olympic Trials.

Dlagnev was born in Bulgaria and moved to the U.S. when he was four years old. He did not start wrestling until his sophomore year of high school in Arlington, Texas. Third and fourth at the Texas state tournament, he drew virtually no interest from college recruiters.

One school that did notice was Nebraska-Kearney, an NCAA Division II school.

Dlagnev has been on a roll since winning his first Division II national title in March 2007. He followed the next month by placing fourth at the U.S. Nationals. In October 2007, he beat long-time college rival Sigman for the first time ever in the finals of the Sunkist Kids International Open.

Dlagnev followed by capping his college career with his second national title and led his team to its first NCAA crown in school history.

Dlagnev continued the momentum with a third-place finish at the 2008 U.S. Nationals, winning his last four matches after falling to Sigman in the quarterfinals. Dlagnev beat past World bronze medalist Tolly Thompson in the match for third place.

Dlagnev then failed to place at June's Olympic Trials. He went 1-2, falling to Steele and Pat Cummins after winning his first bout.

"For some reason, I wasn’t ready to wrestle hard at the Trials and my conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be,? he said. “There are no excuses. I didn’t wrestle in my strong positions. I just didn’t wrestle well.?

Dlagnev quickly regrouped to win the World University Championships in early July in Greece.

“It was great to have a chance to get back on the mat and rebound from the Trials,? he said. “I was fired up and ready to go for University Worlds. It was great to have some success against overseas competition.?

Dlagnev’s recent win over Mocco caught the attention of new U.S. National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones, who was in New York for the event.

“Tervel has really made nice progress,? Jones said. “His main strengths are his ability to wrestle in all positions. He’s multi-dimensional. He moves very well for a heavyweight. He moves as well as any heavyweight, which gives him an advantage. He is very good at attacking the legs.

“His potential is really high. He obviously has wrestling to learn. He needs to make progress in his mental preparation and he needs to continue to gain experience internationally.?

Dlagnev has competed just twice overseas. He wrestled at the World University Championships this past summer in Greece. This fall, he competed in an international event in Russia. He fell short of placing in that event.

He said his next event likely is the Dave Schultz Memorial International in early February in Colorado Springs.

Dlagnev said he didn’t get much sleep during the Olympic Games. Like many wrestling fans who were back home watching in the U.S., he stayed up late to watch many of the matches that were shown on television and on the Internet.

“I watched as many matches as I could,? he said. “I like watching everybody, from the little guys all the way up to the heavyweights. I was so excited and pumped up to watch the matches. It’s the first time I’ve really watched wrestling in the Olympics. In 2000, I hadn’t started to wrestle. In 2004, I didn’t really know a lot about international wrestling. Now, I pretty much know who all the guys are now so it was fun to watch. I studied a lot of the matches and I tried to learn things that might help me.?

Dlagnev’s favorite part of the Olympics wasn’t the wrestling.

“It was the Opening Ceremonies,? he said. “I loved the parade of countries and watching all the athletes walk into the stadium. When the U.S. team finally came in, I saw two of our wrestlers, Andy Hrovat and Spenser Mango, walking with all the athletes. That was really cool. It was so exciting. It would be so sweet to be part of that in 2012.?

For now, Dlagnev is shooting for a more immediate goal. Making the U.S. freestyle team for the 2009 World Championships, set for Sept. 21-27 in Herning, Denmark.

“My goal is to be on the 2009 World Team,? he said. “I want to be a World champ and win a gold medal, that’s the plan. I love wrestling, and I love the process of training and trying to continually get better. I still have so much to learn.?

December 13, 2008

UFC 92 Fight Card

UFC 92 Main card

* Light Heavyweight Championship bout: Flag of the United States Forrest Griffin vs. Flag of the United States Rashad Evans
* Interim Heavyweight Championship bout: Flag of Brazil Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Flag of the United States Frank Mir
* Light Heavyweight bout: Flag of the United States Quinton Jackson vs. Flag of Brazil Wanderlei Silva
* Middleweight bout: Flag of the United States C.B. Dollaway vs. Flag of the United States Mike Massenzio
* Heavyweight bout: Flag of France Cheick Kongo vs. Flag of the United Kingdom Mustafa Al Turk

Preliminary card

* Middleweight bout: Flag of Japan Yushin Okami vs. Flag of the United States Dean Lister
* Heavyweight bout: Flag of the Netherlands Antoni Hardonk vs. Flag of the United States Mark Burch
* Light Heavyweight bout: Flag of the United States Matt Hamill vs. Flag of the United States Reese Andy
* Welterweight bout: Flag of the United States Brad Blackburn vs. Flag of Japan Ryo Chonan
* Heavyweight bout: Flag of Norway Dan Evensen vs. Flag of the United States Patrick Barry

UFC 92

UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 is an upcoming mixed martial arts event to be held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The main event will feature UFC Light Heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin taking on #1 contender Rashad Evans.

The co-main event will feature UFC interim Heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and the #1 heavyweight contender and former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir. The winner will face UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar for a unification bout in early 2009. The third main event will feature former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson against former PRIDE Champion Wanderlei Silva.

December 10, 2008

Chippewas and Wolverines set to battle on Sunday

By Jeff Breese

This time of the season is like the calm before the storm. Many teams are pulling back their travel and competition to allow student-athletes to prepare for finals or to heal up for looming holiday tournaments and conference schedules. While there are still a large number of competitions this week, it is a somewhat condensed version of the typical week in the college season.

This condensed schedule includes a highly anticipated battle in Ann Arbor, as No. 10 Michigan battles No. 16 Central Michigan at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Michigan comes into dual with a 1-1 dual record and a 6th place finish at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Central Michigan is 3-1 on the season with the lone loss coming at the hands of No. 1 Iowa.

Last season, the Chippewas upset the Wolverines, 21-13, in front 4,273 at Rose Arena. The Chippewas will look to make to it two straight wins over the maize and blue, but will have to win a few key bouts to do so.

The 125 bout may be the most exciting and most important bout of the dual. The match between No. 9 Scotti Sentes of Central Michigan and No. 11 Mike Watts of Michigan is likely the swing bout of the match. Aside from the valuable three points that are at stake, this bout has the potential to give a huge wave of momentum to the winner.

Ten ranked wrestlers are expected to compete in the dual, five from each side. Despite the abundance of ranked competitors, only two matches pit ranked opponents. They include the Sentes versus Watts bout and Michigan’s No. 1 Steve Luke against Central Michigan’s No. 10 Mike Miller match.

Two bouts, 157 and 285, are expected to be battles of unranked wrestlers. That total could be increased to three, pending the status of No. 3 Tyrel Todd of Michigan. Todd medical defaulted out of the tournament last weekend in Vegas. All this adds up to three bouts being considered up for grabs on paper. The team that can win the most toss-up matches should prevail.

Anyone in the Ann Arbor area should get out to watch this dual. If you cannot make it to the University of Michigan this Sunday, make sure you check out the coverage of the dual on InterMat and the College Wrestling Network.

Other Duals of Interest this Week:

12/11- Iowa at UNI
12/12- Oregon State at Boise State
12/12- Mercyhurst at Gannon
12/13- UNI at Wisconsin
12/14- West Virginia at Penn State
12/14- Ohio State at Edinboro

Posted to the College Wrestling Network

December 8, 2008

Nate Diaz Vs. Clay Guida Added To UFC 94: GSP Vs. Penn 2

Nathan Diaz will be fighting Clay Guida on January 31st, 2009 at UFC 94 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2 were to have fought earlier this year but a foot injury sidelined Guida, pushing the bout to the new year.

The card will be headlined by the highly anticipated rematch between GSP and BJ Penn. It will be the most advertised show in UFC history and Diaz VS Guida could be one of the best fights of the night.

Coming Soon, UFC 92.

December 6, 2008

US Senior Rankings

TheMat.com U.S. Senior Freestyle Wrestling Rankings

Date Ranked:12/05/2008
Ranked By TheMat.com

55 KG/121 LBS.
1. Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Nick Simmons, Corvallis, Ore. (Sunkist Kids)
3. Danny Felix, Morgantown, W.Va. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Brad Pataky, Clearfield, Pa. (Penn State WC)
5. Angel Escobedo, Griffith, Ind. (Indiana WC)
6. Grant Nakamura, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
7. Troy Nickerson, Chenango Forks, N.Y. (Unattached)
8. Logan Stieber, Norwalk, Ohio (EBW)
9. Zach Sanders, Wabasha, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
10. Michael Martinez, Pagosa Springs, Colo. (Cowboy WC)

60 KG/132 LBS.
1. Mike Zadick, Solon, Iowa (Gator WC)
2. Shawn Bunch, Columbus, Ohio (Gator WC)
3. Nate Gallick, Chattanooga, Tenn. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Ed Gutnik, Providence, R.I. (Providence Wrestling Assoc.)
5. Coleman Scott, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
6. Angel Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
7. Teyon Ware, Norman, Okla. (New York AC)
8. Darrell Vasquez, Cambridge, Mass. (New York AC)
9. Drew Headlee, Morgantown, W.Va. (Unattached)
10. Matt Valenti, New York, N.Y. (New York AC)

66 KG/145.5 LBS.
1. Doug Schwab, Iowa City, Iowa (Gator WC)
2. Trent Paulson, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
3. Jared Frayer, Iowa City, Iowa (Gator WC)
4. Brent Metcalf, Davison, Mich. (Gator WC)
5. Brian Stith, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
6. Chris Bono, Ringgold, Ga. (Sunkist Kids)
7. Cary Kolat, Hampstead, Md. (Sunkist Kids)
8. Josh Churella, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
9. Joe Johnston, Iowa City, Iowa (Gator WC)
10. Jordan Burroughs, Sicklerville, N.J. (Sunkist Kids)

74 KG/163 LBS.
1. Travis Paulson, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Ryan Churella, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
3. Keith Gavin, Pittsburgh, Pa. (New York AC)
4. Zack Esposito, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
5. Matt Lackey, Champaign, Ill. (New York AC)
6. Lloyd Rogers, Harrison, Tenn. (Unattached)
7. Quentin Wright, Bellefonte, Pa. (Team Wright)
8. Andrew Howe, Cedar Lake, Ind. (Overtime WC)
9. Mack Lewnes, Annapolis, Md. (Unattached)
10. Jon Reader, Davison, Mich. (Sunkist Kids)

84 KG/185 LBS.
1. Andy Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
2. Mo Lawal, Temecula, Calif. (Gator WC)
3. Jake Varner, Bakersfield, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Tyrone Lewis, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
5. B.J. Padden, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
6. Eric Luedke, Iowa City, Iowa (Gator WC)
7. Travis Pascoe, Corvallis, Ore. (Sunkist Kids)
8. Bryce Hasseman, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC)
9. Jake Herbert, Wexford, Pa. (New York AC)
10. Tyrel Todd, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)

96 KG/211.5 LBS.
1. Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
2. Sean Stender, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
3. Kurt Backes, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Konrad Dudziak, Bayonne, N.J. (New York AC)
5. Willie Parks, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
6. Mike Tamillow, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Unattached)
7. Max Askren, Hartland, Wis. (Sunkist Kids)
8. Clayton Foster, Kooskia, Idaho (Gator WC)
9. Brent Jones, Burke, Va. (Cavalier WC)
10. Kyle Cerminara, Lewiston, N.Y. (New York AC)

120 KG/264.5 LBS.
1. Steve Mocco, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC)
2. Tervel Dlagnev, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
3. Tommy Rowlands, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
4. Scott Steele, Baltimore, Md. (Navy Mat Club)
5. Les Sigman, Omaha, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
6. Jared Rosholt, Ponca City, Okla. (Gator WC)
7. Kyle Massey, Madison, Wis. (Wisconsin WC)
8. Clayton Jack, Vacaville, Calif. (Orange Crush)
9. John Laboranti, Scranton, Pa. (Penn State WC)
10. Zachery Rey, Hopatcong, N.J. (LVAC)

Wyoming's Joe LeBlanc is surprise semifinalist at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

Wyoming’s Joe LeBlanc gained nearly 20 pounds so that he could wrestle with bigger wrestlers during his redshirt freshman season this winter. The native of Meeker, Colo., proved he could wrestle with the big boys in college wrestling as the Cowboy won four matches Friday to put himself in the semifinals of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

LeBlanc didn’t take time to make people notice him when he edged Nebraska’s Vince Jones, the No. 3 seed, by a 9-7 margin in sudden victory.

“Anybody can beat anybody on any given day,? said LeBlanc, who won three Colorado state championships before redshirting for the Cowboys last winter. “Seedings and all that don’t mean a lot in the sport.?

December 5, 2008

TheMat.com weighs in with its predictions for the Iowa-Iowa State dual

TheMat.com weighs in with its predictions for the Iowa-Iowa State dual
Craig Sesker USA wrestling

As someone who is an Iowa native – my parents grew up just outside Ames and I grew up near Iowa City – I have great memories from watching Iowa wrestle against Iowa State.

My earliest memories came when Iowa still wrestled in the old Fieldhouse, where I watched Hawkeyes like Randy Lewis, Ed and Lou Banach, Chris Campbell, Bruce Kinseth and Bud “Rocky? Palmer compete under legendary coach Dan Gable.

I remember watching Cyclone greats like Nate Carr, Jim Gibbons, Mike Land, Kelly Ward and Frank Santana wrestle for a Hall of Fame coach in Dr. Harold Nichols.

The late 1980s battle between Iowa’s Royce Alger and Iowa State’s Kevin Jackson was one of the best matchups that I remember. Another one that I vividly recall is when Carr bumped up a weight class and was soundly defeated by Iowa’s Jim Zalesky, in a battle of national champions, in the early 1980s.

The upcoming Iowa-Iowa State dual, set for Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, has the potential to be one of the all-time classics in this series. Iowa is ranked No. 1 and Iowa State is No. 2. Iowa hopes to attract 16,000 fans and break the all-time attendance record. As of Thursday morning, 13,500 tickets had already been sold for the dual.

Iowa has a huge edge in the all-time series, but there still has been some great drama and excitement when the two in-state rivals meet. With Olympic champions Tom Brands of Iowa and Cael Sanderson of Iowa State College now leading these two great programs, you can expect another great battle.

These teams used to wrestle each other twice each season, and it would be great to see that happen again someday. They could meet again at the National Duals in early January. That would be a treat for the fans as well.

Just for fun, here are my predictions for what I think will happen on Saturday night in Iowa City:

125 – No. 2 Charlie Falck (Iowa) vs. No. 5 Tyler Clark (Iowa State)

This should be a lot better match than people think. Clark is much-improved and earned a spot in the NCAA tournament last year as a freshman.

Falck is off to a strong start in his senior season and the two-time All-American should control this match.

Sesker’s pick: Falck by decision

133 – No. 11 Daniel Dennis (Iowa) or No. 1 Joey Slaton (Iowa) vs. No. 5 Nick Fanthorpe (Iowa State)

Dennis or Slaton? That is the biggest question mark heading into this meet. Slaton was an NCAA runner-up last year, but Dennis is very tough as well.

Dennis has wrestled the majority of matches this year for Iowa as Slaton was bringing his weight back down to 133.

Iowa State’s Nick Fanthorpe finished seventh in the country last year, after bumping up to 133 from 125. Fanthorpe brings it for seven minutes and is known for pushing the pace.

Whether it’s Dennis or Slaton, this could be one of the best matches of the dual.

Sesker’s pick: Fanthorpe by decision

141 – No. 3 Alex Tsirtsis (Iowa) vs. No. 2 Nick Gallick (Iowa State)

Gallick is coming off a big win over national champion J Jaggers of Ohio State at the all-star dual. Gallick finished strong last season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAAs.

Gallick is a dangerous wrestler, with a number of big moves that are tough to stop.

Tsirtsis, an All-American in 2006, is back in the lineup after redshirting last year. One of the nation’s best recruits coming out of high school, he looks like he may finally live up to that after a fast start to his senior season.

This should be another very tight match.

Sesker’s pick: Gallick by decision

149 – No. 1 Brent Metcalf (Iowa) vs. No. 6 Mitch Mueller (Iowa State)

This dual is expected to be decided by bonus points, and this is where Iowa can pick up some additional points.

Metcalf, a returning NCAA champion, has dominated Mueller in the past. But Mueller has shown improvement this season.

Metcalf loves big stages like this, and expect him to put on another show like he did when he beat North Carolina State’s Darrion Caldwell by technical fall at the all-star match.

Sesker’s pick: Metcalf by technical fall

157 – Matt Ballweg (Iowa) vs. No. 6 Cyler Sanderson (Iowa State)

Speaking of bonus points, Iowa State could add some extra team points here in a matchup of an All-American in Sanderson against an unranked, first-year starter in Ballweg.

Sanderson is another Cyclone who can put big points on the board. He also made major strides after bumping up a class last year.

Ballweg, 6-2 this year, grew up in Iowa and is well aware of the significance this dual carries.

Sesker’s pick: Sanderson by major decision

165 – No. 9 Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) vs. No. 3 Jon Reader (Iowa State)

Morningstar turned in a big win in this dual two years ago in Iowa City when he beat Trent Paulson, who went on to win an NCAA title that season.

Morningstar is looking much stronger this year after moving up a weight class.

Reader, a sophomore, is off to an 8-0 start after being an All-American last year.

Sesker’s pick: Morningstar by decision

174 – No. 2 Jay Borschel (Iowa) vs. No. 8 Duke Burk (Iowa State)

Borschel made a huge splash in his first season as a Hawkeye starter, placing third at the NCAAs.

This will be an interesting matchup with Borschel facing Burk, a veteran who transferred to ISU from Northern Illinois.

Borschel lost a close match to Michigan’s Steve Luke in the all-star dual while Burk is 2-0 this season.

This may be a close, low-scoring battle.

Sesker’s pick: Borschel by decision

184 – No. 3 Phil Keddy (Iowa) vs. Jerome Ward (Iowa State)

Keddy is heavily favored here against Ward, a freshman who is a top prospect for the Cyclones.

Keddy looks to have taken his game up yet another level this year and will look to score bonus points here.

Sesker’s pick: Keddy by major decision

197 – Luke Lofthouse (Iowa) vs. No. 1 Jake Varner (Iowa State)

Varner, a two-time NCAA runner-up, looked very good in scoring a lopsided win over All-American Hudson Taylor of Maryland in the all-star meet. The powerful Varner has moved up a weight class and looks very strong at 197.

With Iowa starter Chad Beatty out with an injury, Varner has a chance to turn in a dominant performance here.

Iowa has three possible starters listed in its lineup at 197, but look for past starter Luke Lofthouse to take the mat.

Sesker’s pick: Varner by major decision

285 – No. 13 Dan Erekson (Iowa) vs. No. 2 David Zabriskie (Iowa State)

Zabriskie was an All-American last year and will be in the mix to win the national title this season.

Erekson, a former 197-pounder, is off to a 7-0 start at heavyweight.

This could be closer than you might think.

Sesker’s pick: Zabriskie by decision

That makes it five wins for Iowa and five wins for Iowa State. The Metcalf match gives the Hawkeyes a one-point dual win.

Then again, Varner may win by fall and that would change the outcome.

But I’m sticking with my picks.

Final score: Iowa 18, Iowa State 17

Again, these picks are just for fun. It should be a great dual, involving two great teams, with an unbelievable atmosphere expected at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It’s obviously great for wrestling to have this many fans watching these great athletes compete.

December 3, 2008

1 vs. 2: Hawkeyes, Cyclones ready to make run at national attendance record

1 vs. 2: Hawkeyes, Cyclones ready to make run at national attendance record
Craig Sesker USA wrestling

In the photo: Olympic gold medalists Tom Brands of Iowa (left) and Cael Sanderson of Iowa State will lead their teams into Saturday night's dual in Iowa City. Des Moines Register photo.

Who says an early December college dual meet doesn’t matter?

Not the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones.

Ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country, Iowa and Iowa State have a chance to make history when they step onto the mat for their much-anticipated dual meet Saturday night at Iowa City’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The returning NCAA champion Hawkeyes are hoping to break the national college dual-meet attendance record when they face their in-state wrestling rivals from Ames.

Minnesota set the national record of 15,646 fans when it scored a 22-15 win over Iowa on Feb. 1, 2002 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. That broke the record of 15,291, set in 1992 when Iowa beat Iowa State in Iowa City. Iowa coach Tom Brands wrestled in that dual as a Hawkeye senior.

It would only be fitting that Iowa broke the attendance mark on Saturday. Iowa has been involved in 43 of the 44 largest dual-meet crowds in NCAA history, helping to set the national attendance record 10 times. Of those 44 top crowds, 29 came during Iowa-Iowa State duals. 21 of those 29 Iowa-ISU duals were in Iowa City.

Iowa officials said Carver-Hawkeye Arena’s capacity would be close to 16,000 fans for Saturday’s dual. The University of Iowa Sports Information Office said Tuesday that more than 12,000 tickets had been sold for the dual.

“This is a tribute to the team we have,? Brands said. “Without the guys we have, you don’t have a product that is worth breaking the attendance record. This is important to the program because we have the horsepower in the lineup to entertain. And the competition will be there to entertain.?

Iowa State coach Cael Sanderson said his team embraces the challenge of competing in front of a packed house.

“It’s going to be awesome, it’s exciting for the wrestlers,? Sanderson said. “This is just great for the sport. It gives the best athletes in the country a chance to compete in front of a huge crowd. That’s what we work for, to perform in front of a lot of people. I hope they can break the record. Even though we’re not the home team, it would mean a lot to our program to break it.?

The Iowa-Iowa State dual on Saturday is expected to be closely contested as both teams boast experienced, proven and talented lineups. Each team features six All-Americans.

Iowa is led by returning national champion and Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf at 149 pounds. The Hawkeye lineup also includes All-Americans Charlie Falck (125), Joe Slaton (133), Alex Tsirtsis (141), Jay Borschel (174) and Phil Keddy (184).

Iowa State is led by two-time NCAA runner-up Jake Varner at 197. ISU also will put All-Americans Nick Fanthorpe (133), Nick Gallick (141), Cyler Sanderson (157), Jon Reader (165) and David Zabriskie (heavyweight) on the mat. The Cyclones have seven juniors, two sophomores and a freshman in their lineup.

“This is a real good test for us,? Brands said. “We will be ready, and we will step up and compete. Every competition on our schedule is important and this is the next one on our schedule. It’s a big dual meet, and then we will move on.?

Iowa has won the last three meetings with Iowa State, but the Cyclones did earn back-to-back wins over Iowa in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

“We view this dual as a big test for us,? Sanderson wrestling shoes said. “There is a nice rivalry and that adds a little more fuel to the fire. We’re definitely excited about this opportunity. It’s going to be a fun match. Our goal is to be national champions, and that environment is very similar to the national tournament. You have to go out there and fight and attack. It’s great preparation for us.?

Brands, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, is in his third season as the head coach at Iowa. His first Hawkeye team finished eighth at the NCAA tournament before Iowa won the national title this past March in St. Louis. Metcalf, Falck and Keddy each earned wins at the recent all-star dual in Columbus, Ohio.

Sanderson, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, is in his third season as the head coach at Iowa State. His first Cyclone team placed second in the NCAA meet before ISU finished fifth last year. Gallick and Varner are both coming off impressive wins in the all-star dual, with Gallick knocking off returning NCAA champion J Jaggers of Ohio State.

Iowa has won both duals against Iowa State since Brands and Sanderson took over as head coaches at their respective alma maters.

Iowa’s return to the top of college wrestling has given its home attendance a huge boost.

The Hawkeyes drew 14,332 fans to Carver-Hawkeye Arena this past January for a dual meet against Oklahoma State. It was the largest college wrestling crowd in the country in nearly six years and was the seventh-biggest dual crowd ever. The Hawkeyes lost the meet 19-14, but rebounded to win the National Duals before earning team titles at the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

Sanderson has had his share of experiences at Carver-Hawkeye Arena as a Cyclone wrestler and a coach. He won his third of four NCAA individual titles in 2001 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena en route to finishing his college career with a 159-0 record.

“It’s a great environment,? Sanderson said. “I’ve always looked forward to going over there and competing. Seeing that kind of fan support is great for wrestling.?


Home-Visitor Date Attendance
1. Minnesota-Iowa Feb. 1, 2002 15,646
2. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 22, 1992 15,291
3. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 19, 1983 15,283
4. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 18, 1986 15,210
5. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 21, 1987 14,760
6. Iowa State-Iowa Feb. 19, 1982 14,507
7. Iowa-Oklahoma State Jan. 5, 2008 14,332
8. Iowa State-Iowa Feb. 19, 1977 14,300
9. Iowa State-Iowa Jan. 7, 1978 14,300
10. Iowa State-Iowa Jan. 9, 1976 14,293
11. Iowa State-Iowa Jan. 15, 1983 13,805
12. Iowa-Iowa State Dec. 3, 2006 13,732
13. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 16, 1988 13,575
14. Iowa-Oklahoma State Feb. 14, 1998 13,240
15. Iowa State-Iowa Jan. 9, 1981 13,192
16. Minnesota-Iowa Feb. 20, 2000 13,128
17. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 6, 1979 12,951
18. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 18, 1978 12,900
19. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 9, 1982 12,900
20. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 21, 1976 12,890
21. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 21, 1981 12,750
22. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 14, 1984 12,568
23. Iowa State-Iowa Dec. 10, 1999 12,327
24. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 7, 1977 12,250
25. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 16, 1980 12,200
26. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 3, 1975 12,200
27. Iowa-Oklahoma Feb. 15, 1975 12,195
28. Minnesota-Iowa (St. Paul, MN) Nov. 15, 2002 12,180
29. Iowa-Iowa State Dec. 8, 2000 12,145
30. Iowa-Oklahoma State Feb. 9, 1991 12,112
31. Iowa-Oklahoma State Feb. 11, 1995 11,845
32. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 18, 1996 11,679
33. Iowa-Oklahoma State Feb. 16, 1985 11,583
34. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 19, 1989 11,391
35. Minnesota-Iowa Jan. 23, 1998 11,284
36. Penn State-Iowa Dec. 6, 1996 11,245
37. Iowa State-Iowa Jan. 5, 1980 11,100
38. Iowa-Oklahoma State Feb. 4, 2000 10,498
39. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 20, 1994 10,290
40. Iowa-Iowa State Jan. 13, 1973 10,268
41. Northern Iowa-Iowa Feb. 5, 1976 10,200
42. Iowa-Iowa State Feb. 23, 1985 10,115
43. Iowa State-Oklahoma State Jan. 7, 1972 10,100
44. Iowa-Minnesota Feb. 18, 2001 10,048

December 1, 2008

Byers, Betterman win gold medals at Haparanda Cup in Sweden

Byers, Betterman win gold medals at Haparanda Cup in Sweden
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

HAPARANDA, Sweden – Two U.S. wrestlers captured gold medals in the Haparanda Cup of Greco-Roman wrestling, Nov. 29-30.

Individual champions were 2008 Olympian Dremiel Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. and 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion Joe Betterman (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 60 kg/132 lbs.

Byers won three matches during the event, including two against opponents from Russia. In the gold-medal finals, Byers defeated 2007 World Military Games champion Aleksandr Anuchin of Russia.

Byers was a 2002 World champion, and a 2007 World bronze medalist. He placed seventh at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Betterman also won three matches during the competition, including a victory in the gold-medal finals over Maxim Mordovin of Russia, a 2005 European Junior champion.

Betterman won the 60 kg/132 lbs. division at the Olympic Trials, but the U.S. did not qualify to compete at the Olympics at that weight class. He was also a member of the 2007 U.S. World Team.

2008 U.S. Olympian Jake Deitchler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Minnesota Storm) won a bronze medal at 163 pounds, one of three U.S. bronze medalists in the event. Also capturing bronze medals were Chad Vandiver (Colorado Springs, Colo./unattached) at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Chas Betts (St. Michael, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Deitchler had a 3-1 record in the tournament, losing only in the semifinals to Robert Rosengren of Sweden. In the bronze-medal match, Deitchler defeated American Talan Knox (Salt Lake City, Utah/USOEC).

Deitchler is competing up one weight class from where he wrestled at the Olympic Games. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team at the age of 18, and is now a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.

Vandiver had a 2-1 record in the tournament, defeating American Jeremiah Davis (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in the bronze-medal match. Betts finished with a 2-1 record in the tournament, including a win over 2008 U.S. Nationals champion Brad Ahearn (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in the bronze-medal match.

Four U.S. wrestlers placed fifth after losing bronze-medal matches: Knox, Ahearn, Glen Garrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., and Kerry Regner (Darlington, Pa./USOEC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

At Haparanda, Sweden, Nov. 29-30

55 kg/121 lbs.
1. Camid Shavev (St. Petersburg/Russia)
2. Denys Zadachyn (Ukraine)
3. Emil Sundberg (Sweden)
3. Eduarnis Telles Zamora (IK Sparta)
5. Niko Ohukainen (Finland)
5. Marcus Puolakanaho (Väsby BK)

60 kg/132 lbs.
1. Joe Betterman (USA)
2. Maxim Mordovin (Russia)
3. Artem Kudyk (Ukraine)
3. Chad Vandiver (USA)
5. Paredes Salazar (Colombia)
5. Jeremiah Davis (USA Army)
7. Donovan Depatto (USA Marines)
8. Anar Zeinalov (Estonia)
9. Vincenzo Marci (Sweden)
10. Ville Kyllönen (KooVee Tampere)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
1. Vahab Daneshvar (Sweden)
2. Youri Denisov (St. Petersburg/Russia)
3. Mattias Günter (IK Sparta Shoes)
3. Vasily Lukov (Russia)
5. Kerry Regner (USA)
5. Glenn Garrison (USA Army)
7. Mykola Oljynky (Ukraine)
8. CC. Fisher (USA)
9. Lepik Jangus (Estonia)
10. Victor Volfgang (Sweden)

74 kg/163 lbs.
1. Eldar Botashev (St. Petersburg/Russia)
2. Robert Rosengren (Sweden)
3. V-K Suominen (Finland)
3. Jacob Deitcher (USA)
5. Anton Nordström (Luleå BK)
5. Talan Knox (USA)
7. Oskar Rolfs (Karl Gustav Brottning)
8. Henri Välimäki (Finland)
9. Sergiy Proskyra (Ukraine)
10. Juuso Ukkola (Haukiputaan Heitto)

84 kg/185 lbs.
1. Evgeny Bogomolov (Russia)
2. Artyom Stebnev (St. Petersburg/Russia)
3. Fredrik Schön (Sweden)
3. Chas Betts (USA)
5. Igor Luzgin (Russia)
5. Brad Ahearn (USA Army)
7. Jonne Ukkola (Haukiputaan Heitto)
8. Christoffer Ljungbäck (Sweden)
9. Oleksandr Kovalchuck (Ukraine)
10. Aaron Sieracki (USA Army)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
1. Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden)
2. Rustam Totrov (Russia)
3. Sergiy Rutenko (Ukraine)
4. Jakob Cedergren (Sweden)
5. Heiki Nabi (Estonia)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
1. Dremiel Byers (USA Army)
2. Aleksandr Anuchin (Russia)
3. Sebastian Lönnborn (Sweden)
3. Alexander Ekimov (Russia)
5. Yevgen Kozlyatin (Ukraine)
6. David Arendt (USA Marines)
7. Madis Sihimets (Estonia)

U.S. performances

60 kg/132 lbs. – Joe Betterman, Chicago, Ill. (New York AC), 1st
WIN Salazar Peredes (Colombia), tech. fall
WIN Artem Kudyk (Ukraine)
WIN Maxim Mordovin (Russia)

60 kg/132 lbs. - Chad Vandiver, Colorado Springs, Colo. (unattached), 3rd
WIN Anar Zeinalov (Estonia)
LOSS Maxim Mordovin (Russia)
WIN Jeremiah Davis (USA)

60 kg/132 lbs. - Jeremiah Davis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 5th
WIN Vincenzo Marci (Sweden)
LOSS Maxim Mordovin (Russia)
WIN Donovan DePatto (USA)
LOSS Chad Vandiver (USA)

60 kg/132 lbs. – Donovan DePatto, Jacksonville, N.C. (U.S. Marines), 7th
LOSS Maxim Mordovin (Russia)
LOSS Jeremiah Davis (USA)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Glen Garrison, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 5th
LOSS Vahab Saneshvar (Sweden)
WIN Mykola Oljynky (Ukraine)
LOSS Vasily Lukov (Russia)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Kerry Regner, Darlington, Pa. (USOEC), 5th
WIN Jangus Lepik (Estonia)
LOSS Youri Denisov (St. Petersburg/Russia)
LOSS Gunter Mattias (Sweden)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - C.C. Fisher, Colorado Springs, Colo. (unattached), 8th
WIN Victor Volfgang (Sweden)
LOSS Vasily Lukov (Russia)

74 kg/163 lbs. – Jake Deitchler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm), 3rd
WIN Sergiy Proskura (Ukraine)
WIN Henri Valimaki (Finland)
LOSS Robert Rosengren (Sweden)
WIN Talan Knox (USA)

74 kg/163 lbs. – Talan Knox, Salt Lake City, Utah (USOEC), 5th
LOSS Robert Rosengren (Sweden)
WIN Oskar Rolfs (Karl Gustav)
LOSS Jake Deitchler (USA)

84 kg/185 lbs. – Chas Betts, St. Michael, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 3rd
LOSS Evgeny Bogomolov (Russia)
WIN Jonne Ukkola (Haukiputaan Heitto)
WIN Brad Ahearn (USA)

84 kg/185 lbs. - Brad Ahearn, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 5th
WIN Marko Kivimaki (Finland)
WIN Christoffer Ljungback (Sweden)
LOSS Evgeny Bogomolov (Russia)
LOSS Chas Betts (USA)

84 kg/185 lbs. - Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 10th
LOSS Igor Luzkin (Russia)

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 1st
WIN Alexander Ekimov (Russia)
WIN Yevgen Kozlyatin (Ukraine)
WIN Aleksandr Anuchin (Russia)

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - David Arendt, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marines), 6th
LOSS Yevgen Kozlyatin (Ukraine)