May 19, 2009

College Wrestling Coaches Tilt-a-Whirl

Originally posted by Steven Hammersley for BleacherReport

A summer filled with head coaching openings has created a nauseating experience for fans of many of the largest wrestling programs in the land. The sport well reputed for developing many of the top mixed martial arts stars (read: Dan Henderson, Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture) is often times mistaken for the WWE, but make no mistake about the names you're about to hear and their impact on their new locale.

Cael Sanderson, longtime Iowa State Cyclone, and the only undefeated division one NCAA champion in the history of the sport, left his perch with the 'Clones to move into the Nation's hotbed of wrestling talent—Pennsylvania. According to "Wrestling Talk", a social network of wrestling junkies, Sanderson takes with him his entire staff and several of the highly sought-after recruits that had originally followed him to Iowa State.

The list leaving ISU to follow "King Cael" includes Iowa State's most valuable wrestler, Jake Varner. Sanderson's will to win led him out of his comfort zone and into the throne at Penn State University, where he will now lead the Nittany Lions.

After the vacancy at Penn State was filled Iowa State was left in shambles compared to where they thought their program was headed. The difficult task, even for the University that churns out champions like Sanderson and Dan Gable, of replacing Olympic Champion Cael Sanderson was taken head on by Athletic Director Jamie Pollard.

Pollard spent a great deal of his time courting Terry Brands, the twin bother of the University of Iowa's elite head coach, Tom. Brands, showing his commitment to ISU's major in-state rival, turned down Pollard on multiple occasions including the day the announced their new coach, Kevin Jackson.

Jackson graduated from Iowa State in 1986-1987 after transferring from the defunct Louisiana State wrestling program and went on to win an Olympic gold in 1992 for the United States.

The University of Illinois kept their decision in-house. After long time coach Mark Johnson decided to retire this summer the Fighting Illini were quick to name his replacement, Jim Heffernan.

Heffernan, who paid his dues at the University as an assistant of 15 years, becomes yet another Iowa Hawkeye bred wrestler to take over a Division One post. While Heffernan is the least credentialed wrestler of the new coaching positions he makes up for it with decades of Division One coaching experience in the Big Ten and beyond.

Keeping the coaching change in the family will provide a more fluid transition for recruits and the current roster of stars.

Arizona State University released their coach, Thom Ortiz, after eight years at the helm. The Sun Devils struggled to move back into the national spotlight with a combination of mixed recruiting results and difficulty aligning a coaching staff.

While there were many glimmers of hope through the years the powers that be decided to move on to another young leader for their program. While the news has yet to be broken, several sources within the wrestling community point to Shawn Charles as the new man at the helm.

Excitement around this selection runs deeper than at most universities because ASU has been known for developing many of the UFC's most anticipated young stars.

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 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

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 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 6, 2008

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 weighs in with its predictions for the Iowa-Iowa State dual 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

November 27, 2008

No. 7 St. John's Upsets No. 2 Augsburg

No. 7 St. John's Upsets No. 2 Augsburg
DATE: 11/26/2008 11:59:00 PM
Claiming wins in six of 10 bouts, the St.
John's University wrestling team snapped a 22-match losing streak to Augsburg College with an 18-13 dual-meet victory on Wednesday night at Augsburg's Si Melby Hall.

The Johnnies (5-0 overall), ranked No. 7 in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings, won for the first time over the No. 2-ranked Auggies (0-1 overall) since the
1985-86 season. Augsburg is 28-2 in dual meets against St. John's since 1979. The St. John's victory also broke two other Augsburg winning streaks -- a streak of 70 straight victories over Minnesota Division II or III opponents since 1996, and a streak of 92 straight victories over Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foes stretching to the
1986-87 season.

Augsburg, winners of 10 of the last 18 Division III national titles, is now 228-20 against Divisions II and III teams since the 1989-90 season, losing just 15 matches to non-Division I opponents since the 1995-96 season. Against strictly Division III opponents, Augsburg is 235-23 since the 1979-80 season and 159-13 since the 1989-90 season.

The Johnnies built an 18-6 lead after eight bouts and withstood Augsburg wins in the final two bouts to secure the dual victory.

Meanwhile, Augsburg gained a major-decision, 14-5 victory from 197-pounder Jared Massey (JR, Circle Pines, Minn./Centennial HS) over the Johnnies' Tony Willaert (SO, North Mankato, Minn./Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial HS), ranked No. 3 nationally in the weight class. Massey, now 5-0 on the season, claimed six takedowns and built
1:46 of riding time in the win.

Two of Augsburg's three nationally-ranked wrestlers in action on Wednesday claimed victories, as top-ranked Travis Lang (SR, Bismarck,
N.D.) built a 5-0 first-period lead and held off a rally by the Johnnies' Mogi Baatar (JR, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St. Benedict's Prep HS) in a 9-8 victory. No. 5-ranked Andy Witzel (JR, Fulda, Minn.) scored a
6-3 victory at heavyweight over the Johnnies' Cody Socher (FY, Delano, Minn.).

The Johnnies claimed three wins on riding-time bonus points -- a 4-3 win by Chad Henle (FY, Spicer, Minn./New London-Spicer HS) over Augsburg's Josh Roberts (FY, Grand Forks, N.D./Central HS) at 125; a 3-2 win by Matt Baarson (SO, Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park HS) over Augsburg's No. 3-ranked Jason Adams (JR, Coon Rapids, Minn.) at 157; and a 4-3 win by Matt Schrupp (SR, Watertown, Minn./Watertown-Mayer HS) over Augsburg's Brandon Klukow (SR, Albert Lea, Minn.) at 165.

Augsburg's Lucas Murray (SO, Anoka, Minn.) used a takedown and three-point near-fall midway through the third period to claim an 11-8 win over No. 3-ranked Minga Batsukh (SO, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia/St.
Benedict's Prep HS) at 141.

Dustin Baxter (SO, Fairbanks, Alaska/West Valley HS) of St. John's used a takedown with 14 seconds left to score a 12-10 win over Augsburg's Garrett Long (JR, Cedar, Minn./St. Francis HS) at 184. John Vaith (SO, Hastings, Minn.) used a reversal and three-point near-fall in the third period to rally for an 8-6 win over Augsburg's Tony Valek (FY, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West) at 149, and Grant Eustice (SR, Shoreview, Minn./Mounds View HS) scored a 6-3 win over Augsburg's Brandon Bahr (FY, Bemidji, Minn.) at 174.

Augsburg's White Team (junior varsity) won six of nine bouts to score a
25-6 win over the St. John's junior varsity in the preliminary match on Wednesday.

Augsburg returns to action after the Thanksgiving break on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 9 a.m., competing at the Minnesota State Moorhead Dragon Open.
St. John's competes at the Wisconsin-La Crosse Duals on Dec. 6.

College Wrestling -- No. 7 St. John's 18, No. 2 Augsburg 13 Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2008, Si Melby Hall, Minneapolis, Minn.
Time of match: 1:38. Attendance: 367.
Action begins at 125 pounds.
Officials: Brad Hanson, Kurt Nathe.
125 -- Chad Henle (St. John’s, 7-2) dec. Josh Roberts (Augsburg, 2-2)
4-3 (St. John’s 3-0).
133 -- No. 1 Travis Lang (Augsburg, 5-0) dec. Mogi Baatar (St.
John’s, 5-4) 9-8 (TIED 3-3).
141 -- Lucas Murray (Augsburg, 4-0) dec. No. 3 Minga Batsukh (St.
John’s, 4-1) 11-8 (Augsburg 6-3).
149 -- John Vaith (St. John’s, 5-2) dec. Tony Valek (Augsburg, 2-1)
8-6 (TIED 6-6).
157 -- Matt Baarson (St. John’s, 6-2) dec. No. 3 Jason Adams (Augsburg, 4-1) 3-2 (St. John’s 9-6).
165 -- Matt Schrupp (St. John’s, 3-1) dec. Brandon Klukow (Augsburg,
4-1) 4-3 (St. John’s 12-6).
174 -- Grant Eustice (St. John’s, 7-1) dec. Brandon Bahr (Augsburg,
2-2) 6-3 (St. John’s 15-6).
184 -- Dustin Baxter (St. John’s, 1-0) dec. Garrett Long (Augsburg,
0-3) 12-10 (St. John’s 18-6).
197 -- Jared Massey (Augsburg, 5-0) maj. dec. No. 3 Tony Willaert (St.
John’s, 6-3) 14-5 (St. John’s 18-10).
HWT -- No. 5 Andy Witzel (Augsburg, 5-0) dec. Cody Socher (St.
John’s, 5-2) 6-3 (St. John’s 18-13).

College Wrestling -- Augsburg JV 25, St. John's JV 6 Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2008, Si Melby Hall, Minneapolis, Minn.
Time of match: 1:25. Action begins at 125 pounds.
Official: Kurt Nathe.
125 -- Freddy Vigil (Augsburg, 3-1) dec. Matt Laine (St. John’s, 0-3) 4-0 (Augsburg 3-0).
133 -- Alex Johnson (Augsburg, 4-1) dec. Scott Padrnos (St. John’s,
3-4) 6-4 (Augsburg 6-0).
141 -- Nathan Lexvold (Augsburg, 3-0) wins by forfeit (Augsburg 12-0).
149 -- Torey Stewart (Augsburg, 3-1) maj. dec. Jon Shellenberger (St.
John’s, 3-3) 11-3 (Augsburg 16-0).
157 -- Beau Hansen (Augsburg, 2-2) dec. Zach Anderson (St. John’s,
2-4) 6-2 (Augsburg 19-0).
165 -- Double Forfeit.
174 -- Dustin Raygor (St. John’s, 5-1) dec. Spencer Flodeen (Augsburg, 2-3) 5-4 (Augsburg 19-3).
184 -- Matt Pfarr (St. John’s, 5-0) dec. Trenton Larrieu (Augsburg,
0-1) 4-3 (Augsburg 19-6).
197 -- Andy Peterson (Augsburg, 4-1) dec. No. 7 (at 184) Kyle Schumm (St. John’s, 4-3) 10-9 (Augsburg 22-6).
HWT -- Nick Creamier (Augsburg, 4-0) dec. Jacob Evenson (St. John’s,
3-4) 11-8 (Augsburg 25-6).


Date Ranked:11/25/2008

Ranked By



(Previous Rankings from Nov. 18, 2008)

Rk. Team (Previous)

1. Iowa (1st)

2. Ohio State (2nd)

3. Iowa State (3rd)

4. Cornell (4th)

5. Missouri (5th)

6. Oklahoma State (6th)

7. Nebraska (8th)

8. Illinois (7th)

9. Minnesota (10th)

10. Boise State (13th)

11. Central Michigan (14th)

12. Lehigh (19th)

13. Michigan (9th)

14. Penn State (11th)

15. Wisconsin (15th)

16. Indiana (16th)

17. Hofstra (17th)

18. Edinboro (18th)

19. Northwestern (12th)

20. Oklahoma (21st)

21. Kent State (24th)

22. West Virginia (20th)

23. Penn (22nd)

24. Old Dominion (23rd)

25. Navy (25th)

Individual Rankings

125 pounds

1. Angel Escobedo, Jr. Indiana (1st)

2. Charlie Falck, Sr. Iowa (2nd)

3. Troy Nickerson, Jr. Cornell (3rd)

4. Brandon Precin, Jr. Northwestern (5th)

5. James Nicholson, So. Old Dominion (6th)

6. Obe Blanc, Sr. Oklahoma State (9th)

7. Anthony Robles, So. Arizona State (7th)

8. Scott Sentes, Fr. Central Michigan (10th)

9. Rollie Peterkin, Jr. Penn (8th)

10. Marcos Orozco, Jr. UC Davis (12th)

11. Zach Sanders Fr. Minnesota (18th)

12. Tyler Clark, So. Iowa State (15th)

13. Brian Owen, Fr. Boise State (NR)

14. Brandon Zoetewey, Sr. Cal State Bakersfield (14th)

15. Steve Mytych, Sr. Drexel (NR)

16. Ian Moser, So. Bloomsburg (16th)

17. Nikko Triggas, So. Ohio State (17th)

18. Joey Fio, So. Oklahoma (20th)

19. Nic Bedelyon, So. Kent State (11th)

20. Tony Mustari, Jr. Northern Colorado (13th)

133 pounds

1. Joey Slaton, Jr. Iowa (1st)

2. Franklin Gomez, Jr. Michigan State (2nd)

3. Jimmy Kennedy, Jr. Illinois (3rd)

4. Jayson Ness, Jr. Minnesota (4th)

5. Nick Fanthorpe, Jr. Iowa State (5th)

6. Joe Baker, Sr. Navy (6th)

7. Lou Ruggirello, Jr. Hofstra (7th)

8. Reece Humphrey, Jr. Ohio State (8th)

9. Andrew Hochstrasser, So. Boise State (9th)

10. Steve Bell, Jr. Maryland (11th)

11. Dave Marble, Jr. Buckell (14th)

12. Matt Fisk, Jr. Lehigh (15th)

13. Tyler Shinn, Jr. Oklahoma State (13th)

14. Kyle Hutter, Jr. Old Dominion (12th)

15. Dan Mitcheff, Jr. Kent State (17th)

16. T.J. Dillashaw, Jr. Cal State Fullerton (19th)

17. Boris Novachkov. Jr. Cal Poly (18th)

18. Tim Haas, Sr. Penn State (NR)

19. Rick Deubel, Sr. Edinboro (16th)

20. Conor Beebe, Jr. Central Michigan (NR)

141 pounds

1. Nick Gallick, Jr. Iowa State (2nd)

2. J Jaggers, Sr. Ohio State (1st)

3. Zach Tanelli, Sr. Wisconsin (9th)

4. Brandon Rader, Sr. West Virginia (5th)

5. Alex Tsirtsis, Sr. Iowa (6th)

6. Kellen Russell, So. Michigan (4th)

7. Chris Drouin, So. Arizona State (7th)

8. Keith Sulzer, So. Northwestern (8th)

9. Mike Grey, So. Cornell (3rd)

10. Ryan Williams, Sr. Old Dominion (18th)

11. Zach Bailey, Jr. Oklahoma (10th)

12. Mike Thorn, So. Minnesota (NR)

13. Andrae Hernandez, Sr. Indiana (13th)

14. Drew Lashaway, Sr. Kent State (NR)

15. Jamal Parks, Fr. Oklahoma State (15th)

16. Joe Caramanica, Sr. NC State (14th)

17. Alex Krom, Jr. Maryland (17th)

18. Eric Kruger, Jr. Central Michigan (16th)

19. Cory Fish, Sr. Boise State (12th)

20. Cory Jantzen, So. Harvard (19th)

149 pounds

1. Brent Metcalf, Jr. Iowa (1st)

2. Bubba Jenkins, Jr. Penn State (2nd)

3. Darrion Caldwell, Jr. NC State (4th)

4. Lance Palmer, Jr. Ohio State (5th)

5. Kyle Ruschell, Jr. Wisconsin (6th)

6. Steve Brown, Jr. Central Michigan (7th)

7. Mitch Mueller, Jr. Iowa State (8th)

8. Jake Patacsil, Sr. Purdue (10th)

9. David Jauregui, Sr. West Virginia (11th)

10. Bryce Saddoris, So. Navy (12th)

11. Cesar Grajales, Jr. Penn (13th)

12. Matt Kyler, Jr. Army (9th)

13. Torsten Gillespie, So. Edinboro (14th)

14. Trevor Chinn, Sr. Lehigh (15th)

15. Jason Chamberlain, Fr. Boise State (NR)

16. Heinrich Barnes, Sr. Oregon State (16th)

17. Eric Medina, So. Maryland (17th)

18. Mike Roberts, Sr. Boston (18th)

19. Matt Cathell, So. Delaware State (19th)

20. Luke Silver, Fr. Oklahoma State (NR)

157 pounds

1. Mike Poeta, Sr. Illinois (1st)

2. Jordan Leen, Sr. Cornell (2nd)

3. J.P. O'Connor, Jr. Harvard (4th)

4. Gregor Gillespie, Sr. Edinboro (5th)

5. Jordan Burroughs, Jr. Nebraska (3rd@149)

6. Cyler Sanderson, Jr. Iowa State (6th)

7. Dan Vallimont, Jr. Penn State (3rd)

8. Michael Chandler, Sr. Missouri (7th)

9. Adam Hall, So. Boise State (9th)

10. Matt Moley, Jr. Bloomsburg (8th)

11. Newly McSpadden, Sr. Oklahoma State (10th)

12. Matt Coughlin, Jr. Indiana (11th)

13. Jason Johnstone, Sr. Ohio State (12th)

14. Shane Vernon, Jr. Oklahoma (13th)

15.Tyler Safratowich, Sr. Minnesota (14th)

16. Chase Pami, Jr. Cal Poly (16th)

17. Jason Welch, Fr. Northwestern (17th)

18. Kody Hamrah, Sr. NC State (18th)

19. Matt Dragon, Sr. Penn (19th)

20. Hadley Harrison, Jr. Clarion (NR)

165 pounds

1. Nick Marable, Jr. Missouri (2nd)

2. Mack Lewnes, So. Cornell (1st)

3. Moza Fay, Sr. Northern Iowa (3rd)

4. Jonathan Reader, So. Iowa State (4th)

5. Stephen Dwyer, Jr. Nebraska (5th)

6. Luke Manuel, So. Purdue (6th)

7. Jarrod King, Sr. Edinboro (7th)

8. Trevor Stewart, Sr. Central Michigan (8th)

9. Brandon Mason, Sr. Oklahoma State (9th)

10. Colt Sponseller, So. Ohio State (10th)

11. Zach Shanaman, Sr. Penn (12th)

12. Roger Smith-Bergsrud, Sr. Illinois (13th)

13. Chris Brown, Jr. Old Dominion (11th)

14. Andrew Flanagan, Sr. Harvard (15th)

15. Anthony Rendos, Jr. Bucknell (16th)

16. Tyler Sherfey, Sr. Boise State (14th)

17. Ryan Morningstar, Jr. Iowa (17th)

18. Keegan Mueller, Sr. North Carolina (18th)

19. Rex Kendle, Sr. Michigan State (NR)

20. Rick Schmelyn, Jr. Bloomsburg (NR)

174 pounds

1. Steve Luke, Sr. Michigan (1st)

2. Jay Borschel, Jr. Iowa (2nd)

3. Brandon Browne, Jr. Nebraska (3rd)

4. Steve Anceravage, Sr. Cornell (4th)

5. Raymond Jordan, Sr. Missouri (5th)

6. Mike Cannon, Jr. American (6th)

7. Alton Lucas, Sr. Hofstra (7th)

8. Mike Letts, Jr. Maryland (8th)

9. Chris Henrich, So. Virginia (9th)

10. Duke Burke, Jr. Iowa State (10th)

11. Mike Miller, So. Central Michigan (11th)

12. Nate Lee, Jr. Boise State (12th)

13. John Dergo, Jr. Illinois (13th)

14. Luke Feist, Sr. Stanford (14th)

15. Jeff James, So. Oklahoma (15th)

16. Quentin Wright, Fr. Penn State (16th)

17. Alex Caruso, So. Lehigh (17th)

18. Tyler Bernacchi, Sr. UC Davis (NR)

19. Phil Moricone, Sr. Edinboro (18th)

20. Austin Trotman, So. Appalachian St (NR)

184 pounds

1. Mike Pucillo, Jr. Ohio State (1st)

2. Jake Herbert, Sr. Northwestern (2nd)

3. Phil Keddy, Jr. Iowa (3rd)

4. Kirk Smith, So. Boise State (4th)

5. Louis Caputo, Jr. Harvard (5th)

6. Vince Jones, Sr. Nebraska (6th)

7. Doug Umbehauer, Sr. Rider (7th)

8. Rocco Caponi, Sr. Virginia (8th)

9. Dustin Kilgore, Fr. Kent State (9th)

10. Zack Geisen, Jr. Stanford (10th)

11. David Craig, Jr. Lehigh (12th)

12. Justin Kerber, So. Cornell (NR)

13. Chris Honeycutt, So. Edinboro (13th)

14. Kyle Bressler, Oregon State (14th)

15. A.J. Kissel, So. Purdue (16th)

16. Josh Patterson, Jr. Binghamton (17th)

17. John Barone, Jr. Duke (NR)

18. Anthony Biondo, So. Michigan (19th)

19. Phil Bomberger, Sr. Penn State (12th)

20. Jordan Blanton, Fr. Illinois (NR)

197 pounds

1. Jake Varner, Jr. Iowa State (1st)

2. Hudson Taylor, Jr. Maryland (2nd)

3. Craig Brester, Jr. Nebraska (3rd)

4. Dallas Herbst, Sr. Wisconsin (4th)

5. Max Askren, Jr. Missouri (5th)

6. Tyrel Todd, Sr. Michigan (6th)

7. Josh Arnone, Jr. Cornell (7th)

8. Eric Lapotsky, So. Oklahoma (8th)

9. Andrew Anderson, Sr. Northern Iowa (9th)

10. Cayle Byers, So. George Mason (10th)

11. Brent Chriswell, So. Boise State (11th)

12. Clayton Foster, So. Oklahoma State (12th)

13. Logan Brown, So. Purdue (13th)

14. Brent Jones, Sr. Virginia (14th)

15. Joe Fagiano, So. Hofstra (17th)

16. Cody Gardner, Fr. Ohio State (15th)

17. Chad Beatty, Jr. Iowa (19th)

18. Patrick Bond, Jr. Illinois (18th)

19. Jon Oplinger, Sr. Drexel (NR)

20. Richard Starks, Jr. Army (16th)


1. Jared Rosholt, Jr. Oklahoma State (1st)

2. Dave Zabriskie, Jr. Iowa State (2nd)

3. Kyle Massey, Sr. Wisconsin (3rd)

4. Mark Ellis, Sr. Missouri (5th)

5. Jermail Porter, Sr. Kent State (6th)

6. John Wise, Sr. Illinois (7th)

7. Zach Sheaffer, Sr. Pittsburgh (8th)

8. Scott Steele, Sr. Navy (4th)

9. Zach Hammond, Sr. Cornell (9th)

10. Joe Fendone, Sr. Edinboro (10th)

11. Rashard Goff, Sr. Cleveland State (11th)

12. Dustin Rogers, Sr. West Virginia (12th)

13. Nathan Everhart, Jr. Indiana (13th)

14. Dan Erekson, Jr. Iowa (15th)

15. Corey Morrison, Sr. Ohio State (16th)

16. Justin Dobies, Sr. North Carolina (18th)

17. Tucker Lane, Fr. Nebraska (NR)

18. Konrad Dudziak, Jr. Duke (NR)

19. Ben Berhow, So. Minnesota (19th)

20. Ryan Flores, So. Columbia (NR)


The Tournament Power Index (T.P.I.) is compiled by awarding potential NCAA tournament points to each team for the ranked wrestlers they have in WIN’s current individual rankings. Teams are awarded points based on how many potential All-Americans they could have and get advancement points for wrestlers ranked No. 9-20. The order of teams in the T.P.I. can vary greatly from our dual meet rankings, as some teams have a number of highly-ranked individuals but may have holes in their dual meet line-up.

Point totals associated with individual rankings are as followed: 1st - 20 (16 AA points + 4 advancement points); 2nd - 16 (12+4); 3rd - 13.5 (10+3.5); 4th - 12. 5 (9+3.5); 5th - 10 (7+3); 6th - 9 (6+3); 7th - 6.5 (4+2.5); 8th - 5.5 (3+2.5); 9th/12th - 2; 13th/16th - 1.5; 17th-20th - 1

Fans or coaches who have questions or input on our current rankings process can e-mail W.I.N. editor Mike Finn at If you wish to be included on weekly ranking release list, e-mail W.I.N. at

Rk. School Top 8 PTS

1. Iowa 6 99

2. Iowa State 7 97.5

3. Cornell 5 70.5

4. Ohio State 4 61.5

5. Missouri 5 58

6. Nebraska 5 57

7. Wisconsin 3 49.5

8. Illinois 3 48

9. Michigan 3 40

10. Oklahoma State 2 39

11. Northwestern 3 35

12(tie). Edinboro 2 26

12(tie). Harvard 2 26

14. Maryland 2 25.5

15(tie). Boise State 1 25

15(tie). Penn State 2 25

15(tie). Indiana 1 25

18. Central Michigan 3 24

19. Purdue 2 17.5

20(tie) Michigan State 1 17

20(tie) Minnesota 1 17

22(tie). Navy 2 16.5

22(tie). West Virginia 1 16.5

24(tie). Kent State 1 16

24(tie) NC State 1 16

26. Northern Iowa 1 15.5

27. Old Dominion 1 15

28. Hofstra 2 14.5

29. Arizona State 2 13

30. Oklahoma 1 11.5

31(tie) American 1 9

31(tie) Virginia 1 9

33. Penn 0 7

34(tie) Lehigh 0 6.5

34(tie) Pitt 1 6.5

34(tie) Rider 1 6.5

37. Bloomsburg 1 4.5

38. Stanford 0 3.5

39(tie) UC Davis 0 3

39(tie) Army 0 3

39(tie) Oregon State 0 3

42(tie) Cal Poly 0 2.5

42(tie) North Carolina 0 2.5

44(tie) Cleveland State 0 2

44(tie) George Mason 0 2

46(tie) Binghamton 0 1.5

46(tie) Bucknell 0 1.5

46(tie) Cal State Bakersfield 0 1.5

46(tie) Cal State Fullerton 0 1.5

50(tie) Appalachian State 0 1

50(tie) Boston U. 0 1

50(tie) Delaware State 0 1

50(tie) Northern Colorado 0 1

Bigger and better: Nebraska's Jordan Burroughs ready to make run at NCAA title

Bigger and better: Nebraska's Jordan Burroughs ready to make run at NCAA title
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

There is a photo on page 2 of the Nebraska media guide that was taken just after the conclusion of the 2008 NCAA Championships in St. Louis.

In the picture, NU heavyweight Jon May is holding a trophy over his head while surrounded by happy teammates and coaches.

Among those pictured is a smiling Jordan Burroughs.

Burroughs capped a superb true sophomore season with a third-place national finish at 149 pounds. He led Nebraska to a fourth-place finish in the team race, marking the first time in 15 years the Huskers had won a trophy at the NCAA tournament.

Don’t get the idea that Burroughs was content with the way the 2007-08 season ended. But for Burroughs, who failed to place at the 2007 NCAA meet for a team that finished 16th, last season definitely was a sign of progress.

“Winning that trophy, it was very important for our program,? Burroughs said. “We were very close to second, but the way we finished still builds a lot of confidence for our team. We thought we should’ve had a couple of guys in the finals, but we continued to wrestle hard the whole tournament. We proved to everyone in the country that we’re a top program.?

Now a junior, Burroughs is looking for bigger and better things during the 2008-09 season. Burroughs, for one, is bigger and hopes to be better as he bumps up a weight class to 157 pounds.

Burroughs won the 157 title at Nebraska-Omaha’s Kaufman-Brand Open this past weekend, downing past NCAA champion Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota 6-4 in the finals. Burroughs, 0-3 in his career against Schlatter prior to that match, was named Outstanding Wrestler.

Burroughs was one of six champions for Nebraska in the event. Also winning titles for the Huskers were All-Americans Stephen Dwyer (165), Brandon Browne (174) and Craig Brester (197), NCAA qualifier Vince Jones (184) and talented freshman Tucker Lane (heavyweight).

Nebraska, which placed second at the 2008 National Duals, is ranked sixth nationally this season by InterMat.

“We know we can improve on what we did last year,? Burroughs said. “We have a number of guys in our room who are capable of winning individual national titles this year. We’re shooting for the top this year.?

Burroughs has certified at 149, but said his recent move up to 157 is permanent. He turned in a dominating performance in his first big meet at his new weight class on Saturday in Omaha.

Burroughs advanced to the finals against Schlatter, whom he lost twice to as a freshman and once as a sophomore. This match was scoreless after one period and was tied 2-2 entering the final period.

Burroughs, who is lethal on his feet and excels with a blast double-leg shot, scored two takedowns on a pair of leg attacks in the final period to beat Schlatter 6-4.

“It’s always good to beat a guy who you’ve lost to in the past,? Burroughs said. “I feel so much better and so much stronger at 157. It was a pretty big cut, going back down to 149. Moving up to 157, I’m able to eat better and that helps me stay focused and have more energy in practice. It’s made a big difference for me already.?

Burroughs, from Sicklerville, N.J., was not considered one of the nation’s elite recruits coming out of high school. He was ranked seventh nationally at 135 pounds by InterMat as a prep senior. But Burroughs finished strong, winning a New Jersey state title in 2006 before winning High School Nationals.

Nebraska coach Mark Manning didn’t have much trouble finding Burroughs’ house in New Jersey when he recruited him. Burroughs is the next-door neighbor to Jones, who arrived at Nebraska a year before Burroughs did.

Jones, a Cornhusker senior, is a two-time national qualifier. Burroughs and Jones are roommates at Nebraska.

“Vince was always the better wrestler when we were growing up,? Burroughs said. “I’ve always looked up to him and he always was someone who would teach me the ropes. I feed off his energy. He’s my best friend. He’s like my brother.?

Jones fell one win short of being an All-American last year.

“That was very disappointing, I felt so bad for him,? Burroughs said. “I’m looking forward to us being national champs together this year. Vince has been wrestling great this year. He has a chance to have a great season.?

Burroughs arrived in Lincoln, Neb., in the fall of 2006 with the idea that he would redshirt at 141 pounds that season for Nebraska.

Burroughs’ days as a 141-pound redshirt were short-lived. Burroughs quickly added bulk in the NU weight room and moved up to 149. Shortly after Christmas, Burroughs was pulled out of his redshirt and inserted into the Nebraska lineup as a true freshman.

Burroughs wrestled well at the end of the season and qualified for the 2007 NCAA tournament in Auburn Hills, Mich. Unseeded as a true freshman, Burroughs drew the top-seeded Schlatter in the first round and fell 3-2. He won his next match before falling to No. 2 seed Matt Storniolo of Oklahoma in a marathon, four-overtime battle. Burroughs finished his freshman season 16-13.

Burroughs made significant gains last season. He finished with a 34-6 record and was named Outstanding Wrestler after winning the Big 12 Championships.

Seeded fourth at the 2008 NCAA tournament, Burroughs knocked off returning NCAA runner-up Josh Churella of Michigan in the quarterfinals before dropping an 8-4 decision to eventual champion and Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf of Iowa. Burroughs came back to beat Harvard’s J.P. O’Connor and then downed Churella again to place third.

“I improved a lot last year, and I feel like I’m a lot better this year,? Burroughs said. “I just want to keep improving. A lot of guys peak early. To me, you can never be too good. I am always eager to learn.?

Burroughs is in his junior season of college, but he won’t turn 21 until next July.

“Jordan is very young and he has a tremendous upside,? Manning said. “To see how much he’s developed, grown and matured from the time he came here is really impressive. He’s very disciplined, with everything he does. His effort is tremendous, and his focus and mindset have really improved. Every day in the practice room, he brings it 100 percent.?

Burroughs also has the physical skills to go with his work ethic.

“We saw that Jordan was really a special athlete when we watched him in high school,? Manning said. “To see him develop into this caliber of wrestler has been great to see. He’s very athletic, but he’s developed into a great wrestler.?

Burroughs qualified for the U.S. Junior World Team in freestyle this past summer. Among the wrestlers he worked out with at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs were Olympian Doug Schwab and past National Team member Jared Frayer.

Burroughs went 2-1 and placed 10th at July’s Junior World Championships in Turkey. He competed at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

“I didn’t wrestle my best, but it was still a great experience and I learned a lot,? he said. “It was my first trip outside the country. I love freestyle. My ultimate goal is to make the Olympic team in 2012 and win an Olympic gold medal.?

Manning, who has coached numerous U.S. teams on the international level, said that goal is realistic.

“I think Jordan can and will be an Olympic and World champion, if he sets his mind to it,? Manning said. “He has great ability. He’s very talented and he’s only going to get better as a wrestler. The sky’s the limit. He has a very bright future in freestyle.?

Manning said there were high expectations placed on Burroughs entering the Junior Worlds after American Bubba Jenkins won a Junior World title in the same weight class in 2007.

“I think Jordan was the best guy in his weight at the Junior World Championships,? said Manning, who served as one of the coaches of that American squad. “He just wasn’t himself and probably put too much pressure on himself. But I think that experience will help him grow in the long run. I know he learned from it.?

For now, the goal for Burroughs is to ascend to the top of the medal stand at the 2009 NCAA Championships in St. Louis.

The event will be held in the same venue, the Scottrade Center, where Burroughs and his team had a breakthrough performance last season.

Burroughs hopes to be smiling again at the end of the tournament, but for different reasons.

“I’m still not satisfied,? he said. “I won’t be satisfied until I’m the national champion and our team is holding the national championship trophy.?

November 25, 2008

Indiana's Kurt Kinser races to fast start on wrestling mat

Indiana's Kurt Kinser races to fast start on wrestling mat
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

As a kid growing up, Kurt Kinser’s summer vacations were spent traveling around the country in the family motor home.

The trips weren’t all about sightseeing and relaxation.

The Kinser family business is auto racing. Kurt’s father, Steve, has made his mark while traveling all over the United States as a 20-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car national champion.

Unlike his older brother, Kraig, who races alongside his dad on the World of Outlaws circuit, Kurt never quite caught the racing bug. But early on, Kurt’s father helped him develop a passion for another sport.

Steve Kinser was a state champion wrestler in Indiana before he became a legend on America’s dirt track ovals.

“The headlock was the first move I ever learned,? Kurt said. “My dad taught it to me when I first started wrestling when I was 3 or 4 years old.?

Now more than 15 years later, Kurt Kinser is still using the first move he learned to excel on the wrestling mat as a sophomore at Indiana University.

Kinser, an NCAA qualifier last season, is off to a fast start this season for the Hoosiers at 157 pounds. He won the Michigan State Open and he is ranked No. 9 nationally by InterMat.

Kinser was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week after winning the Michigan State Open. He downed No. 8 Matt Moley of Bloomsburg 3-2 in the semifinals before pinning Northwestern’s Jason Welch in just 56 seconds in the finals.

Kinser has started this season at 157 after competing at 149 last year. IU junior Matt Coughlin, who placed seventh at the 2007 NCAA Championships, also is at 157. Kinser has certified at 149, so there is a possibility he could drop back down and compete there. Coughlin certified at 157.

Kinser, from Bloomington, Ind., won an Indiana state championship as a senior before joining the Hoosiers wrestling program. He went 15-4 in open tournaments during his redshirt season at Indiana in 2006-07.

Kinser cracked the IU starting lineup last season as a freshman at 149 pounds. He finished 32-16 with 18 falls. He ranked in the top five in the country in falls and finished just one pin shy of the school record.

Many of the falls were the result of the headlock that he is not bashful about unleashing.

“I like to push the pace and wrestle a wide-open match,? Kinser said. “The headlock has always been my main move. I’ve added more techniques to what I do, but when the opening is there I will go for the headlock.?

Indiana coach Duane Goldman likes the way Kinser approaches a match.

“Kurt’s definitely not boring – we really enjoy watching him,? Goldman said. “He’s real aggressive. He’s extremely strong and extremely well-conditioned. His arsenal comes from upper-body moves. He’s a little bit unconventional, but he has quite a bit of technique. He’s tough to match up against because he’s so dangerous. He will pin guys in the first, second and third period. He will not let up.?

Goldman said Kinser has been a great fit for the Hoosier program.

“Kurt comes from a real good family, and he’s from right here in Bloomington,? Goldman said. “He’s a very nice kid and very humble.?

Kurt Kinser said he marvels at what his father has done in his racing career. Steve Kinser is known as “The King? for his dominance in the national sprint-car circuit. He’s 54 years old, but still going strong against some drivers who are less than half his age.

“My dad is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever seen,? Kurt said. “My mother (Dana) has that same competitiveness. She was a very good athlete who excelled in track.?

Steve said the door is still open if Kurt wants to try his hand at racing.

“If he ever wants to do it, I would help him,? Steve said. “I would be proud of Kurt no matter what he does. He always loved wrestling more than anything else. He’s really competitive and he has a great work ethic. It’s great to see him doing so well in wrestling.?

Kurt’s brother, Kraig, also excelled in wrestling in high school before jumping into racing full-time.

“Wrestling is a great sport,? Steve Kinser said. “The one-on-one competition – and being able to think when you’re tired and be able to put out 100 percent mentally – it’s a tough sport. Having been a wrestler has definitely helped my racing career. Those athletes are very dedicated. I know Kurt’s worked very hard. He’s had to fight for everything he’s ever accomplished in wrestling.?

And there’s still more work to be done. Kurt Kinser won three matches at the 2008 NCAA Championships in St. Louis and finished two wins short of earning All-American honors at 149 pounds.

Kinser knocked off his share of tough opponents last season. He beat past NCAA runner-up Ryan Lang of Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament. Among his wins at the NCAA tournament was a first-period fall over past All-American Don Fisch of Rider.

“It was very important for me to wrestle in the NCAA tournament – it was a great experience,? Kurt said. “That gave me a big boost going into this season.?

His father was in the stands when Kurt wrestled at the NCAA meet last March.

“My dad comes out to as many tournaments as he can,? Kurt said. “He enjoys watching me compete. He’s very supportive and that means a lot to me.?

Kurt still enjoys watching his father continue to excel in the national sprint-car circuit.

“Dad said he wants to keep racing as long as he can stay competitive,? Kurt said. “It’s very inspirational to watch him. He’s a great role model for me. He’s taught me that you can be the best if you have that desire.? weighs in with its predictions for the NWCA All-Star Classic weighs in with its predictions for the NWCA All-Star Classic
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

One of the best matches that I have ever witnessed came during the college all-star dual meet.

The matchup occurred on Jan. 29, 1996 in Iowa City, when the all-star meet was held in the middle of the season. Iowa’s Mark Ironside staged a furious third-period rally to beat Lock Haven’s Cary Kolat 9-8 at 134 pounds before 8,500 screaming fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

I really wish I was there in Columbus, Ohio, but purely just for fun, here are my predictions for the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic. The dual will be held tonight, Nov. 24, at Ohio State University in Columbus.

This meet really should be held in Iowa again sometime soon, especially with all these Iowa and Iowa State wrestlers competing.

Anyway, here’s how I see the all-star dual playing out:

125 – Charlie Falck (Iowa) vs. James Nicholson (Old Dominion)

Not exactly the matchup we envisioned for this event - with NCAA champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana and past NCAA runner-up Troy Nickerson of Cornell not wrestling - but it should still be an intriguing battle.

Nicholson was an All-American last year and he will have his share of motivation wrestling against an Iowa Hawkeye. Nicholson is from Des Moines.

Falck, a two-time All-American, is an experienced and savvy wrestler who can beat anybody.

Sesker’s pick: Falck

133 – Jayson Ness (Minnesota) vs. Jimmy Kennedy (Illinois)

It’s still too early to tell how Ness will do at 133 after bumping up from 125.

Kennedy is a proven commodity after placing fourth nationally at 133, but look for Ness to come out strong after dropping a match in this event last year. The long, lanky Ness is tough to match up against, especially if you haven’t wrestled him. Ness was second in the nation at 125 last year.

Too bad top-ranked Joe Slaton of Iowa wasn’t able to wrestle, but we may see plenty of him very soon.

Sesker’s pick: Ness

141 – J Jaggers (Ohio State) vs. Nick Gallick (Iowa State)

Jaggers was a huge surprise, at least in my eyes, at last year’s NCAA tournament. But the kid came to Ohio State as one of the nation’s best overall recruits. He lived up to it last year.

Expect Jaggers to put on a show for his home fans against a very tough wrestler in Gallick.

Gallick showed a lot of improvement last year and is a dangerous wrestler who is capable of turning a match around in a hurry.

Sesker’s pick: Jaggers

149 – Brent Metcalf (Iowa) vs. Darrion Caldwell (North Carolina State)

This is the matchup that everyone wants to see.

Metcalf suffered his only collegiate loss exactly one year ago to Caldwell, who caught him with a spladle. Watching the video, Metcalf does not look to be pinned. Not even close.

Metcalf, the best collegiate wrestler since Cael Sanderson, can’t wait for this match. Caldwell is very explosive and dangerous, but he also has pulled out some low-scoring matches as well.

Hopefully, both guys will open it up since it doesn’t count on their records. That could be really fun to watch.

Sesker’s pick: Metcalf

157 – Jordan Leen (Cornell) vs. Cyler Sanderson (Iowa State)

This could be another entertaining bout to watch, as both wrestlers are capable of putting on a show.

Leen has already been in some tough battles this season, including suffering an overtime loss to Harvard’s J.P. O’Connor.

Sanderson is another Iowa State wrestler who has made major improvements since coming to Ames. But Leen obviously has won when the stakes were the highest.

I wouldn’t have minded seeing another 157 match tonight with Mike Poeta of Illinois battling Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro again. Their match in Las Vegas last season was one of the best of the 2007-08 college season.

But Leen-Sanderson will be interesting to watch.

Sesker’s pick: Sanderson

165 – Nick Marable (Missouri) vs. Mack Lewnes (Cornell)

This is a rematch of the third-place match from the 2008 NCAAs, won by Marable.

Both wrestlers will contend for the NCAA title this year. Marable proved how tough he was in the postseason last year. Lewnes is just a sophomore, but he has really been impressive.

Look for a real close match here.

Sesker’s pick: Lewnes

174 – Steve Luke (Michigan) vs. Jay Borschel (Iowa)

This looks like one of the toughest bouts to call in the whole dual in a battle of Big Ten rivals.

Luke was second in the country last year and Borschel third.

Luke, in his fourth season as a starter, has an edge in experience. But Borschel performed very well last year in his first year as a starter.

Sesker’s pick: Luke

184 – Phil Keddy (Iowa) vs. Louis Caputo (Harvard)

Keddy may have been the most improved wrestler in the country last year, and reports from Iowa City indicate he may be even better this year.

Caputo is a tough competitor as well, who has excelled during the summer in freestyle.

Keddy is extremely strong, and will be tough for anyone to score on. He really bought in when Tom Brands took over the Iowa program, and it’s paying off for him now.

NCAA champions Jake Herbert of Northwestern and Mike Pucillo of Ohio State aren’t competing tonight, but we will see plenty of those two in the coming months as well.

Sesker’s pick: Keddy

197 – Jake Varner (Iowa State) vs. Hudson Taylor (Maryland)

Speaking of tough to score on, Varner may be the best in the country at keeping opponents off the scoreboard.

Taylor is a workhorse, who is going to keep wrestling hard for seven minutes. He proved that at the 2008 NCAAs.

Varner, a two-time NCAA runner-up, is capable of being a dominant force at 197 if he looks for his offense more.

Sesker’s pick: Varner

285 – Jared Rosholt (Oklahoma State) vs. Kyle Massey (Wisconsin)

Rosholt, Jake’s “little? brother, who definitely has some big shoes to fill, really came into his own last season and enters this season ranked No. 1.

This could be a low-scoring, tactical battle. That seems to be the trend these days in the heavyweight class.

This match doesn’t count, so these big boys need to open it up a little more and give the fans something to watch.

Sesker’s pick: Rosholt weighs in with its predictions for the NWCA All-Star Classic weighs in with its predictions for the NWCA All-Star Classic
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

One of the best matches that I have ever witnessed came during the college all-star dual meet.

The matchup occurred on Jan. 29, 1996 in Iowa City, when the all-star meet was held in the middle of the season. Iowa’s Mark Ironside staged a furious third-period rally to beat Lock Haven’s Cary Kolat 9-8 at 134 pounds before 8,500 screaming fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

I really wish I was there in Columbus, Ohio, but purely just for fun, here are my predictions for the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic. The dual will be held tonight, Nov. 24, at Ohio State University in Columbus.

This meet really should be held in Iowa again sometime soon, especially with all these Iowa and Iowa State wrestlers competing.

Anyway, here’s how I see the all-star dual playing out:

125 – Charlie Falck (Iowa) vs. James Nicholson (Old Dominion)

Not exactly the matchup we envisioned for this event - with NCAA champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana and past NCAA runner-up Troy Nickerson of Cornell not wrestling - but it should still be an intriguing battle.

Nicholson was an All-American last year and he will have his share of motivation wrestling against an Iowa Hawkeye. Nicholson is from Des Moines.

Falck, a two-time All-American, is an experienced and savvy wrestler who can beat anybody.

Sesker’s pick: Falck

133 – Jayson Ness (Minnesota) vs. Jimmy Kennedy (Illinois)

It’s still too early to tell how Ness will do at 133 after bumping up from 125.

Kennedy is a proven commodity after placing fourth nationally at 133, but look for Ness to come out strong after dropping a match in this event last year. The long, lanky Ness is tough to match up against, especially if you haven’t wrestled him. Ness was second in the nation at 125 last year.

Too bad top-ranked Joe Slaton of Iowa wasn’t able to wrestle, but we may see plenty of him very soon.

Sesker’s pick: Ness

141 – J Jaggers (Ohio State) vs. Nick Gallick (Iowa State)

Jaggers was a huge surprise, at least in my eyes, at last year’s NCAA tournament. But the kid came to Ohio State as one of the nation’s best overall recruits. He lived up to it last year.

Expect Jaggers to put on a show for his home fans against a very tough wrestler in Gallick.

Gallick showed a lot of improvement last year and is a dangerous wrestler who is capable of turning a match around in a hurry.

Sesker’s pick: Jaggers

149 – Brent Metcalf (Iowa) vs. Darrion Caldwell (North Carolina State)

This is the matchup that everyone wants to see.

Metcalf suffered his only collegiate loss exactly one year ago to Caldwell, who caught him with a spladle. Watching the video, Metcalf does not look to be pinned. Not even close.

Metcalf, the best collegiate wrestler since Cael Sanderson, can’t wait for this match. Caldwell is very explosive and dangerous, but he also has pulled out some low-scoring matches as well.

Hopefully, both guys will open it up since it doesn’t count on their records. That could be really fun to watch.

Sesker’s pick: Metcalf

157 – Jordan Leen (Cornell) vs. Cyler Sanderson (Iowa State)

This could be another entertaining bout to watch, as both wrestlers are capable of putting on a show.

Leen has already been in some tough battles this season, including suffering an overtime loss to Harvard’s J.P. O’Connor.

Sanderson is another Iowa State wrestler who has made major improvements since coming to Ames. But Leen obviously has won when the stakes were the highest.

I wouldn’t have minded seeing another 157 match tonight with Mike Poeta of Illinois battling Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro again. Their match in Las Vegas last season was one of the best of the 2007-08 college season.

But Leen-Sanderson will be interesting to watch.

Sesker’s pick: Sanderson

165 – Nick Marable (Missouri) vs. Mack Lewnes (Cornell)

This is a rematch of the third-place match from the 2008 NCAAs, won by Marable.

Both wrestlers will contend for the NCAA title this year. Marable proved how tough he was in the postseason last year. Lewnes is just a sophomore, but he has really been impressive.

Look for a real close match here.

Sesker’s pick: Lewnes

174 – Steve Luke (Michigan) vs. Jay Borschel (Iowa)

This looks like one of the toughest bouts to call in the whole dual in a battle of Big Ten rivals.

Luke was second in the country last year and Borschel third.

Luke, in his fourth season as a starter, has an edge in experience. But Borschel performed very well last year in his first year as a starter.

Sesker’s pick: Luke

184 – Phil Keddy (Iowa) vs. Louis Caputo (Harvard)

Keddy may have been the most improved wrestler in the country last year, and reports from Iowa City indicate he may be even better this year.

Caputo is a tough competitor as well, who has excelled during the summer in freestyle.

Keddy is extremely strong, and will be tough for anyone to score on. He really bought in when Tom Brands took over the Iowa program, and it’s paying off for him now.

NCAA champions Jake Herbert of Northwestern and Mike Pucillo of Ohio State aren’t competing tonight, but we will see plenty of those two in the coming months as well.

Sesker’s pick: Keddy

197 – Jake Varner (Iowa State) vs. Hudson Taylor (Maryland)

Speaking of tough to score on, Varner may be the best in the country at keeping opponents off the scoreboard.

Taylor is a workhorse, who is going to keep wrestling hard for seven minutes. He proved that at the 2008 NCAAs.

Varner, a two-time NCAA runner-up, is capable of being a dominant force at 197 if he looks for his offense more.

Sesker’s pick: Varner

285 – Jared Rosholt (Oklahoma State) vs. Kyle Massey (Wisconsin)

Rosholt, Jake’s “little? brother, who definitely has some big shoes to fill, really came into his own last season and enters this season ranked No. 1.

This could be a low-scoring, tactical battle. That seems to be the trend these days in the heavyweight class.

This match doesn’t count, so these big boys need to open it up a little more and give the fans something to watch.

Sesker’s pick: Rosholt

November 20, 2008

NWCA All-Star Classic to feature Caldwell vs. Metcalf 2

NWCA All-Star Classic to feature Caldwell vs. Metcalf 2
Jeff Breese InterMat Wrestling

By Jeff Breese, InterMat

This week is packed with great wrestling action, so much so that it seems unfair to focus on just one match at one event. However, based upon fan interest, No. 1 Brent Metcalf of Iowa versus No. 4 Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State is the premier action of this week.

Caldwell and Metcalf will meet for the second time in their college careers, this time at the NWCA All-Star Classic Presented by the United States Marine Corps. The date for this rematch is November 24 at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

November 24 is significant because it is the one year anniversary of the first meeting between Caldwell and Metcalf. Ironically, that bout also took place in Ohio, but that time at St. Edward High School near Cleveland.

For those who may not know, Caldwell, then ranked No. 6, spladled and pinned the No. 1 ranked Metcalf in 1:40. The match has since become a YouTube sensation and has been the rematch that fans have been aching to see. It nearly happened at the NCAA Championships last March, but Caldwell fell one win short of the finals, losing a close bout with Bubba Jenkins of Penn State. Metcalf then handled Jenkins in the finals to win the NCAA title and cap off an undefeated string dating back to the match with Caldwell. Caldwell finished last season by taking fifth at the NCAA Championships.

Going into the bout on Monday, Caldwell is 8-0 and has already defeated the No. 5 and No. 7 wrestlers in the country. Metcalf will be seeing his first action of the season on Friday at the Iowa City Duals.

The popular sentiment is that there is no chance of Caldwell repeating his performance of a first period fall. Many fans favor Metcalf in this battle, as he is the returning national champion. It has even been said that Metcalf will try to make an example of Caldwell, while avenging his only loss from last season.

The flip side of the argument is that Caldwell is potentially the only wrestler in the weight capable of beating Metcalf, because of his high point output and because he is dangerous from any position.

Monday night will prove one group of fans correct, at least for right now.

Caldwell versus Metcalf may be the most anticipated match Monday night, but it certainly will not be the only quality bout. The full list of participants and ticket information can be found at:

Nov. 21- No. 9 Michigan at No. 22 Lehigh
Nov. 21 – No. 14 Penn State at No. 4 Cornell
Nov. 21- No. 2 Iowa State at No. 12 Wisconsin
Nov. 22- No. 9 Michigan at No. 21 Penn
Nov. 22- No. 20 Old Dominion at No. 19 Oklahoma
Nov. 22 No. 16 Hofstra at No. 5 Missouri
Nov. 22- Body Bar Invitational
Nov. 23- Sprawl and Brawl
Nov. 23- Keystone Classic
Nov. 23- No. 20 Old Dominion at No. 7 Oklahoma State

Caldwell replaces Jenkins in NWCA All-Star Classic

Caldwell replaces Jenkins in NWCA All-Star Classic
North Carolina State University Sports Information

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A year ago, Darrion Caldwell became NC State's first All-American in 12 years. Now, Caldwell has become the first Wolfpack wrestler in 16 years to earn an invitation to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic.

The NWCA All-Star Classic, presented by the United States Marine Corps, normally pairs the top two college wrestlers in each of the 10 weight classifications. This year's event will be hosted by Ohio State University at St. John Arena on Monday, November 24. Caldwell will face No. 1-ranked Brent Metcalf of Iowa at 149 pounds in what will be the one-year anniversary of their first meeting. Caldwell met Metcalf, then ranked No. 6, last November 24 in a dual match in Lakewood, Ohio. Caldwell stunned Metcalf by pinning him in 1:40.

Metcalf did not lose another match after his loss to Caldwell. He finished the season 35-1 and won the national championship. As of November 17, he had not seen action yet this season. Caldwell finished fifth in the nation a year ago at 149 to earn All-America honors. He is off to an 8-0 start with three falls, a technical fall, and three victories over ranked opponents. Caldwell is No. 4 in the latest NWCA rankings.

Bouts in the NWCA All-Star Classic are counted as exhibition matches only and will affect neither the national rankings or postseason seedings.

Exhibition or not, this will be Caldwell's 13th career match vs. a top 10 opponent. As a freshman 141-pounder, he went 2-2 vs. top 10 foes. Since moving up to 149 pounds last season, Caldwell has wrestled eight matches against top 10 opponents and won them all, including two this season. He defeated fifth-ranked Lance Palmer of Ohio State 2-1 at the Wolfpack Open, then took an 8-4 decision over No. 7 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last weekend.

Caldwell is 64-11 for his career with 36 falls. He ranks fourth in NC State history in career winning percentage (.853), third in career pins, and needs eight more victories to crack the school's top 20 for career victories.

The last NC State wrestler invited to participate in the NWCA All-Star Classic was Sylvester Terkay, who participated twice, in 1992 and 1993, and won both times.

Tickets for those fortunate enough to attend are $10 apiece. All children 6 and under are admitted free of charge. NWCA members receive a complimentary ticket when showing their NWCA membership card. Call TicketMaster at 614-431-3600 to order your tickets or visit ESPNU will air the event on tape delay. Dates and times will be announced once they become available.

November 14, 2008

Westwood High School in Iowa seeks support for wrestlers injured in terrible accident

Westwood High School in Iowa seeks support for wrestlers injured in terrible accident
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

The wrestling family from a small community in Northwest Iowa is reaching out for support and prayers, after a automobile terrible accident on Saturday, Nov. 8, which has devastated the community.

Five high school wrestlers and their coach were heading to a wrestling clinic in a vehicle, which was struck head-on by another vehicle. The driver of the other auto was killed, and the six Westwood High School passengers were injured and hospitalized.

The plight of the Westwood community was first shared with the nation, when Jason Bryant of Wrestling 411 wrote about it on his blog, as well as on the company website. To read Bryant’s appeal to the wrestling community, visit:

“We are a five small towns in Iowa. All of them have 1,000 people or less. We are rural Iowa,? said Kirk Ahrends, the Westwood Schools Superintendent. “We come together at the best of times and the worst of times. I can’t say how much our community is coming together and helping our boys and our coach.?

Now, days after the accident, each of those who were victims of the crash are dealing with different medical issues, all which need immediate and extensive care.

The Westwood School District has set up an account where people can make donations to support the medical care for the wrestlers and coach.

The Sloan State Bank, 302 4th Street, Sloan, Iowa 51055 has set up seven individual accounts for donations to the following victims:
Dan Thompson, Coach
Trent Baker, Student in accident
Adam Greeno, Student in accident
Blake Jorgensen, Student in accident
Jordan Mitchell, Student in accident
Sage Washburn, Student in accident
Quaid Haburn, Student whose father was killed in other vehicle

Donations can be addressed to each individual account if you like to donate to a specific person or donations addressed to the "Westwood Accident Victims" will be divided equally among the accounts. Please note these donations are not tax deductible.

“We are trying to make arrangements with a charitable organization in town that can take donations on a tax deductible basis,? said Ahrends. “It is in progress. We hope to have that set up by Friday.?

There are specific medical needs that need attention right away.

“We are progressing with one of our boys to go to the Craig Institute in Colorado. That is a program for paralyzed students. That is a long-term situation for he and his family to move out there. It may be up to 180 days,? said Ahrends.

“We have two other students who are facing operations. We don’t know what those needs are yet. There will be long term needs for them,? said Ahrends. “The good news is we had one student walk out on Monday. We hope our coach and another student may be out of the hospital by Friday.?

This tragic accident has brought the community together, both within the school district, but also around the state of Iowa. In addition, prayers and support have flowed in from the wrestling community all across the nation;

“They are 25 miles from my school shoes. The head coach there is a very good friend,? said Casey Conover, head wrestling coach for Maple-Valley/Anthon-Oto High School and one of the many people working to help the Westwood wrestlers. “It was a horrible accident. Any help they receive would be greatly appreciated.?

No women were injured in the accident.

Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf sets example on and off the mat

Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf sets example on and off the mat
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Brent Metcalf didn’t pump his fist. He didn’t jump up and down.

He didn’t leap into the arms of his coaches.

He didn’t even crack a smile.

He had just won his first NCAA championship at 149 pounds to cap a magical season where he led Iowa to its first national team title in eight years.

Metcalf simply walked off the mat after his 14-8 national finals win over Penn State’s Bubba Jenkins at the 2008 NCAA Championships in St. Louis. That reaction provided a microcosm of what makes the multi-talented Metcalf tick.

“I was happy with the win, not so much with the performance. I don’t like giving up points – that’s not how you want to wrestle,? Metcalf said. “I don’t want to give my opponent the satisfaction of watching me celebrate, which would make it look like a big deal that I beat him.?

What Metcalf did during his first official season of collegiate competition was a very big deal. Metcalf entered his sophomore season with plenty of hype and lofty expectations.

He more than lived up to them by joining past Iowa State star Cael Sanderson shoes as the only sophomore to win the Dan Hodge Trophy as the best collegiate wrestler in the United States. He also was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments, and honored as Big Ten Wrestler of the Year.

His biggest achievement may have come when he was named Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year, beating out athletes in more high profile sports like football and basketball.

So what does Metcalf do for an encore? Now a junior, Metcalf starts this season ranked No. 1 for the top-ranked team in the country. Iowa returns five All-Americans from the national championship team from last season.

Iowa won the 2008 NCAA title by a whopping 38.5 points over runner-up Ohio State.

“We didn’t have all the success we wanted last year from an individual point of view,? Metcalf said. “Our guys are motivated to put 10 guys on the podium, 10 guys on top of the podium.?

Last season, Metcalf suffered an upset loss to North Carolina State’s Darrion Caldwell early in the year before tearing through college wrestling en route to his first national crown.

The Hodge Trophy has traditionally gone to a wrestler who makes it through the season unbeaten. And typically to an upperclassmen.

But Metcalf’s memorable season made him the logical choice for the 2008 Hodge Trophy, presented annually by Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine.

“Brent Metcalf epitomizes what it means to force action on the wrestling mat,? said Bryan Van Kley, publisher of WIN. “And that makes for a very entertaining style of wrestling when a guy is constantly looking to dominate. This was the biggest factor in him winning the Dan Hodge Trophy. He goes after the pin, and he's constantly trying to build on a lead.

?And even more importantly, he's a top-shelf person as well. I've heard Coach Tom Brands challenge his entire team by pointing at Brent and saying, 'If you want to be a champion, live your life like Brent Metcalf lives his.' Brands challenges his guys to commit to the sport in the way that Metcalf does, and commit to living their life the way he does off the mat. Everything in his life has a purpose, and he’s the type of guy who other wrestlers can look up to.?

A quick glance at Metcalf’s sophomore season provides proof of his dominance. He went 35-1 and won his last 32 matches of the season. He scored bonus points in all but 10 of his victories.

He had his opponents constantly backpedaling and trying to wrestle on the edge of the mat. His relentless style and superior conditioning had many opponents gasping for air in the third, and sometimes even second, period of a match.

“Brent has a wide-open style,? Brands said. “He goes hard and he goes smart. There is no let up at all with him in anything he does. He just works hard and he keeps getting better. He's a ferocious competitor.?

Metcalf, a sociology major, also excels in the classroom. He is an Academic All-American.

“Brent is passionate about everything he does,? Brands said. “There are no distractions off the mat with him. He’s a very good student and just a well-rounded kid.?

Metcalf lost a season of eligibility when he followed Brands from Virginia Tech to Iowa just over two years ago. Virginia Tech refused to release Metcalf from his scholarship, costing him his freshman season. Metcalf was unable to compete as an Iowa freshman after redshirting at Virginia Tech the year before.

“(Virginia Tech) has the right to do that through NCAA rules,? Metcalf said. “There is nothing we can do about it. You just have to move on.?

In addition to wrestling for Tom Brands, Metcalf also is being coached by Terry Brands this season. Terry Brands, Tom’s twin brother, joined the Hawkeye coaching staff after serving as the Freestyle Resident Coach at USA Wrestling. Terry Brands coached Henry Cejudo to an Olympic gold medal and past Hawkeye standout Bill Zadick to a World title.

“It’s great having Terry in the room now,? Metcalf said. “It’s a new voice and a new face, but it’s the same message. It’s consistent with the same standard that Tom lives by and preaches. I’ve worked with Terry at the Olympic Training Center, and he’s a great coach.?

Metcalf, 22, continues to be a top prospect internationally at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. He reached the Challenge Tournament semifinals at June’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials before falling to Zadick. Metcalf then lost his next match, in three periods to past National Team member Jared Frayer, and fell short of placing.

“I’ve gained a lot of good experience wrestling freestyle,? Metcalf said. “The guys at that level obviously are tougher. I need to wrestle smarter. I’m going to continue to go to my offense and score points. I’m at my best when I’m attacking, whether it's freestyle or folkstyle. To me, wrestling is wrestling. You approach it the same way.?

Count Dan Gable, an Olympic and World champion who coached Iowa to 15 NCAA titles, among those who see Metcalf making an impact at the international level in freestyle wrestling.

“From USA Wrestling’s point of view, he is the type of kid who can be a catalyst for them and he has the makings of someone who can go a long way internationally,? Gable said. “He has the attitude, the tenacity and the intensity that sets him apart. And he has shown big-time improvement with his technique. If he keeps getting better and keeps working, he can be very good at the next level.?

For now, Metcalf is focused on the college season.

“I just have to continue to do what I’ve done, and bring it to another level,? he said. “I need to score points, and get majors, tech falls and pins. We really want to put it on guys, we really want to dominate. There's always more to do, there's always more work to be done."

Metcalf’s life has been anything but easy. His brother, Chase, died in an automobile accident. And then he lost the year of college eligibility when he transferred to Iowa.

“Brent’s dealt with a lot of adversity in his life, and I think it’s made him a lot stronger,? Gable said. “He’s a very focused, very driven kid. He does everything the right way, on and off the mat. He’s a great example for everyone in the Iowa program. He’s just a winner, plain and simple.?

November 12, 2008

ACC/Big Ten Clash a premier tournament this weekend

ACC/Big Ten Clash a premier tournament this weekend
Jeff Breese InterMat Wrestling

The third week of the season will again be a mix duals and opens, but the featured event will be the ACC/Big Ten Clash on Saturday. The third installment of the ACC/Big Ten Clash pits three ACC and three Big Ten schools against each other in round robin format.

The ranked teams involved in the event are No. 9 Illinois, No. 12 Wisconsin, and No. 21 Virginia, with Michigan State, NC State, and North Carolina completing the field.

The team aspect of the ACC taking on the Big Ten is interesting, but the truly exciting part of the event is the individual bouts that put highly ranked wrestlers up against one another early in the season. The ACC/Big Ten Clash also provides wrestlers on the fringe of the rankings a chance to put their name on the map sooner rather than later.

Some of the potential individual match-ups are:

285- No. 3 Kyle Massey (Wisconsin) vs No. 13 Justin Dobies (North Carolina)
184- No. 9 Rocco Caponi (Virginia) vs No. 10 Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin)
149- No. 4 Darrion Caldwell (NC State) vs No. 7 Kyle Ruschell (Wisconsin)
141- No. 13 Zach Tanelli (Wisconsin) vs No. 18 Joe Caramanica (NC State)
141- No. 15 Troy Tirapelle (Illinois) vs No. 18 Joe Caramanica (NC State)
165- No. 13 Roger Smith-Bergsrud (Illinois) vs Keegan Mueller (North Carolina)
174- No. 12 John Dergo (Illinois) vs No. 15 Chris Henrich (Virginia)
285- No. 6 John Wise (Illinois) vs No. 13 Justin Dobies (North Carolina)

Additionally, five other ranked wrestlers will be in action in Chapel Hill on Saturday. NC State’s Ryan Goodman would provide another ranked wrestler and two more duals with ranked wrestlers. However, Goodman will likely be out of the line-up, due to competing on the Wolfpack football team, as well.

Outside of the ACC/Big Ten Clash, there are a few other notable duals taking place this week. No. 5 Missouri opens its season with duals against Lock Haven and Bucknell on Saturday and Sunday. No. 7 Penn State takes on Hofstra on Sunday and No. 18 Oklahoma starts its season against Division II No. 6 Central Oklahoma on Thursday. Also, in Division II, No. 15 Limestone will host No.7 Newberry and No. 13 Mercyhurst for a tri-meet.

The open tournament scene continues with tournaments throughout the country this weekend, most notably the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open. It is still early in the season, but many important matches are being wrestled, especially in Division I because of the new qualification system. Every win and every loss means a little bit more this year.

There is a lot of action going on between now and March, so make sure to get out and catch it in person at a college in your area.

November 11, 2008

USA Wrestling leader John Carlson among eight high school athletic directors honored by NFHS

USA Wrestling leader John Carlson among eight high school athletic directors honored by NFHS
Bruce Howard NFHS

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (November 10, 2008) - The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will award NFHS Citations to eight high school athletic directors December 16 in San Diego, California, at the 39th annual National Conference of High School Directors of Athletics.

NFHS Citations are presented annually to outstanding athletic directors in recognition of contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels. State associations nominate athletic directors for NFHS Citations, and the NFHS Board of Directors approves recipients.

This year's award winners are Jeffrey M. Benson, CMAA, athletic director, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, South Paris, Maine; William Bowers, CMAA, executive director of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association; John Carlson, CMAA, director of athletics, Chandler (Arizona) Unified School District; Darren Paulson, CAA, activities director, Rapid City (South Dakota) Central High School; George Phelan III, CAA, athletic director, Miami (Florida) Sunset Senior High School; Carol M. Satterwhite, CAA, former athletic director, Wilde Lake High School, Columbia, Maryland; Gary Segrest, CAA, athletic director, Mineral Springs (Arkansas) Public Schools; and Doug Smith, CMAA, athletic administrator, Naperville (Illinois) North High School.

Carlson is a NCEP gold-medal coach with USA Wrestling and has been an active leader within the organization.

Other recipients with a wrestling background include Bowers, Paulson and Phelan.

Citations will be presented at the conference banquet at 6:30
p.m. December 16.

Following are biographical sketches on this year's NFHS Citation
recipients with a wrestling background


Bill Bowers, CMAA, devoted 31 years of stout service as an educator in Springfield (Oregon) Public Schools before becoming executive director of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association (OADA).

Bowers served as a mathematics instructor and the football, wrestling and baseball coach at Hamlin Junior High School from 1972 to 1979, a mathematics instructor, head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Springfield High School from 1979 to 2003, and was athletics and activities director at Springfield High School from 1995
to 2003.

Within the NIAAA, Bowers was state liaison to the NIAAA for six years and a state certification chair for two years, and he has presented more than 30 leadership training courses at state conferences and the national conference. At the state level, Bowers was ticket manager for the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) state championship events for five years, was the Class 3A state wrestling championship meet director for three years and was the Class 1A state volleyball championship meet director for three years. Bowers, who was a member of the OADA executive board for 11 years, also served as the organization's president.

Throughout his career, Bowers has received considerable recognition. He was named Midwestern League Baseball coach of the year in both 1983 and 1988, the Midwestern League athletic director of the year, the OADA AAAA athletic director of the year and the OADA state athletic director of the year. At the national level, he was an NIAAA State Award of Merit recipient in 2003 and an NIAAA Distinguished Service Award recipient in 2005. In addition, he earned the CAA designation in 1998 and in 2002, became the first athletic director in Oregon to attain the CMAA designation.

Bowers has also been a key asset to the community as he was the executive secretary and treasurer of the Oregon Junior Baseball Association, president of the Springfield Baseball Commission and president of Midwestern League Athletic Directors. Currently, he is on the Emerald Kidsports Board of Directors, is the ticket chairman for OSAA state championship events and is the scoreboard operator for the University of Oregon's football and men's basketball teams.


John Carlson, CMAA, has devoted 34 outstanding years to the Chandler (Arizona) Unified School District, including the past 20 as district athletic director.

Prior to assuming Chandler's director of athletics position, Carlson was a teacher and coach at Chandler High School. During that time, he taught Arizona history, world history, safety education, study skills and physical education, and was a driver's education instructor, assistant football coach and head wrestling and track coach. Carlson, who spent his entire educational and coaching career in Arizona, began at Sacaton Public Schools and Central Arizona College.

Carlson, who is a lifetime NIAAA member, has been with the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (AIAAA) for 20 years, including 18 as an executive board member and a term as president in 2006. He also has been a member of the Arizona Coaches Association for 37 years, the Arizona Education Association for 33 years and the National Education Association for 34 years. Carlson has been involved with USA Wrestling since 1981, serving on its junior division executive board since 1998.

Carlson has received a wide range of recognitions throughout his professional career. Among those, he was Chandler Young Educator of the Year and the State of Arizona Young Educator of the Year in 1979, the 3A Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1989, and the 5A Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1990.

Carlson was inducted into the Arizona Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Arizona Coaches Association High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995. At the national level, he received the NIAAA State Award of Merit 2000 and the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 2004.

Carlson, who was Chandler High School head wrestling coach from 1974 to 1991, fielded a nationally ranked program from 1987 to 1990, and led the team to state championships in 1989 and 1990. He also was an 11-year head track coach at Chandler High School and is a gold level certified coach with USA Wrestling.


It takes a special type of person to handle the position of activities director at the largest high school in South Dakota, but Darren Paulson, CAA, has been more than up to the task. For the past five years, he has excelled in that capacity at Rapid City Central (enrollment 2,300) and has been an athletic administrator for 15 years overall.

Before assuming his position at Rapid City, Paulson was both a teacher and a coach at Mission (South Dakota) Todd County and Lead-Deadwood (South Dakota) High Schools, where he coached football, basketball, track and wrestling. He was activities director during his final 10 years at Lead-Deadwood.

Paulson's service at the local, state and national levels has been quite extensive. Nationally, he was a member of the NIAAA Membership and Service Committee from 2000 to 2001; he obtained his CAA designation in 1998 and has been an attendee of seven national conferences, serving as a delegate in 2000, 2003 and 2004.

At the state level, Paulson has been a member of the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Board of Directors since 1998, serving as president, vice president and second vice president, and he currently is state assistant leadership training coordinator. Within the South Dakota High School Activities Association, Paulson has been chairman of both the ad-hoc calendar committee and the out-of-season rules committee, and he has been a member of the State Football Advisory Committee since 2002. He has been state event/tournament manager for 11 different sports, including track, boys and girls basketball, and wrestling.

Among his many recognitions, Paulson was named Regional Activities Director of the Year in 2001, South Dakota Assistant Football Coach of the Year in 2001 and South Dakota Assistant Principal of the Year in 2003.


George Phelan III, CAA, has been an outstanding athletic director at Miami (Florida) Sunset Senior High since 1984, but his exemplary service at the school actually goes back to when he was hired as a member of the original staff in 1978.

Phelan was a guidance counselor during his first five years at the school, a position he continues to hold today along with being athletic director. Prior to his time at Miami Sunset, Phelan was a teacher and coach from 1971 to 1978 at Henry H. Filer Junior High, Hialeah High School and Miami Killian High Schools in Florida. Prior to becoming an athletic director, he coached cross country, badminton and wrestling for 13 years.

An NIAAA member since 1984, Phelan has attended all but one national conference during that time, was a member of the Florida Host Committee at three national conferences, was on the Awards Committee, and has been Florida's delegate to the NIAAA Delegate Assembly on two separate occasions. In recognition of his service to the organization, he received both an NIAAA State Award of Merit in 1995 and a Distinguished Service Award in 2005.

At the state level, Phelan has been an active member of the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (FIAAA) since 1984. Among his leadership positions, he has served as FIAAA president, FIAAA Board of Directors District 16 director and FIAAA Higher Education Committee chairman. In addition, he has been an FIAAA state conference presenter, panelist, discussion leader, moderator and audio visual coordinator. He has also served the Florida High School Athletic Association as a member of the Representative Assembly, the Athletic Directors' Advisory Board and the inaugural Public Liaison Advisory Committee.

Phelan has received numerous recognitions during his tenure at Miami Sunset. Among those, he was named 1984 "Wrestling Coach of the Year" by The Miami News, was chosen Dade County Counseling Association High School Counselor of the Year in 1998 and the FIAAA State of Florida Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2007.

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level.

Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 18,500 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; produces publications for high school coaches, officials and athletic directors; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, spirit coaches, speech and debate coaches and music adjudicators; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at

November 8, 2008

WCWA women’s college wrestling rankings released for November

WCWA women’s college wrestling rankings released for November

The November rankings from the Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA) have been released.

There are five new No. 1 ranked wrestlers, who have taken over the top spot since the first pre-season ranking was published in October. The new No. 1 ranked wrestlers include Joey Miller of Oklahoma City Univ. at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., Alyssa Lampe of Northern Michigan USOEC at 51 kg/112.25 lbs., Samantha Schuman of Missouri Baptist at 55 kg/121 lbs., Tatiana Padilla of Lindenwood at 59 kg/130 lbs. and Lacey Novinska of Oklahoma City Univ. at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Two of the top ranked athletes are freshmen, Padilla and Miller. Padilla recently won a bronze medal at the Women’s World Wrestling Championships held in Tokyo, Japan. Miller won a pair of tournaments in recent weeks, the Lady Oaks Invitational in Atherton, Calif. and the Sparta Cup in Salinas, Puerto Rico.

Lampe, who was second in last year’s WCWA Nationals, placed second in the U.S. Women’s World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. this fall.

Oklahoma City Univ. had the most wrestlers with top rankings with five: Miller, Novinska, Lene Wood at 44 kg/97 lbs., Carrie Clark at 82 kg/180.25 and Brittany Delgado at 95 kg/209 lbs. Checkout the videos on flowrestling

Six different teams boasted No. 1 wrestlers, and no team except Oklahoma City Univ. had more than one top-ranked athlete.

Other No. 1 athletes in this ranking included Karen Howe of Missouri Valley College at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Amberlee Ebert of Wisconsin-River Falls at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

The rankings will be published monthly, with two rankings during January.

Released November 6, 2008

44 kg/97 lbs.
1. Lene Wood (Oklahoma City Univ.)
2. Stephanie Waters (Oklahoma City Univ.)
3. Priscilla Brownsfield (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
4. Daphne Anne Hogdson (Simon Fraser)
5. Lisa Martinez (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
6. Kiki Araki (Simon Fraser)
7. Ashley Shannon (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
8. Cynthia Zamora (Lindenwood)

48 kg/105.5 lbs.
1. Joey Miller (Oklahoma City Univ.)
2. Joleen Oshiro (Stanford)
3. Nicole Woody (Oklahoma City Univ.)
4. Ashley McKilligan (Simon Fraser)
5. Ashley Dehnz (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
6. Rachael Holthaus (Wisc.-River Falls)
7. Lauren Tallman (Menlo)
8. Christina Varland (Jamestown)

51 kg/112.25 lbs.
1. Alyssa Lampe (Northern Michigan USOEC)
2. Katherine Fulp-Allen (Menlo)
3. Jackie Stiles (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
4. Leann Barney (Oklahoma City Univ.)
5. Tiffany Sluik (Jamestown)
6. Emily Martin (Northern Michigan USOEC)
7. Erica Torres (Oklahoma City Univ.)
8. Shannon Reeves (Univ. of the Cumberlands)

55 kg/121 lbs.
1. Samantha Schuman (Missouri Baptist)
2. Michaela Hutchison (Oklahoma City Univ.)
3. Carla O’Connell (Menlo)
4. Ashley Hudson (Oklahoma City Univ.)
5. Amy Whitbeck (Northern Michigan USOEC)
6. Beth Johnson (Northern Michigan USOEC)
7. Rita Pare (Simon Fraser)
8. Tani Ader (Jamestown)

59 kg/130 lbs.
1. Tatiana Padilla (Lindenwood)
2. Samantha Fee (Missouri Valley College)
3. Nikki Darrow (Northern Michigan USOEC)
4. Breisja Macera (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
5. Jessica Kelvas (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
6. Firen Gassmen (Oklahoma City Univ.)
7. Raissa Dickinson (Simon Fraser)
8. J’aime Sage (Menlo)

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
1. Karen Howe (Missouri Valley College)
2. Samantha Phillips (Oklahoma City Univ.)
3. Schuyler Brown (Northern Michigan USOEC)
4. Jenny Germany (Missouri Valley College)
5. Monique Cabrera (Menlo)
6. Danielle Lappage (Simon Fraser)
7. Paige Rife (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
8. Tessa Plana (Oklahoma City Univ.)

67 kg/147.5 lbs.
1. Amberlee Ebert (Wisc.-River Falls)
2. Stefenie Shaw (Oklahoma City Univ.)
3. Stacie Anaka (Simon Fraser)
4. Zinna Anyanwuh (Missouri Valley College)
5. Lauren Knight (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
6. Melissa Apodaca (Northern Michigan USOEC)
7. Ashlee Evans-Smith (Menlo)
8. Ku’uipo Badayos (Jamestown)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
1. Lacey Novinska (Oklahoma City Univ.)
2. Lindsay Brooks (Northern Michigan USOEC)
3. Erin Clodgo (Northern Michigan USOEC)
4. Erin Church (Simon Fraser)
5. Melissa Brooks (Northern Michigan USOEC)
6. Moriah Fernandez (Menlo)
7. Christen Paysse (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
8. Erin Fierro (San Jose State)

82 kg/180.25 lbs.
1. Carrie Clark (Oklahoma City Univ.)
2. Terri Milkoff (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
3. Brittany Caoile (Menlo)
4. Hillar Greening (Simon Fraser)
5. Keron Scott (Oklahoma City Univ.)
6. Des Memea (Missouri Baptist)
7. Jessica Scott (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
8. Sunya Maxwel (Jamestown)

95 kg/209 lbs.
1. Brittany Delgado (Oklahoma City Univ.)
2. Lakia Henderson (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
3. Amanda Athon (Jamestown)
4. Tasha McCuller (Missouri Baptist)
5. Laura Stewart (Menlo)
6. Amber Floyd (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
7. Cardellen Parker (San Jose State)

November 6, 2008

Northwestern's Jake Herbert ready to make run at Hodge Trophy, second NCAA title

Northwestern's Jake Herbert ready to make run at Hodge Trophy, second NCAA title
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

In the photo: Jake Herbert looks for points against Germany's Davyd Bichinashvili in the finals of the 2008 Dave Schultz Memorial International. Herbert beat Bichinashvili, who went on to place fifth in the Olympics. Photo by

If it seems like Jake Herbert has been at Northwestern University forever … well, he has been.

Long-time teammates like fellow national champion Dustin Fox, along with All-Americans Ryan Lang and Mike Tamillow, have completed their eligibility for the Wildcats.

Most of his classmates have graduated and moved on to the business and professional world.

So when the outgoing, fun-loving Herbert was spotted on campus this fall heading to class for the start of his sixth year at Northwestern, fellow students couldn’t resist the opportunity to give him some grief.

“They are like, ‘What are you still doing here?’? Herbert said with a laugh.

The 23-year-old Herbert has one season of eligibility left after taking an Olympic redshirt during the 2007-08 school year.

He originally redshirted at Northwestern during the 2003-04 school year. He followed by placing third, second and first at the NCAA Championships before being granted an Olympic redshirt last season.

“It’s kind of sad that this is finally my senior year,? said Herbert, who is just a handful of credits shy of earning his degree in communications studies. “They say college is the best years of your life, and I did my best to extend it to six years. I wish I could go back and be a freshman all over again. I love it here. I’ve grown so much as a wrestler and a person. It’s been great.?

To say Herbert enters the 2008-09 season with lofty goals is a huge understatement. He is ranked second nationally at 184 pounds behind returning NCAA champion Mike Pucillo of Ohio State.

“I already told (Iowa’s Brent) Metcalf I’m coming after him for the Hodge Trophy this year and he said, ‘Bring it,’? Herbert said with a laugh. “I want to dominate. I want to pin everybody I wrestle. And when the college season ends, I’m jumping into freestyle 100 percent. My plan is to win a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships.?

During his Olympic redshirt season, Herbert showed signs that his goal of winning a World freestyle title is legitimate.

He won a pair of international events – the Hargobind International in Canada and the Dave Schultz Memorial International. Herbert, who competes internationally for the New York Athletic Club, also placed second in the Sunkist Kids International Open.

Herbert knocked off Germany’s Davyd Bichinashvili in the finals of the Schultz event. Bichinashvili placed fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games. Herbert also posted two wins last season over Andy Hrovat, who went on to make the U.S. Olympic Team at 84 kg/185 lbs.

“I learned so much and gained so much experience last year,? Herbert said. “You can’t put a price on how valuable that Olympic redshirt season was for me. I know I can wrestle with, and beat, anybody in the World.?

Even with the fast start, Herbert struggled late in the season. Seeded third at the U.S. Nationals, Herbert won his first match before losing his next two. He fell short of placing in the top eight. He followed by going 1-2 and not placing at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June.

Two of his freestyle losses last season came to wrestlers – Iowa State’s Jake Varner and Michigan’s Tyrel Todd – who competed in the 2007-08 college season.

Two weeks after the Olympic Trials, Herbert went to see the doctor.

“I was feeling really tired, and I was just dying in the third period of some of my matches,? Herbert said. “I was having trouble breathing and they diagnosed me with asthma.?

With the asthma under control, Herbert came back to win a bronze medal at the World University Championships in July. He dropped a controversial, three-period match to Turkey’s Muharrem Ersahin before coming back to take third.

“I wrestled fantastic and I felt great at University Worlds – that got me back on track,? said Herbert, who also placed third at the 2006 World University Championships. “I feel great right now, better than I’ve ever felt, going into the college season.?

Herbert, who has compiled a sparkling 101-4 record in his college career, returns to the mat this weekend when Northwestern opens its season at the Michigan State wrestling gear Open.

“Jake’s working harder than ever,? Northwestern coach Tim Cysewski said. “He’s definitely a student of the game. He’s always looking for an edge and always wanting to get better. He’s a great leader. He makes his teammates better because he’s always pushing them. He’s very involved with our team and very supportive of our wrestlers, from top to bottom. He’s like another coach.?

Herbert’s chief competition at the collegiate level this year will be Pucillo, the Ohio State junior who won the NCAA title in 2008. Herbert beat Pucillo 11-5 in their only career meeting, which came during the 2006-07 season.

“Pucillo’s a tough kid,? Herbert said. “He’s very smart and very tactical, and he keeps things close. He obviously had a great NCAA tournament last year and he had an amazing season. I look forward to wrestling him again.?

Some wrestling observers have questioned why Herbert would start the season ranked second. Herbert has not lost a collegiate match since falling to Missouri’s Ben Askren in the 2006 NCAA finals.

“I really don’t care where they put me – that’s their opinion and that’s rankings,? he said. “All I really care about is what happens at the NCAA tournament. That’s all that matters anyway.?

Herbert’s impact on the Northwestern campus in suburban Chicago has extended well beyond the wrestling mat.

“Jake’s definitely been the face of Northwestern wrestling, but he’s been a great asset to the whole athletic department,? Cysewski said. “He’s not a football player or a basketball player, but he’s the best role model for the athletic program here. He supports the other athletic programs and he’s like the Pied Piper where he gets people to follow him. Northwestern had a big soccer game against Ohio State, and Jake had all the wrestlers out there and our guys were all painted up for the game. It was fantastic. And then when we wrestled at home, a bunch of the soccer players reciprocated and came over to support Jake and the wrestling team.?

Herbert, from Wexford, Pa., is among a group of talented young freestyle wrestlers in the U.S. Many of those wrestlers will be in contention to make the 2009 U.S. World Team.

“We’re not that far away from being one of the top teams in the World again,? he said. “We’ve got some real good young wrestlers in the U.S. – guys like Brent Metcalf – who are very hungry. We have the desire to be the best in the World.?

His college coach believes Herbert can reach that level.

“Jake can definitely win a gold medal at the World and Olympic level if he stays focused, stays healthy and continues to improve. I know he can do it,? Cysewski said. “He’s one of those rare guys – he says he’s going to do something and then he goes out and does it. His potential is unbelievable. He has the right attitude and the right work ethic to win the Olympics. I have no doubt about that.?

November 5, 2008

McCoy vs. Santoro headlines Maryland-Lehigh dual

McCoy vs. Santoro headlines Maryland-Lehigh dual
Jeff Breese InterMat

The second week of the college wrestling season is underway and this week there is no bigger dual meet than the Lehigh versus Maryland on Sunday. It is the most important Division I dual meet scheduled this weekend. This dual has several story lines to follow just with the competitors alone, but none of them compare to the intrigue of the coaching match-up.

It will be Kerry McCoy versus Pat Santoro or Pat Santoro versus Kerry McCoy, depending on your point of view.

The two coaches have a long history with each other and, in a sense, have followed each other from job to job. When McCoy was a student-athlete at Penn State, Santoro was part of the Nittany Lion coaching staff. Once McCoy graduated he became a member of the Nittany Lion coaching staff and Santoro became an assistant at Lehigh. After three seasons at Penn State, McCoy then joined Santoro at Lehigh as the director wrestling and head coach at the Lehigh Valley Athletic Club. Santoro and McCoy were on the same staff at Lehigh until 2004 when Santoro became the head coach at Maryland.

A year later, McCoy left Lehigh to become the head coach at Stanford. It seemed like the cycle would stop there, until this off-season. Greg Strobel stepped down as the Lehigh head coach and Santoro was awarded the position. McCoy, just as in the past, followed the Santoro trail and took the head coaching vacancy at Maryland. Now, to kick-off the 100th season of the Lehigh wrestling, the two old friends will send their best out onto the mat to do battle against each other. Santoro will be coaching against his old team, a program he built into ACC Champs last season.

The dual may not seem to be a tight match on paper, but when both teams lace up their wrestling shoes we should see well prepared athletes who should know each other inside and out. Add in the atmosphere that Lehigh fans provide at any home dual and this match could become much closer than anticipated.

The bouts at 133 and 141 should provide a lot of intrigue and have some back story of their own. Maryland’s Steve Bell and Lehigh’s Matt Fisk square off in a battle of P.I.A.A. Champions at 133. Fisk had the more storied high school career, but Bell will come into the bout ranked No. 13, seven spots higher than Fisk.

Former Easton High School teammates, Alex Krom of Maryland and Seth Ciasulli of Lehigh, will gear up head-to-head at 141. Both wrestlers had stellar high school careers for Easton. Krom set the all-time District 11 wins record and Ciasulli was a three-time Pennsylvania placer. Entering the match Sunday, Ciasulli will be ranked No. 20 and Krom is unranked coming off of a redshirt year.

The Lehigh versus Maryland on Sunday will clearly be the highlight dual, but several opens and invitationals will be going on throughout the weekend. Highlights of these tournaments include: The Oklahoma Gold Classic, the National Catholic Invitational, the Daktronics Open, and the W&J Open.

The Oklahoma Gold Classic, which is hosted by SUNY-Brockport, includes Division I teams such as Edinboro, Hofstra, Kent State, Army, and, of course, Oklahoma. The NCI showcases a mix of Division II East Region talent and throws in Divsion I Duquesne and Sacred Heart. The Daktronics Open is the best tournament to see schools from the Midwest compete and provides a first glimpse at Nebraska-Omaha, which looks to be a dominant force in Division II this season. The W&J Open is one of the tournaments that flies under the radar, but continues to become tougher each season with a good mix of Division I and II teams.

This weekend should be interesting and each week will become more exciting as rivalry matches and conference duals creep closer.

November 4, 2008

College Wrestling Schedules added at Wrestling Talk has released the 2008-2009 NCAA Wrestling Schedules for all available Division 1 NCAA Wrestling teams. Below you will find a listing of each week throughout the season:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30
Week 31
Week 32

Enjoy the awesome college wrestling coverage!

November 3, 2008

Reiter Chooses Minnesota

Bart Reiter, ranked 80 by InterMat, has given a verbal to the University of Minnesota. Reiter wom a state title for Don Bosco High School in Iowa last season.

Find out when Iowa wrestles Minnesota by viewing the wrestling schedule.

October 31, 2008

Cornell's Troy Nickerson back on the mat, ready to make run at NCAA title

Cornell's Troy Nickerson back on the mat, ready to make run at NCAA title
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Cornell’s Troy Nickerson spent much of his summer trying to decide if he was going to bump up to 133 pounds or stay at 125 for the upcoming college season.

That was until he watched the Olympics.

Inspired by the gold-medal victory by American Henry Cejudo – a guy he grew up winning numerous national age-group tournaments with – Nickerson plans to return to 125 for his junior season.

Not only that, Nickerson plans to drop down to 55 kg/121 lbs. when he straps on the wrestling shoes for freestyle after the college season.

“Henry’s a year younger than me and we were always a weight class apart when we competed in the same events,? Nickerson said. “He’s a great competitor, and it didn’t surprise me a bit to see him win the Olympics. I see myself being at a similar level – I have the same kind of aspirations. Seeing Henry win motivated me to get back down to 125. That’s where I will be at my best.?

Nickerson is back on the mat for his junior season after missing the 2007-08 campaign with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He suffered the injury last November and had surgery in December.

Nickerson, from Chenango Forks, N.Y., placed second at the 2006 NCAA Championships as a true freshman before finishing third in the 2007 NCAA meet.

“I was pretty eager to get back on the mat,? he said. “It’s been 18 months since I’ve been in a competitive match. It feels great to be back in the practice room and be healthy again.?

Nickerson made an immediate splash in his first season with Cornell, storming all the way to the NCAA finals as a true freshman before falling to returning champion Joe Dubuque of Indiana in the finals.

Nickerson entered the 2007 NCAAs in Auburn Hills, Mich., as the No. 2 seed behind Sam Hazewinkel of Oklahoma. Nickerson suffered a 2-1 double-overtime loss to No. 6 seed Paul Donahoe of Nebraska in the semifinals. Donahoe went on to knock off Hazewinkel in the finals.

“I thought it was my tournament to win and I kind of blew it,? Nickerson said. “I’m determined that this is going to be my year to get it done.?

Nickerson said he wasn’t at his best for the 2007 NCAAs.

“My back was bothering me and I wasn’t 100 percent healthy,? he said. “I wasn’t able to train, get in shape and get my weight down right because of my back. I got myself in a close match and didn’t do enough to win. I had a bunch of chances to score and I didn’t take advantage of it against (Donahoe).

Nickerson was in attendance at the 2008 NCAAs in St. Louis when Indiana’s Angel Escobedo won the title at 125. Nickerson beat Escobedo twice in the 2007 NCAA meet, in the quarterfinals and in the third-place match. Nickerson also has pinned Escobedo in a freestyle matchup.

Escobedo is back this season. Donahoe, now at Edinboro, also is back at 125. Donahoe placed third at the 2008 NCAA meet.

“It was definitely real hard to watch at the NCAAs,? Nickerson said. “I really wanted to be out there.?

Nickerson starts the season ranked second behind Escobedo, who is also a junior.

Nickerson, who is 58-5 in his college career, is part of a loaded Cornell team that could make a run at the NCAA team title this year. The Big Red will have six All-Americans in their lineup this season, including returning NCAA champion Jordan Leen at 157.

“Jordan is training harder than I’ve ever seen him train,? Nickerson said. “He will have a target on his back, but he’s really focused on having another great season.?

Cornell also has All-Americans back in Mike Grey (141), Mack Lewnes (165), Steve Anceravage (174) and Josh Arnone (197).

“I see us right there competing with Iowa and Iowa State for the national title,? Nickerson said. “We have four guys who are potential national champions, plus some other guys who could step in there and be All-Americans. It’s pretty intense in our room right now. It’s real competitive. We’ve developed a lot of depth, and we really push each other.?

Nickerson has his hands full as a Division I athlete and a full-time student at Cornell, an Ivy League school.

He has a 3.0 grade-point average. He is a biology and society major with a concentration in human health and nutrition. He hopes to go on to medical school.

“It’s very tough, trying to balance school and wrestling,? he said. “A lot of nights after practice I will spend another four hours studying. We have a lot on our plate here.?

Nickerson said he plans to compete in April’s U.S. Nationals in freestyle. Nickerson was a two-time Junior Nationals champion and placed second in the 2006 Junior World Team Trials in freestyle.

“I believe I have the potential to compete in the Olympics someday,? he said. “These next four years, it’s time for me to get it done. I will put everything into it I can.?

Before he focuses on freestyle, Nickerson has an NCAA title to win this March in St. Louis.

“Troy looks fantastic right now – he looks better than he ever has before,? Cornell Coach Rob Koll said. “He’s stronger, and technically he’s the same old Troy. I would be really surprised if he doesn’t step in right where he left off, plus a little bit more.?

Cornell's Troy Nickerson back on the mat, ready to make run at NCAA title

Cornell's Troy Nickerson back on the mat, ready to make run at NCAA title
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Cornell’s Troy Nickerson spent much of his summer trying to decide if he was going to bump up to 133 pounds or stay at 125 for the upcoming college wrestling season.

That was until he watched the Olympics.

Inspired by the gold-medal victory by American Henry Cejudo – a guy he grew up winning numerous national age-group tournaments with – Nickerson plans to return to 125 for his junior season.

Not only that, Nickerson plans to drop down to 55 kg/121 lbs. when he competes in freestyle after the college season.

“Henry’s a year younger than me and we were always a weight class apart when we competed in the same events,? Nickerson said. “He’s a great competitor, and it didn’t surprise me a bit to see him win the Olympics. I see myself being at a similar level – I have the same kind of aspirations. Seeing Henry win motivated me to get back down to 125. That’s where I will be at my best.?

Nickerson is back on the mat for his junior season after missing the 2007-08 campaign with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He suffered the injury last November and had surgery in December.

Nickerson, from Chenango Forks, N.Y., placed second at the 2006 NCAA Championships as a true freshman before finishing third in the 2007 NCAA meet.

“I was pretty eager to get back on the mat,? he said. “It’s been 18 months since I’ve been in a competitive match. It feels great to be back in the practice room and be healthy again.?

Nickerson made an immediate splash in his first season with Cornell, storming all the way to the NCAA finals as a true freshman before falling to returning champion Joe Dubuque of Indiana in the finals.

Nickerson entered the 2007 NCAAs in Auburn Hills, Mich., as the No. 2 seed behind Sam Hazewinkel of Oklahoma. Nickerson suffered a 2-1 double-overtime loss to No. 6 seed Paul Donahoe of Nebraska in the semifinals. Donahoe went on to knock off Hazewinkel in the finals.

“I thought it was my tournament to win and I kind of blew it,? Nickerson said. “I’m determined that this is going to be my year to get it done.?

Nickerson said he wasn’t at his best for the 2007 NCAAs.

“My back was bothering me and I wasn’t 100 percent healthy,? he said. “I wasn’t able to train, get in shape and get my weight down right because of my back. I got myself in a close match and didn’t do enough to win. I had a bunch of chances to score and I didn’t take advantage of it against (Donahoe).

Nickerson was in attendance at the 2008 NCAAs in St. Louis when Indiana’s Angel Escobedo won the title at 125. Nickerson beat Escobedo twice in the 2007 NCAA meet, in the quarterfinals and in the third-place match. Nickerson also has pinned Escobedo in a freestyle matchup.

Escobedo is back this season. Donahoe, now at Edinboro, also is back at 125. Donahoe placed third at the 2008 NCAA meet.

“It was definitely real hard to watch at the NCAAs,? Nickerson said. “I really wanted to be out there.?

Nickerson starts the season ranked second behind Escobedo, who is also a junior.

Nickerson, who is 58-5 in his college career, is part of a loaded Cornell team that could make a run at the NCAA team title this year. The Big Red will have six All-Americans in their lineup this season, including returning NCAA champion Jordan Leen at 157.

“Jordan is training harder than I’ve ever seen him train,? Nickerson said. “He will have a target on his back, but he’s really focused on having another great season.?

Cornell also has All-Americans back in Mike Grey (141), Mack Lewnes (165), Steve Anceravage (174) and Josh Arnone (197).

“I see us right there competing with Iowa and Iowa State for the national title,? Nickerson said. “We have four guys who are potential national champions, plus some other guys who could step in there and be All-Americans. It’s pretty intense in our room right now. It’s real competitive. We’ve developed a lot of depth, and we really push each other.?

Nickerson has his hands full as a Division I athlete and a full-time student at Cornell, an Ivy League school.

He has a 3.0 grade-point average. He is a biology and society major with a concentration in human health and nutrition. He hopes to go on to medical school.

“It’s very tough, trying to balance school and wrestling,? he said. “A lot of nights after practice I will spend another four hours studying. We have a lot on our plate here.?

Nickerson said he plans to compete in April’s U.S. Nationals in freestyle. Nickerson was a two-time Junior Nationals champion and placed second in the 2006 Junior World Team Trials in freestyle.

“I believe I have the potential to compete in the Olympics someday,? he said. “These next four years, it’s time for me to get it done. I will put everything into it I can.?

Before he focuses on freestyle, Nickerson has an NCAA title to win this March in St. Louis.

“Troy looks fantastic right now – he looks better than he ever has before,? Cornell Coach Rob Koll said. “He’s stronger, and technically he’s the same old Troy. I would be really surprised if he doesn’t step in right where he left off, plus a little bit more.?

October 25, 2008

Ohio State's J Jaggers back for more, looking to repeat as NCAA champion

Ohio State's J Jaggers back for more, looking to repeat as NCAA champion
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

In the photo: A bad ankle and a black eye didn't stop J Jaggers from winning the NCAA title at 141 pounds last season.

Shortly after Tom Ryan was hired as the wrestling coach at Ohio State in 2006, J Jaggers was among a group of Buckeye wrestlers who were asked to make a significant sacrifice.

Ryan asked them if they would be willing to restructure their athletic scholarships and take less money.

That would allow the program to build more depth while trying to split up the 9.9 full scholarships the NCAA allows each Division I school for wrestling.

Jaggers, one of the nation’s top recruits coming out of high school, agreed to take less money. So did every other returning scholarship athlete on the OSU roster. Less than two years later, the move already started paying dividends when the Buckeyes finished second at the 2008 NCAA Championships.

Jaggers won an NCAA title last March. So did Mike Pucillo, an athlete OSU landed in large part because of the scholarship money Jaggers and his teammates agreed to give back.

“It was a group sacrifice, and it paid off,? Jaggers said. “We all gave money back. That’s what we needed to do to get a guy like Pucillo. There were about 8 to 10 guys that gave back. I was tired of going into dual meets and only winning 3 out of 10 matches. When Coach Ryan asked us if we were willing to sacrifice, we said we will do whatever it takes to start winning more matches.?

When Ryan was hired to replace Russ Hellickson in the spring of 2006, Jaggers was among the wrestlers who embraced the change in the coaching staff.

A member of the school’s Search Committee for a new head coach, Jaggers endorsed the hiring of Ryan along with assistant coaches Lou Rosselli, Tommy Rowlands and Joe Heskett.

Jaggers has thrived under the current OSU coaching staff. He placed seventh in the 2007 NCAA tournament before winning a national title in 2008 at 141 pounds.

“J wins the old-fashioned way, he works hard,? Ryan said. “He has a strong inner belief system and he’s very good at peaking for big events. He loves the sport and has a deep passion for the sport. And he loves to practice. It’s great to have one of your studs pushing so hard in practice.?

Jaggers said Ryan, who came to Ohio State after a successful run at Hofstra, was the perfect guy to lead the Buckeye program.

“Tom Ryan is one of the most passionate guys about the sport that you will ever see,? Jaggers said. “He will spend 100 man hours if it means getting four extra people in the stands to watch us. He loves Ohio State. He acts like a guy who went to school here and grew up 10 minutes away from the campus. It’s great to see.?

Ryan said guys like Jaggers, who is from Northfield, Ohio, made his transition to OSU much easier.

“J bought in immediately when the new staff came in,? Ryan said. “From Day 1, he was a believer. He completely embraced the change in staff and he gave a big chunk of his scholarship back to help the program. That’s the type of guy J is.?

Much of Jaggers’ development on the mat is a direct result of his relationship with Rosselli, a past Olympian who also has served as a U.S. World Team coach in freestyle wrestling.

“I didn’t know Lou at all when he came in here,? Jaggers said. “From Day 1 that Lou got on campus, he’s been the most influential person with my wrestling. I agree with everything he says wholeheartedly. Lou’s technique is the best I’ve ever seen. His outlook on the sport and what he thinks it takes to win is refreshing to hear. We hit it off right away.?

Rosselli’s impact was most noticeable when the sixth-seeded Jaggers made a surprising run to the 2008 NCAA title in St. Louis.

Jaggers actually lost his very first postseason match of 2008 – a 6-2 setback to Minnesota’s Manuel Rivera in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Championships – before storming back to place third.

“Losing to Rivera, he’s a stud, so there was no shame in that,? Jaggers said. “I beat him in a dual two weeks before that. Once I got that loss out of my system, I avenged a loss to (Iowa's Dan) LeClere and came back to take third. I really felt I was going in the right direction going into nationals.?

Jaggers was not considered one of the favorites when the NCAA brackets were released the Monday before the biggest tournament of the season.

Cal Poly’s Chad Mendes was seeded No. 1, followed by Hofstra’s Charles Griffin and Big Ten champion Kellen Russell of Michigan.

“The number next to my name on the bracket sheet didn’t make much of a difference to me,? Jaggers said. “I was comfortable with the draw I had. Someone had to stand on top of the podium, so why shouldn’t it be me? I felt I deserved it because I work as hard as anyone else.?

Jaggers followed his plan as the No. 6 seed at nationals. He opened with a pair of wins over unseeded wrestlers before matching up with Russell, a talented freshman, in the quarterfinals. Jaggers earned a 5-3 win over the No. 3 seed.

He followed with an 11-9 win over the second-seeded Griffin in the semifinals.

One of the most memorable matches of the 2008 NCAA finals came at 141 when Jaggers outlasted Mendes 5-2 in the finals.

Late in the match, Jaggers was in the top position when Mendes grabbed the left ankle of Jaggers. The ankle bent awkwardly and Jaggers screamed in agony as he heard something pop.

Following an injury timeout, Jaggers was able to finish the final 16 seconds of the match. He hobbled off the mat in obvious pain after his arm was raised as NCAA champion.

“It obviously was very painful – I tore two ligaments,? said Jaggers, who initially thought he had broken his ankle. “It was like my ankle was slowly being torqued, like a rubber band stretching to its limit. I heard it popping a bunch of times. I don’t think your heel is supposed to bend up and touch your shin. It’s definitely something I don’t want to go through again.?

His name is Jeff Jaggers Jr., but he’s been known mainly as J Jaggers.

“Ever since the day I got home from the hospital I’ve been called J,? Jaggers said. “A friend of my mom’s said I was too skinny and looked like a little bird that needed to be fed. They said I looked like a J-bird, and I’ve been know as J ever since then.?

The Buckeyes open this season ranked No. 2 nationally behind Big Ten rival Iowa. The Hawkeyes captured the NCAA team title in 2008, and bring back five All-Americans from that squad.

“Iowa is the team to beat,? Jaggers said. “They beat us by over 30 points last year. We’re looking to catch them. This is the most productive preseason we’ve had since I’ve been here. Everybody is working really hard toward the common goal. The work ethic and the attitude, it’s been great. Everybody in our room is concentrating on the goal of being national champions.?

Ohio State returns three All-Americans, led by returning national champions in Jaggers and Pucillo (184 pounds). Two-time All-American Lance Palmer (149) also is back. National qualifiers Nikko Triggas (125), Reece Humphrey (133) and Jason Johnstone (157) also return along with starters Colt Sponseller (165) and John Weakley (197).

The Buckeyes also picked up Dave Rella (174), a national qualifier for Penn State last season. Cody Gardner (197), a transfer from Virginia Tech, beat Weakley in a recent Wrestle-Off.

Pucillo, a junior, has emerged as one of the leaders on the Buckeye squad.

“Mike Pucillo is one kid I really look up to, even though he's younger than me,? Jaggers said. “His will to win is impressive. I’ve seen him get mad playing Monopoly because he wants to win so badly. He wants to be a champion and that inspires me.?

Pucillo and Jaggers are scheduled to compete in the college all-star dual next month at Ohio State. The top-ranked Jaggers is set to face second-ranked Nick Gallick of Iowa State.

“It’s awesome, it’s exciting to have it in our backyard,? he said. “We hope to put on a good show for the fans.?

Ryan said Jaggers hopes to become a coach.

“I think he will make a good coach,? Ryan said. “He’s personable, recruits love him and he’s a good leader. He’s a cool kid and is very likeable. We always have him involved when we bring recruits in.?

Jaggers was asked how different this season would be since he starts his senior season ranked No. 1.

“Everybody wants to beat a returning national champion,? he said. “I’m sure I will see a lot of different game plans and get a lot of people’s best matches. I’m happy with what happened last year, but if I don’t win nationals again, everything will be a disappointment.?

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October 22, 2008

Smith, Martori to be inducted into National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame on November 1

Smith, Martori to be inducted into National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame on November 1
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Two-time Olympic wrestling champion John Smith and Sunkist Kids founder Art Martori will be the first members of the amateur wrestling community to be inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, during the 31st annual Induction and Awards Gala held in Schaumburg, Ill. on November 1.

“The inductees represent the very best of their sport, and are chosen not only for their accomplishments, but for their character, integrity, sportsmanship and contributions to their respective sport and their community,? said Dan Sergi, the dinner chairman for the event.

Smith won gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. He also won four World gold medals for the United States (1987, 1989-91), winning six straight World and Olympic titles. Smith won the Sullivan Award and the USOC SportsMan of the Year award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.

“I am half-Italian. It is always a proud side of my family,? said Smith. “There are a lot of happy Italians in Oklahoma about this. The athletes inducted are all tied to Italian blood. It is a proud people. My family has a remarkable history, having to grind it out for many years to allow the next generation to have a better life. It wasn’t easy for the Italian people when my family first came to America. They made a commitment to their family. My mother is as excited as anyone about this.?

Smith was a two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State. He is currently the head coach at his alma mater, where he has coached five NCAA champion teams during his 18 years, and has become Oklahoma State’s all-time winningest coach. He is a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He also is the poster child for the adidas wrestling shoes created by brute.

“It was even more special having Art Martori inducted with me,? said Smith. “He was very important in my career when I wrestled for the Sunkist Kids. He allowed me to focus on being the best wrestler in the world for six years. He was an important part of my success.?

Martori, a former wrestler and successful businessman, founded the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club three decades ago, and built it into one of the most successful sports clubs in the world within the Olympic family. Martori served a term as president of USA Wrestling, and has been a leader within the organization for many years. He has been inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

“It means being recognized for what you have accomplished,? said Martori. “I grew up in an Italian family. It is a close-knit group of people, who are all about family. We are being honored by our peers. Many Italian-Americans have done great things. They have identified John Smith and I for this honor. There are so many Italian-American sports heroes. To be brought into that level of recognition, from a sport that we say is a fraternity, is rewarding. This is very good for wrestling. To be recognized on a more national basis is exciting for us all.?

The Sunkist Kids have won every USA Wrestling national freestyle team title since 1983, and has had national champion teams in all three of the Olympic styles of wrestling: men’s freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle. Athletes representing the Sunkist Kids have won every major honor within the sport, including World and Olympic gold medals and numerous international honors. John Smith was one of eight Olympic wrestling champions who won their gold medal as a member of the Sunkist Kids, along with Dave Schultz, Mark Schultz, Kenny Monday, Kendall Cross, Rulon Gardner, Cael Sanderson and Henry Cejudo.

“I may be getting this award, but this is all about our club,? said Martori. “It is about the Sunkist Kids and all that our wrestlers have accomplished. It is also about people like Tim Gressley and Kim Martori-Wickey, as well as coaches like Bobby Douglas and Joe Seay, those who do the day-to-day things that goes on with the club.?

Others to be inducted in the Class of 2008 are Kelly Amonte Hiller (lacrosse), Phil Mickelson (golf), John Franco (baseball), Mary Carillo (tennis and broadcaster), John Gagliardo (football), Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. (football), Alfred “Lindy? Faragalli (bowling), Ed Giacomin (ice hockey), Frank “Frankie? Lentine (softball) and Lou Zamperini (track and field).

In addition, the 2008 Michael J. Roarty Sportsman of the Year award will be presented to Dominic M. Sergi, the President of Rex Electric, Inc. and Technologies. The 2008 Yogi Berry Athlete of the Year award will be presented to WBC and WBO middleweight boxing champion Kelly Pavlik.


Art Martori has been an exemplary leader and role model in the sport of wrestling for over 30 years. At Arizona State University, Martori made a name for himself in wrestling as a talented and ambitious competitor. After his competitive professional career Art put his wrestling skills and leadership to work and founded the Sunkist Kids wrestling club in 1976. Art's mission for the Sunkist Kids was to create a program that could assist elite athletes to develop into world-class champions. The Sunkist Kids have an impeccable record; they have won every USA Wrestling National Freestyle team title from 1983 to present day. Martori was selected as the president of USA Wrestling and during his short tenure as president the USA Wrestling team won its first world team title in freestyle wrestling. Martori's leadership and abilities to mold talented youth into world class athletes earned him the honor of being selected as a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.


John Smith is truly a giant in the sport of wrestling, under the guidance of fellow inductee Art Martori and the Sunkist Kids, Smith achieved unimaginable success. Smith's impressive resume includes two time Olympic Freestyle Champion, two time World Cup Champion, two time Goodwill Games Champion, two time Pan American Champion, two time FILA Senior World Freestyle Champion, and four time USA Senior Freestyle Champion. His accomplishments on the mat have been recognized and celebrated around the world, he was the first American to be honored Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA), the first wrestler ever nominated for the World Trophy, which he received in 1992, and was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Smith has not only proudly represented his country but also the ancient Sport of Wrestling itself. In 1997 Smith was inducted as a Distinguished Member into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and in 2003 he was honored internationally by the FILA Hall of Fame. Smith now coaches Oklahoma State University Wrestling Team, who under Smith's leadership, have won five national titles.


Located in Chicago's historic "Little Italy" neighborhood, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational institution dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and heritage of Italian Americans in sports. Our collection aims to honor and preserve Italian Americans who have made lasting contributions to sports and society. The NIASHF has awarded over $6 million in scholarships to students from all backgrounds for their academic and athletic endeavors through our Second Wind and A Level Playing Field outreach programs.

October 19, 2008

Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf of Iowa among five NCAA champions who are back this season

Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf of Iowa among five NCAA champions who are back this season

Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

College wrestling practices are underway across the country and with the start of the season just a few weeks away, it’s time to take a quick glance at what to look forward to during the 2008-09 season. is breaking down each of the 10 weight classes heading into the season, which will culminate with the NCAA Championships on March 19-21, 2009 in St. Louis, Mo.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are the returning NCAA team champion, with Ohio State and Iowa State expected to challenge Iowa for the top spot this season. Nebraska, Cornell, Missouri, Penn State, Illinois and Oklahoma State are among the teams who are capable of being in the hunt.

Five of the 10 NCAA individual champions from 2008 are back this season.

Here is a weight-by-weight look at the upcoming season:


This weight class includes the last two NCAA champions in Indiana’s Angel Escobedo and Edinboro’s Paul Donahoe.

Cornell’s Troy Nickerson, who has placed second and third in the country, also is back after missing last season.

2008 NCAA runner-up Jayson Ness of Minnesota will bump up to 133 this season. Ness is a two-time All-American at 125.

This weight class also includes two-time All-American Charlie Falck of Iowa along with All-Americans Brandon Precin of Northwestern and James Nicholson of Old Dominion.

Oklahoma State’s Obe Blanc, an All-American for Lock Haven in 2007, also is in the mix here.

Two other wrestlers to watch here are Arizona State’s Anthony Robles and Penn’s Rollie Peterkin. Both wrestlers finished one win shy of All-American honors last season.

Donahoe, an NCAA champion in 2007 and a third-place finisher in 2008, is now strapping on the wrestling shoes at Edinboro after being dismissed from the University of Nebraska for off-the-mat issues. He is a senior and would be eligible for the second semester. Top 3: Escobedo, Donahoe, Nickerson.


Iowa junior Joey Slaton is the top returning finisher here after placing second in the nation this past March in St. Louis.

Minnesota’s Jayson Ness, a two-time All-American at 125, bumps up to 133 this season.

How tough will the Big Ten be in this division? Michigan State’s Franklin Gomez finished third nationally last season and Jimmy Kennedy of Illinois took fourth.

Iowa State’s Nick Fanthorpe is another wrestler who could contend here. Fanthorpe placed seventh in the nation last year after moving up a weight class. Navy’s Joe Baker is another returning All-American at 133.

Other wrestlers to keep an eye on are Penn State’s Jake Strayer, Hofstra’s Lou Ruggirello and Ohio State’s Reece Humphrey. Strayer was an All-American in 2007, Ruggirello fell one win short of All-American honors last season and Humphrey was a World University silver medalist in freestyle wrestling this past summer.

Oklahoma State’s Tyler Shinn also moves up to this class after previously competing at 125. Top 3: Slaton, Gomez, Ness.


Ohio State’s J Jaggers turned in one of the surprise performances at the 2008 NCAA Championships. Seeded sixth, Jaggers knocked off No. 3 seed Kellen Russell of Michigan, No. 2 seed Charles Griffin of Hofstra and No. 1 seed Chad Mendes of Cal Poly en route to the title.

The next highest returning placewinner at 141 is Iowa State’s Nick Gallick, who took fifth at the NCAAs. Gallick bumped up a weight class last season.

Cornell’s Mike Grey moves up to 141 this year after placing sixth at 133 as a freshman. Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Cody Cleveland placed eighth nationally this past season at 141.

Russell, who spent time ranked No. 1 last season as a freshman, came up one win short of All-American honors last season.

West Virginia’s Brandon Rader is another veteran who could contend here.

Iowa will be very strong here as well. The Hawkeyes will have either All-American Alex Tsirtsis or 2008 NCAA qualifier Dan LeClere competing at 141. Top 3: Jaggers, Gallick, Russell.


The toughest weight class in the country during the 2007-08 season, 149 may be just as competitive this season.

The best wrestler in the country, reigning Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf of Iowa, is back for his junior season after winning the NCAA title in 2008. The punishing, hard-charging Metcalf may be the best college wrestler since Cael Sanderson.

2007 Junior World freestyle champion Bubba Jenkins of Penn State turned in a strong college campaign last season after placing second to Metcalf at nationals. Jenkins came out strong in the NCAA finals against Metcalf before falling 14-8.

Nebraska’s Jordan Burroughs is another talented and dangerous wrestler in this division. Burroughs placed third at nationals last year as a sophomore. He gained experience this past summer as a member of the U.S. Junior World Team.

North Carolina State’s Darrion Caldwell, the only wrestler to beat Metcalf last season, also is back. The explosive Caldwell was fifth in the country in 2008.

Two-time All-American Lance Palmer of Ohio State can’t be counted out either. Palmer gave Metcalf his toughest match of the 2008 NCAAs before Metcalf pulled out a 3-2 win in the quarterfinals.

Purdue’s Jake Patascil and Army’s Matt Kyler are two other top wrestlers in this division.

Three-time All-American Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota moves out of this division. Schlatter is moving up to 157 and he may take a redshirt season. Top 3: Metcalf, Burroughs, Jenkins.


Cornell’s Jordan Leen is back after winning an NCAA title. Leen was seeded eighth before knocking off top-ranked Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro en route to the title.

Gillespie also is back. He won NCAAs as a 149-pounder in 2007.

NCAA runner-up Mike Poeta of Illinois also returns for his senior season. Penn State’s Dan Vallimont is back after finishing third in the country in 2008.

All-American J.P. O’Connor of Harvard is expected to bump up to this division.

Iowa State’s Cyler Sanderson made significant improvement last year in becoming an All-American for the first time in 2008.

Bloomsburg’s Matt Moley rebounded from a first-round loss at the NCAAs to place eighth in the country last season.

Missouri’s Michael Chandler and Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar are two other competitors who could make an impact here.

Minnesota’s Dustin Schlatter plans to move up to 157, but may be taking a redshirt this season. Schlatter has been hampered by injuries since winning the NCAA title at 149 in 2006. Top 3: Poeta, Gillespie, Leen.


The top two finishers in this weight class were seniors, so this division looks to be fairly wide open this season.

Missouri’s Nick Marable, Cornell’s Mack Lewness and Northern Iowa’s Moza Fay look like the top contenders after placing 3-4-5 in the nation in 2008.

Two Big 12 rivals – Iowa State’s Jon Reader and Nebraska’s Stephen Dwyer – can’t be counted out either. Reader placed seventh and Dwyer eighth in the 2008 NCAA meet.

Also from the Big 12, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Mason is dropping down a class to 165. Mason was an All-American at 174 in 2007.

Another wrestler to watch in this class is Central Michigan’s Trevor Stewart. Top 3: Marable, Lewnes, Mason.


Michigan’s Steve Luke is the frontrunner in this division after placing second at the NCAA tournament last year.

Luke will face a stern challenge from Big Ten rival Jay Borschel of Iowa. Borschel placed third in his first NCAA meet last season.

Nebraska’s Brandon Browne also will contend after placing fourth at nationals in 2008.

Missouri’s Raymond Jordan is expected to drop down a class to 174. Jordan placed fifth in the nation at 184 last season.

All-Americans Steve Anceravage of Cornell and Alton Lucas of Hofstra also are back in this division. Top 3: Borschel, Luke, Browne.


This weight class features a pair of NCAA champions in Northwestern’s Jake Herbert and Ohio State’s Mike Pucillo. Herbert won it all in 2007 and Pucillo won it last season.

Herbert is back on the mat for his senior season after taking an Olympic redshirt last year. Herbert has placed third, second and first at the NCAAs in his career.

Another Big Ten wrestler, Iowa’s Phil Keddy, also could make some noise here. Keddy was one of the most improved wrestlers in the country last season. Keddy went from being 14-16 as a freshman to placing sixth nationally as a sophomore.

Boise State sophomore Kirk Smith placed eighth in the country in 2008.

Harvard’s Louis Caputo and Nebraska’s Vince Jones are two other top wrestlers in this division along with Rider’s Doug Umbehauer and West Virginia’s Kurt Brenner. Top 3: Herbert, Pucillo, Keddy.


This could be one of the strongest weight classes in the country again this year with two-time NCAA runner-up Jake Varner of Iowa State and All-American Tyrel Todd of Michigan both bumping up to 197. Todd was third in the country at 184 last year.

Also in this class is 2008 third-place finisher Hudson Taylor of Maryland and fourth-place finisher Craig Brester of Nebraska.

Wisconsin’s Dallas Herbst is back after placing sixth last year. Missouri junior Max Askren was seventh in the nation in 2008.

Cornell’s Josh Arnone and Illinois’ Patrick Bond also can’t be overlooked in this class. Top 3: Varner, Taylor, Brester.


This is another weight class that looks to be up for grabs with the top three finishers from the 2008 NCAAs being seniors.

Oklahoma State’s Jared Rosholt is the top returning wrestler after he placed fourth nationally in 2008. Iowa State’s David Zabriskie was sixth and Wisconsin’s Kyle Massey took eighth. Rosholt, a junior, made noticeable improvement last season. He and Zabriskie have had a number of close battles the past two years.

Navy’s Scott Steele is another guy to keep an eye on here. Stuck behind Navy teammate and third-place NCAA finisher Ed Prendergast last year, Steele will contend for the national title this year. Steele placed third at June’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in freestyle wrestling and traveled to Beijing, China, as a training partner for Olympian Steve Mocco.

Other top wrestlers in the heavyweight division include Mark Ellis of Missouri, Jermail Porter of Kent State, John Wise of Illinois and Zac Sheaffer of Pittsburgh. Top 3: Rosholt, Steele, Zabriskie.

October 11, 2008

Gable to attend grand opening of new wrestling facility in Lancaster, Pa. on October 18

Gable to attend grand opening of new wrestling facility in Lancaster, Pa. on October 18

Lancaster, PA – Dan Gable, one of the most renowned American wrestling figures, is leaving Iowa next weekend. Settle down Hawkeye fans, he’s only going to be gone for a few days.

The Manheim Township Mat Club (Lancaster, PA) is celebrating the opening of their brand new wrestling facility, which includes the largest high school wrestling room in the nation.

The celebration, which takes place on Saturday, October 18th at Manheim Township High School, will include a two-hour clinic by Dan Gable.

Following the conclusion of the clinic, there will be a lunch at the high school. Gable will be the honored guest speaker.

“We’ve been successful in growing our youth club and building a new facility. We’re trying to grow and rejuvenate the sport of wrestling,? said Paul Lopez of the Manheim Township Mat Club. “Bringing in someone like Dan Gable raises the awareness of the importance of the sport and what one can accomplish.?

Gable began his legacy as a wrestler at Iowa State, where he won two NCAA titles. His combined prep and collegiate record was 182-1. Following his career at Iowa State, Gable won the 1971 World Championship and 1972 Munich Olympics, where he did not surrender a point.

However, as the head coach at the University of Iowa is where Gable became a household name. Under his watch, the Hawkeyes won 15 NCAA titles, and 45 wrestlers won NCAA titles.

The clinic is open to all wrestlers, so put it on your calendar to make the trek to Lancaster. Space is limited, so all interested in attending should contact Paul Lopez at 717.314.1129.

September 29, 2008

Arizona State Wrestling lends a hand at Wilson neighborhood event

Arizona State Wrestling lends a hand at Wilson neighborhood event
Alex Ryan ASU

Sun Devil wrestlers were once again on hand to assist in the neighborhood’s clean up project

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University wrestling program recently assisted the efforts of the Wilson Neighborhood Clean Up, held Saturday, September 20, at the neighborhood surrounding Wilson Elementary School in Phoenix. For the second year in a row, the Sun Devils were on hand to help invigorate students, parents and the community residents to take pride and ownership of their neighborhood by working to clear debris from the streets.

Organized by the Wilson Community Center, the day started at 8 a.m. with the Sun Devils meeting with the members of the community and students of Wilson Elementary School before breaking off into groups with the volunteering children to begin the clean up. After a two-hour clean up, all involved came together at the school for lunch.

The Wilson community is distinguished by a highly mobile, single parent impoverished population and is surrounded by substance abuse, prostitution and substandard housing. As an inner-city school district, Wilson Elementary School District serves approximately 1,500 children, many of which reside below the poverty level. Twenty-five percent of the children that attend Wilson High School are classified as homeless while 75% live in dilapidated housing or local hotels. Ninety-eight percent of the total population qualifies for the free/reduced-cost Federal lunch program. According to the Arizona State Education Department data, Wilson School District is considered to be the most “at-risk? in Maricopa County.

September 20, 2008

Chun, Murata among finalists at U.S. World Team Trials for women's freestyle

Chun, Murata among finalists at U.S. World Team Trials for women's freestyle
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – 2008 Olympian Clarissa Chun shook off a slow start to move into the finals of the U.S. Women’s World Team Trials.

Chun overcame an early three-point deficit to charge back and defeat Junior World Team member Victoria Anthony 5-3, 4-0 in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Chun, fifth in the Olympic Games last month in Beijing, China, advances to face Alyssa Lampe in the best-of-3 match series in the final round at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. The finals are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Chun is the only member of the four-athlete U.S. Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling team from Beijing who has entered the tournament. Chun had the lead late in her semifinal match at the Olympics against two-time World champion Chiharu Icho of Japan before falling.

“I want to compete in the Worlds – just to get that shot again,? Chun said. “I’m lucky to have another opportunity so close to the Olympics. I want to win a World title.?

The winners at the Trials qualify for the World Championships. The World Championships for women’s freestyle will be held Oct. 11-13 at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. The World Championships are being held in the seven women’s freestyle weights, because only four weights were contested at the Olympic Games for women.

Also reaching the final round are World silver medalist Stephanie Murata (51 kg/112.25 pounds), Junior World silver medalist Tatiana Padilla (55 kg/121 lbs.), World Team member Leigh Jaynes (59 kg/130 lbs.) and World University bronze medalist Alaina Berube (63 kg/138.75 lbs.).

World University champion Elena Pirozhkov (67 kg/147.5 lbs.) will meet Junior World champion Adeline Gray (67 kg/147.5 lbs.) in the finals at 67 kg/147.5 lbs..

Two-time World University champion Stephany Lee and 2005 World champion Iris Smith will battle in the finals at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Murata will meet 2008 Junior World bronze medalist Helen Maroulis in the final round.


48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs (Sunkist Kids) vs. Alyssa Lampe, Tomahawk, Wis. (Sunkist Kids)

51 kg/112.25 lbs. – Stephanie Murata, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) vs. Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (New York AC)

55 kg/121 lbs. – Tatiana Padilla, Azusa, Calif. (Sunkist Kids) vs. Chelynne Pringle, Hugo, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)

59 kg/130 lbs. – Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) vs. Deanna Rix, River Falls, Wis. (New York AC)

63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Alaina Berube, River Falls, Wis. (New York AC) vs. Schuyler Brown, Montpelier, Va. (USOEC)

67 kg/147.5 lbs. – Elena Pirozkhov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) vs. Adeline Gray, Denver, Colo. (USOEC)

72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Stephany Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) vs. Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)

September 13, 2008

Iowa Leads NCAA wrestling team poll

The defending Big Ten and NCAA champion University of Iowa wrestling team has secured W.I.N. magazines top pre-season national ranking.

The Hawkeyes were ranked first in W.I.N.'s pre-season dual rankings, as well as in the magazine's pre-season tournament power index. The second ranking is based on how a school's individual ranked wrestlers would finish at the NCAA Championships and the point total listed is what those competitors would accumulate at the national meet.

The rankings, which were released Tuesday, also list six Hawkeyes in the top 10 in their respective weight classes. Hawkeye juniors Joe Slaton (133) and Brent Metcalf (141) are both earned a number one ranking. Iowa senior Charlie Falck (125) and junior Jay Borschel (174) are each ranked second, while junior Phillip Keddy (184) is ranked fifth and senior Alex Tsirtsis is ranked eighth (141).

The Hawkeyes are scheduled to open the 2008-09 season Nov. 21 when they host the Iowa City duals.

W.I.N. Division I Top 20 Pre-Season Dual Rankings sponsored by Adidas Wrestling shoes.

Rank School

1. Iowa
2. Ohio State
3. Iowa State
4. Cornell
5. Missouri
6. Oklahoma State
7. Illinois
8. Nebraska
9. Penn State
10. Michigan
11. Minnesota
12. Northwestern
13. Boise State
14. Central Michigan
15. Wisconsin
16. Indiana
17. Maryland
18. Edinboro
19. West Virginia
20. Oklahoma

Top 20 Pre-Season Tournament Power Index

Rank, School, Points
1. Iowa, 91
2. Iowa State, 90
3. Cornell, 77
4. Missouri, 61
5. Ohio State, 54
6. Nebraska, 53
7. Illinois, 50
8. Michigan, 44
9. Penn State, 35
10. Boise State, 34.5
11. Oklahoma State, 34
12. Wisconsin, 32
13. Northwestern, 31.5
14. Indiana, 28
15. Minnesota, 24.5
16. Edinboro, 23
17. Maryland, 22.5
18. Central Michigan, 19
Northern Iowa, 19
20. Hofstra 17.5

Jesus Wilson named assistant wrestling coach at UNCG

Jesus Wilson named assistant wrestling coach at UNCG
DATE: 9/12/2008 1:00:00 PM
UNC Greensboro head wrestling coach Jason Loukides announced on Thursday the hiring of Jesus Wilson as an assistant coach. Wilson will be responsible for all areas of the program and will work especially with the lighter weight classes.

“I am very excited about the addition of Jesus,? said Loukides. “He brings an incredible work ethic as well as national and international credibility. He was an outstanding competitor for Cuba and the USA and that has made him a great coach. Jesus will instantly make a positive impact on our program.?

Prior to coming to UNCG, Wilson was the head coach at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, MN in 2006-07. He was an assistant coach with VMI in 2005-06 and served as head coach at Marine Military Academy in 2004-05.

Wilson was a two-time All-American and NCAA Division III Wrestling National Champion while attending Upper Iowa University. In 2000, he reached his first All-American when he won the national title at the 133 lbs. Also that season, Wilson was selected to the Amateur Wrestling Shoes News All-Rookie Team. He was also named Outstanding Wrestler by both the Iowa Conference and Upper Iowa. After serving as an assistant coach for the Peacocks during the 2000-01 season, Wilson returned to the mats in 2002. He won the national crown at 141 lbs, earning his second All-American honor.

Also in 2002, Wilson claimed the silver medal at the World Team Trial and took fourth place at USA Senior Nationals. A year later, he won the Pan American Championship and was a silver medalist at both the USA Senior Nationals and World Cup.

Wilson earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation from Upper Iowa in 2004.

September 3, 2008

Marty Morgan resigns from head assistant coach post at Minnesota

Marty Morgan resigns from head assistant coach post at Minnesota
Univ. of Minnesota

Head assistant wrestling coach Marty Morgan resigned from his position at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon after 16 years with the program. Morgan will go on to train former Gopher All-American wrestler Brock Lesnar, a popular Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) competitor, on a full-time basis.

“I’m going to step back for a year to help Brock [Lesnar] train and I’ll see where I’m at next summer. I’ve been working with Brock [Lesnar] the past few years on his training and now I’ve been offered a unique opportunity to work with him full time.? Morgan said. “This has definitely been a difficult decision, considering that I have been involved with the program for 20 years as an athlete and coach. I am happy to have a great relationship with the University of Minnesota administration, J Robinson, the wrestling staff, past and current team members, and numerous fans around this great wrestling state.?

A native of Bloomington, Minn., Morgan began his collegiate wrestling career at North Dakota State where he won a Division II national championship as a true freshman before transferring to Minnesota. Morgan was a three-time All-American for the Gophers and won a national title at 177 pounds as a senior in 1991. With a 39-0 record during his senior season, Morgan became the first wrestler in school history to finish with an unblemished record and is one of just three wrestlers in Minnesota history to accomplish that feat. He capped off his career with the Big Ten Medal of Honor, which is awarded to a Big Ten student-athlete who demonstrates excellence in academics and athletics.

Morgan was the top assistant under head coach J Robinson for 13 of his 16 seasons with the program. During his time at Minnesota, Morgan helped secure Minnesota Wrestling’s status as one of the most storied and successful programs in the nation. Under Morgan’s watch, the Gophers attracted some of the nation’s most sought-after recruits on a regular basis and won national titles in 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2006-07. The Gophers have also captured six Big Ten Conference championships under Morgan’s tutelage.

“Marty has been around Minnesota Wrestling for 20 years, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him to step away for a year and to see what else is out there,? head coach J Robinson said. “I think it’s important for people to see different opportunities that life has to offer from a different perspective and a year away from the program can provide that perspective for Marty. He will be obviously missed this year with the way we do things, but we look forward to working with him in the future.?

The Gopher wrestling program, which boasts one of the nation’s highest-rated recruiting classes again this year, begins its 2008-09 season with the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D. on Nov. 15. Minnesota’s first home wrestling event comes when the Gophers host fellow perennial national power Oklahoma State in a New Year’s Day dual at the Sports Pavilion.

August 31, 2008

Support the fundraising campaign for the SU Coach Kunes Memorial

Support the fundraising campaign for the SU Coach Kunes Memorial
Charlie Kunes Memorial Fund Committee

Susquehanna University (SU) wrestling founder and 25-year head coach Charlie Kunes passed away in 2006 in his hometown of State College, PA. Soon after a small group of wrestling alumni contacted SU and began discussing the establishment of a permanent campus memorial in recognition of his long and devoted service to SU, its student athletes, and the greater Selinsgrove, PA community.

The wrestling alumni received the SU’s commitment to build a memorial if they could raise the estimated $15,000 needed for its construction. The memorial will be located directly in front of the Garrett Sports Complex, site of O.W. Hout’s Gymnasium and the former wrestling room. It will consist of a brick edged concrete patio with steel benches including memorial plaques to Coach and Mrs. Kunes, who also spent many great years on staff at SU.

During the summer of 2007, in an effort to demonstrate commitment to this project to the university, wrestling alumni Joel Tokarz, Todd Burns, Rick Evans, David Richards, Bill Bryson, Tom Dodd, Scott Tashjy, Ken Tashjy, and Whitney Gay made an initial contribution totaling $5,600. Consequently, the friends and alumni of SU wrestling need to raise an additional $9,400 to meet the initial fundraising goal, with an anticipated completion and dedication date in the spring of 2009.

Born in 1925 and raised in State College, Penn., Charlie Kunes Sr. played varsity football, basketball, and track at State College High School and was named to the All-Central Counties football team in 1941 and 1942. Kunes got his first taste of wrestling competition as a heavyweight during his college days at Lock Haven State College under legendary coach Hubert Jack. There he lettered in football, wrestling, and track, graduating in 1951.

Wrestling equipment including wrestling shoes, wrestling headgear, and wrestling singlets will be made available.

Kunes joined the athletic staff at SU in 1966. Kunes founded the SU wrestling program that year (1966-67) going 4-3 in duals with victories over current NCAA Division I teams American University and Hofstra University. Kunes retired after the 1990-91 season, a season in which the team set a then school record for wins at 12-3-1. In addition to being head wrestling coach, he also served as an assistant football coach, as a professor of health and physical education, and later as the Director of the Physical Education Department. He earned his Master of Science from Bucknell University in 1972.

A veteran high school and college wrestling official for 33 years, Coach Kunes helped conduct the NCAA, NAIA, and Middle Atlantic Conference Championships, the national YMCA tournament, and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) District, Regional, and State Championships. Coach Kunes served as secretary-treasurer of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Officials Association (EIWOA) and as rules interpreter for District 6 of the PIAA.

Numerous honors have been bestowed on Kunes since his days as a head coach and an active veteran wrestling official. As head coach, Kunes guided the Crusaders to a 163-165-6 record. His wrestlers won six individual Middle Atlantic Conference titles and five NCAA Division III All-America awards. SU dropped wrestling in 1996. Kunes, who had 13 winning seasons during his 25-year stint, and was inducted into the NCAA Division III Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004 when the championships were held in Dubuque, Iowa.

He was a PIAA wrestling tournament official between 1967 and 1984, and served as the head official for a number of those years. Additionally, Kunes coordinated officials’ assignments. In 1986, Kunes was one of only 21 referees ever inducted into the EIWOA Hall of Fame, which celebrated its 50th year in 2004. Kunes received another major honor in 1987 when he was inducted into the PIAA Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in Hershey. He was inducted into the Susquehanna University Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, the Lock Haven University Wrestling Hall of Fame in April 2005, and the PIAA District 4 Hall of Fame.

Kunes died October 2, 2006 at his State College home after a long illness at the age of 81. He is survived by his wife, Jane, of 60 years, and his son, Charles S. (Chip) Kunes Jr.

Coach Kunes was a wonderful teacher and coach, but above all, he was a consummate gentleman. He taught generations of young men that success comes in many forms, not all of which are represented by a winning score. He taught the value of hard work and personal accountability. He was a traditional man who demanded respect and courtesy, while always conveying the same to those he taught and coached.

By the way he lived his life; Coach Kunes’ lasting lesson for all of us is that service to others is the greatest gift we can give of ourselves. His memorial will reflect these sentiments to generations of SU students to come. Please consider a personal contribution toward the construction of this special tribute to a special man. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Please make your gift payable to Susquehanna University – “Kunes Memorial Fund? and direct your gift to:

Ms. Angela Hoot
SU Office of Development
514 University Avenue
Selinsgrove, PA 17870-9950

Once the memorial is completed, you will be invited to attend the dedication ceremony on campus. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact wrestling alum Ken Tashjy at 978-697-6497, or Thank you in advance for your support.

Yours in wrestling,
Charlie Kunes Memorial Fund Committee
Whitney Gay 71’, Ken Tashjy 83’, Tom Dodd 92’

August 2, 2008

Cary Kolat Wrestling Video Library:

4 time all-american Cary Kolat has released a video library of wrestling technique that currently contains over 1,000 wrestling technique clips!

The Wrestling Video library contains wrestling technique from both standing position and mat wrestling. This is an excellent resource for all coaches and wrestlers!

August 1, 2008

Olympian Clarissa Chun ready to make run at gold medal in Beijing

Olympian Clarissa Chun ready to make run at gold medal in Beijing
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Clarissa Chun walked off the mat with tears in her eyes after one of the most crushing setbacks of her career.

Chun had fallen short of making the historic first U.S. Olympic women’s freestyle wrestling team after losing to Patricia Miranda in the finals of the 2004 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis.

A short time later, U.S. National Coach Terry Steiner provided the words that fueled Chun’s fire the past four years.

“Your time will come,? Steiner told Chun back in 2004. “Your time will come.?

Chun’s time has come, and in a big way. Chun reversed her fortunes from 2004 by stunning the heavily favored Miranda on June 13 in Las Vegas to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

“I was so overwhelmed after I won the Trials,? Chun said. “I was so excited, happy, everything. I thought I was going to cry, but I didn’t. I may have teared up a little bit. To be able to perform like that was amazing.?

Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) now advances to wrestle at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Chun, whose father is Chinese and mother is Japanese, is scheduled to compete in the Olympics on Aug. 16.

Chun, a 2000 World Team member who grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, placed fourth at the 2008 U.S. Nationals. But Chun did throw a bit of a scare into Miranda in their semifinal matchup. Chun won the first period before Miranda came back to win the next two. Check out her wrestling videos.

The pint-sized, 4-foot-11 Chun, who looks more like a gymnast than a wrestler, came back with a determined effort at the Olympic Trials. She stormed through the Challenge Tournament, knocking off past World Team member Mary Kelly in the finals.

She then advanced to the best-of-3 finals series against Miranda, who earned a berth in the finals by virtue of winning U.S. Nationals.

Chun won the first match 4-0, 0-6, 3-1 before capturing the second bout by a 1-0, 3-1 score. Miranda won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and is a two-time World silver medalist.

Chun was cradled in the second period of the first match, but somehow fought off her back. She then regrouped to win the decisive third period and win the match.

“When she got that cradle, I was like, ‘Oh crap, I can’t get pinned here,’? Chun said. “I just kept fighting and fighting. I knew I had won the first period and all I needed was one more period to win the match. I was able to come back in the third period.?

The 26-year-old Chun was in her first season of freestyle wrestling when she competed at the 2000 World Championships.

“I was really young and I was really intimidated out there,? she said. “I think having gone through that will help me when I get out there at the Olympics.?

Chun nearly made the 2006 World Team before falling to Kelly in a Special Wrestle-Off for the spot on the U.S. squad.

Chun has made significant gains while training with her coach, Keith Wilson, at the Colorado Fight Factory in Colorado Springs.

“A lot of it has been mental in working with Keith,? Chun said. “He’s taught me to believe in myself and he’s given me a lot of positive reinforcement that I could win the Olympic Trials. He’s taught me to stay focused for all three periods.?

An emphasis on conditioning also has been a key for Chun.

“I have worked really hard on that,? she said. “That comes in handy when you’re in shape. I wasn’t tired at all when I wrestled Patricia. I felt great in the third period.?

Chun’s performance at the Olympic Trials impressed her coaches as well.

“Clarissa needs to stay inside herself and not get caught up in the hype of the Games and wrestle,? Steiner said. “She has great movement and ability. She needs to make sure she is wrestling her kind of matches – a lot of attempts and motion.?

Chun has wrestled nearly everyone in her division that will compete in the Olympics at 48 kilos.

“Clarissa has a great chance to medal and win,? Steiner said. “I feel that when you make the U.S. team you are tested and ready to win. There is no person out there that outclasses us. We just need to put it together on the right day.?

Chun said her natural weight is right around 106 pounds.

“I don’t cut any weight,? she said. “I think that helps me because I’m always feeling good when I train. I don’t have to worry about watching my weight like a lot of the other girls.?

Chun started competing in swimming when she was 5 years old before taking up Judo a couple of years later. She started wrestling as a junior in high school.

Chun, who graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a degree in communications, is planning to teach English to kindergarten students in Japan during the 2008-09 school year.

Chun said she likely will continue to train and compete after the Olympics.

Chun said it is starting to sink in now that she’s an Olympian.

“It’s kind of weird and kind of crazy to think about it,? she said. “It is great when people call you an Olympian, it’s really cool to hear that. I could get used to this. It’s still hard to believe I beat Patricia in two straight matches. I’m still kind of like, ‘Did I really beat her?’ It’s a great feeling.?

Chun said she will have a large contingent of family and friends, including her parents, watching her from the stands in Beijing.

“I want to win an Olympic gold medal,? Chun said. “I feel really confident right now and I’ve wrestled well against a lot of the top girls in my weight class. I had a really good tournament at the Olympic Trials, but I know I can wrestle better at the Olympics. I’ve wrestled in the World Championships, so I’m not going to be overwhelmed or intimidated by the big stage of the Olympics. I’ve been training my whole life for this opportunity. I will be ready.?

July 31, 2008

Mike Finn and Terry Steiner to go ‘On the Mat’ this week

Mike Finn and Terry Steiner to go ‘On the Mat’ this week
Kyle Klingman Dan Gable Museum

This week’s edition of “On the Mat? will feature Mike Finn and Terry Steiner.

“On the Mat? is a weekly wrestling radio program that airs every Wednesday night. This week’s broadcast can be heard live from 6-7 p.m. Central Standard Time. The Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, hosts the show.

W.I.N. Magazine editor Mike Finn will be on the program to discuss the recent Junior Nationals event in Fargo, North Dakota, and the upcoming Olympic Games. Finn was named wrestling journalist of the year by the National Wrestling Media Association in 2006.

Steiner was named USA Wrestling’s full-time National Women’s Coach in April 2002, the first in USA Wrestling history.

He is responsible for the training of America’s elite women freestyle wrestlers, as well as coaching women wrestlers who are involved in the U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete program. As a wrestler, Steiner was an NCAA wrestling champion and a three-time All-American for the University of Iowa.

“On the Mat? can be heard live on the Internet at or locally in Northeast Iowa on 1650, The Fan. Feel free to e-mail with questions or comments about the show.

July 30, 2008

U.S. falls short of medals on first day of FILA Junior Greco-Roman Worlds in Turkey

U.S. falls short of medals on first day of FILA Junior Greco-Roman Worlds in Turkey
Elizabeth Wiley USA Wrestling

The U.S. Greco-Roman team failed to place in the four weights that competed Tuesday, July 29 at the FILA Junior Worlds.

Tyler Cox (Gillette, Wyo./Camel Kids), the only returning FILA Junior competitor from 2007, placed ninth at 50 kg/110 lbs. He was the highest placer in competition Tuesday. Cox defeated Bhavale Shivshankar of India, 0-6, 2-0, 6-1, in the first round, but lost to Sang-Hun Oh of Korea, 0-6, 4-7, in the second round.

Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Shamrock WC) and Ben Provisor (Stevens Point, Wis./Dennis Hall World Gold WC) also posted 1-1 records. Dake finished 14th at 60 kg/132 lbs. after beating his opponent from Turkey but losing to the Greco-Roman wrestler from Egypt. Provisor came in 19th at the 74 kg/163 lbs. weight class, beating a Polish wrestler and losing to his Turkish opponent.

Michael Rossetti was the other U.S. wrestler competing in the first day of competition. He placed 19th at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. after failing to defeat his first round opponent Taisto Lalli of Finland.

None of the U.S. wrestlers had the opportunity to wrestleback after their loss, because the wrestlers they lost to did not reach the finals.

The final four wrestlers for the U.S. Greco-Roman squad have weighed in and received their draws for competition Wednesday, July 30.

To follow the FILA Junior World Championships as they happen, visit Coverage includes wrestling shoes, up-to-date results, live matches, and team scores.

Junior World Championships
At Istanbul, Turkey, July 29

U.S. performances on Tuesday

50 kg/110 lbs. - Tyler Cox, Gillette, Wyo. (Camel Kids), 9th
WIN Bhavale Shivshankar (India), 0-6, 2-0, 6-1
LOSS Sang-Hun Oh (Korea), 0-6, 4-7

60 kg/132 lbs. - Kyle Dake, Ithaca, N.Y. (Shamrock WC), 14th
WIN Przemyslaw Kraczkowski (Poland), 3-6, 2-2, 6-0
LOSS Saida Mouneim Said (Egypt), 0-4,0-3

74 kg/163 lbs. - Ben Proviser, Stevens Point, Wis. (Dennis Hall World Gold WC), 19th
WIN Mariusz Szostek (Poland), 1-1, 3-1
LOSS Selim Demir (Turkey), 0-2, 1-2

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Michael Rossetti, Pittsburgh, Penn. (USOEC), 19th
LOSS Taisto Lalli (Finland), 1-1, 0-6

U.S. Greco-Roman men’s draws for Wednesday’s session

55 kg/121 lbs. – Jimmy Chase, Carol Strem, Ill. (Pinnacle WC)
vs. Artem Roitman (Israel)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Bo Beckman, Orem, Utah (USOEC)
vs. Havder Kareem Hasan (Iraq)

84 kg/185 lbs. – Zach Nielsen, Zimmerman, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
vs. Robert Papp (Romania)

120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Peter Kowalczuk, Oak Park, Ill. (Sunkist Kids/USOEC)
vs. Riza Kayaalp (Turkey)

July 26, 2008

FILA Junior Worlds to test top wrestlers in all three styles starting July 29 in Turkey

FILA Junior Worlds to test top wrestlers in all three styles starting July 29 in Turkey
Elizabeth Wiley USA Wrestling

USA Wrestling has been busy this summer preparing the 2007 U.S. Junior World Teams in all three Olympic styles for competition at the FILA Junior World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, July 29-Aug. 3.

The top 17-20 year old wrestlers in the world will compete at the event. The United States has had considerable success on the FILA Junior level in the past, and seeks to return from China with a number of medals.

In 2007, at the Junior World Championships in Beijing, China, the United States captured four individual medals. The U.S. women’s team tied for fourth in the team standings with three medalists, including World Champion Whitney Conder (Puyallup. Wash./USOEC). The men’s freestyle team placed 11th in the standings, with Bubba Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Va./Penn State) capturing a World Title. The men’s Greco-Roman team placed ninth and had two wrestlers place fifth to lead the team.

Set to lead the women’s freestyle team and two returning medalists. Tatiana Padilla (Azusa, Calif./Sunkist Kids) earned a silver medal at 59 kg/130 lbs. at last year’s competition. Padilla has had strong performances on the senior level nationally and recently finished third at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for wrestling at 55 kg/121 lbs. Alyssa Lampe (Tomahawk, Wis./USOEC) placed third at 48 kg/105.5 lbs and hopes to improve on her performance. Also returning from last year’s squad is Paige Rife (Fowlerville, Mich./USOEC) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Filling out the roster for the women’s team are Victoria Anthony (Huntington Beach, Calif./) at 44 kg/97 lbs., Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./New York AC) at 51 kg/112.25 lbs., Michaela Hutchison (Soldotna, Alaska/) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Schuyler Brown (Montpelier, Va./USOEC) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs., and Adeline Gray (Littleton, Colo./) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.

Coaching the women’s team are Developmental coach Izzy Izboinikov and volunteers Rob Eiter and Donnie Stephens.

Fifth-place finisher at the 2007 Junior Worlds Tyler Cox is set to lead the Junior Greco-Roman team in Turkey. Cox is the only returning wrestler and will look to improve on last year’s placement at 50 kg/110 lbs.

Joining Cox on the Greco-Roman team are Jimmy Chase (Carol Strem, Ill./Pinnacle WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Shamrock WC) at 60 kg/132 lbs., Bo Beckman (Orem, Utah/USOEC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Ben Provisor (Stevens Point, Wis./Dennis Hall World Gold WC) at 74 kg/163 lbs., Zach Nielsen (Zimmerman, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 84 kg/185 lbs., Michael Rossetti (Pittsburgh, Penn./USOEC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., and Peter Kowalczuk, (Oak Park, Ill./Sunkist Kids/USOEC) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Greco-Roman Developmental Coach Ike Anderson and volunteer Ray Brinzer will serve as the coaching staff for the team.

Men’s freestyle also only has one returning 2007 Junior World Team member. Tyler Graff, a high school aged wrestler, (Loveland, Colo./Loveland Wrestling Academy) will move up a weight class to wrestle at 60 kg/132 lbs. Graff did not place last year.

Joining Graff to complete the men’s freestyle team are Mark Rappo (Holland, Pa./Sunkist Kids) at 50 kg/110 lbs., Zach Sanders (Wabasha, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Jordan Burroughs (Sicklerville, N.J./Sunkist Kids) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Quentin Wright (Bellefonte, Penn./Penn State) at 74 kg/163 lbs., Kirk Smith (Boise, Idaho/Bronco WC) at 84 kg/185 lbs., Clayton Foster (Kooskia, Idaho/Gator WC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., and Clayton Jack (Vacaville, Calif./Orange Crush) at 120 kg/211.5 lbs.

Freestyle Developmental Coach Dave Bennett is joined by volunteers Scott Chenoweth and Mark Manning.

The men’s Junior World Teams were determined at the Junior World Team Trials, held in Colorado Springs, Colo. in late May. The women’s Junior World Team was set at the Body Bar FILA Junior Nationals in Colorado Springs, Colo. in mid May.

U.S. Junior World Teams
Istanbul, Turkey

Men’s FS:
50 kg: Mark Rappo, Holland, Pa. (Sunkist Kids)
55 kg: Zach Sanders, Wabasha, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
60 kg: Tyler Graff, Loveland, Colo. (New York AC)
66 kg: Jordan Burroughs, Sicklerville, N.J. (Sunkist Kids)
74 kg: Quentin Wright, Bellefonte, Penn. (Penn State)
84 kg: Kirk Smith, Boise, Idaho (Bronco WC)
96 kg: Clayton Foster, Kooskia, Idaho (Gator WC)
120 kg: Clayton Jack, Vacaville, Calif. (Orange Crush)

Coach: Mark Manning, Lincoln, Neb.
Coach: Scott Chenoweth, Perry, Okla.
Coach: Dave Bennett, Colorado Springs, Colo.

50 kg: Tyler Cox, Gillete, Wyo. (Camel Kids)
55 kg: Jimmy Chase, Carol Strem, Ill. (Pinnacle WC)
60 kg: Kyle Dake, Ithaca, N.Y. (Shamrock WC)
66 kg: Bo Beckman, Orem, Utah (USOEC)
74 kg: Ben Provisor, Stevens Point, Wis. (Dennis Hall World Gold WC)
84 kg: Zach Nielsen, Zimmerman, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
96 kg: Michael Rossetti, Pittsburgh, Penn. (USOEC)
120 kg: Peter Kowalczuk, Oak Park, Ill. (Sunkist Kids/USOEC)

Coach: Ray Brinzer, Freedom, Pa.
Coach: Ike Anderson, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Women’s FS:
44 kg: Victoria Anthony, Huntington Beach, Calif.
48 kg: Alyssa Lampe, Tomahawk, Wis. (USOEC)
51 kg: Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (New York AC)
55 kg: Michaela Hutchison, Soldotna, Alaska
59 kg: Tatiana Padilla, Azusa, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
63 kg: Schuyler Brown, Montpelier, Va. (USOEC)
67 kg: Adeline Gray, Littleton, Colo.
72 kg: Paige Rife, Fowlerville, Mich. (USOEC)

Coach: Rob Eiter, Ocean City, N.J.
Coach: Donnie Stephens, Arcadia, Calif.
Coach: Vladislav “Izzy? Izboinikov, Colorado Springs, Colo.

At Istanbul, Turkey, July 29-August 3

Tuesday, July 29 – Greco-Roman: 50 kg, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg (Cox, Dake, Provisor, Rossetti)

Wednesday, July 30 – Greco-Roman: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg (Chase, Beckman, Nielsen, Kowalczuk)

Thursday, July 31 – Women’s Freestyle: 44 kg, 51 kg, 59 kg, 67 kg (Anthony, Maroulis, Padilla, Gray)

Friday, August 1 – Women’s Freestyle: 48 kg, 55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg (Lampe, Hutchinson, Brown, Rife)

Saturday, August 2 – Men’s Freestyle: 50 kg, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg (Rappo, Graff, Wright, Foster)

Sunday, August 3 – Men’s Freestyle: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg (Sanders, Burroughs, Smith, Jack)

July 23, 2008

Check out the Fargo Interviews!

Interviews from the National Champions are now available on The Wrestling Talk, check 'em out!

Freestyle Cadets & Juniors to Follow.

Nowry, Sanders, Grajales win second career Junior National Greco-Roman titles

Nowry, Sanders, Grajales win second career Junior National Greco-Roman titles
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Interview videos are up

FARGO, N.D. – Max Nowry of Illinois (105) and Kendrick Sanders of Florida (145) repeated as Junior National champions with victories at the ASICS/Vaughan Junior Greco-Roman Wrestling Nationals at the FargoDome on Tuesday afternoon.

Nowry, a Junior double champion last year, won his third career Junior Nationals title with a victory over Ryak Fitch of Arizona at 105 pounds, 6-5, 1-1. The first period was wide open, with Fitch jumping ahead 5-0, but Nowry turning him three times with gutwrenches to win 6-5. The second period went down to defense from the bottom position, with Nowry defending and scoring the final point of the match.

Sanders put on a display of explosive throws in a two-period victory over Zach Clemente of New York in the finals, 6-1, 6-0. In the first period, Sanders had a three-point throw. In the second period, a high amplitude five-point throw from the reverse lift position ended the match instantly.

Sanders was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament for his impressive dominant performance.

Winning a second career Junior Nationals Greco-Roman title was Eric Grajales of Florida, who needed three periods to defeat Ellis Coleman of Illinois, 0-2, 3-3, 6-0. Grajales was also a Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion in 2006, and has competed on two U.S. Junior World Teams.

In the final period, Grajales received two points when Coleman was cautioned for jumping the whistle. Grajales hit two more gut wrenches to win the final period by technical fall.

2007 Junior Nationals runner-up Tyrell Fortune of Oregon had his offense going strong when he defeated Orlando Scales of Ohio in two straight periods, 6-1, 6-0. Scales scored the first takedown of the match, but Fortune rebounded with a three-point throw to take the first period. In the second period, he quickly took down Scales and turned him a number of times for the technical fall. Fortune was a double Cadet Nationals champion in 2005 and 2006.

Talented twins Dylan and Andrew Alton of Pennsylvania both reached the finals, but only one came home with a title.

Dylan defeated fellow Pennsylvanian Josh Kindig in the finals in two straight periods, 4-0, 3-0 at 135 pounds. Alton scored exposure points in both periods and controlled the action. Dylan Alton was second in Cadet Nationals in Greco-Roman last year and first in freestyle.

At 140 pounds, Cole Schmitt of Wisconsin defeated Andrew Alton of Pennsylvania in two straight periods, 4-1, 4-2. Schmitt scored a three-point throw in both periods. Schmitt was a FILA Cadet Nationals champion this year and was third at the Junior Nationals last year. Andrew Alton was a double Cadet Nationals champion in 2007.

Joining Schmitt as a Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion was his high school teammate at Belleville-Monticello-New Glarus co-op program in Wisconsin was Kalvin York at 152 pounds. He defeated 2007 Cadet Nationals champion Kirk Cowburn of Pennsylvania in the finals, 3-2, 7-1. York hit a big three-point throw early in the second period to nail down the win.

In a battle of Missouri stars, Ryan Mango defeated Alan Waters in the finals at 112 pounds in a three-period battle, 4-1, 0-2, 6-0. After splitting the first two periods, Mango got his offense going in the deciding third period, using lift and throws to score a technical fall for the period.

Mango was a double Cadet Nationals champion in 2006, while Waters won a Cadet double title in 2007. Mango, younger brother of 2008 Olympian Spenser Mango, missed this event last year after breaking his wrist. Mango beat Waters 2-3, 6-1, 2-1 earlier this year in the FILA Cadet Nationals finals in Akron, Ohio.

Jake Bellis of Illinois opened the tournament with excitement, defeating Tyler Fraley of New Jersey in the finals, 5-4, 7-0 at 98 pounds. Bellis was able to use a powerful gut wrench a number of times during the match.

With Bellis and Nowry winning titles, and a total team effort, Illinois won the Wells Fargo Insurance Services Cup team title with 67 points, followed by Minnesota with 49 points and Pennsylvania with 45 points.

In an impressive performance at 119 pounds, Logan Stieber of Ohio pinned Sharky Slyter of Kansas in 1:27. Stieber turned Slyter early in the period, then ran a bar arm for the pin. He was a Cadet Nationals freestyle champion last year.

The 125-pound match went down to the final seconds, with Luke Goettl of Arizona defeating Justin LaValle of Minnesota, 2-1, 1-10, 3-2. With LaValle leading in the closing period, Goettl scored an exposure turn for two points to win the final period.

Travis Rutt of Minnesota won the gold medal at 160 pounds, defeating 2007 Junior Nationals runner-up Alec Ortiz of Oregon in the finals, 5-0, 7-0. Rutt scored a five-point throw from the reverse lift in the first period, then turned Ortiz twice in the second period for the technical fall. Rutt placed fifth at the Junior Nationals last year.

In a battle of Cadet National Greco-Roman champions from last year, Ethen Lofthouse of Utah defeated Joel Bauman of Minnesota at 171 pounds, 2-0, 5-1. Lofthouse scored a hip toss for three points in the second period to end the match. Last year, Lofthouse won the Cadet title at 160 pounds while Bauman was the champion at 171 pounds.

After losing the first period, Brent Haynes of Missouri came back strong to defeat Clayton Kendall of Illinois, 0-6, 1-1, 7-0. Haynes had two takedowns, a gut wrench, then a headlock to put Kendall away in the final period.

The heavyweight match ended quickly, as John Hiles of Ohio hit multiple gut wrench turns in both periods to score a technical fall over Kyle Kober of Iowa in the finals, 7-0, 6-0.

July 17, 2008

Branch announced as new head coach at Wyoming

Branch announced as new head coach at Wyoming
DATE: 7/14/2008 9:23:00 PM
Laramie, WY
Wyoming Sports Information

University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced on Monday that Mark Branch has been selected as the new head wrestling coach at UW.

Branch comes to Wyoming from Oklahoma State University where he was the Associate Head Wrestling Coach. He was a part of five NCAA team championships as a coach and student-athlete at OSU. As a college wrestler, Branch was a member of OSU's 1994 NCAA Championship team, and served on the coaching staff for OSU's 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 NCAA titles.

He provided the Cowboys from Stillwater with personal and team instruction including technique training, weight training, conditioning and nutrition. He was instrumental in the recruiting of student-athletes to Stillwater, as well as organizing fundraising projects, promotional strategies and assisting in public relation functions with student-athletes.

Branch replaces Steven Suder, who coached the Wyoming Cowboys from 1989-2008.

"The hiring of Mark is exciting for the future of Wyoming Cowboy wrestling," Burman said. "We feel his experience and passion will enable us to become a national player in the wrestling community."

"For me, this is the realization of my goal to become an NCAA head coach," said Branch. "I'm from a competitive background, and I was looking for a place where I could build a nationally-competitive program. I believe there is a great deal of support from the Athletic Department and the University as a whole at Wyoming. Wyoming is the right program for me and the right fit for me and my family. I appreciate the confidence that Tom Burman (UW Athletics Director) and Matt Whisenant (UW Senior Associate Athletics Director) have shown in me to get the job done."

As a member of the OSU coaching staff, Branch was named the National Wrestling Coaches' Association (NWCA) Assistant Coach of the Year in 2004. He helped coach OSU to seven Big XII Championships, four NCAA Championships and three Dual Team Championships. He was named the Associate Head Coach at OSU in 2002. He individually coached 31 All-Americans and nine NCAA Champions.

Branch has been a freestyle wrestling coach for the Gator Club in New Orleans, La., since 1997 where he provides personal instruction and training in freestyle wrestling. His teams have participated at various World Team training camps. He has coached at the U.S. Nationals and World/Olympic Team Trials.

As a student-athlete at OSU, Branch was a four-time NCAA All-American (1994-97), four-time NCAA National Finalist (1994-97), two-time NCAA National Champion at 167 pounds (1994 and '97) and a two-time National Freestyle All-American (1998 and '99). In 1997, he was named the Big XII Athlete of the Year, OSU Student-Athlete of the Year and the top graduating senior for OSU Wrestling. He was a four-time NWCA Academic All-American, received an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Award and a Big XII Post-Graduate Scholarship Award.

Branch earned his bachelor of science degree in secondary education from Oklahoma State in 1997 and earned his master of science degree in athletic administration from OSU in 2000.

"I wouldn't be in this position if it weren't for the opportunities I was given at my alma mater, Oklahoma State," said Branch. "John Smith (Head Wrestling Coach at Oklahoma State) gave me the opportunity to learn from him. I consider him to be the greatest coach in college wrestling. I was fortunate to be a part of the greatest program in college wrestling as a student-athlete and assistant coach with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, now I'm excited to build on the great tradition of Wyoming Cowboy wrestling."

A native of Newkirk, Okla., he and his wife Susan have a daughter, Maggie Belle, and a son, Mason Layne.

July 9, 2008

Top U.S. wrestlers set to take down competition at University Worlds July 9-13 in Greece

Top U.S. wrestlers set to take down competition at University Worlds July 9-13 in Greece
Elizabeth Wiley USA Wrestling

The USA Wrestling University World Teams will travel to Thessoloniki, Greece for the University World Championships July 9-13.

Men’s freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle wrestling teams will all compete against some of the best in the world at the competition.

Jake Herbert is the only returning competitor on the men’s freestyle team. A bronze medalist at last year’s competition, Herbert will provide leadership and experience for the team as he competes at 84 kg/185 lbs.

“Herbert is a returning bronze medalist,? Freestyle Developmental Coach Dave Bennett said. “He knows what he needs to do. We’re expecting a good performance.?

Joining Herbert on the freestyle team are Brad Pataky at 55 kg/121 lbs., Reece Humphrey at 60 kg/132 lbs., Josh Churella at 66 kg/145.5 lbs, Keith Gavin at 74 kg/163 lbs., Brendan Jones at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and Tervel Dlagnev at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. All six of these wrestlers are making their first trip to compete at University Worlds.

“My goal for this team is to come back with seven gold medals and I think it’s a goal for them, too,? said Bennett. “That may not happen, but we have to go in believing all things are possible.?

The men’s freestyle team will be coached by Lou Rosselli and Wes Hand. Dave Bennett is serving as team leader for the trip.

The Greco-Roman squad features two wrestlers who just missed out on berths to the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as a number of other talented athletes.

“(Sam) Hazewinkel competed at the Olympic Team Trials and was one match from making the Olympic Team,? Greco-Roman Developmental Coach Ike Anderson said. “I’m excited about him.?

Sam Hazewinkel lost to Spenser Mango in the Championship Series at 55 kg/121 lbs. while Cheney Haight finished behind T.C. Dantzler at 74 kg/163 lbs.

“I expect Cheney Haight to be able to medal,? said Anderson. “Again he was one match from making the Olympic Team against T.C.?

Another top contender for the Greco-Roman team is Chas Betts. Betts was a silver medalist at the 2006 University World Championships and hopes to medal again in 2008.

The rest of the team is Donovan Depatto at 60 kg/132 lbs., Jacob Curby at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., and Robbie Smith at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. The heavyweight contender has not yet been determined for the U.S.

Eric Wetzel and Gary Mayabb will coach the Greco-Roman team.

The women’s side features seven athletes that took part in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and should be incredibly competitive in Greece.

Three wrestlers on the team also competed at the 2006 World University Championships. Alaina Berube was a bronze medalist at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. two years ago. Joining her from that squad are Sara Fulp-Allen at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. and Othella Lucas at 59 kg/130 lbs.

Rounding out the women’s team are Katherine Fulp-Allen at 51 kg/112.25 lbs., Chelynne Pringle at 55 kg/121 lbs., Elena Pirozhkov at 67 kg/147.5 lbs., and Stephany Lee at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Serving as coaches for the women’s freestyle team are Shannyn Gillespie and Trevor Keifer.

University World Championships
Thessoloniki, Greece

Men’s Freestyle:
55 kg: Brad Pataky, Clearfield, Pa. (New York AC)
60 kg: Reece Humphrey, Indianapolis, Ind. (Ohio State)
66 kg: Josh Churella, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
74 kg: Keith Gavin, Factoryville, Pa. (New York AC)
84 kg: Jake Herbert, Wexford, Pa. (New York AC)
96 kg: Brent Jones, Burke, Va. (Cavalier WC)
120 kg: Tervel Dlagnev, Arlington, Texas (Loper WC)

Coach: Lou Rosselli
Coach: Wes Hand
Team Leader: Dave Bennett

55 kg: Sam Hazewinkel, Norman, Okla. (Gator WC)
60 kg: Donovan Depatto, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corp)
66 kg: Jacob Curby, LaGrange, Ill. (USOEC/GatorWC)
74 kg: Cheney Haight, Orem, Utah (USOEC/New York AC)
84 kg: Chas Betts, St. Michael, Minn. (USOEC/Minnesota Storm)
96 kg: Robbie Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
120 kg: TBD

Coach: Eric Wetzel
Coach: Gary Mayabb

Women’s Freestyle:
48 kg: Sara Fulp-Allen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
51 kg: Katherine Fulp-Allen, El Granada, Calif. (Menlo College)
55 kg: Chelynne Pringle, Hugo, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
59 kg: Othella Lucas, San Diego, Calif. (New York AC)
63 kg: Alaina Berube, River Falls, Wis. (New York AC)
67 kg: Elena Pirozhkov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
72 kg: Stephany Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

Coach: Shannyn Gillespie
Coach: Trevor Keifer

Generally in exchanges like this the US Team brings along wrestling gear to give to other nations.

July 7, 2008

Patterson, Dolmo claim Beach World Team Trials titles in Rochester

Patterson, Dolmo claim Beach World Team Trials titles in Rochester
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The most experienced Beach wrestler in the nation claimed one of the titles, and a newcomer to the Beach scene claimed the other at the 2008 U.S. Beach World Team Trials at Ontario Beach Park on Sunday.

2007 World Beach bronze medalist Carlos Dolmo (Bronx, N.Y./Blast Double NY) won the Over 85 kg/187.5 pound title, while Binghamton University wrestler Nate Patterson (Ontario, N.Y./Team Cook) claimed the title at Below 85 kg (187.5 lbs).

The top three placewinners at the U.S. Beach World Team Trials in each weight class earn a spot on the U.S. team which will compete in Durres, Albania, Sept. 20.

Dolmo won both of his matches by 2-0 shutouts, including a victory in the championship match over Mike Carroll (Lake Winola, Pa./Avalanche). Dolmo had defeated Carroll 2-1 in the U.S. Nationals finals on Saturday in the 302-pound division.

Dolmo plans to attend the World Beach Wrestling Championships for the third time. He was third at the 2007 Beach Worlds, and fifth at the 2006 Beach Worlds.

“I remember last year,? said Dolmo. “I want to win the gold and bring it back to the USA. We’ve never had a Beach World champion. I want to be the first to accomplish that.?

Dolmo was pleased with his wrestling performance on both Saturday and Sunday. He has been wrestling on the beach for four seasons, competing in the first Beach events held in his native New York back in 2005.

“I wrestled well. I kept good position,? said Dolmo “My finals opponent was taller and bigger than me. I had to stay patient, find an opening and exploit that opening.?

Patterson, who will be entering his senior year at Binghamton, also had a strong weekend of wrestling. He won his first U.S. Beach national title on Saturday, claiming the 171-pound title.

Today, Patterson won three matches to capture the World Team Trials title. In the finals, he defeated 2007 World bronze medalist Jeff Funicello (Gilbert, Ariz./American Pankration) in a 1-1 referee’s decision. Funicello was the 187-pound national champion on Saturday.

“I came and watched last year, and it looked like fun,? said Patterson. “I came to try it out this year. Coming in, I wasn’t aware of all the rules, but I picked it up quickly. It is a blast doing this.?

Patterson defeated two other talented Beach wrestlers on Sunday. He stopped 2007 U.S. Beach Nationals champion Neil Cook (Rochester, N.Y./Team Titan) in quarterfinals, 2-0, then defeated 2006 World Beach bronze medalist Ray Downey (Babylon, N.Y./Razor WC) in the semifinals, 2-0.

“I had some tough guys,? said Patterson. “I didn’t change my style. I don’t do much upperbody wrestling. I tried to shoot and score like that.?

Patterson has been third at the CAA Championships twice in his career, and returns for his final season of college wrestling in the fall.

Earning spots on the U.S. World Beach Team with victories in their bronze medal matches were Trevor Chinn (Canandaigua, N.Y./Team Titan) at the Below 85 kg (187.5 lbs.) division and Matt Mahon (Rochester, N.Y./Apex WC) at the Above 85 kg (187.5 lbs.) division.

Chinn stopped Michael Proulx (Bath, Maine/unattached) in the bronze-medal match, 2-1. Chinn was second at the 2008 U.S. Beach Nationals at 171 pounds and was a U.S. Beach Nationals champion in 2006. Chinn competes for Lehigh University.

Mahon scored a 37-second pin over 2008 U.S. Beach Nationals champion Corey Waite (Team Cook) in the bronze medal match. Mahon was third at the 2007 U.S. Beach Nationals on Saturday at 302 pounds.

The first National Beach High School Duals was held on Sunday, featuring club teams of high school wrestlers. Claiming the team title, and the championship belt, was Team Titan/Worldwide, with a 4-0 record. The Beach Nuts placed second and the Cheeburger Cheeburger Team placed third. This event was a great success, and is expected to grow in future years.

Beach wrestling equipment generally lacks wrestling shoes, wrestling singlets, and wrestling headgear, exchanged for bare feet, shorts, and no shirt. The shoes are removed for obvious reasons- no sand.

At Rochester, N.Y., July 6, 2008

Under 85 kg/187.5 lbs.
1st - Nate Patterson (Ontario, N.Y./Team Cook) dec. Jeff Funicello (Gilbert, Ariz./American Pankration), 1-1, referee’s decision
3rd - Trevor Chinn (Canandaigua, N.Y./Team Titan) dec. Michael Proulx (Bath, Maine/unattached), 2-1
5th – Neil Cook (Rochester, N.Y./Team Titan) dec. Ray Downey (Babylon, N.Y./Razor WC), 2-1.

Over 85 kg/187.5 lbs.
1st - Carlos Dolmo (Bronx, N.Y./Blast Double NY) dec. Mike Carroll (Lake Winola, Pa./Avalanche), 2-0
3rd - Matt Mahon (Rochester, N.Y./Apex WC) pin Corey Waite (Johnson City, N.Y./Team Cook), 0:37

July 3, 2008

Steiner/Brands among this weeks guests on TDR

This past weekend we had a great time helping to raise awareness for the flood ravaged museum in Waterloo. Pro Wrestling star Rowdy Roddy Piper quipped to museum founder Mike Chapman, "It's a little rain, a little water Mike, Get over it." I wish it were that simple. They desperately need the help of the community. Please visit the Museum's web site at Many have turned out to help with muscle and some with donations. the museum and our sports heritage need you now!

Please help-
Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum 303 Jefferson St., Waterloo, IA 50701 319.233.0745 • fax 319.233.3477

We return this 4th of July weekend to our Brute Adidas studios for another great show. We'll go back in time, just a little, take a look at some of the news from your sport and visit with some of America's greatest athletes and coaches. Each Saturday from 9 AM to 11 AM CST we dive head first down to the mat with interesting interviews and conversation. Miss a show? Miss a lot! Listen to the archives at or subscribe to the TDR Pod Cast at no charge.

This week on TDR-

Dan Wirnsberger- Head Coach of the Bison of Bucknell.

Troy Steiner- Asst Head Coach of the Beavers of Oregon State.

Terry Brands- USA Wrestling Resident Freestyle Coach

Mitch Clark- Past NCAA champion for Ohio State

June 27, 2008

Chas Thompson to coach at Fort Hayes

Fort Hays State University announced on Thursday, June 26, 2008, the hiring of Chas Thompson as Head Wrestling Coach. Thompson becomes the 13th coach in the wrestling program's history.

Thompson comes to Fort Hays State from Pratt Community College, where he served as head coach for two years from 2006-2008. In his time at PCC, Thompson led the Beavers to 10th and 21st place finishes at the NJCAA National Tournament and coached two NJCAA All-Americans. He also coached 11 Academic All-Americans. His 2006-07 team was ranked as high as 6th in the nation and his dash 2007-08 team was ranked as high as 10th in the nation.

Thompson is no stranger to the Fort Hays State program, where he served as an assistant coach for three years prior to becoming the head coach at Pratt Community College. Thompson was a graduate assistant coach for two years at FHSU from 2003-2005. He was a student assistant coach during the 2002-03 season. Thompson had the privilege of helping coach five NCAA Division II All-Americans as an assistant at FHSU.

Outside his collegiate coaching experience, Thompson has also served in several other coaching roles. He was a coach for the Cadet National Team in Fargo, N.D., the past three years and a coach for the Southern Plains Wrestling Team the past four years. Thompson also served as a summer wrestling coach from 1999-2008 in the Freestyle, Folkstyle, and Greco Roman disciplines.

Thompson wrestled for Fort Hays State University from 1999-2002. He was a national qualifier during his junior season (1999-2000) after winning his weight class at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
Championships/NCAA Division II West Regional.

Prior to competing at FHSU, Thompson wrestled for two seasons at Labette Community College under his father Jody Thompson. His father is a member of the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame, NJCAA Coaches Hall of Fame, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, and National Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Thompson earned NJCAA All-American honors as a sophomore and was a two-time national qualifi er for LCC.

A native of Parsons, Kan., Thompson compiled a record of 133-14 in his prep career at Parsons High School. He was named the Kansas Class 4A Wrestler of the Year after winning the state championship as a senior. He was a four-time state placer at PHS.

Thompson earned a bachelor's degree in Physical Education from Fort Hays State in 2003, and is currently working towards completion of his master's degree in Sports Administration at FHSU.

June 23, 2008

Olympians spend the day at Tranquility

'Tranquility' is usually not a word associated with members of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team. After all, the lives of these world-class athletes are a mix of discipline, training and putting their minds and skills to the test against other highly-trained wrestlers.

So when Ben Askren, Clarissa Chun, Marcie Van Dusen, Randi Miller and Ali Bernard, all of whom will represent the U.S. in Beijing in August, had a chance to spend the afternoon being pampered by the pros at Tranquility Salon and Day Spa in Bedminster, N.J., they were understandably excited.

"Between training and preparing for matches and tournaments there isn't much time for facials and massages,?said Chun, a native of Hawaii who qualified at 48 KG. "It's fun to feel a little pampered and get to show that we're women as well as athletes."

For Miller, the U.S. women's representative at 63 KG, the day was a chance to relieve the stresses that competing has brought over the past few weeks getting ready for Team Trials. "We're happy to have this little breather in between Trials and Olympics, and we're aware of how intense the training will be," she explained. "But washing away that stress, even for a couple of hours, is a great way to re-energize for what's ahead."

The athletes have spent the past few days in the New York Metro area doing clinics, meet-and-greets and media appearances in support of "Fuel the Dream," a program instituted by USA Wrestling to assist the families of these athletes with travel expenses to Beijing. The time at "Tranquility" has also helped take the edge off their busy schedules while in the area.

"We are happy and honored to be able to support these tremendous athletes in this way," said Jody Maurais, owner of Tranquility, which has been in business for 18 years, including the past five at its present location, a charming two-story converted residence. "It's a sheer pleasure for us to be involved in this way, and to help make them feel relaxed and look great."

The session was the brainchild of Steven John Jastrabek, Tranquility's manager and artistic director and a longtime supporter of USA Wrestling. The makeovers preceded the team’s appearance at a special welcome dinner at the Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, which also served as a fundraiser for “Fuel the Dream.?

Even men's 74 KG freestyler Askren and his signature curly locks got in on the fun. "I think a couple of the guys were a little jealous,? he joked, “though they may not want to admit it."

"’Tranquility’ is all about making people feel good," added Maurais. "There's a therapeutic quality to what our professionals do for people, and the wrestlers got that same treatment today.?

June 19, 2008

NWCA announces Columbus as host for All-Star Classic

NWCA announces Columbus as host for All-Star Classic; National Duals set to stay in Cedar Falls
Jason Bryant NWCA

After finishing second at the 2008 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, it didn’t seem like there was much more Ohio State coach Tom Ryan could to bring momentum into Columbus and excitement to the wrestling program.

Well, there was.

On Wednesday, the National Wrestling Coaches Association announced the 43rd annual NWCA All-Star Classic presented by the United States Marine Corps will be hosted by the Ohio State University on November 24, 2008.

Prior to the announcement, the NWCA Board of Directors unanimously approved the motion to have Ohio State host the event at the annual NWCA Convention held last week in Las Vegas prior to the Olympic Trials.

“We’ve taken the All-Star Classic around the country, but it’s hard to believe it’s been 27 years since the event has been in Columbus,? said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “We’ve been to Dallas and Oregon the last two years to try to kick start and preserve wrestling and this coming year, we’re going to an area where wrestling isn’t just thriving, it’s creating an electric atmosphere around campus.?

Last year, the event drew over 4,300 fans at the University of Oregon’s MacArthur Court in an effort to help the Save Oregon Wrestling effort.

“We were pleased about the outpouring of support from the fans in Oregon last year,? said Moyer. “Even with the event traditionally held on a Monday night, we think Columbus will be an ideal location for wrestling fans in the region to watch the best college wrestling has to offer and many previews of what you will see in St. Louis come March.

Back in 1981, names like Gene Mills, Jim Gibbons, Andre Metzger, Nate Carr, Ricky Stewart, Dan Severn and Bruce Baumgartner highlighted the field.

Also on Wednesday, the NWCA announced a two-year extension with the University of Northern Iowa as the host of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. This move was also approved by the NWCA’s Board of Directors.

The event called the UNI-Dome home for the fourth consecutive year and the two-year extension will make it the host site through the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

“The staff ant Northern Iowa and the representatives of the local visitors and conventions bureaus do an amazing amount of work and preparation for this event,? said NWCA President Ron Mirikitani. “Just finding lodging for 80-something teams is hard enough, but they make it easy choice to continue to come back.?

The 2008 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals were named Event of the Year by the Cedar Valley Tourism Awards handed out last May.

June 18, 2008

Byers finally out of Gardner's Shadow

After so many years of chasing Rulon Gardner, Dremiel Byers learned what it was like to have Rulon Gardner chasing him.

Byers, a world-level wrestler for 10 years who was twice blocked from the Olympics by former gold medalist Gardner, won his way to the games by beating U.S. Army teammate Tim Taylor in the best-of-three U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman 264½-pound trials Sunday night.

Finally, a wrestler long accustomed to being No. 2 was No. 1, and Byers did it in a big way by catching Taylor with an underhook and dropping him for a 5-point move that decided the third and final match of their best-of-three series.

And guess who chased him across the mat for an interview once he was done? None other than Gardner, Byers' longtime rival and NBC's newest wrestling analyst.

"To come out and finish the way he did was the best thing he could have done," Gardner said. "That's going to give him a lot of confidence going into Beijing."

Think the 33-year-old Byers hasn't waited for this day since he first took up Greco-Roman wrestling a dozen years ago? Since he first won a national championship nine years ago, a remarkably long time for someone to wait to become an Olympian after proving he was good enough to be the best in the country?

"It's kind of poetic," said Byers, a 2002 world champion who choked back tears of pride and accomplishment. "I'm a romantic guy like that. There's a closeness there."

Byers feels the same way now about Taylor, a former Clearfield (Pa.) High wrestler who trains in Colorado Springs daily with Byers. The two go on hunting trips and attend parties together, and beating Taylor was as hard for Byers as beating Byers once was for Gardner.

"Other guys here are in clubs that live all over the country and come together for one event," Byers said. "In the Army, we're an actual team. We're in our (wrestling) room pounding it out every day."

Now, Byers likely will take Taylor with him to Beijing to help him prepare for the Olympics. Just as Gardner took him to the games to help Gardner prepare for winning his upset-of-a-lifetime gold medal in 2000 and bronze medal in 2004. And if Byers wants another training partner ...

"If he wants me to help him, I'm there," Gardner said.

Fittingly on a night that Gardner won, several other longtime No. 2s also came through to make the Olympic team.

At freestyle 185 pounds, Andy Hrovat beat three-time national champion Mo Lawal. In a surprise at Greco-Roman 211½ pounds, Adam Wheeler outlasted Justin Ruiz, who had won the past five national titles, three times beating Wheeler. At freestyle 264½ pounds, Steve Mocco -- the national runner-up the past five years and a three-time world team runner-up -- defeated top-seeded Tommy Rowlands, who was fifth in the world last year.

When Mocco won, family members -- including sister Katie, who competed in this weekend's judo trials -- hugged, screamed and cried upon realizing he wasn't second any longer.

"It's been a struggle, it's been a struggle for my family," said Mocco, also a two-time NCAA runner-up. "I've always come up a little bit short. But in a real tough weight class, I found a way to win."

There was one repeat Olympian on Sunday night, Daniel Cormier at freestyle 211½ pounds,

There was no doubt who is No. 1 at freestyle 163 pounds -- Ben Askren, the oh-so-confident former Missouri wrestler who needed only one year to transition from two-time NCAA champion to Olympian.

Former college stars such as the 23-year-old Askren often need a much longer indoctrination before excelling in freestyle, and Askren has adapted his style. But he hasn't eliminated the raised No. 1 fingers, the pumping fists, the crowd gestures, all of which stamp him as a nonconformist in an old, traditional sport.

"I just knew I was going to win. There was no doubt in my mind," Askren said.

That confidence, he said, comes from a relentless training regimen and an eagerness to outwork his opponents.

"I work harder than a lot of people. A lot of senior level (wrestlers) don't want to work. They don't want to be the best," Askren said.

He doesn't doubt he will win in Beijing, despite his lack of top-level international experience.

"I'm going to win a gold medal," Askren said.

The other Greco-Roman and freestyle Olympians were determined Saturday night, including 18-year-old Jake Deitchler, the first high schooler to make the U.S. team in 32 years.

June 17, 2008

Cormier makes second Olympic Team

Cormier makes second Olympic Team, Byers gets his first chance with wins at U.S. Olympic Team Trials
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) made his second straight Olympic team, defeating Damion Hahn (Ithaca, N.Y./New York AC) in two straight matches at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday.

Cormier placed fourth in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He won a World bronze medal in 2007. It was his sixth straight year claiming the U.S. team spot at his weight class.

“I’m just going to train hard. It’s my second Olympic Games. I don’t want to feel like I did coming back from Athens in 2004. Losing two overtime matches in the semis and then losing the bronze medal match. I don’t want to feel that way. I’m doing everything possible to make sure I’m prepared and ready to go when I get to China. If I do that I think I’ll be okay,? said Cormier.

Cormier is the only member of the men’s freestyle Olympic Team who has competed in a previous Olympic Games. On Friday, Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) made his second Olympic team in Greco-Roman with a victory at 84 kg/185 lbs.

In bout number one, the first period, trailing 1-0, Cormier scored six points with a takedown and two tilts to win, 6-1. In the second period, Cormier again opened up his offense, turning Hahn to get a 6-0 technical fall.

In bout two, scored a point in each period, on a stepout in the first period and a spin behind in the second period, for a 1-1 victory and his second Olympic berth.

“I’m confident. I’m getting to the point where I am confident in my abilities and I figure if I go out and wrestle like I’m capable, I’m going to be okay. That’s pretty much what’s been happening. These guys are tough competitors. I’ve been lucky enough, blessed to stay healthy and believe in myself. It’s been leading to victories,? said Cormier.

2002 World champion Dremiel Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./US Army) made his first Olympic Team, but needed three matches to get by U.S. Army teammate Timothy Taylor at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Byers won the first match, 1-1, 4-0, but fell in the second bout, 2-5, 2-1, 1-1. In the deciding third match, Byers dominated the first period, 4-0. In the second period, Byers hit a five-point high amplitude throw to immediately finish the match.

Byers talked about the challenge of facing his friend and teammate in the Championship Series with an Olympic berth at stake.

“That’s my brother from another mother. We live that everyday with our unit. We really are family. If you look around at Nationals or you look into it, we’re the only actual team. The other guys are clubs that live all over the country and come together for one event. We’re in there pounding it out everyday with each other,? said Byers.

Byers placed second at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to archrival and friend Rulon Gardner, who won an Olympic gold in 2000 and Olympic bronze in 2004. Byers served as Gardner’s training partner at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Gardner was in attendance, serving as the color analyst for the MSNBC coverage of the Olympic Trials. Gardner hugged Byers on center mat, and conducted the television interview with him at the conclusion of the victory.

2008 U.S. Nationals champion Ben Askren (Columbia, Mo./Sunkist Kids) defeated Tyrone Lewis (Stillwater, Okla., Gator WC) in two straight matches. It was a rematch of this year’s nationals finals, also won by Askren.

A popular two-time NCAA champion for Missouri, Askren made his first World-level team in his first full season concentrating only on freestyle.

In the first match, Askren scored a leg attack takedown in each period for a 1-1, 1-1 victory.

The second match started strong for Lewis, who was trailing by a point before throwing Askren for three points with a body lock for a 6-3 win. In the second period, Askren scored twice to win 2-0. The deciding third period went to Askren, who scored a takedown on the edge early in the period and held on for the victory.

“Number one, I work harder than a lot of people. A lot of the senior level athletes don’t want to work hard, they want to do that. Number two, I leave my mind open, I’m looking for everybody. I’m watching the Russians, I’m watching the World Champs, I’m watching them and I’m picking everything up.?

Four of the series went the full three matches, adding great drama to the final night of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials event.

At 84 kg/185 lbs., 2006 U.S. World Team member Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) defeated 2005 U.S. World Team member Mo Lawal, (Temecula, Calif./Sunkist Kids) in three bouts.

Lawal won the first match, 1-1, 1-0. In the first period, after Hrovat scored on a stepout, Lawal hit a takedown with just five seconds left to win the period by scoring the last point. In the second period, he scored the only takedown of the period.

In the second match, Lawal scored the only takedown of the first period to take it 1-0. In the second period, there were no takedowns and Lawal won the coin toss. Hrovat scored a two-point counter chestlock to win period two, 2-0. With time running out in the third period, Lawal shot a double on Hrovat on the edge, but Hrovat hit another three-point chestlock to take the period 3-0 and tie up the series.

In the deciding third match, Lawal won the first period with a takedown, 1-0. The second period was scoreless, and Hrovat won the toss, scoring a takedown from the clinch, 1-0. The third and deciding period, Lawal scored a takedown out of bounds with 43 seconds left. Hrovat scored two points with seven seconds left, getting an exposure on a scramble. Although Lawal scored a takedown with two seconds left to tie the match at 2-2, Hrovat earned the spot by scoring the highest point move of the period.

Lawal had defeated Hrovat in the finals of the U.S. Nationals in 2008. Hrovat defeated Lawal at the World Team Trials in 2006 on the way to his first World Championships appearance.

At 120 kg/264.5 lbs. in freestyle, Steve Mocco (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) by defeating 2007 World Team member Tommy Rowlands (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) in three bouts.

Mocco won the first match in two straight periods, 1-0, 1-0. In the first period, Mocco scored a takedown from the clinch. In the second period, Rowlands stepped out of bounds, giving Mocco the only point of the period.

Rowlands won the second match in two periods. He scored a three-point takedown from the clinch in the first period for a 3-0 score, then got the only point in the second period on when Mocco went out of bounds on a scramble.

The deciding third match was all Mocco, who scored a pushout to win the first period, 1-0, then two takedowns in the second period to score the victory and a spot on the U.S. World Team.

In Greco-Roman, there was an upset at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. when Adam Wheeler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) defeated 2005 World bronze medalist Justin Ruiz (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) in three matches.

Ruiz had advanced directly to the Championship Series finals after winning U.S. Nationals and having placed in the top five of the World during the last three years. Ruiz has competed on four U.S. World Teams, while Wheeler made his first U.S. team.

Wheeler won the first period, 2-2, turning Ruiz for exposure in the final par terre segment. In the second period, Ruiz won 1-1 by scoring the last point by defending from par terre. The last period went to Wheeler by a 1-1 score, as he received the final point defending from par terre.

In the second match, Ruiz got his offense going, hitting a gutwrench in the first period, and scoring on a two-point penalty and a reversal in the second period to win the match, 3-0, 4-0.

In the third and final match went without a point scored on the feet. Ruiz won the first period, 1-1, by scoring the last point from the defensive position in par terre. Wheeler won the second period, 1-1, scoring the last point on defense. In the third and final period, Ruiz lost the flip and defended first, but Wheeler was able to score a point when Ruiz stepped out of bounds. In the last 30-second par terre position, Ruiz was unable to turn Wheeler, almost getting a lift but running out of time, giving the period to Wheeler.

June 15, 2008

Wrestling and Fighters with a Ton of Videos

John Smith

Aleks Emelianenko

James Thompson

Dustin Schlatter

Cael Sanderson

Dan Gable

Tom Brands

Jayson Ness

Charlie Falck

David Taylor

Zack Esposito

Buvaisar Saitiev



Adam Saitiev





Mike Zadick

Brent Metcalf

Bubba Jenkins

Eric Tannenbaum


Mike Houck

Dennis Hall

Steve Fraser

Joe Warren



Kimbo Slice

Brett Rogers

Frank Shamrock

College Football

June 13, 2008

Ex Badger grappler Kemp to be inducted into International Wrestling Hall of Fame

Former Wisconsin wrestler Lee Kemp can add another accolade to his long list of accomplishments. The three-time NCAA Champion will be inducted into the International Wrestling Hall of Fame on Aug. 21 during this summer's Olympics in Beijing.

Kemp wrestled at Wisconsin from 1975-78 and still holds the school record for most career falls (47) and career winning percentage (.957).

After his time at Wisconsin, Kemp went on to become a three-time Freestyle World Champion (1978, 1979 and 1982) at 163 lbs., and he took home a bronze medal at the 1981 World Championships.

Kemp earned a spot on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Freestyle team but did not get to compete because of the U.S. boycott on the Olympic Games that were in Moscow that year. Kemp will not only be in Beijing this summer for the induction ceremony but also to serve as an assistant coach on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Freestyle team.

Each new member will be permanently recognized at the International Wrestling Hall of Fame at FILA Headquarters in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland and at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA. The inaugural class of the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame members was inducted in 2003. Since then, 49 members have been inducted.

June 12, 2008

Univ. of Oregon wrestlers sue the university

Univ. of Oregon wrestlers sue the university to prevent them from dropping the program
Save Oregon College Wrestling

Eugene, OR (June 9) -- Members of the University of Oregon’s wrestling team filed suit Friday afternoon in the Oregon Circuit Court for Marion County, seeking to prevent the University from dropping wrestling as an intercollegiate sport. Circuit Judge Albin Norblad will hear the case.

The complaint alleges that the UO’s plan to eliminate wrestling would violate not only the procedural requirements for dropping an intercollegiate team but also the substantive requirements of the equal privileges and immunities clause of Oregon’s constitution, an Oregon anti-discrimination statute known as Section 659.850, and the Oregon University System’s implementing regulations.

In essence, the University mistakenly believed that gender equity under the federal Title IX statute required UO to eliminate men’s wrestling to enable UO to add men’s baseball, without considering whether that would violate Oregon’s constitution and statutes, as well as established University procedures. After acknowledging that Title IX did not require UO to eliminate wrestling to make room for baseball, UO spokesmen developed several new reasons to justify their original decision to drop wrestling. Like the original Title IX reasoning, however, the University’s new reasons fail to consider violations of Oregon law and University procedures.

The complaint seeks a preliminary injunction that orders UO to defer dropping wrestling until the athletic department completes the required intra-University consultation with UO’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and offers the affected students the opportunity for a hearing. Either UO’s president or the Oregon University System’s chancellor would make the final decision after the hearings. If UO still intends to drop wrestling after the required hearings, the parties would return to court to challenge that decision before the preliminary injunction dissolves.

The plaintiff, Equity in Athletics in Oregon, is an Oregon non-profit corporation that represents returning members of the Oregon wrestling team, prospective students who wish to wrestle at the University, and other Oregon citizens interested in the University’s proving an equitable athletic opportunity. The defendants are the University of Oregon, UO President David Frohnmayer, the Oregon University System, OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner, UO Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny, UO Associate Athletic Directors Reneé Baumgartner and Neal Zoumboukos, and UO General Counsel Melinda Grier.

When Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny announced the resumption of the Oregon baseball program, suspended since 1981, during a press conference on July 13, 2007, he cited the need to comply with the gender equity provisions of U.S. Department of Education policy under Title IX by dropping wrestling and adding women’s competitive cheerleading. Wrestling boosters have argued that Title IX does not require UO to drop men’s wrestling simply because UO intends to add men’s baseball. In response, UO appears to have conceded that its initial Title IX rationale was flawed. On two occasions, in a Feb. 27, 2008, interview in the student newspaper, the Daily Emerald, and in a March 6, 2008, article in the fan publication, Ducks Illustrated, Zoumboukos acknowledged that Title IX did not require UO to drop wrestling.

Instead, Zoumboukos indicated that UO now was dropping wrestling for a combination of four criteria, neither one of which was determinative: (1) UO lacks a wrestling facility; (2) the Eugene area lacks a dedicated fan base; (3) the opportunity to capitalize on an investment; and (4) the lack of support in the Pac-10 and NCAA Division I.

While the plaintiff disagrees that the federal Title IX law even allows UO to cut college wrestling, the complaint alleges that UO violated Oregon’s stronger anti-discrimination laws by not applying the same criteria evenly to both men’s and women’s teams. For example, interscholastic wrestling is more popular in Oregon and nationally than women’s lacrosse and competitive cheerleading, the Pac-10 and NCAA Division I support wrestling as much or more than those women’s sports, UO wrestling has higher attendance than several women’s teams, no women’s teams are required to pay their own way, and the wrestling community has offered significant financial contributions to endow UO wrestling.

“Since we all agree that federal law does not require UO to cut wrestling,? said attorney Richard Franklin, “the question is whether Oregon law allows UO to use a one-sided analysis to cut wrestling.? Last month, the Oregon Supreme Court held that the Oregon State Activities Association violated Section 659.850 by failing to schedule basketball playoff games around the Saturday Sabbath of athletes of the Seventh Day Adventist faith.

The plaintiff alleges that UO’s mistakes were compounded by the athletic department proceeding without the required hearings and consultations. “Oregon does not require administrative procedures to make people feel good,? said Franklin, “we require it because it helps agencies make better, more informed decisions when they publicly air an issue and allow the affected public to voice their concerns.? In 1987, when Frohnmayer served as Oregon’s Attorney General, he authored an interpretation of the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act that required universities to provide students who failed a drug test the opportunity for a hearing before terminating the right or privilege of participating in athletics. The plaintiff argues that the same rationale applies to terminating an entire team. “If UO had held a pre-termination hearing, it would have become obvious before UO took any final action that the athletic department had misconstrued Title IX and failed to consider Oregon law at all,? added Franklin.

Since Kilkenny announced the planned elimination of Oregon wrestling last year, a coalition of alumni led by former UO wrestling coach Ron Finley formed the Save Oregon Wrestling Foundation and has raised more than $3 million in cash and pledges to endow UO wrestling. Such efforts have succeeded at other schools. Last month, Arizona State University announced plans to drop intercollegiate wrestling, but ASU reversed the decision two weeks later after boosters promised enough money to endow the sport. To date, however, Duck athletic department officials have shown little interest in working with the Save Oregon Wrestling Foundation.

According to statistics furnished by the Oregon School Activities Association, wrestling is the second most popular boys’ winter sport in Oregon high schools. For the 2006-07 school year, the latest figures available, some 4,659 boys wrestled on Oregon scholastic teams. This number does not include the 55 girls, 31 home schoolers, and 17 foreign exchange students who also participated in wrestling on the high school level.

Some 70% of University of Oregon wrestlers, averaged over the past three seasons, are graduates of Oregon high schools. This represents the largest percentage of native Oregonians on an UO intercollegiate athletic team. Only one other Duck athletic squad, the women’s cross country team, has more than 50% Oregonians on its roster. The University sponsors intercollegiate sports, such as women’s lacrosse, in which Oregonians do not compete on the high school level.

Wrestling at the University of Oregon has existed since 1913 as a club sport and since 1953 as an intercollegiate sport. Oregon wrestlers have won 32 All-American honors and 69 individual conference championships. Five Ducks have wrestled and one has coached in the Olympic Games.

The plaintiff is the Oregon chapter of Equity in Athletics, which is suing the U.S. Department of Education and James Madison University in Virginia over JMU’s plans to eliminate men’s and women’s archery and gymnastics, women’s fencing, and men’s track, swimming, and wrestling. Equity in Athletics also is working with a foundation formed by parents and alumni to save the Syracuse University men’s and women’s swim teams, which Syracuse had scheduled for elimination next year. In response to those efforts, Syracuse extended the elimination date forward three years to allow all matriculated swimmers to complete their athletic careers at Syracuse, which that foundation hopes will allow enough time to endow the swimming teams.
Equity in Athletics in Oregon is represented by Richard D. Franklin of Portland, Oregon, and Lawrence J. Joseph of Washington, D.C.

June 3, 2008

Confident Askren set to compete at U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Confident Askren set to compete at U.S. Olympic Team Trials
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Ben Askren said he’s always had his share of detractors.

He said people questioned whether he would ever win a state high school title in Wisconsin.

And there were some saying he would never win an NCAA title during his career at the University of Missouri.

And even now – after Askren won April’s U.S. Nationals to clinch a No. 1 seed for next week’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Las Vegas – he said he knows there are people out there expecting him to fail.

“People have always doubted me – that makes it fun proving them wrong,? he said. “I’ve always wrestled with a chip on my shoulder. Going into the Trials, people still aren’t convinced I’m going to win. Come June 15, they are going to be convinced or they are going to be delusional.?

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The list of people doubting Askren’s abilities dwindled after he turned in an impressive performance in winning the U.S. Nationals in freestyle at 74 kg/163 lbs. The 23-year-old Askren now takes aim at trying to win the Olympic Trials and earning a trip to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Askren has been highly successful at every level of wrestling. He won two state titles before turning in a magical college career at Missouri. Askren was a four-time NCAA finalist, winning national titles as a junior and a senior. He twice won the Hodge Trophy, wrestling’s version of the Heisman Trophy, to cap his career.

Askren jumped into freestyle immediately after completing his college career. He dropped a close semifinal match to Joe Heskett in the U.S. Nationals before finishing sixth. Heskett went on to place fifth in the World before being forced to retire because of a heart condition.

Askren placed fifth in the 2007 World Team Trials.

Those finishes had many wrestling observers questioning whether Askren's funky, unorthodox style was the right fit for international wrestling.

Askren has made huge improvements during the 2007-08 season. He’s won three tournaments this season.

He briefly moved up to No. 1 in the U.S. freestyle rankings, but then dropped down to the No. 3 seed for the U.S. Nationals. Askren’s finish at the 2007 World Team Trials dropped him down to the No. 3 spot when seeds were determined.

“That most definitely was a big motivator for me,? Askren said. “I felt like I was the No. 1 guy going in there.?

That swagger and level of confidence, as most wrestling observers are well aware, is never in short supply.

“Every time I step on the mat I think I am better than my opponent,? Askren said. “There are no limits to what I can do.?

Askren’s wide-open, go-for-broke style is appealing to wrestling fans.

He said too many freestyle matches, especially in the U.S., don’t feature enough action.

“I’ve only been to one clinch this year,? he said. “Letting matches come down to clinches and pushouts, you can’t put yourself in that position. I like putting points on the board and going for the big moves. I am going to pressure my opponent and make him wrestle. I’m not going to let him take me to the clinch. You can’t get stuck in a mindset where you think you can’t score.?

As supremely confident as he is, Askren is still continually tweaking his style of wrestling. He’s spent hours watching video of freestyle matches in his quest to learn and improve.

“I knew I had to change my style coming out of college,? he said. “I’m smart enough to know I had to look at some things that didn’t work. I wrestled poorly last year and I knew I had to get better.?

Among the wrestlers Askren has spent time training with recently are fellow NCAA champions Jake Herbert and Keith Gavin. He also took part in the recent Sunkist Kids camp in Arizona. He also trains with his younger brother, Max, an All-American for Missouri who qualified for the Olympic Trials at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Ben Askren’s actions, at times, have rubbed opponents the wrong way.

During his physical, hard-fought U.S. Nationals finals win over Tyrone Lewis, Askren and Lewis went nose-to-nose and exchanged words during the match.

“I think he got frustrated because he was having trouble scoring,? Askren said. “I’m not going to back down from anybody. I took him out of his element. I never lost my focus.?

Askren also has gained valuable international experience this season. He placed third at February’s Kiev International in the Ukraine. He also went 2-1 at February’s World Cup in Russia, falling to Russia’s Denis Tsargush.

“All those guys in the World are beatable,? Askren said. “Heskett was right there against (Russian World champion Makhach) Murtazaliev last year. As long as I train hard and wrestle a great match, I am just as likely to beat the best guys as anybody else.?

Part of Askren’s motivation to win the Olympics came from watching fellow Wisconsin native Garrett Lowney win an Olympic bronze medal in 2000. Askren was in attendance when Lowney won the 2000 Olympic Team Trials in Dallas.

Four years later, Askren competed at the 2004 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. He placed sixth.

“I think about the Olympics all the time,? he said. “It’s been a dream for a long time. I’m focused on the Trials – I’ve got to take care of business in Vegas first. But winning an Olympic gold medal is something I think about all the time.?

With the Olympic Trials still more than a week away, Askren is like a kid waiting for Christmas morning to arrive.

“I wish I could wrestle today,? he said. “I can’t wait.?

June 1, 2008

Pre-seeds for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in women’s freestyle announced

Pre-seeds for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in women’s freestyle announced
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

USA Wrestling has released the pre-seeds for women’s freestyle heading into the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Seeds are subject to change following weigh-ins.

Pre-seed Women’s freestyle brackets

Special Coverage Section

48 kg/105.5 pounds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: Patricia Miranda, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

Challenge Tournament seeds
1. Stephanie Murata, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Sara Fulp-Allen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
3. Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Mary Kelly, Gaffney, S.C. (New York AC)
5. Jessica Medina, Pomona, Calif. (New York AC)
6. Sadie Kaneda, Honolulu, Hawaii (USOEC)
7. Alyssa Lampe, Tomahawk, Wis. (Sunkist Kids)
8. Kapua Torres, Williamsburg, Ky. (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
9. Emily Martin, Frisco, Texas (unattached)

55 kg/121 pounds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: Marcie Van Dusen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

Challenge Tournament seeds
1. Jenny Wong, Gaffney, S.C. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Sally Roberts, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
3. Tina George, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
4. Erin Tomeo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
5. Tatiana Padilla, Azusa, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
6. Shyla Iokia, Wailuku, Hawaii (USOEC)
7. Chelynne Pringle, Hugo, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
8. Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
9. Othella Lucas, San Diego, Calif. (New York AC)
10. Kelsey Campbell, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
11. Deanna Rix, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
12. Cherae Pascua, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
13. Amy Borgnini, Terre Haute, Ind. (Gator WC)
14. Sharon Jacobson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
15. Sandy Do, San Diego, Calif. (Cumberlands)
16. Katherine Fulp-Allen, El Granada, Calif.(New York AC)
17. Cheryl Wong, Croton, N.Y. (New York AC)

63 kg/138.75 pounds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: Randi Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo (Gator WC)

Challenge Tournament seeds
1. Sara McMann, Gaffney, S.C. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Alaina Berube, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
3. Elena Pirozhkova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
4. Tori Adams, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
5. Stefanie Shaw, Waterford, Conn. (New York AC)
6. Jennifer Germany, Chula Vista, Calif. (Missouri Valley College)
7. Sara Hilliard, Lawrence, Kan. (OCU Stars)
8. Samantha Fee, Blairstown, N.J. (Missouri Valley)
9. Lauren Knight, Vallejo, Calif. (Cumberlands)
10. Shamaine Danner, Richmond, Mo. (Missouri Valley)
11. Marina Piccolotti, Pacifica, Calif. (unattached)

72 kg/158.5 pounds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: Ali Bernard, New Ulm, Minn. (Gator WC)

Challenge Tournament seeds
1. Katie Downing, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
3. Kristie Marano, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
4. Stephany Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
5. Megan Goldsmith, Black River Falls, Wis. (UCWC)
6. Lacey Novinska, Fennimore, Wis. (OCU Stars)
7. Jenna Pavlik, Lewes, Del. (New York AC)
8. Amberlee Ebert, Reedsville, Wisc. (Missouri Valley)
9. Ashley Sword, West Palm Beach, Fla. (OCU Stars)
10. Jessica Smith, Austintown, Ohio (unattached)

Four inducted into amateur wrestling Hall of Fame

Olympic gold medalist Bobby Weaver, former world champion Mike Houck and three-time NCAA champions Ricky Bonomo and Wayne Martin were inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Weaver won the gold medal in the light-flyweight class at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when the U.S. had seven freestyle champions. The Pennsylvania native who wrestled at Lehigh finished third in the 1982 NCAA championships and also won a silver medal at the 1979 world championships.

Houck won the United States' first Greco-Roman world championship in 1985 and later served as coach of the U.S. Olympic team that won two medals at the 1992 Barcelona Games. The Minnesota native also won two Christian College national titles wrestling at Maranatha Baptist Bible College.

Bonomo won national championships at 118 pounds from 1985-87 for Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.

Martin, who was honored posthumously, was the first person to win NCAA wrestling titles at three different weight classes. He was the 134-pound champion in 1934, the 145-pound champion in 1935 and the 135-pound champion in 1936 at Oklahoma.

Pre-seeds for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Greco-Roman announced

Pre-seeds for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Greco-Roman announced
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

USA Wrestling has released the pre-seeds for Greco-Roman heading into the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Seeds are subject to change following weigh-ins.

Pre-seed Greco-Roman brackets

Special Coverage Section

55 kg/121 pounds
1. Spenser Mango, St. Louis, Mo. (USOEC/Gator WC)
2. Lindsey Durlacher, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
3. Jermaine Hodge, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
4. Sam Hazewinkel, Norman, Okla. (Gator WC)
5. Eric Grajales, Brandon, Fla. (Sunkist Kids)
6. Jimmy Chase, Carol Stream, Ill. (Pinnacle)
7. Joshua Habeck, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
8. Anthony Brooker, Philadelphia, Pa. (U.S. Air Force)
9. Nikko Triggas, Moraga, Calif. (Ohio State)
10. Miguel Pena, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines)
11. Nate Engel, St. Helena, Calif. (Sunkist/USOEC)
12. Roger Stewart, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

60 kg/132 pounds
1. Joe Betterman, Chicago, Ill. (New York AC/USOEC)
2. Glenn Garrison, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
3. Marco Lara, Long Beach, Calif. (New York AC)
4. Jeremiah Davis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
5. Willie Madison, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
6. Eric Stevenson, Newberg, Ore. (Newberg WC)
7. Donovan DePatto, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps)
8. CC Fisher, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Unattached)
9. Chad Vandiver, Roscoe, Ill. (Unattached)
10. Noah Blankenship, Bucyrus, Ohio (U.S. Marines)
11. Tony Mustari, Greeley, Colo. (Northern Colorado Wrestling)

66 kg/145.5 pounds
1. Mark Rial, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
2. Jake Deitchler, Rumsey, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
3. Harry Lester, Akron, Ohio (Gator WC)
4. Faruk Sahin, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
5. Jacob Curby, LaGrange, Ill. (Gator/USOEC)
6. Jacob Hey, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force)
7. Marcel Cooper, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
8. Oscar Wood, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
9. Mike Ellsworth, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
10. Shanon Slack, Colorado Springs, Colo. (No Limits)
11. Esai Dominguez, Omaha, Neb. (Maverick WC)
12. Bo Beckman, Pleasant Grove, Utah (USOEC)

74 kg/163 pounds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: T.C. Dantzler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)

Challenge Tournament seeds
1. Andrew Bisek, Chaska, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
2. Jake Fisher, Platte City, Mo. (New York AC)
3. Keith Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
4. Cheney Haight, Orem, Utah (New York AC)
5. Ken Cook, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
6. Jess Hargrave, Colorado Springs, Colo (U.S. Army)
7. James Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
8. Talan Knox, Salt Lake City, Utah (Sunkist Kids)
9. Brandon McNab, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
10. Kevin Lozano, Jefferson, La. (Gator WC)
11. Steven Forrest, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines)
12. Chris Bullins, Stoneville, N.C. (Y.E.S Greensboro)

84 kg/185 pounds
1. Brad Ahearn, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
2. Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
3. Chas Betts, St. Michael, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
4. Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
5. Jacob Clark, Top Sail Island, N.C. (Minnesota Storm)
6. Jake Plamann, Kaukauna, Wis. (Gator WC)
7. Zak Nielsen, Zimmerman, Minn. (USOEC)
8. John Wechter, Lansing, Mich. (Sunkist Kids)
9. Jeremy Pederson, Sneads Ferry, N.C. (U.S. Marines)
10. Abe Haddon, Colorado Springs, Colo. (USOTC)
11. David Spangler, Iowa City, Iowa (U.S. Air Force)
12. Jeff Funicello, Mesa, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)

96 kg/211.5 pounds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: Justin Ruiz, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

Challenge Tournament seeds
1. R.C. Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Adam Wheeler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
3. Robbie Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
4. Justin Millard, Chesapeake Beach, Md. (U.S. Air Force)
5. John Lorenz, Lacrosse, Wis. (Unattached)
6. Peter Gounaridis, Leominster, Mass. (NMU/USOEC)
7. Deon Hicks, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
8. Daren Burns, Catawba, N.C. (Y.E.S Greensboro)
9. Moises Hernandez, Top Sail, N.C. (U.S. Marines)

120 kg/264.5 pounds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)

Challenge Tournament seeds
1. Russ Davie, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
2. Timothy Taylor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
3. Erik Nye, Sacramento, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Peter Kowalczuk, Oak Park, Ill. (NMU/USOEC)
5. David Arendt, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps)
6. Cole Konrad, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
7. Mark Simmonds, Minneapolis, Minn. (U.S. Navy)
8. Max Lossen, Winona, Minn. (Cross Current)

May 29, 2008

Arizona State wrestler Kyle DeBerry relieved, excited to see wrestling program reinstated

Arizona State wrestler Kyle DeBerry relieved, excited to see wrestling program reinstated
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Kyle DeBerry went 2-2 and fell short of placing Friday at the FILA Junior World Team Trials.

But DeBerry still felt like a guy who had just won a championship.

A tough day of wrestling was quickly transformed into a day of elation for the Arizona State freshman when DeBerry received the news Friday afternoon that the ASU wrestling program was being reinstated.

DeBerry, who redshirted this past season as a 165-pounder for ASU, has experienced a roller-coaster past couple of weeks after it was announced on May 13 that Arizona State was dropping wrestling along with men’s swimming and men’s tennis.

“This is so huge for us to have our program reinstated,? DeBerry said. “We’re so excited and happy. It’s great to hear the news. We can’t wait for next season. This is a big step for the sport of wrestling that our program is being saved. I hope this sends a message to other schools that it can be done.?

DeBerry’s coach, ASU head coach Thom Ortiz, was a busy man Friday afternoon with his cell phone stuck to his right ear. He was busy talking with wrestlers, recruits and the news media, among others, after the news broke on Friday.

Ortiz, along with DeBerry, was at U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for the FILA Junior and World University Trials.

Just a couple of days after it was announced the program was being dropped, DeBerry said he learned there was a chance it could be brought back.

“We heard there was a chance, but we were all still pretty scared about what might happen,? DeBerry said. “Coach Ortiz told us there was a shot we could get this back and we were not going down without putting up a fight. We were going to fight to keep this program alive and it paid off for us.?

DeBerry, a four-time Arizona state high school champion from Tucson, Ariz., said he was undergoing a wide range of emotions after hearing the good news Friday.

“It’s just a big relief for me right now,? DeBerry said. “I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to have to wrestle next year. And I’m really excited as well because we have a really good group of young guys who are ready to go. We’re going to do real well next year.?

DeBerry said the news 10 days ago that ASU was dropping wrestling came as “a big shock.?

“The guys on the team, we had no idea this was coming,? he said. “We woke up to phone calls and e-mails at 8:30 in the morning that said, ‘I’m sorry and we regret to tell you that your program is being dropped.’ My reaction was I was totally surprised and it just came out of nowhere. We just didn’t understand it.?

USA Wrestling releases its Grappling rankings for May 2008

USA Wrestling releases its Grappling rankings for May 2008
USA Wrestling

USA Wrestling has published a May ranking for its Grappling programs, featuring the top men and women Grapplers in the nation.

A committee of Grappling leaders has developed these rankings, which will be published monthly during the USA Wrestling Grappling season. The rankings are based upon the FILA rules of Grappling, as conducted in USA Wrestling sanctioned events.

USA Wrestling has already conducted three of the 12 events in the Grappling World Team Trials Qualifying Series. Two more events are set for this weekend, the Northeast Regional Qualifier in Phoenix, N.Y. and the Southern Plains Regional Qualifier in Fort Worth, Texas.

For information and to pre-register for a Grappling World Team Trials qualifier, visit:

Published May 27, 2008

Men’s Grappling

1. Darren Uyenoyama (Fogtown Jiu Jitsu)
2. Matt Sanchez (Ultimate Fitness)
3. Shaine Jamie (unattached)
4. Mike Cusi (Roy Harris Academy)
5. Brian Peterson (JJ Machado)
6. Jimmy Kirkemo (Team Titan)
7. Chris Holdsworth (Cobra Kai)
8. Ulysseys Gomez (Cobra Kai)
9. Alejandro Zeas (Team Yamasaki)
10. Johnny Ramirez (New Breed Jiu Jitsu)

1. Ricky Lundell (Pedro Sauer Team)
2. Jeff Glover (Paragon Jiu-Jitsu)
3. Alberto Crane (No Limits)
4. David Edwards (NYMAG)
5. Scott Bieri (Cobra Kai)
6. Shannon Slack (No Limits)
7. Cub Swanson (Combat Submission Wrestling)
8. Denny Prokopos (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu)
9. Shane Roller (Team Takedown)
10. Jacob Hey (H.I.T. Squad)

1. Don Ortega (No Limits)
2. Bill Cooper (Paragon Jiu Jitsu)
3. Mike Kelly (Gilbert Grappling)
4. Cory Devela (Victory Athletics)
5. Dennis Hallman (Victory Athletics)
6. Sean Spangler (Cobra Kai)
7. Rylan Lizares (Pedro Sauer Team)
8. Johny Hendricks (Team Takedown)
9. Joseph Gutierrez (Showtime BJJ)
10. tie; Keith Wilson (Colorado Fight Factory)
James Clay (Cebell)

1. Malcolm Havens (Grappler’s Edge)
2. Matt Horwich (Team Quest)
3. Cameron Diffley (Las Vegas Combat Club)
4. Ryan Gillespie (The Boxing Club)
5. Rick MacCauley (Balance Studios)
6. Timothy Bond (Street Sport BJJ)
7. Chaun Sims (Easton BJJ)
8. Jake Rosholt (Team Takedown)
9. Rafael Lovato Jr. (Team Lovato)
10. Dan Clark (MMA Institute)

1. Jeff Monson (Victory Athletics)
2. Bryan Vetell (Team Renzo Gracie)
3. Bruce Hoyer (Action MMA)
4. Aaron Hayes (Team Quest)
5. Ramon Diaz (No Limits)
6. Brandon Ruiz (Grappler’s Edge)
7. Bobak Ranjbaran (Demon Jiu Jitsu)
8. Ray “Kong? Seralle (Undisputed)
9. James Horne (Cobra Kai)
10. Lloyd Marshbanks (Team Kadillac)

Women’s Grappling

1. Lisa Ward (United Fight Team)
2, Hillary Witt (Saulo Ribeiro BJJ)
3. Van Mines (unattached)
4. Amanda Milner (unattached)
5. Van Do (unattached)

1. Felicia Oh (JJ Machado)
2. Bahar Shahidi (Grappler’s Edge)
3. Christina Rodriguez (Gracie Tampa)
4. Carla O’Connell (No Limits)
5. Bethany Marshall (Modern American MMA)

1. Tara Larosa (unattached)
2. Ginele Marquez-Lee (Combat Submission Wrestling)
3. Shayna Baszler (Action MMA)
4. Crystina Coats (The Boxing Club)
5. Tori Adams (Sunkist Kids)

1. Valerie Worthington (New Breed Jiu-Jitsu)
2. Elaina Maxwell (unattached)
3. Milda Shibonis (Pedro Sauer Team)
4. Shannon Hooper (No Limits)
5. Erin Toughill (unattached)

Spataro named Menlo College interim athletic director

Spataro named Menlo College interim athletic director
Mindy Mills Menlo College

ATHERTON, CA – Provost Dr. James Kelly announced Monday that Keith Spataro has been named Menlo College’s Interim Athletic Director. With this move, head football coach Mark Kaanapu has been appointed the Associate Athletic Director’s position.

Spataro began the Menlo men’s wrestling program in 2001 and had immediate success after camp. His inaugural squad finished eighth at the national championships. In his seven years at Menlo, Spataro has coached 36 All Americans, six National Champions and four Daktronics Scholar Athletes. In 2003, Spataro was named Associate Athletic Director; where his chief responsibilities were overseeing compliance regulations, eligibility, and facilities.

“I am very pleased that Keith Spataro has taken on the Interim Athletic Director position for the Oaks,? stated Dr. Kelly. “He hits the ground running because he has worked closely with our departing Athletic Director in operating our programs to ensure excellence in performance, team-building, and healthy competition.?

Kaanapu’s fist stint on the Oaks coaching staff was in 1996 as Offensive Line coach and recruiting coordinator and the next year was promoted to Assistant Head Football Coach. He returned to Menlo in 2000 as Offensive Line Coach before assuming head coaching duties later that December. For the past five years, Kaanapu has served as Menlo’s Assistant Athletic Director.

“Coach Mark Kaanapu has an excellent reputation on campus as a friendly and supportive leader. I know he is looking forward to increasing his contribution to Oaks Athletics, and in enhancing its excellent reputation and tradition in producing scholar-athletes,? noted Dr. Kelly.

With the restructure of the athletic department, Kathy Imwalle is now the Administrative Manager of Athletics and Mindy Mills has been named the Media Relations Director of Athletics.

May 28, 2008

Exciting activities planned for 32nd annual Hall of Fame Honors Weekend in Stillwater, Okla., May 30-31

Exciting activities planned for 32nd annual Hall of Fame Honors Weekend in Stillwater, Okla., May 30-31

STILLWATER, Okla. – Wrestling dignitaries from across the country will begin arriving in Stillwater throughout this week for the 32nd annual Honors Weekend and Induction Ceremony of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum scheduled for May 30-31, 2008.

“With this event, wrestling gathers to pay tribute to the best and the brightest that this sport has to offer,? said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the Hall. “We are thrilled to include with our distinguished class of 2008 award winners, the Penn State University wrestling program which celebrates its 100th anniversary of collegiate competition. The 1953 Nittany Lions, the first east coast team to win an NCAA Division I title, will also be recognized, continuing our commitment to honor not just outstanding individual efforts but also extraordinary teams.?

NCAA Wrestling

Four new Distinguished Members and one Outstanding American will be inducted. The class of new Distinguished Americans includes wrestlers: Ricky Bonomo, Mike Houck, Wayne Martin, and Bobby Weaver. Chick fil A executive Dan T. Cathy will be honored as the Outstanding American.
Rounding out the list of awards to be presented, the winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award is Utah’s Justin Chamberlain. Winner of the Order of Merit is Tulsan Richard Small; Blind wrestler Dr. James V. Mastro will receive the Medal of Courage, and the winner of the Lifetime Achievement for Officials is Jerry Wager.

“Unfortunately, Bobby Weaver is ill and will be unable to attend,? Smith said. “We are very disappointed that he won’t be able to join us as we express our admiration for what he has given to our sport, but we send our best wishes to him for a speedy and complete recovery.?
A State Chapter Presidents Conference is scheduled prior to Honors Weekend on Thursday and Friday morning.

“We always get a good number of inductees, board members, and wrestling dignitaries attending each year’s ceremonies,? Smith said. “By including our state chapter presidents, we are rewarding our grass root volunteers for the great job of extending our mission on a state-by-state level.?

Smith said he is expecting visitors from 43 states to come to Stillwater over Honors Weekend, indicative of the Hall’s national appeal.

Honors Weekend officially kicks off Friday evening with a public reception and presentation of plaques at the Hall of Fame and Museum. After the new plaques are revealed, guests will join Penn State wrestlers in a ceremony honoring their program’s rich history.

Saturday morning features an 18-hole golf tournament. Non-golfers can enjoy guest speakers, a fashion show, poker tournament, and club activities like tennis and swimming. Everyone comes together for lunch before an afternoon break.

The evening festivities begin with a pre-banquet reception followed by the black-tie dinner and induction.

On Sunday morning, the weekend may be over for honorees, but for the Board of Governors, the work is just beginning. The board holds one of two annual meetings that morning at the Hampton Inn.

“This is an occasion that makes everyone feel good about the sport and stimulates a camaraderie that inspires people to want to do what they can to help this sport grow,? Smith concludes.

For more information on Honors Weekend contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum at 405-377-5243 or visit our website at

May 26, 2008

Minnesota inks No. 1 recruiting class

Minnesota inks No. 1 recruiting class
University of Minnesota Sports Information

The Golden Gopher wrestling program has signed the top recruiting class in the nation this year, according to the most recent issue of W.I.N. Magazine. All six of Minnesota's early period recruits ended their prep careers ranked in the top-11 in the final W.I.N. Magazine national high school rankings.

Jake Deitchler (Anoka, Minn.) and Ryland Geiger (Scapposse, Ore.) were each ranked No. 1 in their weight classes following outstanding prep careers - Deitchler at 152 pounds and Geiger at 189. Deitchler will also have a chance to make the U.S. Olympic team this June when he competes at the U.S. Team Trials in Las Vegas.

Blair Academy's (N.J.) Mario Mason was the nation's second-best recruit at 145 pounds, according to the publication, while Apple Valley High School (Minn.) product Matt Mincey was the nation's fourth-ranked wrestler at 135 pounds. Rounding out the nation's top recruiting class are Topeka, Kan. native Atticus Disney (seventh) and 171-pounder Cody Yohn (11th), the brother of current Gopher freshman Sonny Yohn (both hail from Alamosa, Col.).

Three spring signees not factored into W.I.N.'s ranking include Thane Antczak (Chetek/Prairie Farm, Wis.), Zach Loppnow (Lake City, Minn.) and Wesley Richard (Dillingham, Alaska).

Minnesota boasts the only class in the nation with six incoming wrestlers ranked in W.I.N.'s final prep rankings. This is generally considered to be the program's most-heralded class in several years - W.I.N. ranked the Gophers 10th in 2007, fourth in 2006, 14th in 2005 and 19th in 2004.

May 25, 2008

Burroughs wins FILA Junior World Team Trials

Burroughs wins FILA Junior World Team Trials
University of Nebraska Sports Information

Lincoln -- Nebraska All-America wrestler Jordan Burroughs translated his success for the Huskers to the international level on Saturday as he won the 66 kilogram (145.5 pound) division of the FILA Junior World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Burroughs, wrestling in the freestyle division, defeated Michigan's Kellen Russell in two consecutive sets (5-0, 4-0 in the first and 6-0, 4-0 in the second) to win the best-of-three series and claim a spot on the U.S. world team.

"This is a good step towards making the 2012 Olympic team," Head Coach Mark Manning said. "[FILA World Championships] is a good opportunity to wrestle some of the best kids in the world at his age level."

Burroughs will now travel with the U.S. delegation to the FILA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 29 to Aug. 3. Manning will also travel with him as a coach for the U.S. team.

The Sicklerville, N.J. native qualified for the FILA Junior World Team Trials by winning the FILA Junior National Championships in Las Vegas last month. The national championship automatically qualified him for the finals at the world team trials.

Burroughs, a sophomore, claimed his first All-America honors in March with a third-place finish at 149 pounds.

Arizona State reinstates wrestling program as 21st varsity sport; Sun Devils will compete fully in 2008-09

Arizona State reinstates wrestling program as 21st varsity sport; Sun Devils will compete fully in 2008-09
Arizona State University

TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State University Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love announced Friday that the athletic department is fully reinstating the sport of varsity wrestling, effective immediately, due to financial support from local civic leadership. The reinstatement of wrestling gives ASU 21 sports in its varsity athletic program.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce the reinstatement of the varsity sport of wrestling at ASU," says Love. "The wrestling community, both locally and nationally, accepted this as a challenge to do something wonderful for the sport. ASU is forever grateful for that passion and unwavering support. Something special is happening on our campus thanks to civic leadership that cares deeply about ASU wrestling."

ASU had announced on May 13, 2008 that it was discontinuing the sport of wrestling due to the rising cost of operating a 22-sport varsity program. It was determined at that time that sponsoring a 20-sport program would better fit ASU¹s athletic financial profile. Love indicated at the time that if the wrestling community were able to raise enough financial support the sport could be reinstated. That commitment is there and the sport will continue at Arizona State.

Love said that fundraising for the sport of wrestling will be an ongoing process. The objective is not just to sponsor wrestling as a varsity sport, but to position the sport as one of the top programs in the country.

The Sun Devil wrestling team is a member of the Pacific-10 Conference.

>> I don't personally understand the $8,000,000.00 price tag to reinstate wrestling, especially when wrestling gear isn't really any more expensive than tennis apparel.. I would imagine that much of the tag comes from a lease on property, but I'd be interested to hear other opinions as to why wrestling cost $3,000,000.00 more than swimming or tennis to get started.

ASU coach Thom Ortiz: Reinstatement of program like winning the lottery

ASU coach Thom Ortiz: Reinstatement of program like winning the lottery
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Thom Ortiz’s cell phone rang at around 3 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday.

The caller on the other end, Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love, quickly broke the news.

She was reinstating the wrestling program at Arizona State University.

Ten days after Love announced the Sun Devil wrestling program was being dropped, ASU brought wrestling back after receiving financial support from local civic leadership.

“Actually, I was real calm when Lisa Love called and I said ‘Thank you very much,’? said Ortiz, ASU’s head coach. “I just had to kind of take it all in at first. It was like we had just won the lottery. It seemed like it was too good to be true.

“I was very calm and Lisa asked me, ‘You don’t seem very excited.’ I was just trying to compose myself and count my blessings. In the face of death, my dad always told me to smile. But when you get something like this you have to count your blessings and be thankful and grateful.?

Ortiz, who was at the U.S. Olympic Training Center watching his wrestlers compete at the FILA Junior and World University Trials, learned ASU was dropping wrestling on May 13. Love also announced men’s swimming and men’s tennis were being dropped.

Ortiz was asked what the last 10 days have been like.

“I don’t think it’s been as difficult as people think because we’ve focused on the process of getting this program reinstated,? Ortiz said. “I didn’t realize it’s been 10 days already – I don’t even know what day it is right now. Every day is the same when things like this occur. We just focused on being positive. I really believed this whole time we were going to reinstate this program.?

Ortiz credited Love for her recent decision.

“I am thankful Lisa Love is our A.D., and she showed a lot of guts in reinstating this program,? Ortiz said. “She showed what she’s made of. She took a lot of unnecessary flak, but that’s the past. She’s not vindictive in any way. She likes progress and she wants to move forward.?

Ortiz was busy calling members of his team late Friday afternoon during the tournament in Colorado Springs.

“Our guys are very excited and very elated,? Ortiz said. “We have a good young group. We’re going to be strong and I think we can have a great team.?

One of Ortiz’s recruits, heavyweight Erik Nye, won a World University Team Trials title in Greco-Roman on Friday.

“I talked to Erik and told him we were reinstated,? Ortiz said. “I said, ‘Are you still coming?’ and he said, ‘Absolutely.’ That was great to here.?

U.S. falls short of placing at final Olympic qualifier in Greco-Roman

U.S. falls short of placing at final Olympic qualifier in Greco-Roman
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

The United States Greco-Roman wrestling team came up short in its quest to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games at 60 kg/132 lbs.

2007 U.S. World Team member Joe Betterman went 1-1 and did not place at Greco-Roman Olympic Qualifying Tournament No. 2 on Saturday in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Betterman (Chicago, Ill./New York AC/USOEC) beat Hungary’s Balint Korpasi 3-0, 3-0 in the first round at 60 kg/132 lbs. Betterman then fell to past World silver medalist Karen Mnatsakanyan of Armenia 2-0, 1-1.

Betterman was eliminated when the Armenian wrestler fell one match short of reaching the finals.

The top three wrestlers in each weight class from the second of two qualifiers qualified their countries for the 2008 Olympics, set for Aug. 12-21 in Beijing, China.

The U.S. team, which won the team title at the 2007 World Championships, qualified the other six Greco-Roman weight classes for the Olympics.

Betterman came up short in two other opportunities to qualify the weight class for the Olympics. He did not place at the 2007 World Championships and won a bronze medal at the 2008 Pan American Championships.

American Jim Gruenwald (Marquette, Mich./Sunkist Kids) failed to place at 60 kilos at Greco-Roman Olympic Qualifying Tournament No. 1 on May 10 in Rome, Italy. Gruenwald suffered a shoulder injury in that event.

The U.S. has qualified 16-of-18 weight classes overall for the Olympics. The U.S. has qualified 6-of-7 classes in Greco-Roman, 6-of-7 classes in freestyle and all four classes in women’s freestyle.

May 24, 2008

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May 23, 2008

Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf hoping magical 2008 continues at Olympic Trials

Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf hoping magical 2008 continues at Olympic Trials
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – You can see it in his eyes, you can hear it in his voice and you can witness it when he steps onto the mat.

Brent Metcalf is serious about becoming a United States Olympian in freestyle wrestling in 2008.

A recent afternoon practice at the U.S. Olympic Training Center provided the proof.

Fifth at the 2008 U.S. Nationals, after losing twice to U.S. National Team member Jared Frayer, Metcalf is taking full advantage of the six weeks between U.S. Nationals and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Drenched in sweat as he battled veteran Chris Bono in the center of a jam-packed wrestling room, Metcalf worked through a grueling afternoon practice under the watchful eye of U.S. Freestyle Resident Coach Terry Brands.

“This is a great opportunity to get in some really good training against the highest level of competition,? Metcalf said. “I’m in a great training environment at Iowa, and coming out here is even another notch up for me. The time between the U.S. Open and the Trials obviously is real critical for me. I haven’t had a lot of time to train in freestyle because of the college season. I’m trying to gain as much experience and mat time as I can before the Trials.?

Metcalf is coming off a storybook sophomore season for the Iowa Hawkeyes. He won his first NCAA title at 149 pounds and led the Hawkeyes to their first NCAA team title in eight years. He won the Hodge Trophy as the nation’s best college wrestler and was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year.

Metcalf said he took “a few days off? after the college season before plunging into freestyle training full-time.

Metcalf is hoping for an opportunity to face one of his college coaches, Hawkeye assistant coach Doug Schwab, in the finals of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 14 in Las Vegas.

Schwab, who placed fifth at the 2007 World Championships at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., clinched a spot in the best-of-3 finals at the Olympic Trials by virtue of winning April’s U.S. Nationals. Metcalf will need to win the Challenge Tournament, where he is expected to be seeded fourth, to earn a shot at Schwab later the same day in the finals.

The champion from the Olympic Trials advances to the Olympic Games, set for Aug. 12-21 in Beijing, China.

“I want to see an all-Iowa final,? Metcalf said of the Olympic Trials. “Schwab is already in the finals, we know that. There is no other way to have it than having both of us in the finals battling it out for the spot. I have three or four matches ahead of me before I get to the finals, but that’s where I see myself at the Trials. I have to wrestle smart and wrestle hard. I know I’ve put the work in.?

Metcalf said Schwab is among the wrestlers he trains with at the Iowa wrestling room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

“Having the No. 1 guy in your room is a great opportunity for me, where I can train with him and learn from him,? Metcalf said. “I try to train with Schwab as much as I can. The great thing about Schwab is we can compete and go at it hard against each other, and then after practice is over he will grab me and say, ‘Hey, you need to do this.’ He will work with me. He’s a competitor and a coach at the same time.?

Working out with a guy like the physical, hard-nosed Bono, a three-time U.S. World Team member, won’t hurt Metcalf’s development either.

“You have to wrestle tough the entire time against a guy like (Bono),? Metcalf said. “He’s very good in his positions and his special areas. You have to really try to shut him down and get to your own offense.?

Metcalf said he learned from the two matches he lost against Frayer at U.S. Nationals.

“I need to get to my offense and finish right now and score,? Metcalf said. “I can’t wait around out there. I need to get to his legs and finish.?

The 21-year-old Metcalf, who trains under Iowa head coach Tom Brands in Iowa City, is learning from Tom’s twin brother Terry this week in Colorado. Tom Brands was an Olympic and World champion. Terry Brands won two World titles and an Olympic bronze medal in freestyle.

“Tom and Terry have similar coaching styles – it’s great training with Terry out here,? Metcalf said. “The techniques they teach are a little bit different, so that helps me when I come out here to train. They’re great coaches. I’ve learned a lot from them.?

Metcalf, from Davison, Mich., more than lived up to the massive hype placed on him entering his first season of collegiate competition in 2007-08.

Metcalf led team champion Iowa to a whopping 38.5-point win over second-place Ohio State at the 2008 NCAA tournament in St. Louis. The Hawkeyes return a majority of their team for next season and will be the preseason No. 1 team in the country in 2008-09.

“The atmosphere in our room is great right now,? he said. “Having that glimpse of success – I call it a glimpse because I know a lot of us aren’t really satisfied with two champions and just a 30-point victory. Having that glimpse of success really opened our eyes that, ‘Wow, we can do something great at Iowa.’ A lot of our guys are really grasping that now. There are a ton of guys in our room training right now to be national champions. That’s great to see.?

May 22, 2008

Russia tops list with all 18 weight classes qualified for Olympics; U.S. second with 16 classes qualified

Russia tops list with all 18 weight classes qualified for Olympics; U.S. second with 16 classes qualified
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With two Olympic qualifiers remaining, Russia is the lone country that has qualified all 18 wrestling weight classes for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

The United States is second with 16 total weight classes qualified. The U.S. can add to its total at the final Olympic Greco-Roman qualifier this weekend in Serbia. Joe Betterman will try to qualify the U.S. for the Olympics on Saturday when he competes at 60 kg/132 lbs.

The U.S. has qualified in 6-of-7 weight classes in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. The U.S. has qualified in all four Olympic divisions for women’s freestyle. The American team will be determined at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 13-15 in Las Vegas.

Azerbaijan is next in line with 15 overall weight classes qualified for Beijing. Kazakhstan has 14 total qualifiers and the Ukraine has 13. Cuba, Iran and Turkey are next in line with 12 classes qualified for the Olympics.

The final Olympic qualifier for women’s freestyle is scheduled for May 31-June 1 in Sweden.

The top eight finishers in each weight class from the 2007 World Championships qualified their countries for the Olympics. The champions in each weight class from the European, Asian, African and Pan American Championships also qualified their countries for Beijing.

Additionally, two Olympic qualifiers are being held in each style. The top four finishers in each weight class from the first qualifier in freestyle and Greco-Roman qualified their country for the Olympics. The top three finishers in each weight class from the second qualifier in freestyle and Greco-Roman qualify their country for the Olympics.

The top two finishers in each weight class from both women’s freestyle qualifiers send their countries to the Olympics.

The Olympic competition in wrestling is scheduled for Aug. 12-21 in Beijing.

Country-Freestyle-Greco-Women-Total Weight Classes
Russia 7-7-4-18
United States 6-6-4-16
Azerbaijan 7-5-3-15
Kazakhstan 6-5-3-14
Ukraine 6-3-4-13
Cuba 7-5-0-12
Iran 7-5-0-12
Turkey 7-5-0-12
Bulgaria 5-5-1-11
Korea 5-5-1-11
Canada 5-1-4-10
Georgia 5-5-0-10
Japan 3-3-4-10
China 3-2-4-9
Poland 4-3-2-9

May 21, 2008

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Top Junior and University wrestlers set to compete at World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 23-24

Top Junior and University wrestlers set to compete at World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 23-24
Elizabeth Wiley USA Wrestling

This year’s FILA Junior and University World Team Camp and Trials for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling is being held May 19-24 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The week will start with a training camp and conclude with the FILA Junior and University World Team Trials competition on Friday, May 23, and Saturday, May 24. The winners in each weight class will earn a spot on the FILA Junior and University World Teams.

The World University Championships are set to take place in Tessaloniki, Greece, July 9-13. Later in the month, the Junior World Championships will occur in Istanbul, Turkey from July 29 to August 3.

2004 Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas and 2006 World bronze medalist Donny Pritzlaff are among the American wrestlers who have won Junior World titles. 2007 U.S. Nationals champion Tommy Rowlands was a Junior World silver medalist.

A number of top U.S. Senior wrestlers have done well at the University Worlds. Recent Senior National champion Spenser Mango was a 2006 World University champion. Two-time World bronze medalist Harry Lester was also a 2005 University bronze medalist.

“The competition should be high because these wrestlers have to qualify to get here,? Greco-Roman Developmental Coach Ike Anderson said. “Most are high caliber.?

Champions from April’s FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas from the eight FILA weight classes earn an automatic berth into the finals of the FILA Junior World Team Trials. If the champion from the FILA Junior Nationals does not enter, the highest finisher in attendance from the FILA Junior Nationals will earn the automatic berth into the best-of-3 finals of the FILA Junior World Team Trials.

Additionally, champions from the University Nationals from the seven University World Championship weights also earn a bye to the finals of University World Team Trials., with the highest finisher from University Nationals getting an automatic berth if the champion isn’t in attendance.

The eight weight classes used in the FILA Junior World meet are 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs., 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

High school sophomore Logan Steiber of EBW at 55 kg/121 lbs. captured a freestyle championship at the FILA Junior Nationals and earned the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestling award for his efforts.

Joining in him in earning gold medals is Bubba Jenkins of Penn State at 70 kg/154.25 lbs., a 2007 Junior World champion and two-time FILA Junior National champ, and Dylan Alton of Mat-Town USA at 60 kg/132 lbs., who is a two-time Junior National champion.

The other freestyle champions from the FILA Junior Nationals attending include Desmond Moore of Penn State at 50 kg/110 lbs., Corey Jantzen of Gold Medal WC at 63 kg/138.75 lbs., Jordan Burroughs of Sunkist Kids at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Quentin Wright of Team Wright at 74 kg/163 lbs., Mike Letts of College Park WC at 79 kg/174 lbs., and Dustin Kilgore of Golden Pride WC at 84 kg/185 lbs.

The 2007 freestyle champions David Taylor of Ohio and Jake Kerr of Hawkeye WC are also expected to take part in the event.

FILA Junior Greco-Roman National champion Jake Deitchler of Minnesota Storm at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. also placed second at Senior Nationals to earn a berth to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Deitchler was a member of the 2007 FILA Junior World Team.

The other returning champions from the 2007 FILA Junior World Team are Tyler Cox of Camel Kids at 50 kg/110 lbs. and Eric Grajales of Brandon WC at 55 kg/121 lbs. Cox was fifth at the 2007 Junior World Championships. Grajales did not take part in the 2008 FILA Junior Nationals because he competed at the U.S. Senior Nationals, placing fifth, and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

“Our No. 1 guys, Cox, Dietchler, and Grajales, are veteran guys that went to Bulgaria last year for Junior Worlds and have a chance to medal this year,? said Anderson.

Peter Kowalczuk of USOEC, Zak Nielsen of Minnesota Storm, and Jimmy Chase of Pinnacle, who were FILA Junior champions also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Kowalczuk placed fifth at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Chase was sixth at 55 kg/121 lbs, while Nielsen was seventh in the 84 kg/185 lbs. weight class.

Greco-Roman champions from the FILA Junior Nationals include Kyle Dake of Shamrock WC at 60 kg/132 lbs., Jon Drendel of NMU/USOEC at 70 kg/154.25 lbs., Ben Provisor of Dennis Hall/World Gold WC at 74 kg/163 lbs., Kaleb Young of Minnesota Storm at 79 kg/174 lbs., and Michael Rossetti of NMU/USOEC at 96 kg211.5 lbs.

All but three National champions will be competing in the FILA Junior division. Not expected to attend the FILA Junior World Team Trials are freestyle champs Chad Henke of Orange Crush at 96 kg/211.5 lbs and Dom Bradley Mo Elite at 120 kg/264.5 lbs., and Luke Satern of Dave Schultz at 63 kg/138.75 in Greco-Roman.

A number of top University level competitors will also be competing at the World Team Trials. Spenser Mango of the USOEC at 60 kg/132.25 lbs. claimed National Greco-Roman titles at the University and Senior Nationals. Additionally, Mango was named Outstanding Wrestler at University and Senior Nationals.

“On the University side, there are a number of guys that I expect to do well,? said Anderson. “Sam Hazewinkel at 55 kg, Spenser Mango is moving up to 60 kg, Jake Curby at 66 kg, Robbie Smith at 96 kg, and heavyweight Erik Nye. I should take a very strong team to the University Worlds with that level of experience.?

A number of other Greco-Roman University champions qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials with top finishes at the U.S. Senior Nationals. Andrew Bisek of Minnesota Storm at 74 kg/163 lbs. finished second, Chas Betts of Minnesota storm placed third at 84 kg/185 lbs., Peter Gounaridis of USOEC was seventh at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., and Erik Nye of Sunkist Kids at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. came in fourth. Nye was a fifth place finisher at the 2007 Junior World Championships.

Other 2008 University National champions in Greco-Roman include Nikko Triggas of Ohio State at 55 kg/121 lbs., Kerry Regner of USOEC at 63 KG/138.75 lbs., Bo Beckman of USOEC at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Jon Drendel of USOEC at 70 kg/154.25 lbs., and Jake Fisher of USOEC at 79 kg / 174 lbs.

Seven University freestyle National champions are expected to attend the event as well including Brad Pataky of Penn State at 55 kg/121 lbs., Daniel Dennis of Iowa at 60 kg/132.25 lbs., Reece Humphrey of Ohio State at 63 kg/138.75 lbs., Nathaniel Holt of Chippewa Wrestling Club at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh at 74 kg/163 lbs., Jake Herbert of Wildcat Wrestling Club at 84 kg/185 lbs., and Brent Jones of Cavalier Wrestling Club at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Colorado Springs, Colo., Olympic Training Center

Thursday, May 22
3:45-4:30 p.m. – Medical check and weigh-in;
FILA Junior Greco-Roman weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/132 lbs.
FILA Junior Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
University Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
University Freestyle weights: 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/132 lbs.

Friday, May 23
9 a.m.-2 p.m. – Challenge Tournament.
University Freestyle weights: 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
FILA Junior Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Best-of-3 championship series with the champion of the Challenge Tournament facing the highest place finisher from the 2007 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Challenge Tournament.
FILA Junior Greco-Roman weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
University Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Best-of-3 championship series with the champion of the Challenge Tournament facing the highest place finisher from the 2007 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.

5-7:30 p.m. – Final Trials: Match #1, Match #2, and Match #3 (if necessary):
FILA Junior Greco-Roman weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/132 lbs. FILA Junior Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs. University Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
University Freestyle weights: 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/132 lbs.

4 p.m. – Medical check and weigh-in
FILA Junior Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
FILA Junior Freestyle weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
University Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
University Greco-Roman weights: 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Saturday, May 24
9 a.m.-2 p.m. – Challenge Tournament.
FILA Junior Freestyle weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
University Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Best-of-3 championship series with the champion of the Challenge Tournament facing the highest place finisher from the 2007 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Challenge Tournament.
FILA Junior Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
University Greco-Roman weights: 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Best-of-3 championship series with the champion of the Challenge Tournament facing the highest place finisher from the 2007 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.

5-7:30 p.m. – Final Trials: Match #1, Match #2, and Match #3 (if necessary):
FILA Junior Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
FILA Junior Freestyle weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
University Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
University Greco-Roman weights: 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Wrestling videos from the event (and many previous events) can be found on TWT.

May 17, 2008

Escobedo seeking spot in Olympic Games

Escobedo seeking spot in Olympic Games
Indiana University Sports Information

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana's Angel Escobedo, a 2008 College Wrestling National Champion in the 125-lb. weight class, is one step closer to his life-long dream of representing the United States in the Olympics. Escobedo won his Olympic Regional Trial on May 10 in Waterloo, Iowa, earning a spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June.

"We are very proud of Angel," said IU Head Coach Duane Goldman. "He has always had his sights set on making an Olympic team, and for him to progress to this level already is impressive. There are no breaks for this guy; he won the NCAA Championship and has moved on to the next thing on his list. That is part of what makes him so good. I am glad that he is on our side."

In order to qualify for the Olympic Trials, one must have either placed in the top seven at the U.S. Senior Nationals which were held in Las Vegas on April 28, win the USA Wrestling University National Championship or win one of the four Regionals. Escobedo chose the last path, and will be one of 12 competitors in the 55 kg (121-pounds) weight division vying for a shot at Olympic gold in Beijing.

The 2008 Olympic Games Team Trials will be held in a one-day format. The Trials will be a line bracket double elimination to third place format. The finals match, determining which individuals will don the Stars and Stripes, will be a best of three matches.

For complete and the most-up-to-date information on the Olympic Wrestling Team Trials click here.

May 13, 2008

Arizona State University Cites Economics in Reducing Number of Varsity Sports

Arizona State University Cites Economics in Reducing Number of Varsity Sports

In response to economic realities experienced over a long period of time, Arizona State University today announced the discontinuation of three varsity sports programs, effective immediately. The sport programs affected are men's swimming, men's tennis and wrestling. ASU President Michael Crow and Vice President for University Athletics Lisa Love made the announcement. With the budget cuts the University is facing, Intercollegiate Athletics cannot expect the University to make up the difference.

This move reduces the number of varsity sports sponsored by ASU to 20 from 22. The move will not affect men's diving. ASU will continue to fund football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, women's tennis, women's swimming and diving, men's diving, women's volleyball, women's gymnastics and women's water polo.

"Our primary concern for the immediate future is the student-athletes and coaches that are affected," says Love.

The student-athletes in the discontinued sports who decide to transfer to another institution will be provided with full assistance from ASU regarding the transfer process. The student-athletes who chose to remain at ASU will receive the full benefits of their scholarship awards through their senior year.

"With a dedicated effort to a successful 20-sport varsity program in mind," says Love, "these three sports were selected with the following criteria: financial impact, potential competitive success, conference/regional support and gender equity. Our revenue trajectory has been positive, however, our ongoing financial challenges have been well documented by the media. The decision to discontinue sport programs is a last resort, yet necessary."

"These moves are extremely painful," says Love. "We have arrived at the realization that funding a 20 sport program is a better fit for our financial profile and will serve to secure and strengthen our future. It is our responsibility to operate a fiscally prudent varsity athletics program. The costs of doing business are escalating daily and the costs of maintaining excellence even more so."

At 20 varsity sports, ASU is in line with other major institutions around the country. In the Pacific-10 Conference, schools that compare favorably with ASU are UCLA and Washington 23 sports each, USC 21, Arizona 20, Oregon and Oregon State 18 each and Washington State 17. On a national scale, Florida, Georgia and Auburn sponsor 21 varsity sports, Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and LSU 20 apiece, and Florida State 19.

"The profile of our operations budget and donation base does not lend itself to the sponsorship of 22 athletic teams," says Love. "While our revenue streams are achieving a positive trajectory they are simply not keeping pace with the current size and scope of the department.

"The decision to discontinue sports has been the most distressing and painful choice this administration has had to make. It is counter-intuitive to our administrative thinking. This decision impacts many people, both on and off our campus. The entire University, the Board of Regents, Sun Devil alumni and other universities will share in the loss of these sports and student-athletes and the contributions they have made to our University and to their sport.

"The action is in no way meant to diminish the dedication, effort or ability of these student-athletes, coaches and alumni. They have contributed greatly to Arizona State University athletics and to the vitality and history of the University," Love says.

As many as 70 student athletes will be affected by the elimination of these sports. Six full-time coaching positions will be eliminated. Head coaches will remain on contract through November, 2008.

The establishment of a 20-team varsity sport program will allow the department to realize a reduction in expenses that will total approximately of $1 million annually.

This is the second time in ASU's athletic history that programs have been eliminated. In 1993 ASU eliminated men's gymnastics, an NCAA-sponsored sport, and two club sports sponsored by ICA -- men's and women's and mixed archery and men's and women's and mixed badminton. Two sports have been added in recent program history, including women's varsity soccer in 1996 and women's water polo in 2002.

-- Kind of shocking. Now that they are saving cash on wrestling shoes, I wonder if they'll spend more on their golf team? lol.

May 12, 2008

Kerry McCoy Named Maryland Wrestling Head Coach

Kerry McCoy Named Maryland Wrestling Head Coach (College Wrestling)

McCoy spent three seasons as head coach at Stanford

May 12, 2008

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Director of athletics Deborah A. Yow announced May 12 that Kerry McCoy has been named the head coach for the University of Maryland wrestling program. In three seasons as head coach at Stanford, McCoy transformed the Cardinal into a national contender after inheriting a team that went 6-8-1 in 2004-05.

"I am very fortunate to join such a great program," McCoy said. "The opportunity to be closer to our family and having a chance to compete for a national championship is very exciting. I want to thank Dr. Yow and everyone who was involved with this process for supporting me and more importantly for supporting the sport of wrestling."

McCoy led the Cardinal to a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Championships this past season which was the second-best finish in program history. Stanford went 13-4 with a 6-3 mark in the Pac-10 while finishing second in the conference championships, its best showing ever. Stanford sent five wrestlers to nationals in St. Louis for the second straight season, which was also the most in team history.

"Kerry McCoy is the right coach for Maryland at the right time," Yow said. "He will achieve as a coach what he achieved as an athlete - elite status as a program and eventually, the possibility of winning the national championship."

McCoy made an immediate impact in his first season as Stanford went 8-7 in 2005-06 and improved its showing at the Pac-10 Championships by two places. He guided two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships that season and mentored Tanner Gardner to All-America accolades.

In 2006-07, McCoy continued to steadily improve the program, as the Cardinal went 8-8 during the season and performed even better than the year before in the conference championships, finishing sixth. Five wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships which was a program record, and two wrestlers, Gardner and Josh Zupancic, became the first Stanford duo to earn All-America honors in the same season since 1967.

In addition, Zack Giesen was tabbed the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year.

"I would like to thank Stanford for giving me the opportunity to lead the wrestling program," McCoy added. "It was an amazing experience and a very difficult place to leave. I also want to thank all of the alumni, fans, parents and administrators for the support the program received. I especially want to thank Bob Bowlsby and Earl Koberlein for providing me with the tools necessary to build a top notch program. I am very happy with the direction the program is going and I expect great things in the future."

Prior to his time at Stanford, McCoy spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Lehigh where he mentored 14 All-Americans and a pair of NCAA Champions. He helped the Mountain Hawks to four Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association titles and led Jon Trenge to a school-record 133 wins in his career at 197 pounds. Trenge was a three-time All-American.

During his time at Lehigh, McCoy shared the sidelines with former Maryland head coach Pat Santoro, who was also on the staff at Penn State when McCoy was a wrestler.

"I have been very fortunate to know Kerry as an athlete and coach over the past 15 years, and we have become very close," Santoro said. "Kerry is a great fit for this team and will help take them to the next level. I am excited for Kerry and his family to have this opportunity at Maryland to reach their professional goals. Personally, our family is excited to have him back on the east coast."

While at Lehigh, McCoy also served as the director of wrestling and head coach of the Lehigh Valley Athletic Club where he was responsible for conducting clinics in the local area, promoting the sport of wrestling, and fundraising. McCoy serves on the USA Wrestling Athlete Advisory Committee as well as the USAW Executive Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and has been a U.S. Freestyle World Team coach for two seasons.

McCoy also had a stint as an assistant coach at Penn State for three seasons, where he helped the Nittany Lions to a pair of fourth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships and guided 10 All-Americans and two national champions.

McCoy spent his collegiate wrestling career with the Nittany Lions and posted a record of 150-18 in his four seasons. He captured a pair of NCAA Championships in 1994 and 1997 and won three Big Ten titles. After going 19-17 in his first 36 matches at Penn State, McCoy lost just once in his final 132 with an 88-match winning streak.

A three-time All-American, McCoy was named the Penn State Athlete of the Year and the Nittany Lions' Wrestler of the Year in 1994 and 1997 while being tabbed the 1997 Hodge Award winner as W.I.N. Magazine's Wrestler of the Year. He earned his bachelor's degree in marketing in 1997.

McCoy was also a two-time Olympian for the United States and took fifth place at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and seventh in 2004 in Athens. McCoy also won five straight U.S. National Freestyle Wrestling Championships from 2000 to 2004.

McCoy has been a member of the United States National Team nine times and earned a silver medal in 2003 at the World Championships. In August 2003, McCoy won a gold medal at the Pan-Am Games and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

McCoy and his wife, Abbie, are expecting their first child in July.

May 10, 2008

Penn State wrestling team dismisses three members

Penn State wrestling team dismisses three members
Pat Donghia Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.; May 9, 2008 -- Three members of the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team have been dismissed from the team, according to head coach Troy Sunderland. Freshmen Garrett Scott (Alexandria, Pa.) and Jared Platt (Blairstown, N.J.) and sophomore Dave Rella (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) have all been dismissed from the squad for violation of team rules and the standards of the program.

"We have granted each of these young men a release from the team in order for them to continue their academic and athletic careers at different schools," Sunderland said. "This was a very tough decision for all of us, but as this program continues to improve, each of our wrestlers must live up to the high standards of the program."

"We wish each of these individuals the best of luck in their future endeavors," Sunderland said. "After our outstanding performance last season, we are primed to continue this ascent and we must focus on all aspects of this program."

Penn State is coming off a banner season that saw the team place third at the 2008 NCAA Championships, garner four All-Americans and led the nation in the latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) among all wrestling programs according to the NCAA.

TheWrestlingTalk continues to add enhancements

Recently, the nation's leading wrestling social network, released a half dozen social networking tools for amateur wrestling and mixed martial arts fans. Included in this upgrade are the following sections:
Albums, Blogs, and Groups. These three options are available for all users and tie directly into each users personal profile.

TheWrestlingTalk also opened a wrestling gear store that plans to use 100% of its profit to start new wrestling programs. The current categories include: Wrestling Awards, Wrestling Bags, Wrestling Books, Wrestling Clocks, Wrestling Headgear, Wrestling Kneepads
Wrestling Mats, Wrestling Shoes, Wrestling Singlets, Wrestling Socks, Wrestling Videos, Freestyle Wrestling, College Apparel, Officials Gear, Under Armour
. There are still over 100 items to be added so take your time in browsing.

May 8, 2008

Wrestling Camps directory added to TheWrestlingTalk added a free link directory for wrestling camps on their website. Currently the directory will be broken down by state and camp type.

Coaches and camp owners are asked to link to TheWrestlingTalk and then contact them for inclusion.

Categories include:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia Wisconsin, Wyoming

Commuter Wrestling Camps
Technique Wrestling Camps
Intensive Training Wrestling Camps
Super-Session Wrestling Camps

May 6, 2008

Q and A with Grappling World Champion Ricky Lundell

Q and A with Grappling World Champion Ricky Lundell
Jason Townsend USA Wrestling

After becoming a U.S. Grappling World Team member, by winning one of the toughest weight classes of the U.S. World Team Trials, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt Ricky Lundell set his sights on World domination in Antalya, Turkey. He faced many tough competitors and fellow black belts from around the world on his way to the gold medal. He dismantled his opponents with precision, one of the most impressive performances in the tournament.

After such great performances you might wonder what is left for the Grappling prodigy but for Ricky Lundell. The answer is a quest for more gold. What are you doing this year to prepare for the FILA Grappling World Championships?
Lundell: I have really started to focus on my wrestling and takedowns, I have been training a ton of wrestling with my coaches Brandon Guzzo and Sam Allen. I am wrestling for an hour and a half every morning of the week. I really want to dominate in all aspects of Grappling not just the ground game.

I am also trying to put on some weight for the 154-pound weight class, I was a little small last year and this year I want to be better equipped for that weight class. I am doing a lot of heavy plyometric and explosiveness training to go with my wrestling and jiu-jitsu. returning World Team Trials Champions get an automatic spot at this year’s World Team Trials. How will you use this to your advantage?
Lundell: I think this will benefit me by allowing me to focus on intense training instead of qualifying. I will be able to stay healthier by not having to compete and risk injury. Who will you be training with during the next several months to help prepare you for the World Team Trials?
Lundell: I am working on setting up some jiu-jitsu training with Jeff Glover and Bill Cooper on several occasions. Also, I will be cross training with a host of college wrestlers and grappling competitors. I made it out to Denver, Colorado to train with Malcolm Havens at Sheldon Marr’s Grappler’s Edge Academy.

I was sick for three weeks with a bronchial infection and I am just starting to get back into gear with training regularly. I lost my voice totally and spent the better part of three weeks trying to get healthy again. It motivated me because I got tired of not being able to train the way I wanted to, so it is nice to be back at full speed. there any particular athletes that you would like to see at your weight class this year at the World Team Trials?
Lundell: I would really like to compete against Jeff Glover again, it is always a great match that really tests my abilities. Shane Rice, Scott Bieri and Alberto Crane would also be great matches for me. Alberto Crane and Scott Bieri were in my bracket last year but I didn’t get a chance to compete against them. I really want a crack at a high level wrestler- like an NCAA champion or All-American. I want to win and know I went against the best guys. With these rules I think I am the best at this weight class. I know I will have to compete at my best to win again this year. What is your biggest strength as an athlete?
Lundell: Confidence. I know my ability, my mind and body are healthy and I know there is no one at my weight that I can’t beat on any given day. I have been and continue to train hard and I am extremely confident in myself on the mat.

University of Iowa wrestling awards announced

University of Iowa wrestling awards announced
Traci Wagner University of Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa wrestling's NCAA Champions - senior Mark Perry and sophomore Brent Metcalf - have been named the Mike Howard Most Valuable Wrestlers for the 2007-08 season. They received the award at the team's annual awards banquet Sunday in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes had much to celebrate at the team banquet. The team won its 21st NCAA title and 32nd Big Ten title, which were firsts for second-year Head Coach Tom Brands. Iowa crowned two individual NCAA champions - a first since 1999 - and seven all-Americans - the highest number since 2001. The Hawkeyes posted a 21-1 overall record, ending the season on a 14-match winning streak. Iowa also won the Big Ten regular season title with an unblemished 8-0 mark. Brands was named NWCA and Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Perry won his second national title to become Iowa's 14th two-time NCAA champion. He also captured his fourth all-America honor, becoming the 17th Hawkeye to accomplish the feat in school history. Perry scored 25 team points at the NCAA Championships, the most of any wrestler in the tournament. Despite missing the entire Big Ten dual season due to injury, the Stillwater, OK, native posted a 20-3 season record and led the team in pins (12) and fastest pin (21 seconds). The 165-pounder was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week Dec. 19 and Wrestler of the Week Mar. 25. Perry ends his Hawkeye career with a 96-16 record.

Metcalf stormed through the competition in his first season at 149 pounds with the Hawkeyes, winning his first NCAA and Big Ten titles. He earned the prestigious Dan Hodge Trophy, which is annually presented to the nation's top collegiate wrestler. The Davison, MI, native was named Outstanding Wrestler at both the NCAA and Big Ten Championships, and the Division I NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. He also garnered Big Ten Wrestler of the Year honors, becoming only the fourth Hawkeye to earn both in the same season. Metcalf led all point-scorers at the Big Ten tournament with 24, and his 23 points at NCAAs tied for third among all competitors. He posted a 35-1 season record, ending the year on a 32-match winning streak. He was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week twice, becoming the first student-athlete in conference history to earn in the honor in consecutive weeks. He was also named Wrestler of the Week twice. Metcalf, who also earned academic all-Big Ten honors, led the team in collegiate wins (35), collegiate winning percentage (.972), dual wins (21), dual winning percentage (.954), dual team points scored (100) and technical falls (6).

Senior heavyweight Matt Fields took home three team awards. He earned the the J. Donald McPike, Sr., Award, which is given annually to the senior with the highest grade-point average, the Most Improved Award and shared the All-American Award with four other teammates. A health and sports studies major from Lowden, IA, Fields earned his first all-America honor this season. He posted a 32-8 record and earned academic all-Big Ten accolades. Fields ends his Iowa career with a 95-38 mark, starting 64 duals.

Fields shared the All-American Award with junior Charlie Falck, and sophomores Jay Borschel, Phillip Keddy and Joe Slaton. Falck earned his second all-America honor at 125, placing sixth at the NCAA Championships and fourth at the Big Ten tournament. His season record of 31-7 included a 21-1 dual mark. A native of Strawberry Point, IA, Falck shared the team lead in dual wins (21) and dual winning percentage (.954) with Metcalf. Keddy, from Vernal, UT, earned his first all-America honor at 184 in his second season in the lineup. His 28-11 record included a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and a sixth-place finish at NCAAs. Borschel and Slaton each picked up their first all-America honor in their first season with the Hawkeyes. Slaton placed second at the NCAA Championships and third at Big Tens at 133, posting a 31-5 season record. The Cedar Rapids, IA, native was also named Wrestler of the Week by the Big Ten and after Iowa's win at Iowa State in December. Borschel placed third at both tournaments at 174 with a 32-5 record. The academic all-Big Ten honoree from Marion, IA, led the team in major decisions (11) and ranked second in collegiate wins (32) and dual team points scored (79).

Sophomore Chad Beatty was honored with the Mike McGivern Award, which is annually presented to the team's most courageous wrestler. The Wilton, IA, native moved up two weight classes to compete at 197 pounds after the season started. His season record of 13-15 included key dual wins against Indiana and Michigan late in the season to help the Hawkeyes earn the conference regular season title. Beatty was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week Feb. 20 for his efforts in those matches.

Sophomore Illinois natives Rick Loera and Daniel Dennis earned the team's Coaches Appreciation Award. Loera, who also moved up to compete at 197 pounds, posted a 7-9 record. Dennis was injured at the start of the season, but came back at 133. Loera is from Park Ridge, and Dennis is a native of Ingleside.

2007-08 University of Iowa Wrestling Team Awards

Mike Howard Award (Most Valuable): Mark Perry, Brent Metcalf
Mike McGivern Award (Most Courageous): Chad Beatty
J. Donald McPike, Sr. Award (Highest GPA for graduating senior): Matt Fields
All-America Award: Jay Borschel, Phillip Keddy, Charlie Falck, Matt Fields, Joe Slaton
Most Pins Award: Mark Perry (12)
Most Improved Award: Matt Fields
Coaches Appreciation Award: Rick Loera, Daniel Dennis

May 5, 2008

Pat Walsh to Ohio State

With little hesitation, Pat Walsh says that things happen for a reason. A change of plans a few weeks ago led the 2007 Stoughton High graduate to a regional wrestling tournament, where he caught the eye of an Ohio State assistant coach. Before the month had ended, Walsh was signing a letter of intent to wrestle for the Buckeyes, a program that finished second in the country this past season.

'That tournament was an eye-opener for me. . . . Now my goal is to win a national title and see if I can qualify for the Olympics.

The first weekend in April, Walsh was scheduled to take an official visit to the University of Oklahoma, but the coach there was forced to delay Walsh's trip.

Instead of relaxing, Walsh drove more than four hours from the Wyoming Seminary campus in Kingston, Pa., where he had wrestled for a year, to Brockport, N.Y., to compete in the Northeast Senior Regional Freestyle wrestling championships.

Walsh finished second overall in his weight class in the tournament, defeating respected wrestlers in his first meet against collegiate athletes. Spotted by the Ohio State assistant, Walsh would within weeks take an official visit to the campus. On Wednesday, he signed a letter of intent.

Walsh had a number of college choices after a successful post-grad season. Unbeaten (18-0) as a heavyweight, he was one of two Wyoming wrestlers to win a national title.

In the end, he was impressed most with the coaching background of second-year coach Tom Ryan, the former headman at Hofstra who guided Ohio State to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships this season, the best finish in the program's history.

The Buckeyes finished 19-4 overall during the regular season and also defeated then-No. 1 Penn State at the National Duals in January.

"He's just a great coach and he's already taken that program and made it great," Walsh said.

If Walsh didn't make the trip to New York, he's not sure he would have ever had the chance at Ohio State. His room is now decorated with Buckeyes posters and he owns a school sweatshirt. He didn't compete in the tournament for exposure, he said, but to test himself among the best. In the end, he walked away with renewed confidence.

"That tournament was an eye-opener for me," Walsh said. "Now my goals aren't just getting into a Division 1 program and doing well. Now my goal is to win a national title and see if I can qualify for the Olympics. It helped me re-evaluate myself as a wrestler."

Walsh said he expects to return to Stoughton this spring before reporting to Ohio State to begin training camp in June.

Wyoming Seminary coach Joe Gordon said Walsh was able to gain a college-like experience in his post-graduate year and thrived in the program.

"He' s just a workhorse," Gordon said. "He absorbed everything he could. He made adjustments and won over his teachers, coaches and everyone else here with his work habits."

The school not only provided top training opportunities for Walsh, but also helped him in the classroom, he said. "Academically," he said, "I feel so prepared for college next year."

May 1, 2008

2009 NCAA Wrestlng Tournament site up and running

The 2009 NCAA Tournament site is updated with the latest available for the 2009 NCAA Wrestling tournament. It currently holds the 2009 Ticketing details, sites and sounds around St. Louis, and several other key features. The tournament schedule is yet to be determined for the event and as a result television details are still in the works.

April 30, 2008

Steven Suder resigns as head coach at Wyoming

Steven Suder resigns as head coach at Wyoming
University of Wyoming

LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman announced on Tuesday that head wrestling coach Steven Suder is resigning his position at the University of Wyoming to pursue other interests.

Suder has served as head coach of the Cowboy wrestling program for the past 19 years, and was also a former Cowboy wrestling letterman from 1975-79.

"Coach Suder has been a part of our athletic program for over two decades as a coach and student-athlete, and we thank him for all his many years of service," said Burman. "Before returning as head coach, he was an outstanding wrestler here at UW. We wish him, his wife Deanna and his family all the best."

"I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to come back and serve as the head wrestling coach at UW for these past 19 years," said Suder. "I have worked alongside some great people during this assignment. In my opinion, everything is in place for this program to climb back up and challenge for championships and Top 15 national rankings again. Some very good changes have been made in the last couple years including the additions of current assistant coaches Ben (VomBaur) and Travis (Shufelt), and it's time to have some fresh, hungry, passionate `newness' leading the way. I am excited to see it happen."

"Either of those men would fill his shoes pretty well." A source close to the story said.

Suder led Wyoming to two Western Athletic Conference team titles as head coach in 1990 and 1992. He was selected WAC Coach of the Year four times, and since UW left the WAC after the 1999 season, Suder earned NCAA West Regional Coach of the Year honors twice -- in 2001 and 2004. His dual record as a head coach is 127-136-2 (.483). As a student-athlete, he earned All-America honors his senior year of 1979 after placing eighth in the 150-pound weight class at the NCAA Championships.

Burman said that current Cowboy assistant coach Ben VomBaur would serve as the interim head coach, but that no specific timetable for filling the head-coaching position would be established.

April 28, 2008

Quotes from National Men’s Freestyle champions

Quotes from National Men’s Freestyle champions
USA FloWrestling

55 kg/121 lbs. - Matt Azevedo, Pismo Beach, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
(On Cejudo move that led to the pin)
“A little bit, yeah. I think when you lose the first period it definitely changes your mind frame. You feel like you have to go out and get the guy. A lot of times I feel like that too. I think he maybe tried to force something that wasn’t there.?

“I expected to win. I knew I could win a National title and obviously this is just a stepping stone to get to the Olympic team. This is a big goal. This is a big deal for me to be a National champion.?

60 kg/132 lbs. - Shawn Bunch, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
(On having to prove himself here)
“I’ve been beating guys all the time. I felt like I didn’t get respect for what I’ve been doing. I can beat all those guys. I think I’m the best in the world and I can win the Olympic gold if I make the team.?

(On what his strength is right now)
“I wrestle smarter now. I’m more physical with my hands. I’m just using what I’ve learned on the mat.?

(On how he prepares for the Trials)
“My mindset is to win, don’t give up anything. I know I can do it. I’ve been working out, practicing, and beating everyone in the room. I’m ready for that.?

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Doug Schwab, Iowa City, Iowa (Gator WC)
(On competing at this competitive weight)
“Everybody knows each other so well. I’ve wrestled him. Everybody has wrestled everybody in our weight so many times. It just comes down to the fact that you do it so well it doesn’t even matter.?

“I didn’t really set up my holds. I was hanging on the head a lot and blocking off instead of getting attacks. He was doing a good job of going for that high crotch, he’s good there. I felt like I missed some opportunities for go behinds, ones I really wasn’t very happy with. Like you said, I really don’t want it to go to a clinch, because it’s a flip of a coin. That’s not good enough odds for me.?

74 kg/163 lbs. - Ben Askren, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids)
(On his dream of doing this)
“You know I had a lot of things I wanted to do this year. I said this year I wanted to be tough. This year is for the Olympics. That’s all I do everyday, my life’s boring, but it paid off.?

(On whether he thought he should be number one)
“I felt like it. I beat Donny (Pritzlaff), I placed above Casey (Cunningham), I had great overseas tournaments. I’ve been number one since November and then all the sudden they come in and move me down to number three.?

(On being down in his second match)
“I know Ramico (Blackmon) can’t go three periods hard with me. I got a little over anxious in making him tired, but I knew if I made him tired in the first period it would pay off in the second and third. To win the first period really wasn’t necessary. I was expecting to go three.?

84 kg/185 lbs. - Mo Lawal, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
(On not getting respect before the event)
“Not disrespected, but I feel like people forgot about me. They tried to make a star out of some of these college kids. They forgot about me.?

(On having lost before)
“The thing is if me and Andy (Hrovat) are wrestling tomorrow he won’t be thinking about this last match because it’s a new match. Anything can happen.?

(On dropping back to 84 kg)
“I just decided to do it. I was kind of light and 84 is where it’s at, so I came back.?

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
(On staying at this weight)
“The thing that kept me at this weight is that it’s my weight class. I can’t wrestle heavyweight. I’m not tall enough. I’m too short. I’ve been successful when I have gone up but I don’t think I could wrestle it as well as 96 kg at a consistent basis.?

(On whether this is his last shot)
“I think when you start saying this is my last chance you almost set yourself up to fail. You set your expectations so high that you may not reach them. That can happen anytime, but I really don’t want to put a timetable on my career until I accomplish everything I need to accomplish in this sport.?

(On staying on top for so long)
“The keys are a good coaching staff, John Smith and Kevin Jackson. Good training partners, I had Tommy Rowlands in a couple weeks ago. Mo Lawal has been in Stillwater and he’s a national champ, Chris Pendleton, Tyrone Lewis, good training partners. I mean just being dedicated is important.?

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Tommy Rowlands, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
(On the exchange with Steve Mocco)
“I don't have any hard feelings (about it). The hand fighting just got a little too physical. It was a real tough match."

(On the winning point)
“There was no controversy on the last point at all. The only controversy is that I need to wrestle better.?

(On what he needs to do better)
“My preparation was great for this tournament. I felt great out there. I didn’t execute the way I wanted to. I need to get my offense going and score more points. I was ready to go. I just need to compete better next time.?

(On his Olympic goal)
“I feel like I’m the best in America. If I wrestle my best, I can compete for a gold medal in the Olympics.?

Tickets now on sale for 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis

Tickets now on sale for 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis
St. Louis Sports Commission

2009 NCAA Tournament Tickets are now available

ST. LOUIS – March 20, 2008 — Beginning today, fans can order tickets to next year’s NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 314/241-1888 or 866/646-8849 (toll free).

Fans attending this year’s Championships in St. Louis can also purchase tickets at the Scottrade Center box office during the event.

Tickets to the 2009 Championships are sold as all-session packages, providing admission to the six sessions taking place during the three-day tournament, and start at only $60. Other mezzanine level seats are $90 and $120. Tickets in the plaza level are $150. All tickets are subject to Ticketmaster convenience charges and handling fees.

The 79th NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships take place at Scottrade Center March 19-21, 2009. The University of Missouri and the St. Louis Sports Commission serve as hosts for the event, which returns to the Gateway City for the fifth time in 10 years. The 2000 Championships in St. Louis boast the event’s all-time total attendance record of 96,944.

In addition to obtaining tickets, fans can also reserve hotel rooms for their stay in St. Louis. Hotel reservations can be made online at or by calling the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission toll-free at 888/882-5569.

The 2009 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships is one of 10 NCAA Division I championships taking place in St. Louis this decade. The region previously hosted the Wrestling Championships in 2000, 2004 and 2005; the Women’s Final Four in 2001; the Men’s Final Four in 2005; the Men’s Soccer College Cup in 2006; and the Men’s Frozen Four in 2007. In addition to the 2008 Wrestling Championships, which begin today, the region will also host the Women’s Final Four in 2009.
For more information on the 2009 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships visit NCAA Wrestling

April 27, 2008

New Features at TheWrestlingTalk

TheWrestlingTalk released major update to its community about 2 weeks ago. I waited to detail the update until most of the finishing touches were completed. Check out how TWT is revolutionizing how wrestlers communicate:

Personal Profiles: (Here's Mine) This isn't just a wrestler's Facebook/MySpace. Complete your recruiting profile and get noticed by college coaches, add your highlight video from TWT Videos. If you put yourself on YouTube, you can add those videos to your profile as well.

Social Groups / Free Team Sites: Create your own team site with a forum, ability to add photos, videos, and more. Use the social groups feature to promote a cause (Save X's Wrestling Team, Donate to X's recovery fund) or connect with people who have a niche interest you share.

Free Wrestling Blog: Keep track of your daily workout regimen or keep your fan base up to date on your latest wrestling tournament.

Photo Albums: Wrestling is not your only interest, show off what else you enjoy. An excellent way to get to know your forum mates!

April 22, 2008

UNI hands out awards at annual banquet

The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team wrapped up the 2007-08 season with its annual awards banquet on Sat., April 19, in the McLeod Center’s Alumni Suite.

UNI finished the season with a dual mark of 7-5-1 and qualified nine wrestlers for the NCAA Championships. The Panthers also captured the Western Wrestling Conference dual and tournament championships. UNI was a perfect 4-0 in league dual action for the second consecutive season. The Panthers then finished off the WWC season by winning the NCAA West Regional/WWC title. The regional win marked the 23rd straight regional crown for the Panthers.

The Panthers then placed 20th in the nation at the 2008 NCAA Division I NCAA Wrestling Championships held March 20-22 in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. UNI’s Moza Fay led the way with a 5th-place finish in the 165-pound weight class.

Junior Moza Fay (Anamosa, Iowa) was named the Most Valuable Wrestler at the banquet. It marks the second straight season Fay has earned the Panthers’ MVW award after sharing it last year with Nick Baima. Fay posted an overall record of 25-8 and led the squad with 11 falls. He was also named the WWC’s Wrestler of the Year for 2007-08.

Senior Alex Dolly (Mishawaka, Ind.) was given the Chuck Patten Award, which is based on leadership. Dolly reached the Round of 12 at the 2008 NCAA Championships and came within one victory of All-America status. Dolly also reached the Round of 12 at the 2005 NCAA Championships. He was a three-time national qualifier and posted 60 career wins for the Panthers.

Junior Andrew Anderson earned the Lyle E. Schwarzenbach Award. The award recognizes an individual who exhibits the highest standards in citizenship, academics, practice and dedication. Anderson qualified for the NCAA Championships for the third straight season and posted a record of 21-11 in 2007-08. Anderson holds a 3.29 grade point average while majoring in business management.

Redshirt freshman Dustin Bauman (Stratford, Wis.) was awarded the McCready/Steffensmeier Award for leadership. Bauman was a third-team all-WWC selection and earned 13 wins this season for the Panthers at heavyweight.

Senior Danny Dunning (Waterloo, Iowa) was given the Most Courageous Award. Dunning tallied an 8-5 mark in 2007-08, while dealing the sudden death of his father, Walt.

Sophomore Tyson Reiner (Mitchell, S.D.) garnered the Most Improved Award. Reiner qualified for the NCAA Championships and captured a win over Michigan’s Jeff Marsh, 5-2. Reiner missed the first part of the 2007-08 season with a broken bone in his hand, but bounced back to win the 157-pound West Regional title. Reiner was a first-team all-WWC pick this season.

Freshman Nick Pickerell (Albia, Iowa) tallied the Rookie Award at the banquet. Pickerell was also named the WWC Freshman of the Year after tallying a 21-9 overall record. Pickerell earned a trip to the NCAA Championships after winning the 149-pound title at the NCAA West Regional. Pickerell was also a first-team all-WWC pick.

True freshman Christian Brantley (Homewood, Ill.) was given the Redshirt Award.

UNI's four seniors were also recognized by head coach Brad Penrith and the rest of the UNI coaching staff.

UNI's 2007-08 Senior Class
Alex Dolly (Mishawaka, Ind.)
Danny Dunning (Waterloo, Iowa)
C.J. Ettelson (Hudson, Iowa)
Justin Swafford (Mediapolis, Iowa)

2007-08 Award Winners
Redshirt Award – Christian Brantley
Rookie Award – Nick Pickerell
Most Improved Award – Tyson Reiner
Most Courageous Award – Danny Dunning
McCready/Steffensmeier Award – Dustin Bauman
Lyle E. Schwarzenbach Award – Andrew Anderson
Chuck Patten Award – Alex Dolly
Most Valuable Wrestler Award – Moza Fay

NOTE: Mike Mixsell served as the emcee for the event - the 26th consecutive year he has served in that capacity.

April 21, 2008

Liddell Evans Scratched from UFC 85

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell has been taken off of the card for UFC 85 scheduled to take place in London on June 7, is reporting.

The UFC has yet to issue an official statement.

Liddell had been scheduled to fight Rashad Evans. Evans is also expected to be removed from the card with the bout against Liddell likely to be re-scheduled for later in the summer.

Liddell had originally been scheduled to fight Mauricio “Shogun? Rua on the card, but Evans was tapped as a replacement after Rua was forced to bow out after aggravating a knee injury.

There is no word if a replacement main event will be added to the UFC 85 lineup. A heavyweight title between Brandon Vera and Fabricio Werdum is currently the highest profile match that’s still scheduled.

According to the Wrestling Observer, the event, scheduled for the O2 Arena, has sold over 10,000 tickets, making it very unlikely that the event will be re-scheduled entirely.

It will be interesting to see if the show remains scheduled for pay-per-view, as drawing a strong buyrate could be difficult without a legitimate main event. UFC 85 will also be taking place just two weeks after UFC 84, which already an obstacle in regards to drawing a strong buyrate.

April 18, 2008

Greatest College Wrestlers of All-Time

A thread over at TheWrestlingTalk provoked this post, feel free to head over there and respond to this:

For those of you who have already cast your vote in the Hottest Poster poll, here's your chance to weigh in on
something wrestling-related...

Who are the top five greatest US college wrestlers of all time? (I'm thinking "all-time = since 1928" when the NCAA championships first appeared, but if you are moved to include someone from, say, 1911, rock on.)

All I ask is... that you make your list based solely on COLLEGE WRESTLING careers. I do NOT want you to put someone on the list because of his Olympic gold medals, brilliant coaching legacy, stellar NFL career, kick-ass performance in MMA, being a badass in WWE, his humanitarian work alongside Mother Teresa, or any other non-college wrestling factors.

You can respond here..

April 17, 2008

College Wrestling Coaches 2008 Salaries Database

College Wrestling Coaches 2008 Salaries Database

Enter a name or choose a division to the left to view head college wrestling coaches fiscal 2008 base salaries.

Only public schools that compete in NCAA Division I are included. 51 of the 61 public Division I programs responded to the Register's request for salary information.

Conference: Big 12 College: Iowa State
First Name: Cael Last Name: Sanderson
Salary: $110,000

Conference: Big 12 College: Oklahoma
First Name: Jack Last Name: Spates
Salary: $110,000

Conference: Big Ten College: Illinois
First Name: Mark Last Name: Johnson
Salary: $108,550

Conference: Big Ten College: Minnesota
First Name: J Last Name: Robinson
Salary: $100,000

Conference: Big 12 College: Missouri
First Name: Brian Last Name: Smith
Salary: $100,000

Conference: Big 12 College: Oklahoma State
First Name: John Last Name: Smith
Salary: $100,000

Conference: Atlantic Coast College: Maryland
First Name: Pat Last Name: Santoro
Salary: $99,866

Conference: Big Ten College: Iowa
First Name: Tom Last Name: Brands
Salary: $99,750

Conference: Big Ten College: Michigan
First Name: Joe Last Name: Mcfarland
Salary: $97,850

Conference: Big 12 College: Nebraska
First Name: Mark Last Name: Manning
Salary: $97,000

Conference: Big Ten College: Ohio State
First Name: Tom Last Name: Ryan
Salary: $95,288

Conference: Pacific-10 College: Oregon State
First Name: Jim Last Name: Zalesky
Salary: $95,004

Conference: Mid-american College: Central Michigan
First Name: Tom Last Name: Borelli
Salary: $91,356

Conference: Pacific-10 College: Cal State-bakersfield
First Name: T Last Name: Kerr
Salary: $84,072

Conference: Independent College: North Dakota State
First Name: Bucky Last Name: Maughan
Salary: $80,359

Conference: Independent College: Air Force
First Name: Joel Last Name: Sharratt
Salary: $79,085

Conference: Pacific-10 College: California-davis
First Name: Lennie Last Name: Zalesky
Salary: $75,618

Conference: Pacific-10 College: Arizona State
First Name: Thom Last Name: Ortiz
Salary: $71,815

Conference: Pennsylvania State Athletic College: Edinboro
First Name: Tim Last Name: Flynn
Salary: $71,531

Conference: Atlantic Coast College: North Carolina
First Name: C Last Name: Mock
Salary: $69,680

Conference: Western Wrestling College: Northern Iowa
First Name: Brad Last Name: Penrith
Salary: $68,600

Conference: Big Ten College: Michigan State
First Name: Tom Last Name: Minkel
Salary: $67,670

Conference: Eastern Wrestling League College: West Virginia
First Name: Craig Last Name: Turnbull
Salary: $67,520

Conference: Big Ten College: Purdue
First Name: Scott Last Name: Hinkel
Salary: $67,500

Conference: Eastern Wrestling League College: Clarion
First Name: Teague Last Name: Moore
Salary: $66,950

Pat Santoro Named New Coach at Lehigh

Pat Santoro Named New Coach at Lehigh for NCAA Wrestling
April 15, 2008
Author: Lehigh Press Release

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh University has named Pat Santoro its new Lawrence E. White ‘64 Head Coach of Wrestling, Goodman Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett ’76 announced Tuesday. Santoro, who becomes just the eighth head coach in the 99-year history of Lehigh wrestling, replaces Greg Strobel who will be making the transition into an administrative leadership role within the Lehigh Athletics Department. This announcement marks the return to Lehigh for Santoro, a Bethlehem native who spent nine seasons at Lehigh as an assistant coach.

“Greg Strobel was ready for a new assignment outside of coaching and he is very well skilled and suited for working with our camps program and in our athletics alumni relations and fund raising areas,? said Sterrett. “Pat Santoro was an outstanding assistant coach at Lehigh for nine years, and has done a magnificent job in developing the Maryland program. He will bring a deep affection for the institution, the educational values we prioritize, and the ability to make the transition seamless.?

Santoro returns to Lehigh after spending the last five years as the head coach at the University of Maryland where he helped resurrect the Terrapins program, which in 2008 captured its first ACC title in 35 years; a feat which earned Santoro ACC Coach of the Year honors. This past season the Terps went 16-4 and entered the national rankings for the first time since 1993, climbing as high as No. 21. Under Santoro’s guidance, Maryland crowned its first All-American since 1997 en route to a top-25 team finish at the NCAA Championships. Santoro posted a 48-41-1 record in five seasons at College Park, including an impressive 33-9 dual mark the last two years.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be the new head coach at Lehigh University,? said Santoro. “Lehigh is a program with a strong and rich tradition of wrestling, and terrific support from the alumni, fans and the community. Lehigh wrestling has been a part of my family for a long time. I grew up around the program and its great tradition, and I’m looking forward to coming back home and trying to continue the great history and tradition of Lehigh wrestling.?

Prior to his stint at Maryland Santoro served as an assistant at Lehigh for nine years, including eight seasons as the top assistant on Greg Strobel’s staff. During his initial tenure, Santoro was part of some of the most successful teams in school history. In 2003, Santoro was named the national Assistant Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, after helping guide the Brown and White to its fourth EIWA title in five years, and a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships, at the time the program’s best finish in 24 years.

“I had a great experience in my first nine years at Lehigh, and Greg and I were together for eight of those years,? explained Santoro. “We became very close, and Greg helped me tremendously throughout the years, especially in my first few years at Maryland when I was trying to build the program. I’m very fortunate to have worked along side him.?

Strobel’s transition into Lehigh’s athletic administration comes as part of a more comprehensive re-organization of Lehigh’s athletics leadership structure. In 13 seasons, Strobel amassed a career dual mark of 189-83-1 and led Lehigh to six EIWA championships including five consecutive titles from 2002-06. Strobel was named EIWA Coach of the Year four times, and was named National Coach of the Year by the NWCA after leading Lehigh to a third place finish at the 2004 NCAA Championships. His wrestlers captured 28 individual EIWA titles and totaled 30 All-America medals. Strobel coached two national champions, Rob Rohn in 2002 and Troy Letters in 2004.

One of the most respected figures in American wrestling, Strobel also served as the U.S. Olympic head coach in 2000, and worked closely with a number of U.S. national freestyle teams. In his new role, Strobel will oversee Lehigh’s highly-successful summer camp program, while also taking on additional responsibilities in athletics fund raising and sport supervision.

“I’m really excited,? said Strobel. “It’s a win-win for both me and Lehigh wrestling. I’ve wanted to move into administration for a while, and it just happened that the position I wanted opened up. It really is the perfect assignment for me, dealing with camps, and alumni and fund raising and I’m ready to move on.?

Strobel then offered his thoughts on his successor, “I’m excited for Pat as well. He was an integral part of our program for my first eight years and for him to come back will be a tremendous thing for the program. We have a great group of student-athletes returning, and I think they will enjoy having Pat as their head coach. His coaching style is very similar to mine, so there should be a pretty seamless transition.?

After wrestling for Bethlehem Catholic High School and taking a post-graduate year at Blair Academy, Santoro wrestled collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh, where he became the Panthers’ only four-time All-America while capturing national titles in 1988 and 1989 at 142 pounds. Santoro graduated from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992 and went on to enjoy a successful international career, becoming a four-time member of the U.S. National Team and serving as an alternate for the 1996 Olympic Team and the 1999 World Team.

Santoro and his wife Julie have a daughter, Leah.

April 16, 2008

Santoro to coach at Lehigh; Strobel takes administrative position at Lehigh

Santoro to coach at Lehigh; Strobel takes administrative position at Lehigh
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Lehigh University held a press conference this afternoon to announce that Pat Santoro, the current head wrestling coach at the Univ. of Maryland, would become the new head coach at Lehigh.

Greg Strobel, Lehigh's head coach, will assume a new administrative position with the athletic department which includes summer camp and athletic fundraising duties.

Both Santoro and Strobel were on the teleconference for the announcement.

"It is an emotional day," said Santoro. "I am excited to return to the Lehigh Valley. I have a lot of roots here. I coached here. My father wrestled here. My brother wrestled here. There is a talented young team here and it will be a lot of fun."

Santoro, who recently signed a contract extention at Maryland, indicated that he had a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave if he was offered the Lehigh coaching job.

"It sounds like my decision was the easiest to make," said Strobel. "We have talked about this for a number of years. I have done this coaching thing for 31 years. I felt it was a good time. But I was concerned about the program. We talked about Pat as the target guy to go after for the job and we did that."

Santoro served as an assistant coach at Lehigh for nine years, working with Strobel for eight of them, before he accepted the position at Maryland.

Strobel has been active with USA Wrestling for many years, first as an employee as its National Teams Director for eight years, then as a coach for the U.S. Olympic Team and a volunteer leader on its Board of Directors.

Santoro expects to be more active with the Olympic movement in his new position.

"I would like to be more involved. I had planned on doing it at Maryland but we had so much to do there. The Lehigh Valley Athletic Club has a strong club. I want to get involved as much as I can with the Olympic movement. I want athletes to know that if they want to become World and Olympic champions that they can do it here."

Santoro indicated that the decision was very difficult for him, and praised the University of Maryland, including its athletic director Debbie Yow, for all they had done for him.

"It was the most difficult thing I had to do professionally," said Santoro. "It was an emotional thing."

A statement was issued by Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, sent to their alumni list, concerning the decision by Santoro to accept the new position.

"It is with mixed emotions that we notify you all of Coach Pat Santoro’s resignation from the Terrapin family to become the head wrestling coach at Lehigh University. Obviously, we are saddened to see the current ACC Coach of the Year leave the University of Maryland in the midst of his rebuilding of our wrestling program back to national prominence. However, we are also excited to wish Pat, along with his wife Julie and daughter Leah, the best in his return home to his native Lehigh Valley. Please join us in wishing Pat success in his new position and extending our sincere appreciation for returning our wrestling program back into the national rankings and the top of the ACC…where we belong," wrote Yow.


BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh University has named Pat Santoro its new Lawrence E. White ‘64 Head Coach of Wrestling, Goodman Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett ’76 announced Tuesday. Santoro, who becomes just the eighth head coach in the 99-year history of Lehigh wrestling, replaces Greg Strobel who will be making the transition into an administrative leadership role within the Lehigh Athletics Department. This announcement marks the return to Lehigh for Santoro, a Bethlehem native who spent nine seasons at Lehigh as an assistant coach.

“Greg Strobel was ready for a new assignment outside of coaching and he is very well skilled and suited for working with our camps program and in our athletics alumni relations and fund raising areas,? said Sterrett. “Pat Santoro was an outstanding assistant coach at Lehigh for nine years, and has done a magnificent job in developing the Maryland program. He will bring a deep affection for the institution, the educational values we prioritize, and the ability to make the transition seamless.?

Santoro returns to Lehigh after spending the last five years as the head coach at the University of Maryland where he helped resurrect the Terrapins program, which in 2008 captured its first ACC title in 35 years; a feat which earned Santoro ACC Coach of the Year honors. This past season the Terps went 16-4 and entered the national rankings for the first time since 1993, climbing as high as No. 21. Under Santoro’s guidance, Maryland crowned its first All-American since 1997 en route to a top-25 team finish at the NCAA Championships. Santoro posted a 48-41-1 record in five seasons at College Park, including an impressive 33-9 dual mark the last two years.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be the new head coach at Lehigh University,? said Santoro. “Lehigh is a program with a strong and rich tradition of wrestling, and terrific support from the alumni, fans and the community. Lehigh wrestling has been a part of my family for a long time. I grew up around the program and its great tradition, and I’m looking forward to coming back home and trying to continue the great history and tradition of Lehigh wrestling.?

Prior to his stint at Maryland Santoro served as an assistant at Lehigh for nine years, including eight seasons as the top assistant on Greg Strobel’s staff. During his initial tenure, Santoro was part of some of the most successful teams in school history. In 2003, Santoro was named the national Assistant Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, after helping guide the Brown and White to its fourth EIWA title in five years, and a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships, at the time the program’s best finish in 24 years.

“I had a great experience in my first nine years at Lehigh, and Greg and I were together for eight of those years,? explained Santoro. “We became very close, and Greg helped me tremendously throughout the years, especially in my first few years at Maryland when I was trying to build the program. I’m very fortunate to have worked along side him.?

Strobel’s transition into Lehigh’s athletic administration comes as part of a more comprehensive re-organization of Lehigh’s athletics leadership structure. In 13 seasons, Strobel amassed a career dual mark of 189-83-1 and led Lehigh to six EIWA championships including five consecutive titles from 2002-06. Strobel was named EIWA Coach of the Year four times, and was named National Coach of the Year by the NWCA after leading Lehigh to a third place finish at the 2004 NCAA Championships. His wrestlers captured 28 individual EIWA titles and totaled 30 All-America medals. Strobel coached two national champions, Rob Rohn in 2002 and Troy Letters in 2004.

One of the most respected figures in American wrestling, Strobel also served as the U.S. Olympic head coach in 2000, and worked closely with a number of U.S. national freestyle teams. In his new role, Strobel will oversee Lehigh’s highly-successful summer camp program, while also taking on additional responsibilities in athletics fund raising and sport supervision.

“I’m really excited,? said Strobel. “It’s a win-win for both me and Lehigh wrestling. I’ve wanted to move into administration for a while, and it just happened that the position I wanted opened up. It really is the perfect assignment for me, dealing with camps, and alumni and fund raising and I’m ready to move on.?

Strobel then offered his thoughts on his successor, “I’m excited for Pat as well. He was an integral part of our program for my first eight years and for him to come back will be a tremendous thing for the program. We have a great group of student-athletes returning, and I think they will enjoy having Pat as their head coach. His coaching style is very similar to mine, so there should be a pretty seamless transition.?

After wrestling for Bethlehem Catholic High School and taking a post graduate year at Blair Academy, Santoro wrestled collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh, where he became the Panthers’ only four-time All-America while capturing national titles in 1988 and 1989 at 142 pounds. Santoro graduated from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992 and went on to enjoy a successful international career, becoming a four-time member of the U.S. National Team and serving as an alternate for the 1996 Olympic Team and the 1999 World Team.

Santoro and his wife Julie have a daughter, Leah.

April 15, 2008

Top 20 NCAA Wrestling Programs by Attendance

The Top 20 NCAA Wrestling programs based on attendance.

Rk (# duals) Avg Total Best Rival

1- Iowa (6) 7,541 45,245 14,332 Okla St
2- Iowa St (5) 4,311 21,553 8,998 Iowa
3- Minnesota (6) 3,125 21,873 7,472 Iowa
4- Penn St (6) 3,035 21,243 4,077 Michigan
5- Ohio St (5) 2,681 13,406 5,341 Michigan
6- Okla St (7) 2,583 18,083 4,144 Oklahoma
7- Lehigh (7) 1,899 13,295 3,352 Penn St
8- Nebraska (3) 1,793 5,380 3,252 Missouri
9- C.Michigan (5) 1,640 8,201 4,273 Michigan
10- Missouri (5) 1,620 11,429 3,154 Oklahoma
11- Wisconsin (4) 1,515 6,058 2,534 Iowa
12- Cornell (5) 1,283 6,413 3,063 Wisconsin
13- Illinois (4) 1,169 4,676 2,341 Iowa
14- Oregon St (4) 1,138 4,550 1,852 Oregon
15- Michigan (6) 1,073 6,436 1,423 Kent St
16- UT-Chatt (6) 1,008 6,050 1,600 Missouri
17- Hofstra (6) 935 5,610 2,017 Missouri
18- Arizona St (4) 979 3,916 2,036 Iowa St
19- Rider (6) 943 5,655 1,350 Iowa St
20- N. Iowa (6) 888 5,330 1,737 Iowa St

April 14, 2008

Keith, Ramos, Alton twins star at FILA Cadet Freestyle Nationals

Keith, Ramos, Alton twins star at FILA Cadet Freestyle Nationals
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

AKRON, OHIO – The FILA Cadet National Championships of Wrestling has become one of the most competitive and unpredictable age-group events during the annual USA Wrestling season. The 2008 edition proved to be no exception.

A new star was discovered, as Steven Keith of New York captured the 50 kg/110 lbs. weight class and was named Outstanding Wrestler in the freestyle division.

In his pool competition, Keith defeated returning FILA Cadet National champion and 2007 Cadet National champion Hunter Stieber of Ohio, 4-1, 2-2, 4-2.

In the championship finals, Keith handily defeated another Ohio state high school champion, Ty Mitch, by a 6-0, 6-0 technical fall.

Keith had competed at the Cadet Nationals the last two years, but was unable to earn All-American honors. He attends Shoreham-Wading River High School on Long Island, N.Y., the same school that developed NCAA champion Jesse Jantzen and his talented brother Corey Jantzen.

“I wrestled well on the mat and on my feet today,? said Keith. “In tough tournaments like this, it is the little things that make the difference, like step outs and counters to shots.?

Stieber was defeated early Sunday morning by Zachary Horan of Pennsylvania and did not place in the top six of his weight class.

Two returning FILA Cadet National champions were able to repeat as champions again this year, Tony Ramos of Illinois at 58 kg/127.75 pounds and Dylan Alton of Pennsylvania at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

Ramos won a competitive finals match against a fellow Illinois native, Chris Dardanes, 1-0, 3-0. He won the first period on a clinch, and scored the only takedowns in the second period. Ramos has now won the FILA Cadet Nationals in freestyle for three years in a row.

“My final was the toughest match, but I also had a tough one in my pool,? said Ramos. “My freshman year of high school wrestling was the toughest winning this tournament, with Eric Grajales and six state champions in my weight. I didn’t wrestle as well as I would like. I would like more motion on my feet. I want to dominate more by the FILA Juniors in Las Vegas. In Fargo, I want to win it all this summer.?

Dylan Alton was a co-champion with his twin brother Andrew Alton. According to USA Wrestling rules, brothers can be declared co-champions if they both reach the finals and choose not to wrestle each other. Both Dylan and Andrew were Cadet National champions in freestyle last summer, but they competed at different weight classes there.

Two wrestlers were able to win FILA Cadet double titles this year, capturing both the Greco-Roman and freestyle gold medals, Tyler Beckwith of New York at 76 kg/167.5 pounds and Max Huntley of Virginia at 85 kg/185 lbs. Both won Greco-Roman titles on Friday night, and both took home freestyle crowns on Sunday.

Beckwith pinned Danny Watson of Illinois in the second period, 6-0, 0:38 in the freestyle finals. He was a placewinner in both styles at the Cadet Nationals last summer.

“My throws are better and my position is better this year,? said Beckwith. “I came here to win a double title, and I am pleased with how I wrestled.?

Huntley scored a come-from-behind win over Kyler Elsworth of Michigan in the Greco-Roman finals, 0-1, 3-0, 6-1.

“That was the first period I lost in either the Greco-Roman or the freestyle tournament,? said Huntley after dropping the first period to Elsworth. “I was a little tired. I did not have any time to relax after winning the Greco-Roman.?

To show how tough the tournament was this year, seven 2007 Cadet Nationals freestyle champions entered on Saturday morning. The only ones to win the FILA Cadet National title today were the Alton twins along with Brandon Rolnick of New Jersey at 69 kg/152 pounds.

Rolnick dominated the match throughout in beating Shawn Thomas of Oklahoma, 2-1, 5-2.

“I wrestled well, but I have to improve myself in all positions,? said Rolnick. “I need to keep improving each time. I will try to go to the Junior Duals later this year, as well as compete in Las Vegas at the Juniors there. It will help me get prepared for Fargo this year.?

New Jersey had three individual champions, with Mark Grey at 42 kg/92.5 lbs. and Sean Boylan at 46 kg/101.25 lbs. joining Rolnick on the champions row.

Grey defeated fellow New Jersey native Joe Orecchio in the finals, 7-0, 2-0. Boylan stopped Eric Friedman of Maryland in the championship match, 2-0, 5-0.

Five of the wrestlers who won FILA Cadet National Greco-Roman titles on Friday qualified for the finals and attempted to win double titles. Only Beckwith and Huntley were able to achieve that feat.

At 54 kg/119 lbs., Simon Kitzis of Massachusetts defeated FILA Cadet Greco-Roman champion Ryan Mango in the championship finals, 0-3, 2-0, 1-0. Kitzis, who attends high school at Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania, scored the only takedown in the deciding third period.

At 100 kg/220 lbs., Anthony Pike of Arizona hit a sweet throw from his feet and pinned FILA Cadet Greco-Roman champion Alex Polizzi of Wisconsin in the finals in the third period, 6-5, 1-3, 1:06.

In the heavyweight match, Ohio’s Jeremy Johnson scored two takedowns in both periods to defeat FILA Cadet Greco-Roman champion Nikola Bogojevic of Wisconsin in the finals, 2-0, 2-0.

At Akron, Ohio, April 13, 2008

42 kg / 92.5 lbs. Results
1st Place - Mark Grey of New Jersey
2nd Place - Joe Orecchio of New Jersey
3rd Place - Tyler Fraley of New Jersey
4th Place - Dylan Loos of Wisconsin
5th Place - Freddie Rodriguez of Michigan
6th Place - Anthony D`amico of Ohio

1st - Mark Grey (New Jersey) dec. Joe Orecchio (New Jersey), 7-0, 2-0
3rd - Tyler Fraley (New Jersey) tech. fall Dylan Loos (Wisconsin), 7-0, 7-1
5th - Freddie Rodriguez (Michigan) over Anthony D`amico (Ohio), 7-0, 7-0

46 kg / 101.25 lbs.
1st Place - Sean Boylan of New Jersey
2nd Place - Eric Friedman of Maryland
3rd Place - Justin Mudlaff of Wisconsin
4th Place - Kyle Warner of Ohio
5th Place - Lou Mascola of New Jersey
6th Place - Esteban Gonzales of Michigan

1st - Sean Boylan (New Jersey) dec. Eric Friedman (Maryland), 2-0, 5-0
3rd - Justin Mudlaff (Wisconsin) dec. Kyle Warner (Ohio), 5-1, 7-0
5th - Lou Mascola (New Jersey) dec. Esteban Gonzales (Michigan), 6-5, 7-0

50 kg / 110 lbs.
1st Place - Steven Keith of New York
2nd Place - Ty Mitch of Ohio
3rd Place - Zachary Horan of Pennsylvania
4th Place - Devin Carter of Virginia
5th Place - Edwin Cooper Jr of Illinois
6th Place - Tony Pena of Colorado

1st - Steven Keith (New York) tech. fall over Ty Mitch (Ohio), 6-0, 6-0
3rd - Zachary Horan (Pennsylvania) dec. Devin Carter (Virginia), 2-1, 3-0
5th - Edwin Cooper Jr (Illinois) tech. fall Tony Pena (Colorado), 6-0, 8-2

54 kg / 119 lbs.
1st Place - Simon Kitzis of Massachusetts
2nd Place - Ryan Mango of Missouri
3rd Place - Sharky Slyter of Kansas
4th Place - Frank Cagnina of New Jersey
5th Place - Alan Waters of Missouri
6th Place - Spencer Courier of Missouri

1st - Simon Kitzis (Massachusetts) dec. Ryan Mango (Missouri), 0-3, 2-0, 1-0
3rd - Sharky Slyter (Kansas) dec. Frank Cagnina (New Jersey), 5-0, 3-1
5th - Alan Waters (Missouri) dec. Spencer Courier (Missouri),10-4, 6-0

58 kg / 127.75 lbs.
1st Place - Anthony Ramos of Illinois
2nd Place - Chris Dardanes of Illinois
3rd Place - Devon X Brown of New York
4th Place - Kyle Bradley of Missouri
5th Place - Colton Rasche of Illinois
6th Place - Ty Davis of Ohio

1st - Anthony Ramos (Illinois) dec. Chris Dardanes (Illinois), 1-0, 3-0
3rd - Devon X Brown (New York) pin Kyle Bradley (Missouri), 0:25
5th - Colton Rasche (Illinois) dec. Ty Davis (Ohio), 2-0, 3-1

63 kg /138.75 lbs.
Co-Champions - Andrew Alton of Pennsylvania and Dylan Alton of Pennsylvania
3rd Place - Austin Ormsbee of New Jersey
4th Place - Joshua Dziewa of Pennsylvania
5th Place - Mike Kelly of Iowa
6th Place - Kaleb Friedley of Missouri

1st – Alton brothers did not compete, choosing to be co-champions under USA Wrestling rules.
3rd - Austin Ormsbee (New Jersey) dec. Joshua Dziewa (Pennsylvania), 1-0, 4-3
5th - Mike Kelly (Iowa) pin Kaleb Friedley (Missouri), 7-3, 1-7, 1:43

69 kg / 152 lbs.
1st Place - Brandon Rolnick of New Jersey
2nd Place - Shawn Thomas of Oklahoma
3rd Place - Lee Munster of Illinois
4th Place - Bobby Barnhisel of Illinois
5th Place - Walt Gillmor of Iowa
6th Place - Joshus Demas of Ohio

1st - Brandon Rolnick (New Jersey) dec. Shawn Thomas (Oklahoma), 2-1, 5-2
3rd - Lee Munster (Illinois) dec. Bobby Barnhisel (Illinois), 3-1, 5-1
5th - Walt Gillmor (Iowa) pin Joshus Demas (Ohio), 0:50

76 kg / 167.5 lbs.
1st Place - Tyler Beckwith of New York
2nd Place - Dannny Watson of Illinois
3rd Place - Tyler Lehmann of Minnesota
4th Place - Preston Keiffer of New Jersey
5th Place - Dan Martin of Illinois
6th Place - Jamie Westwood of New Jersey

1st -Tyler Beckwith (New York) pin Dannny Watson (Illinois), 6-0, 0:38
3rd - Tyler Lehmann (Minnesota) tech. fall Preston Keiffer (New Jersey), 6-0, 12-5
5th - Dan Martin (Illinois) dec. Jamie Westwood (New Jersey), 1-1, 2-2, 1-0

85 kg / 187.25 lbs.
1st Place - Max Huntley of Virginia
2nd Place - Kyler Elsworth of Michigan
3rd Place - Ben Brooks of Illinois
4th Place - John Eblen of Missouri
5th Place - Jonathan Becker of New Jersey
6th Place - Mitchell Fadenholz of Ohio

1st - Max Huntley (Virginia) dec. Kyler Elsworth (Michigan), 0-1, 3-0, 6-1
3rd - Ben Brooks (Illinois) dec. John Eblen (Missouri), 0-3, 3-1, 4-1
5th - Jonathan Becker (New Jersey) pin Mitchell Fadenholz (Ohio), 7-0, 1:54

100 kg / 220.25 lbs.
1st Place - Anthony Pike of Arizona
2nd Place - Alex Polizzi of Wisconsin
3rd Place - Aaron Pavlenko of Arizona
4th Place - Kyle Caylor of Kansas
5th Place - Matthew Monson of Illinois
6th Place - John Mizzo of Pennsylvania

1st - Anthony Pike (Arizona) pin Alex Polizzi (Wisconsin), 6-5, 1-3, 1:06
3rd - Aaron Pavlenko (Arizona) dec. Kyle Caylor (Kansas), 4-3, 1-6, 6-1
5th - Matthew Monson (Illinois) pin John Mizzo (Pennsylvania), 5-7, 0:58

125 kg / 275 lbs.
1st Place - Jeremy Johnson of Ohio
2nd Place - Nikola Bogojevic of Wisconsin
3rd Place - Zach Teuber of Washington
4th Place - Bryant Dickerson of Washington
5th Place - Donovan Green of Florida
6th Place - Blake Lucas of Ohio

1st - Jeremy Johnson (Ohio) dec. Nikola Bogojevic (Wisconsin), 2-0, 2-0
3rd - Zach Teuber (Washington) dec. Bryant Dickerson (Washington), 7-0, 2-2
5th - Donovan Green (Florida) dec. Blake Lucas (Ohio), 3-0, 1-0

Gavin, Herbert among 7 Olympic Trials qualifiers with victories at University Freestyle Nationals

Gavin, Herbert among 7 Olympic Trials qualifiers with victories at University Freestyle Nationals
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

AKRON, OHIO – A pair of recent NCAA Div. I champions were among the athletes who qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials by winning Olympic weight classes at the University National Freestyle Championships, which concluded Sunday at the Univ. of Akron.

1998 NCAA champion Keith Gavin from the Univ. of Pittsburgh and 1997 NCAA champion Jake Herbert from Northwestern Univ. captured gold medals in their weight classes and earned a spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in Las Vegas, Nev., June 13-15.

Gavin captured the title at 74 kg/163 lbs., defeating Michael Chaires of the Cavalier WC in the finals, 6-0, 3-0.

In the semifinals, Gavin had a very close battle with 2008 NCAA runner-up Mike Poeta of Illinois, winning 1-1, 5-4, 2-0. Gavin lost the first period and was dead-even with Poeta in the second period before he was able to get his offense going.

“I was excited to wrestle him,? said Gavin about his win over Poeta. “He has a style that gives me trouble. He is fast and he has a good shot. I made some mistakes in the match. It was definitely a good test for me.?

Gavin will train for a week with coach Sean Bormet at the Overtime Wrestling School in Illinois, then finalize his preparation back at Pitt before going to the U.S. National Championships in Las Vegas, April 25-26. He is satisfied with his transition to freestyle, after a full season of collegiate wrestling.

“I am really glad I wrestled this tournament,? said Gavin. “It gets me in that freestyle mode. I feel strong at this weight class. I feel that this is my weight.?

Herbert was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament after capturing the 84 kg/185 lbs. weight class. He stopped David Bertolino of the Cyclone WC in the finals, 2-0, 1-0. Bertolino was an All-American for Iowa State this year.

Herbert had three victories during the day. Herbert had a difficult draw on Saturday, including a close victory which went three periods against Matt Pell of the Cavalier WC in the second round.

“I wrestled a lot better today than yesterday,? said Herbert. “I was nervous yesterday with the draw I had. I was wrestling more not to lose. Today, I had Bertolino, who is very strong and had me scouted well. I picked and chose my shots well.?

Herbert has taken an Olympic redshirt year from college and has been competing in many international events. He wanted one more tournament before the U.S. Nationals, and was satisfied with the outcome.

“I got in a good test, wrestled good matches and know what my strengths and weaknesses are,? said Herbert. “I also got my qualification for the Olympic Trials. It now doesn’t matter what I do at the U.S. Nationals if I win the Olympic Trials. That is what I have been working so hard for.?

All seven of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualification berths were won by athletes who are college students. The University division is for athletes who are between 18-24 years old and their class has graduated from high school.

The fastest of the finals occurred at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., when Brent Jones of the Cavalier WC pinned Eddie Phillips of Cliff Keen in just 21 seconds. Jones, a sophomore at the Univ. of Virginia, defeated returning University Nationals champion Mike Tamillow of the Wildcat WC in the semifinals, 3-0, 6-0.

Tervel Dlagnev of the Sunkist Kids, the NCAA Div. II national champion for Nebraska-Kearney, captured the 120 kg/264.5 lbs. division with a victory over Aaron Anspach of Penn State, 1-0, 7-0.

“That guy in the finals was tough. He made me wrestle,? said Dlagnev. “I had a lot of tough competition here. It will help me get ready for the U.S. Nationals. It is fun to wrestle freestyle.?

Brad Pataky of Penn State, who is taking a redshirt year to pursue the Olympics, won the 55 kg/121 lbs. division with a tight 3-1, 0-3, 3-1 win over Zach Sanders of the Minnesota Storm. Pataky scored three points on a front headlock turn in the final period for the victory. He recently won the Northeast Olympic Regional Trials in Brockport, N.Y., so he has now won two Olympic Trials qualifying events.

The other two champions who earned Olympic Trials qualification were considered surprises, Daniel Dennis of Iowa at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Nathaniel Holt of the Chippewa WC at 145.5 lbs.

Dennis, a sophomore for the Univ. of Iowa, stopped Franklin Gomez of the Michigan WC in the championship finals, 3-0, 3-0. Gomez was third at the 2008 NCAA Championships for Michigan State. Dennis won the first period with a three-point throw with one second left on the clock, and took down Gomez and turned him in the second period. Gomez defeated Iowa’s Alex Tsirtsis in the semifinals, 4-1, 0-1, 3-1. Tsirtsis finished third.

Holt, a redshirt freshman at Central Michigan Univ., upset 2007 NCAA runner-up Ryan Lang of the Wildcat WC in the finals, 5-1, 3-1. Holt was able to score exposure points on Lang in both periods.

The University Nationals includes three additional weight classes which are not qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Winning the University Nationals for the second straight year was Mike Galante of the New York AC, who stopped Chris Heinrich of the Cavalier WC in the finals, 6-1, 2-0. Galante competes for Lehigh Univ.

“This is an awesome tournament,? said Galante. “I enjoy coming here to compete. There are so many good competitors here. It is a lot of fun and very relaxed.?

The other individual champions were Reece Humphrey of Ohio State at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Tyler Safratowich of Minnesota Storm at 70 kg/154.25 lbs.

Humphrey stopped Eric Albright of the Free Fall WC, 3-0, 6-0 in the finals. Safratowich, who competes for the Univ. of Minnesota, beat Joel Ahearn of the Naval Academy WC in the finals, 3-0, 1-0.

The University Nationals also serves as a qualifying event for the 2008 University World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 23-24. The University World Championships will be held in Greece in July.

At Akron, Ohio, April 13

55 kg/121 lbs
1st - Brad Pataky (Penn State) dec. Zach Sanders (Minnesota Storm), 3-1, 0-3, 3-1
3rd - Obenson Blanc (NYAC) dec. Michael Martinez (Cowboy WC), 2-0, 1-1
5th - Tony Mustari (Northern Colorado) dec. Ross Gitiomer (Cavalier WC), 1-0, 0-1, 2-0
7th - Matthew Steintrager (unattached) dec. Demetrius Johnson (unattached), 2-0,4-2

60 kg/132.25 lbs
1st - Daniel Dennis (Iowa) dec. Franklin Gomez (Michigan WC), 3-0, 3-0
3rd - Alex Tsirtsis (Iowa) tech. fall T.J. Schavrien (Sunkist Kids), 7-0, 7-0
5th - Matthew Fisk (LVAC) inj. dft. over Danny Mitcheff (Golden Pride)
7th - Andrew Hochstrasser (Bronco WC) dec. Jimmy Conroy (Pittsburgh), 3-2, 2-4, 6-0

63 kg/138.75 lbs
1st - Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) dec. Eric Albright (Free Fall WC), 3-0, 6-0
3rd - Willie Saxton (Sunkist Kids) dec. Mike Thorn (Minnesota Storm), 1-7, 3-2, 2-1
5th - Zack Bailey (Underdog WC) dec. Colby Pisani (Penn State), 3-0, 4-3
7th - Bryan Osuna (Do Work) dec. Micah Carter (Michigan WC), 6-0, 0-7, 3-0

66 kg/145.5 lbs
1st - Nathaniel Holt (Chippewa WC) dec. Ryan Lang (Wildcat WC), 5-1, 3-1
3rd - Alex Krom (College Park WC) dec. Bryce Saddoris (Naval Academy WC), 1-0, 2-0
5th - Chris Diaz (Valley WC) inj. dft. over Aaron Martin (Chattanooga) (Inj.)
7th - Chris Bencivenga (Y.E.S Greensboro) dec. over Kelly Felix (Chattanooga), 1-0, 7-1

70 kg/154.25 lbs
1st - Tyler Safratowich (Minnesota Storm) dec. Joel Ahern (Naval Academy WC), 3-0, 1-0)
3rd - Matt Ballweg (Iowa) dec. Danny Gonsor (Cavalier WC), 4-2, 4-1
5th - PJ Gillespie (NYC) inj. dft. over Jonathan Bonilla-Bowman (NYAC)
7th - Trevor Chinn (LVAC) dec. Brooks Kopsa (Iowa), 3-0, 9-1

74 kg/163 lbs
1st - Keith Gavin (Pittsburgh) dec. Michael Chaires (Cavalier WC), 6-0, 3-0
3rd - Lloyd Rogers (Chattanooga) dec. Aaron Janssen (Iowa), 3-4, 3-0, 3-0
5th - Jake Kerr (Iowa) inj. dft. over Mike Poeta (Illinois)
7th - Seth Garvin (Chattanooga) inj. dfr. over Mike Miller (unattached)

79 kg/ 174 lbs.
1st - Mike Galante (NYAC) dec. Chris Henrich (Cavalier WC), 6-1, 2-0
3rd - Mark Friend (Penn State) dec. Ross Taplin (Maverick WC), 7-3, 1-0
5th - Mike Benefiel (Wildcat WC) dec. Ben Friedl (Illinois), 3-3, 4-0, 1-0
7th - Dave Rella (Penn State) tech fall Stephen Crozier (Falcon WC), 7-0, 6-0

84 kg/185 lbs
1st - Jake Herbert (Wildcat WC) dec. Dave Bertolino (Cyclone WC), 2-0, 1-0
3rd - Raymond Jordan (Sunkist Kids) dec. Micky Moran (Buffalo), 2-0, 6-0
5th - Dustin Kilgore (Golden Pride) dec. Dorian Henderson (Sunkist Kids), 2-0, 5-1
7th - Sonny Yohn (Minnesota Storm) dec. Andy Johnson (Sunkist Kids), 7-0, 3-2

96 kg/211.5 lbs
1st - Brent Jones (Cavalier WC) pin Eddie Phillips (Cliff Keen), 0:21
3rd - Mike Tamillow (Wildcat WC) dec. Jared Platt (NYAC), 0-6, 1-0, 1-0
5th - DJ Bruce (Valley WC) inj. dft. over Eric Flinchum (Unattached)
7th - Tim Samson (Bobcat WC) inj. dft. over Riley Orozco (Road Runner WC)

120 kg/ 264.5 lbs
1st - Tervel Dlagnev (Sunkist Kids) dec. Aaron Anspach (Penn State), 1-0, 7-0
3rd - Konrad Duziak (NYAC) dec. Justin Dobies (CWC), 4-0, 1-4, 1-0
5th - Dave Zabriskie (Cyclone WC) inj. dft. over Zach Sheaffer (Pittsburgh)
7th - Scott Steele (Naval Academy WC) dec. John Laboranti (Penn State), 1-0, 1-0

(for placement at University World Team Trials)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Zach Sanders (Minnesota Storm) won by forfeit over Obenson Blanc (NYAC)

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Eric Albright (Free Fall WC) tech. fall Willie Saxton (Sunkist Kids), 7-0, 7-0

70 kg/154.25 lbs.
Joel Ahearn (Naval Academy WC) dec. Matt Ballweg (Iowa), 1-0, 3-1

74 kg/163 lbs.
Lloyd Rogers (Chattanooga) won by forfeit over Michael Chaires (Cavalier WC)

79 kg/174 lbs.
Mark Friend (Penn State) won by forfeit over Chris Henrich (Cavalier WC)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Dave Bertolino (Cyclone WC) dec. Raymond Jordan (Sunkist Kids), 1-1, 3-2

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Mike Tamillow (Wildcat WC) won by forfeit over Eddie Phillips (Cliff Keen)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Konrad Duziak (NYAC) won by forfeit over Aaron Anspach (Penn State)

April 12, 2008

Gruenwald focuses on coaching this week; Military programs build depth through University Nationals

Gruenwald focuses on coaching this week; Military programs build depth through University Nationals
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Olympian Gruenwald does coaching part of his dual role this weekend

Two-time Olympian Jim Gruenwald announced a return to competition this fall after a three-year retirement from wrestling as an athlete. Gruenwald, who was the assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Education Center program at Northern Michigan, also decided to continue his job as a coach.

This weekend, Gruenwald will be super busy with his role as a coach. In two weeks, at the U.S. National Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., he will be concentrating more on his other role, as an Olympic hopeful athlete.

The USOEC has 22 athletes entered in the Greco-Roman division at the University Nationals. Gruenwald will be busy all day long attending to the needs of his athletes. He has a unique perspective about what it takes to compete and coach at the same time, especially with the current FILA rules for Greco-Roman.

“It is one thing to coach it. It is another thing to apply as an athlete,? said Gruenwald. “It is easier to coach it. As a coach, you never have to put it into action. It gives me more respect for what athletes have to do. That is especially true when the rules change. You lose that edge as a coach.?

Gruenwald’s return to the mats this fall featured a runner-up finish at the Sunkist Kids International, where he lost to one of his USOEC students, Joe Betterman, in the championship finals. His next two events, the Dave Schultz Memorial International as well as the Hungary Grand Prix, ended up with Gruenwald falling short of the medal rounds.

“The competition has not been going well yet. I had a three-year break. With the start in the reverse lift and in par terre, we have been tweaking a few things lately,? said Gruenwald.

Gruenwald is excited to participate in the Olympic quest again, which picks up intensity in the upcoming weeks. Regardless of what happens, he is glad that he decided to lace up the shoes again as an athlete.

“I have a different take on things lately. Some of the pressure I put on myself in the first segment of my career isn’t there. Every tournament since I have come back as an athlete has been more enjoyable. I don’t have that driving nervous feeling that can overwhelm you. With my weight control, I have been doing everything better,? said Gruenwald.

Military teams use University Nationals to develop programs

The University Greco-Roman Nationals is more than just an age-group national event for many of the programs entered in the tournament. For many of the U.S. military teams which are here this weekend, this event is an important part of developing their young wrestlers and adding depth to their teams.

The U.S. Marine Corps team has 12 athletes in the field today, and this event has importance to each athlete in different ways.

“This is huge for us,? said U.S. Marine Corps coach Dan Hicks. “If we place in the top six here at any weight class, we can send the athlete out to Colorado Springs. We need to get them their funded access at the Olympic Training Center, which covers their costs to train there. We also need to win this for a couple members of our team, which will allow them to sit out at the University World Team Trials.?

Hicks has athletes who are at different places in their development as wrestlers, and he feels this tournament helps them all.

“It is important at different levels,? said Hicks. “For some, this is their first tournament. I have a guy who just got back from Iraq a few weeks ago. There are others who have been here two or three different years and will do very well here. A lot of our young guys need to grow up and this is a good place to do it.?

Rich Estrella, the U.S. Air Force coach, has seven athletes in the tournament. He also knows how important this event can be for each of them to build experience and confidence on a national level. Estrella, who is one of the U.S. Olympic Team coaches this summer in Beijing, China, also looks at the bigger picture.

“Part of the reason is not just to develop our program, but to develop all of USA Wrestling in the country,? said Estrella. “When you have this kind of development opportunity in our feeder program, we will continue to do well in Greco-Roman against the world. This tournament has gotten a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger than the last few years. This is very good.?

April 11, 2008

Cornell's Grey named Freshman of the Year

Cornell's Grey named Freshman of the Year

Mike Grey made a name for himself in high school by becoming the first-ever four-time state champ in New Jersey. In his first year of college competition, the Cornell University 133-pound starter enhanced his reputation even further, becoming a first-year All-American at the 2008 NCAAs, and earning Rev Freshman of the Year honors for 2008.

Mike Grey had a stellar freshman season at Cornell, getting a team-high 42 wins and placing sixth at the NCAA Division I Championships at 133 pounds (Photo/ year, this award is given to the nation's top freshman wrestler across all divisions of college competition, and is determined by a vote of writers and executives. Grey joins previous Rev Freshman of the Year honorees Dustin Schlatter of the University of Minnesota in 2006, and Iowa State's Jake Varner in 2007.

Mike Grey received three of the seven first-place votes for a total of 53 votes. Cornell teammate Mack Lewnes, who placed fourth at the 2008 NCAAs at 165 pounds and was named EIWA Freshman of the Year, came in second with 49 votes (including three first-place votes). Michigan's 141-pounder Kellen Russell earned third-place honors with 31 votes (including one first-place vote). Kirk Smith, Boise State's 184-pound starter, finished fourth in the voting with eleven votes, while Iowa State's 165-pound Jon Reader rounded out the top five with ten votes.

Grey had a stellar freshman season at Cornell, getting a team-high 42 wins and leading the team with victories by major decision (15). He was 13-1 in dual-meet competition. He won the Brute Binghamton Open, and was a finalist at the Body Bar Invitational, Nittany Lion Open, and the Southern Scuffle. Grey placed third in the EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) conference championships, and, two weeks later, garnered All-American status by placing sixth in the 133-pound weight class at the 2008 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. In addition to winning 2008 Rev Freshman of the Year honors, Grey was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and earned a place on the All-Ivy First Team.

"Great things had been expected of Mike Grey right from the start," said Andrew Hipps, senior writer at "He earned a place in the history books by being the first four-time state champion in New Jersey. He's made a smooth transition to collegiate wrestling. With Mike Grey, Mack Lewnes, Troy Nickerson, Jordan Leen, and Steve Anceravage leading the charge, look for Cornell to be in the national title hunt for seasons to come."

2008 Rev Freshman of the Year
1st-5th-Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
1. Mike Grey, Cornell: 53 (3)
2. Mack Lewnes, Cornell: 49 (3)
3. Kellen Russell, Michigan: 31 (1)
4. Kirk Smith, Boise State: 11
5. Jon Reader, Iowa State: 10
6. Garrett Scott, Penn State: 7
7. Anthony Robles, Arizona State: 6
8. James Nicholson, Old Dominion: 4
9. Zach Bailey, Oklahoma: 3
10. Keith Sulzer, Northwestern: 1

Six Iowa Legends selected for Glen Brand Hall of Fame, Class of 2008

Six Iowa Legends selected for Glen Brand Hall of Fame, Class of 2008
Kyle Klingman Dan Gable Museum

WATERLOO, Iowa - Six new legends of wrestling will enter the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame on April 19, 2008. It will be the seventh class to go into the hall.

The group includes two men who each won a pair of NCAA championships (Mike Natvig of Army by way of Decorah and Tim Krieger of Iowa State), another NCAA champion who became a mixed martial arts star (Mike Van Arsdale of Iowa State), an NCAA champion who is now a Big Ten coach (Duane Goldman of Iowa) and two of the most respected coaches in Iowa history (Chuck Patten and Dan Mashek, both of UNI).

The inductions will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, in the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame inside the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo. It is part of a two-day weekend that includes the Dan Gable Coaching Clinic on Friday and Saturday, with some of the top coaches in the country holding sessions.

Mike Natvig won two NCAA championships for the West Point team, capturing titles at 147 pounds in both 1962 and ‘63. He graduated with an overall record of 47-7-1 and is considered the most successful wrestler in the history of West Point.

Though never a state champion in high school, Natvig was a star at Decorah High School, placing second in the 1958 state meet at 138 pounds. He retired from the Army in 1991 as a lieutenant colonel and today lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Chuck Patten was the head coach at the University of Northern Iowa for 18 years, compiling a record of 217-87-8 and winning two Division II NCAA team titles. Along the way, he produced 16 national champions and 58 wrestlers who won All-American honors.

Patten wrestled at East Waterloo High School, placing fourth in the 1955 state meet, and for Bill Koll at UNI. He was president of both the Division I and Division II coaches associations and was chair of the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee from 1974-1978, the only Division II coach to receive this honor. He also served as a color commentator for Iowa Public Television broadcasts from 1983 to 1986. Today, he lives in Everett, Washington.

Dan Mashek did his wrestling at West Waterloo High School (for hall of famer Bob Siddens) and at UNI (for Patten), but earned his greatest fame by far as an Iowa high school coach. In fact, retiring this past season with a record of 519-105-5, he has the most dual meet wins of any coach in Iowa history. He started the program at Don Bosco of Gilbertville in 1970 and quickly made the Dons a perennial power. While there, he claimed four traditional team titles and one dual team title. He saw 20 of his wrestlers win a total of 24 individual state titles. He began coaching at North Scott in 2000 and compiled a record of 93-30. He currently lives in Eldridge.

Tim Kreiger was a three-time state champion at Mason City High School who became a four-time All-American at Iowa State University. He claimed two NCAA titles, in 1987 and ’89, and won four Big Eight championships at 150 pounds. He was also second in 1988 and fifth in 1986 at the NCAA tournament. His overall record of 116-3-2 is one of the best in the history of Iowa colleges. He lives in Minneapolis, where he works in the financial industry.

Duane Goldman was a four-time Big Ten champion and four-time NCAA finalist at the University of Iowa, winning the 190-pound NCAA title in 1986. His overall record of 132-10 ranks tenth on the all-time Hawkeye career win percentage. A two-time state champion in Colorado, Goldman was an assistant coach under Joe McFarland at Indiana University before being named the head coach in 1992. His 2005 Hoosier team placed ninth in the NCAA wrestling race, his highest finish as head coach.

Mike Van Arsdale placed sixth, third and first at the NCAA meet while wearing the cardinal and gold for Iowa State. His individual title came at 167 pounds in 1988. He made several international freestyle teams and won a gold medal at the 1997 World Cup. He also posted a victory over a young Cyclone star named Cael Sanderson in the 2000 Olympic trials in Dallas.

A graduate of West Waterloo High School, he was state champion in 1982. Van Arsdale has earned fame as a mixed martial artist and today runs a kids wrestling program in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

For more information on the 2008 coaches clinic and hall of fame inductions, check the museum’s web site at, or call the museum at 319-233-0745, and ask for Kyle Klingman or Kent Sesker.

April 10, 2008

2008-2009 Iowa Hawkeyes Wrestling Lineup

With the signing of the highly sought Colby Covington, we now have a good idea what the complete wrestling lineup will look like heading into the 2008-09 season as the Hawkeyes try to go back to back with national titles. Find out who Tom Brands will likely be sending out to the mat next fall and get an early look at their projection on a national level.

Projected Starter: Charlie Falck

In the Wings: J.J. Krutsinger
Incoming High School Recruits: Nate Moore

Two-time All-American Charlie Falck returns to the Hawkeye line-up as the elder statesmen of the team. Each year Falck has improved on his NCAA finish, and there is no reason that shouldn't happen again next season. Jayson Ness may bump up to 133 to make way for Zach Sanders, but in his absence returns Troy Nickerson who made it to the finals as a freshmen. Also returning are reigning national champion Angel Escobedo and 2007 champ Paul Donahoe. Falck was close enough to inhale a whiff of the finals last month, and he has the potential to get just as far if not farther next season.

The nation's No. 1 recruit at 125 pounds joins the Hawkeyes this fall, where it's likely he and J.J. Krutsinger will try-out all season long for Falck's spot when his eligibility vanishes. Krutsinger was listed by Intermat as the No. 10 recruit at 125 coming out of high school, so both have plenty of talent. The cupboard looks pretty good for the next few years.

Projected Finish: 2nd – 4th

Projected Starter: Joey Slaton
In the Wings: Dan Dennis
Incoming Recruits: Matt McDonough, Mark Ballweg

Written off by even one of his teammates at the beginning of the season, Joey Slaton enjoyed a season long joy ride to the pinnacle of the wrestling world. This season Slaton enters as one of the favorites for the 133 title after making it all the way to the finals last month. The finals appearance was a short one, which should provide some extra fuel for someone who is already one of the countries fieriest wrestlers. While Coleman Scott will be gone next season, the other three contributors to Slaton's loss column — Mike Grey, Jimmy Kennedy, and Franklin Gomez — all return.

There is speculation going around that Slaton might not be able to make 133 consistently next season, but until that happens it's only that, speculation. If that should happen, Dan Dennis is one of the better back-ups in the country and could start for any number of programs around the country. Coming in to join Slaton and Dennis next year are Iowa state champs Matt McDonough and Mark Ballweg. Both were ranked by Intermat in the top-10 — McDonough 4th at 130 and Ballweg 9th at 135 — so it will be fun to see how they spread out to try and find a niche in the line-up for the future.

Projected Finish: 1st-3rd

Projected Starter: Alex Tsirtsis/Dan LeClere
In the Wings: Tsirtsis/LeClere
Incoming Recruits: None

All last season, the Alex Tsirstis v. Dan LeClere discussion raged on. This year the talk becomes reality as one of these two All-American caliber wrestlers will grab hold of the 141 spot, while the other once again misses out on the biggest competition of the year. Coming off his redshirt year, Tsirtsis will be the veteran of the weight class and will undoubtedly be hoping for a championship send-off. In his absence young talented wrestlers have come to the top of the class, so it will be interesting how he fares against the new competition.

LeClere on the other hand is not going to take to highly to the thought of sitting out more years in his college career than he wrestled. Like Tsirtsis, the talent is undoubtedly there, and he is capable of beating anyone in the entire class. The consistency just isn't there. With four All-Americans gone to graduation there is a great chance for the Hawkeyes score a lot more points at this class than they did last season. Whoever, Brands goes with come tournament time will be expected to deliver on that promise of points.

Projected Finish: 3rd-8th

Projected Starter: Brent Metcalf
In the Wings: Matt Ballweg, Nick LeClere
Incoming Recruits: None

Metcalf finished off a whirlwind season last month with an NCAA title that culminated in an outstanding wrestler of the tournament award and the prestigious Hodge Trophy. He is face of the Hawkeye program now and will be expected to bring home another title next season. One thing to watch in the off-season is what the other wrestlers in his weight class do, but regardless of who stays and who goes there will be plenty of competition and talent remaining in this weight class.

Sitting behind Brent Metcalf is as undesirable a position for a competitive athlete as being drafted as a quarterback by the Indianapolis Colts. Barring an injury, wrestling unattached is the extent of the action anyone is going to see at the 149-weight class for the next two seasons.

Projected Finish: 1st

Projected Starter: Ryan Morningstar
In the Wings: Brooks Kopsa, Stew Gillmor
Incoming Recruits: None

After a season's worth of frustrations, Ryan Morningstar gave Hawkeye fans reason for hope towards the completion of the 2007-2008 campaign. Morningstar managed to qualify for the NCAA tournament in Minneapolis, and took sixth seeded Matt Kocher into the second sudden victory period. In the consolation round he beat fifth seeded C.P. Schlatter before bowing out to Brandon Becker. Morningstar has the talent, as he showed in March, he just needs to believe in it. If he does, Morningstar could finally make a serious run at the podium in St. Louis.

While he hasn't been as dominant as Metcalf, there doesn't seem to be much of a chance to break into the line-up at 157. The only way Morningstar doesn't compete at 157 is if he is in the line-up at 165 pounds. Gillmor and Kopsa are young so they can't be counted out, but it will be at least two more seasons before they get their shot.

Projected Finish: 6th - No All American

Projected Starter: Colby Covington
In the Wings: Jake Kerr, Aaron Janssen
Incoming Recruits: Covington

The entire Hawkeye wrestling fanbase had to feel revealed today when they saw Colby Covington officially signed with the University of Iowa. Covington's credentials have been talked about to no end, so there's no use going over them again. Covington isn't going to fill Mark Perry shoes for the Hawkeyes at the NCAA's, but he does give Tom Brands someone he can count on to qualify and score points for the Iowa at the national tournament — something they didn't appear to have at seasons end. With the careers of Mark Perry and Eric Tannenbaum finished, Nick Marable has to be the favorite to win the weight class. However, the weight class isn't an extremely deep one and Covington does have a chance to stand on the podium

The inability to get a win in the absence of Perry is the reason the Iowa staff went after Covington. Kerr and Jansen could make big strides this off-season, but it was clear Brands and the other Iowa coaches were not content with entering next season hoping that would happen.

Projected Finish: 6th – No All American

Jay Borschel could contend for a title next season.

Projected Starter: Jay Borschel
In the Wings: Grant Gambrall
Incoming Recruits: Grant Gambrall

It took a few weeks to solidify who would be the starter at 174 pounds for Iowa last season, but after Borschel took hold of the position he put together an impressive season. Borschel climbed his way to as high as No. 2 in the rankings last year, and was only a takedown away from beating Keith Gavin and heading to the NCAA finals. He looked just as good in the wrestle-backs, pinning 11th seeded Steve Ancerage to get to the third place match where he calmly defeated third seeded Brandon Browne. With Gavin gone, Borschel will be one of the favorites to win the national title next year. Steve Luke will also return again next season and presents a formidable obstacle in Borschel's pursuit of wrestling supremacy.

Gambrall comes in as one of the top wrestlers in the 171-pound weight class, and just recently defeated former Hawkeye commit Jordan Blanton —another highly rated 171-pounder — in the Iowa-Illinois All-Star meet. Like most in this class coach Brands and his staff will have plenty of time to mold him before he sees the Iowa line-up.

Projected Finish- 1st - 2nd

Projected Starter: Phil Keddy
In the Wings: Rick, Loera, Vinnie Wagner
Incoming Recruits: None

If Brent Metcalf's season was the story of the year, Phil Keddy's was the runner-up. No one showed more improvement from one season to the next than Iowa's 184-pounder. The goal for next season is to take it to the next step and start finishing off the guys ranked above him. He was so close with so many top wrestlers this year, and seemed to get close everytime — coming inches away from beating Raymond Jordan in the fifth place bout. He will need to do that if he is to improve on his standing next year, as nearly everyone returns and Jake Herbert will throw himself back into the mix as well.

Rick Loera, wherever he ends up, just seems to be the odd man out at this moment. Borschel and Keddy locked up 174 and 184 last year, and Chad Beatty got Brands' stamp of approval at 197. For Wagner, as it is for numerous recruits on the roster, its just a timing thing. Keddy has himself firmly set in the line-up after earning All-American honors last year, and there doesn't appear to be a reason that he won't return to his spot for the next two seasons.

Projected Finish- 5th – 7th

Projected Starter: Chad Beatty
In the Wings: Luke Lofthouse, Brodie Ambrose
Incoming Recruits: None

After his dual saving performance against Anthony Biondo, Chad Beatty ensured his name would live forever in Hawkeye lore. This season, he'll try to make sure his name stays in the line-up for a few years to come. Beatty showed quickness and more importantly talent last season, he just wasn't anywhere close to the weight he was supposed to be competing at. The hope is clearly that he can bulk up and keep his skill set, in order to increase his competitiveness at the weight class. He was already a darkhorse this year to make the NCAA tournament, and should have an even better chance next year with a full season of training and feed under his belt.

Beatty stapled the spot down towards seasons end, but his spot isn't permanent just yet. He should be a solid favorite to keep the spot, but a little competition never hurt anyone. Lofthouse and Ambrose will be up for the task, and each wrestler should be the better for the push.

Projected Finish- Qualifier

Projected Starter: Dan Erekson
In the Wings: Blake Rasing
Incoming Recruits: None

After a bulk up redshirt year, fans should be excited to see the new Dan Erekson. With the well documented lack of support for Matt Fields' wrestling style, any new face is going to be a pleasant sight for fans. The junior should get the nod at heavyweight, and will be expected to be an All-American contender next season. With last year's heavyweight class loaded with seniors, Erekson has a great chance to slide into the class and compete at the highest level.

Rasing brings intriguing potential to the wrestling room, but chances are he's going to spend a few more years in the wrestling room before he stands under the lights of Carver-Hawkeye Arena in a Black and Gold singlet. With Erekson looking capable of taking over for Matt Fields, there is no reason to rush the redshirt freshmen.

Projected Finish- 5th – 7th

April 5, 2008

Travis Shufelt elevated to full-time assistant coach at Wyoming

Travis Shufelt elevated to full-time assistant coach at Wyoming
University of Wyoming

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Wyoming head college wrestling coach Steven Suder announced Thursday the hiring of former volunteer assistant coach Travis Shufelt to full-time assistant coach. Shufelt will become the number two assistant while Ben VomBaur will be elevated to the number one assistant. The change in coaching staff was spurred by the resignation of former associate head coach Matt Johnson to pursue other opportunities.

"We had a pretty good idea of what we were going to get when we added Travis as a volunteer assistant coach two seasons ago,? UW head coach Steven Suder said. “When he arrived, we got a lot more than we expected and we are glad to give him this opportunity and reward him for his efforts.?

Shufelt will enter his third season with the Wyoming coaching staff for the 2008-09 season.

Shufelt was an All-American and a captain at the University of Nebraska. At 149 pounds, Shufelt was a four-time National Qualifier and a two-time Big 12 runner-up. As a junior he was the Las Vegas Invite Champion and was the outstanding wrestler at the Virginia Duals.

Travis brings an impressive high school career to Wyoming as well. He collected three state championships and has the record for most wins in a career and a season. Was the team MVP, Wrestler of the year, and first team All-Conference his freshman through senior years of high school wrestling while in Wisconsin.

2000 Olympic Trials runner-up Kerry Boumans passing along knowledge to wrestlers at Overtime School of Wrestling

2000 Olympic Wrestling Trials runner-up Kerry Boumans passing along knowledge to wrestlers at Overtime School of Wrestling
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – It seems almost like yesterday when Kerry Boumans came within an eyelash of making the United States Olympic Team in freestyle wrestling.

Boumans finished second to two-time World Champion Terry Brands at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Dallas before Brands went on to win a bronze medal at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Even though he didn’t win, the slick, athletic Boumans gained the respect and admiration from fans for battling valiantly in a fierce, hard-fought battle against the powerful Brands.

Boumans is now passing along his vast wealth of wrestling knowledge as one of the coaches at the Overtime School of Wrestling in suburban Chicago. Boumans said he has 25 kids from his club competing at the ASICS/USA Wrestling Gear Folkstyle Nationals this weekend at the University of Northern Iowa.

Boumans, who works under Overtime head coach Sean Bormet, coaches athletes from the youth to the Senior levels. He works with wrestlers of all ages and skill levels.

“It’s a blast – I love it,? said Boumans, in his third year with Overtime. “Coaching is a lot harder than wrestling, that’s for sure. As a competitor, you can be selfish where you just worry about yourself. When you coach a bunch of kids, you want them all to succeed and you have them in your heart when they are out there competing.

“I’m really enjoying coaching. I’ve been blessed to have Sean invite me to come in and coach at Overtime. We have a good thing going and all of our coaches work real closely together. We complement each other real well.?

The Folkstyle Nationals has attracted a record number of entries this weekend.

“The level of competition is very high – there are a lot of very good wrestlers here,? Boumans said. “It’s a good opportunity for us, especially being so close to Iowa, to get a bunch of kids some experience in a big event like this. We’re excited to see what we can do.?

Among the record field are 51 entrants from Boumans’ home state of Louisiana.

“It’s very exciting to see that many kids here from Louisiana,? Boumans said. “There are a bunch of great athletes down there and some coaches are taking notice and trying to raise the level. It’s great to see them up here competing and I hope wrestling continues to grow down there. I hope their numbers keep going up and they keep coming to big tournaments like this.?

Boumans said the Overtime club just finished a training camp for Senior-level athletes that included 2006 World bronze medalist Donny Pritzlaff, past World Team member Andy Hrovat, National Team member Clint Wattenberg and NCAA champion Jake Herbert.

Boumans put his athletic ability on display in an entertaining finals series against Brands in the finals of the 2000 Olympic Trials at 127.75 lbs.

“What I remember the most is I left everything I had out there on the mat,? Boumans said. “I wrestled my best and I just didn’t come out on top. I was fortunate to be in that situation and wrestle a great competitor in the finals. I didn’t quite come out on top, but I gave it everything I had. The chips didn’t quite fall my way, but that’s OK.?

With the 2008 Olympic Trials coming up in Las Vegas on June 13-15, Boumans was asked about what it’s like to compete in an event like that with so much on the line.

“It’s hard to explain,? he said. “It’s really a neat feeling to be in that situation where you really have an opportunity to fulfill a dream you’ve had since you were a little kid and make an Olympic Team. You’ve trained your whole life for this moment. It’s euphoria to know you are just a couple of matches away from wrestling in the Olympics. It’s a really cool feeling to compete in a big event like the Trials. I was fortunate to be in that situation.?

Boumans, a two-time NAIA national champion for the University of Mary, said there is something special about this sport.

“You look around this arena and you see a lot of kids and families and communities coming together for one goal and one purpose,? he said. “I like to think of the wrestling community as one big family and that’s what makes it really unique. It’s great to be a part of it.?

April 1, 2008

Iowa Claims NCAA Title, 2 Champions

Iowa got individual titles from Brent Metcalf and Mark Perry to go with its runaway team title in the NCAA wrestling championships Saturday night.

The top-ranked Hawkeyes put a stranglehold on their first championship since 2000 and 21st overall a day earlier and finished with 117.5 points and a whopping 38.5-point victory margin. Ohio State also won two individual titles and finished a distant second, the school's best finish, and just missed a third title when top-ranked heavyweight Dustin Fox of Northwestern beat the Buckeyes' J.D. Bergman 4-2 in the second sudden victory period.

Ohio State had 79 points, four ahead of Penn State. Nebraska was fourth with 74, followed by Iowa State and Oklahoma State (72), Central Michigan and Michigan (67) and Minnesota (61.5).

Metcalf and Jay Borschel, the third-place finisher at 174 pounds, are transfers from Virginia Tech who helped boost Iowa's profile under second-year coach Tom Brands. Iowa was eighth last year, 41 points behind champion Minnesota, and last challenged for the title with a second-place finish in 2004.

"The program is building and it's working toward dominance," Metcalf said. "We've had a dramatic change."

Two wrestlers wrapped up unbeaten seasons, Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh at 174 and Mike Pucillo of Ohio State at 184. Pucillo spoiled an unbeaten season for Jake Varner of Iowa State, who had been 29-0. Chad Mendes of Cal Poly, that school's first finalist since 1983, was upset 5-2 by sixth seed J Jaggers of Ohio State at 141. Jaggers wrestling shoes got stuck to the mat and he really hurt his ankle.

Cornell's Jordan Leen, the eighth seed at 157 pounds, was the biggest long shot to prevail with a 5-4 victory over second seed Michael Poeta, the crucial point coming on an escape in the final minute. Leen knocked off top seed Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro in the semifinals.

"I don't know what this feels like," Leen said. "I'm just kind of a mess right now, to be honest with you. It just happened to be my weekend."

Six schools entered the final day with a chance to finish second, giving the meet a dose of secondary drama beyond Iowa's victory lap after the Hawkeyes entered the championship round with a 35.5-point cushion. Pucillo's overtime victory over Varner, with all the scoring coming on escapes, clinched second place for Ohio State after a 10th-place finish last year.

"There is a buzz around the state like there has never been before," Jaggers said. "It shows younger kids that you can win national titles at Ohio State.

"We should be the one to take down Iowa."

Metcalf, top-ranked at 149 pounds as a sophomore, rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to beat Bubba Jenkins of Penn State 14-8. Metcalf took control in the second period, at one point slamming the sixth-seeded Jenkins to the mat.

Perry, a senior, defended his title at 165 pounds with a 5-2 victory over top seed Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan. Perry was the second seed after losing by a point to Tannenbaum in the Big Ten championships, and finished strong after reinjuring a knee that required surgery last fall.

"I don't know if I'm getting too old or what, but my knee popped and it hurt worse than the first time I popped it," Perry said. "I wasn't going to forfeit in the finals, but obviously I went on the defensive after that.

"I could hardly squat in my stance without caving in."

Minnesota 125-pounder Jayson Ness lost twice in 41 matches this season, both times to Indiana's Angel Escobedo. Escobedo pulled away in the final minute for a 10-3 victory that ended with a near fall when Ness attempted to flip him in desperation, giving the Hoosiers the title at the lightest weight class for the third time in four years.

Coleman Scott of Oklahoma State gave the finals early buzz when he needed only 49 seconds to pin Iowa's Joey Slaton at 133 pounds. It's believed to be the fastest pin in the finals since a 30-second fall by Ohio University's Andy Daniels in 1978.

Phil Davis of Penn State was the most enthusiastic winner, leaping and pointing to the school's fans after a 7-2 victory over Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan at 197. Pittsburgh's Gavin was perhaps the most methodical throughout the meet, calmly winning his last three matches by 3, 1 and 2 points to finish at 27-0.

March 21, 2008

NCAA Wrestling Championships Blog

SESSION TWO - Thursday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.

POST THREE: 149 pounds is loaded with Big Ten stars

The championship bracket at 149 pounds during the second session was loaded with Big Ten athletes.

The first match was No. 1 Brent Metcalf of Iowa vs. Kurt Kinser of Indiana. The second match was No. 9 Lance Palmer of Ohio State vs. No. 8 Jake Patacsil of Purdue. The third match featured No. 5 Josh Churella of Michigan.

The bottom bracket also had three Big Ten wrestlers, including a pairing of No. 6 Bubba Jenkins of Penn State against No. 11 Ryan Lang of Northwestern. The other Big Ten wrestler in the bottom bracket is No. 2 Dustin Schlatter of Ohio State.

After the second round, five of the Big Tenners advanced to the quarterfinals. The only losses came in the head-to-head conference battles where Metcalf beat Kinser, 10-5, Palmer beat Patacsil, 14-6 and Jenkins edged Lang, 4-3. Also winning were Churella and Schlatter.

There will only be one Big Ten showdown in Friday’s quarterfinals, when Metcalf battles Palmer.

By the way, the standings at the Big Ten went like this: 1 – Metcalf, 2 – Schlatter, 3- Churella, 4- Patacsil, 5- Jenkins, 6- Palmer, 7 – Lang, 8- Kinser.

POST TWO: From 10 qualifiers to one, the first session results

Two teams qualified a full team of 10 athletes this year at the NCAA Championships, Big 12 champion Iowa State and EWL champion Edinboro.

A total of 10 teams bring just one wrestler: Boston Univ., Clarion, Delaware State, Duquesne, Eastern Michigan, Michigan State, Millersville, Ohio, VMI and Virginia Tech.

Of the one-person teams, Michigan State has the best possibility for making an impact, as Big Ten champion Franklin Gomez is the top seed at 133 pounds.

Iowa State moved nine of their 10 through the first round. Winners were No. 5 Nick Fanthorpe (133), No. 9 Nick Gallick (141), Mitch Mueller (149), No. 7 Cyler Sanderson (157), No. 6 Jonathan Reader, Aron Scott (174), No. 1 Jake Varner (184), David Bertolino (197) and No. 7 David Zabriskie (HWT). Mueller won two bouts in the session, giving Iowa State 10 wins for the morning. This put the Cyclones in third place with 16 team points.

Edinboro did not fare as well. The Scots lost its first three weight classes, then Daryl Cocozzo (149), No. 1 Gregor Gillespie (157), No. 12 Jarod King (165) and Joe Fendone (HWT) ended up with wins. Edinboro stood in 21st place with 7.5 points.

The first round saw a match between the two 10-athlete teams, as unseeded David Bertolino of Iowa State beat unseeded Patrick Bradshaw of Edinboro at 197 pounds by major decision, 10-0.

Of the schools with one qualifier, only two wrestlers won a bout. Winners included Gomez, who scored 12-3 major decision over Josh Baldridge of UNI, plus Josh Wine of VMI at heavyweight.

POST ONE: Brother acts have mixed results during the first session

There are five sets of brothers who are wrestling in the 2008 NCAA Championships. All of the brother pairs compete for the same college team. They are:
• Headlee brothers of Pitt: Drew (141) and Ethan (165)
• Gillespie brothers of Edinboro: Torsten (141) and No. 1 Gregor (157)
• Schlatter brothers of Minnesota: No. 2 Dustin (149) and No. 5 C.P. (157)
• Sinnott brothers of Central Michigan: No. 5 Brandon (174) and No. 4 Christian (184)
• Smith brothers of Boise State: No. 10 Kirk (184) and Nick (285)

Of the brother acts, the Schlatters and the Sinnotts both won their first matches. All three of the other brother combinations had one win, including Drew Headlee, Gregor Gillespie and Kirk White.

Stay tuned to see if either the Schlatters or the Sinnotts can both qualify for the finals.

SESSION ONE - Thursday, March 20, 11:00 a.m.

POST FIVE: A few more things from Session One
Minnesota had a great early start, winning their first two matches by pin with No. 2 Jason Ness at 125 pounds (1:17 over Marcus Orozco of UC Davis) and No. 8 Mac Reiter at 133 pounds (2:13 over Jeff Schell of Brown) and a technical fall by Manuel Rivera at 141 pounds (16-0 over Torsten Gillespie of Edinboro). The Gopher momentum was halted at 174 pounds, when No. 8 Gabe Dretsch lost to Nathan Lee of Boise State.

Defending NCAA champion Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro brought a new look with him to the NCAA Tournament this year. He cut his hair into little clumps, dying them to make him look like a leopard. Earlier this season, Gillespie had a Mohawk cut. He opened the tournament with 17-0 techical fall over Spencer Manley of Navy.

There are five undefeated wrestlers going into the tournament and all of them opened up with victories. After their first round wins, the records of the perfect wrestlers are: Chad Mendes of Cal Poly at 125 (27-0), Keith Gavin of Pitt at 174 (26-0), Jake Varner of Iowa State at 184 (25-0) and Josh Glenn of American (16-0). Of the unbeatens, Glenn is the only returning national champion, and has the longest winning streak in the tournament with 39 in a row going back to last year.

Getting a good first match is a key for these athletes to keeping their streak alive.

# “I pushed through the Pac-10 and had a hard push until this week in practice. I feel like I am peaking,? said Mendes.
# “It was a good first match; I scored a lot of points. It was a good warmup. It’s good to get this out of the way,? said Gavin.
# “It is good to be back here. I have been looking forward to this all year,? said Glenn.

POST FOUR: More notes as the tournament winds on
The Univ. of Oregon, which plans to drop its wrestling program after this tournament, has two entries in the tournament this weekend. Wrestling leaders among the alumni and fans in the state are waging an active war to try to convince the administration there to reverse the decision and retain the program. The Ducks won their first match of the day when Ryan Dunn captured his bout at 133 pounds against William Ashnault of Lock Haven. Dunn was second at the Pac-10 Championships and entered the tournament with a 23-7 record.

In a battle of All-Americans at 157 pounds, No. 8 Jordan Leen of Cornell defeated unseeded Ryan Hlusack of Drexel, 4-3 at 157 pounds. Both wrestlers entered the tournament with a drop in ranking based upon the conference tournaments. Leen was upset in the finals at the EIWA Championships and Hluschak lost in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association.

No. 6 Lou Ruggerello of Hofstra won a match which went three overtimes, defeating Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Stephen Hromada, 3-2. Chattanooga protested the decision, but it was denied.

POST THREE: Some interesting stuff at the lower weights

There was a wild match in the first round at 125 pounds, when No. 7 Michael Sees of Bloomsburg racked up the points in a 21-10 win over Collin Cudd of Wisconsin to open the tournament.

There were a few upsets, even if considered mild, at 133 pounds in the first round.

Mark McKnight of Penn State stopped No. 12 Tyler Shinn of Oklahoma State, 5-1 in the first round, a match that caught the fan’s attention. McKnight had Shinn on his back in danger early in the match, and kept on the pressure.

No 9 seed Zach Tanelli of Wisconsin also took a first-round loss, dropping a 7-5 decision to Conor Beebe of Central Michigan. Beebe took him down in the last seconds for the victory.

At 141 pounds, Bailey of Oklahoma upset No. 8 Dan LeClair of Iowa, 8-7. As often happens, when a wrestler from a major program like Iowa or Oklahoma State goes down, the crowd makes a big deal of things.

POST 2 of 10: Inspiring Robles wins Bout One of the tournament

Bout one of the NCAA Tournament included freshman Anthony Robles of Arizona State, the athlete with one leg who received tremendous national coverage after winning a national high school folkstyle title. Robles, who had a top 20 national ranking at 125 pounds earlier this year, qualified by placing second in the Pac-10 with a 19-7 record. He drew Brandon Kinney of Columbia in the pig-tail round, bout one on mat one.

Robles, who starts down on one knee on the whistle, took down Kinney on a low leg shot, and turned him twice with three-point tilts for a quick 8-0 lead. Kinney got an escape late in the first period. The second period saw some position changes with reversals and takedown, but Robles held the edge on the mat. The match ended 11-5 with 2:57 of riding time, it ended 12-5. Robles has a much bigger upper body than his opponent and was very strong in the top position.

His reward for winning that first match is a first round bout with No. 1 Angel Escobedo of Indiana.

The first pin of the session came on mat four in the pigtails, when No. 6 Lou Ruggirello of Hofstra put away Cory Vombaur of Wyoming quickly at 133 pounds.

POST 1 of 10: Travel problems plague attendees at NCAA Championships

As often happens at the NCAA Championships, one of the hardest things to do is get all the athletes, coaches, officials and fans to one location. Weather in March can still be pretty harsh, and travel often includes delayed and cancelled flights. This year, the problem in parts of the Southern Plains has been rain and floods.

I (Gary Abbott) ran into some of this on Tuesday, flying from Oklahoma to Missouri. Rain was everywhere in the region, with problems specifically in Dallas, where hundreds of flights were cancelled and the airport closed at times. American Airlines had a system-wide computer problem, which affected Oklahoma City. We arrived a few hours late, but my bag took more than two days to finally get to the hotel this morning.

Leah Howard, SID for Michigan, told of the journey of the Wolverine team, which ran into delays and then a cancelled flight in Chicago. Michigan, which has six entries and some of the top favorites, had to secure a bus to drive down to St. Louis that night.

Ron Good of Amateur Wrestling News tells of his drive through Missouri where many roads were severely flooded. Because he was in a mobile home, police let the AWN group through an especially bad stretch of flooded roads because of the size of their vehicle. Passenger cars were not allowed to pass. Good explains that about an hour after they passed that hazard, the road was closed.

Fans from the east, especially for teams such as Penn and Drexel, were stranded for most of Wednesday in the airport in Philadelphia, many arriving in the wee-hours of the night last evening. In spite of the delays, most have arrived in time for the 11:00 a.m. start on Thursday morning.

PS - The new NCAA Blogging policy allows 10 posts in each session. We will update this as much as time allows each session, up to the 10 permitted. Please revisit and refresh only will update its blog each session of the NCAA Championships this year, as permitted by the new NCAA Blogging Policy. Please check regularly each session for updates from the mats in St. Louis

Where is the Minnesota talk?

March 19, 2008

Iowa has rich winning tradition at NCAA wresting tournament

Iowa has rich winning tradition at NCAA wresting tournament
By Andy Hamilton
Iowa City Press-Citizen

ST. LOUIS — The Iowa wrestlers used to spend each March getting fitted for watches, rings and jackets.

This was one of the customary perks for the Hawkeyes during a stretch when they completed their near-annual journey to the summit of the sport 20 times in 26 years.

Iowa’s supremacy during that span rivaled some of the best extended periods of dominance in the history of organized sports, and it created a culture inside the team’s training grounds where the main discussions about the national championships weren’t about whether the Hawkeyes would claim another title, but rather how many individual crowns they would win, how many records they would set and how they would commemorate another season on top.

“It was like, ‘What are we getting this year? Are we getting coats? Rings?’? Iowa assistant Doug Schwab said. “You just got used to it. Guys got used to it and then relaxed a little bit and thought it was just going to happen.?

That’s when the Iowa practice room — once a production line for wrestling stars — stopped turning out champions in bunches. That’s when other teams recognized the vulnerability of the Hawkeyes. That’s when Iowa stopped collecting team titles and all of the frills that came with them.

“I think we had a lot of firepower and we counted on firepower and talent alone,? Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “Mind development and communication was missing — that daily communication to the athletes about the standard, about a very high standard.?

The Hawkeyes have rediscovered those principles in the two seasons under Brands. Iowa is ranked No. 1 in the country entering the NCAA Championships, which begin at 11 a.m. today Thursday at Scottrade Center. The Hawkeyes haven’t been in this position at the start of the national tournament since 2000, when they claimed their last title in the same venue.

“You can go back to 2000 and talk about that dry spell and why it happened,? Brands said. “It was because of the lifestyle. You’ve got to earn it, man. You’ve got to earn it every day. These guys have earned it every day.?

Seven seasons have passed since Iowa last claimed the gold trophy — the longest championship famine for the Hawkeyes since they started collecting titles in 1975. Brands was Jim Zalesky’s top assistant in 2000 and three members of the current coaching staff — Schwab, Wes Hand and Mike Zadick — were All-Americans on that squad.

Seven seasons of shortcomings have followed for a program that aims only for the top.

“It floors me,? said Eric Juergens, whose overtime victory in 2000 in the 133-pound championship against Iowa State’s Cody Sanderson turned out to be the difference between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones in the team standings.

Seven seasons of watching Minnesota and Oklahoma State play tug-of-war for the title.

“From 2000 to 2008?? Schwab said. “I couldn’t ever believe that.?

Perhaps even harder to comprehend is how far back Iowa has been. The Hawkeyes haven’t finished within 40 points of the title during the past five years. They were 85.5 points behind Oklahoma State in 2003 and 87 back of the Cowboys in 2005.

“I never thought we’d lose it my senior year,? Schwab said of the 2001 team that had a tournament-high four wrestlers reach the finals in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and still fell short when Minnesota claimed the school’s first championship with 10 All-Americans. “Then to be around the program the next year and be away from it for a while and kind of see guys were happy to win.

“I was sick of seeing guys being happy and celebrating a 3-2 win. When we won 3-2, it was like, ‘Why didn’t I win 10-2?’ That’s what guys are starting to get to, and it’s making the difference.?

Brands was named Iowa’s head coach on April 5, 2006, and the Hawkeyes have made incremental gains since. He brought renewed energy to the program. He implemented a higher standard of expectations on and off the mat — “You’ve got to live a lifestyle that’s reflective of a championship athlete,? Brands said — and he convinced his wrestlers to buy into a system of year-round training.

“He’ll never ask you to do something he didn’t do,? said Jody Strittmatter, a junior who placed third at 125 on the 2000 team. “He knows what you need to do to get better. It might not be fun, it might not be easy, but in the end it’s going to pay off and (because of that), there’s 100-percent belief in your coach, and that’s important.?

What’s more, Brands brought back the rugged and relentless style of wrestling that Iowa trademarked under coach Dan Gable and used to rule the sport throughout the 1980s and ‘90s.

“Tom makes you truly believe it, feel it and see it,? two-time All-American Jessman Smith said. “Every word that comes out of his mouth is intended for you to believe in that system of wrestling. He makes you believe more than anybody.?

The Hawkeyes now believe they are primed to regain the title. They went 21-1 in dual meets, smashed the tournament scoring record at the Midlands Championships and claimed their first Big Ten title since 2004.

“This is a continuation of a year ago,? Brands said. “We didn’t just all of a sudden try something new or different. The Gable influence is alive. It was alive last year, we just didn’t have the time with these guys, plus you’ve got some guys who are wrestling with some pretty good energy.?

If that continues throughout the next three days, the Hawkeyes might have to get fitted for commemorative watches, rings or jackets.

Gophers travel to St. Louis

#2/2 MINNESOTA (14-7, 5-3) at 2008 NCAA Championships

Location: St. Louis, Mo.
Arena: Scottrade Center
Dates: Thursday-Saturday, March 20-22
Television: ESPNU/ will air the quarterfinals live at 10 a.m. (CT) on Friday, March 21. Additionally, ESPNU will be producing and syndicating live coverage of the semifinals beginning at 6 p.m. that same day. On Saturday morning, ESPNU will carry the medal rounds live at 10 a.m. ESPN/ will air the ncaa championships live later that evening at 7:30 p.m.

March 18, 2008

Expanded Live Coverage of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on ESPNU, and ESPN

Expanded Live Coverage of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on ESPNU, and ESPN
Jennifer Zimmerman ESPN

ESPNU, and ESPN will combine for extensive live coverage of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships On Friday, March 21, and Saturday, March 22, from the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis.

On Friday, ESPNU features more than five hours of coverage, with the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. ET and the semifinals at 7 p.m. For the second consecutive year, ESPNU will deliver the semifinals in a “side-by-side? format, allowing viewers to see both semifinal matches in each weight class at the same time.

ESPNU will telecast the Championship Medal Round on Saturday, March 22, at 11 a.m., while ESPN will air the finals at 8:30 p.m. During the Championship Round, the referees will wear microphones, providing fans with even more access to and understanding of the action., ESPN’s signature live sports broadband network, will offer one-stop access to all rounds of the championships. will complement the ESPNU and ESPN telecasts by providing live coverage of all four mats during the quarterfinals, giving users the option to select the match they want to see. will also simulcast live coverage of the semifinals, Championship Medal Round and Finals. is now available at no cost to millions of U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel. Users accessing from an on-campus “.edu? or “.mil? network domain in the United States receive free, seamless access to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships and hundreds of other live college and professional sporting events each month. The service is also available via more than 25 Internet service providers, including AT&T, Verizon, Insight, RCN, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and more.

Dave Armstrong will serve as play-by-play announcer alongside analysts Tim Johnson and Olympic gold-medal winner Jeff Blatnick, with Quint Kessenich reporting. Former Iowa State coach and wrestler James Gibbons will serve as a guest commentator describing the action on

Date, Time (ET), Event, Network
Fri., Mar. 21, 11 a.m., Quarterfinals (Session 3), ESPNU LIVE – 3 hrs.
Fri., Mar. 21, 7 p.m., Semifinals (Session 4), ESPNU LIVE – 2.5 hrs.
Sat., Mar. 22, 11 a.m., Championship Medal Round, ESPNU LIVE – 3 hrs.
Sat., Mar. 22, 8:30 p.m., Finals, ESPN LIVE – 2.5 hrs.

Minnesota's NCAA Tournament History

The Golden Gopher wrestling team was unable to hold onto its opening day lead at the 2008 Big Ten Championships at Williams Arena, relinquishing the Big Ten team title to the Iowa Hawkeyes 127 – 112.5. Minnesota did qualify nine wrestlers for the the 2008 NCAA Championships in two weeks, but saw its four finalists come up short their championship matches.

Jayson Ness, Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter and Gabe Dretsch all finished in second place after losing during the March 9 championship round. Minnesota’s Mack Reiter (fourth), C.P. Schlatter (sixth), Roger Kish (sixth), Justin Bronson (seventh) and Ben Berhow (sixth) will also make the trip to St. Louis March 20-22.

The disappointing final day performance came on the heels of an excellent Saturday effort by the former two-time defending conference champions. The Gophers held a 106-93.5 lead over Iowa after two sessions, but were also hurt by losing Kish and C.P. Schlatter to injuries during their semifinal matches.

The top-ranked University of Minnesota wrestling team won its third NCAA Championship since 2001 on March 17, 2007 at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Golden Gophers clinched the team race following back-to-back losses by Iowa State wrestlers in the 184- and 197-pound title matches. In the final bout of the tournament, heavyweight Cole Konrad concluded his stellar collegiate career with a pin of Penn State's Aaron Anspach in the finals. Konrad became the fourth two-time national champion in school history. Minnesota finished with 98.0 points, while Iowa State finished second with 88.5.

During the morning medal round, Kish and Dustin Schlatter earned third place at 184 and 149 pounds, respectively. Jayson Ness claimed fifth place at 125 pounds with his third pin of the tournament. C.P. Schlatter finished his first All-American season with a sixth-place finish at 157 pounds.

Head Coach J Robinson has built Minnesota into a powerhouse in the world of collegiate wrestling during his tenure in Gold Country. In his 21 full seasons, Robinson has led the Golden Gophers to a top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships 15 times, including each of the past 11 seasons. Minnesota has won three national titles in the last seven seasons, including the 2007 championship and back-to-back titles in 2001 and ’02, and also has four runner-up finishes since 1997.
Under Robinson, the Maroon and Gold have earned 85 All-America honors, including a school-record 10 All-Americans in 2001. In 2006, Dustin Schlatter and Cole Konrad became the seventh and eighth Golden Gophers under Robinson to win an NCAA individual title, with Konrad winning again last year. Other national champions during the Robinson era include: Damian Hahn in 2003 and ’04, Jared Lawrence and Luke Becker in 2002, Brock Lesnar in 2000, Tim Hartung in 1998 and ’99 and Marty Morgan in 1991.

Minnesota will have five returning All-Americans competing in this week’s NCAA Championships. Jayson Ness and C.P. Schlatter picked up their first career All-American awards last season at 125 and 157 pounds, respectively, while Dustin Schlatter (149) and Roger Kish (184) also finished in the top eight nationally a year ago. Mack Reiter earned All-America status as a freshman in 2005 and sophomore in 2006, taking fourth both instances.

Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Iowa have combined to win the last 19 NCAA Championships. The Golden Gophers (2007, ‘01-02) and Cowboys (2003-06) have won the last seven titles. The last team outside of those three to win a national title was Arizona State in 1988.

Since snapping Iowa’s run of 25 consecutive conference titles at the 1999 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Golden Gophers have claimed six of the last 10 Big Ten Conference crowns to overtake the Hawkeyes as the class of the conference.
After their runner-up finish at the 2008 Big Ten Championships, Minnesota has finished either first or second at the Big Ten Championships 10 straight seasons and has placed in the top three each of the past 12 years.

March 17, 2008

D2 NCAA Wrestling Champions, UNK

NCAA Wrestling Tournament discussion

The Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team's narrow victory over Minnesota State in the NCAA championships on Saturday gave the school its first-ever team national title at the NCAA Division II level.

The university's other national team titles came in softball at the NAIA level in 1987 and '90.

With a 4-1 win by heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev, the Lopers finished with 108.50 points, just ahead of Minnesota State at 108.00.

The Lopers, who came into the meet with three national runner up finishes in the last five years entered the finals with a half point lead over Minnesota State.

UNK got a huge assist from, ironically, Nebraska-Omaha as Cody Garcia won the 125 lbs. national title over Mankato's Nick Smith, 8-2. In 2004, the Lopers' Jeff Sylvester helped UNO claim a team national title, by just points over North Dakota State, when he won the 197 lbs. class.

Senior Brett Allgood won his second national title at 133 lbs. with a 5-3 decision over Shane Perkey of Indianapolis. This marks Allgood's seventh first place finish as he won four state titles while at Bennington High and won a JUCO title for Iowa Central College.

"Of all the things I've won in my wrestling career, this second national title means the most to me," he said.

However, MSU's Jason Rhoten (157 lbs.) and Andy Pickar (165 lbs.) won their weight classes to give MSU a lead in the overall team race. In Pickar's 8-2 win, he almost got bonus points late in the third period but the clock ran out.

Dlagnev finished his career on a 70-match win streak by getting by Central Oklahoma's Dustin Finn. After a scoreless first period, Finn escaped to take a 1-0 lead in the second. Not forcing any action, Finn was called twice for stalling later in the second, giving Dlagnev a point.

The Texan took the lead for good by easily escaping to start the third, then recorded a late take-down to secure the win and team trophy.

"I liked that the team title was up to me to get. That's why I wrestle...for the team," said Dlagnev. "I wrestled well, but wasn't satisfied with my performance. I wanted to dominate more."

The four-time All-American and two-time national champion added, "I didn't feel any pressure throughout the tournament; only excitement."

UNK head coach Marc Bauer, a Kearney native and the architect behind the Lopers national rise the last decade, was named the Division II Coach of the Year.

He also won the award in 2003.

Allgood and Dlagnev join the legendary Ali Elias (1990-91) as the only Lopers to win two national titles. Dlagnev also joins Elias, Sylvester and Bryce Abbey as the only UNK wrestlers to be four-time All-Americans.

UNK needed every win on Saturday as the team started the day almost 10 points behind the MSU Mavericks. The Lopers went 2-2 in the semifinal round but took a big step toward first place when four wrestlers finished third in the afternoon session.

The group included seniors Joe Ellenberger (157 lbs.) and Jeff Rutledge (141 lbs.) and sophomores Ryan Etherton (149 lbs.) and Marty Usman (174 lbs.). Rounding out UNK's eight All-Americans were junior Keenan McCurdy (165 lbs.) and sophomore Derek Ross (197 lbs.); they both placed eighth.

Showing how close the entire meet was, Rutledge won his third place bout 4-3 over Shane Valko of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Next, Etherton edged RMAC-rival Joey Deaguero of Adams State, 4-2, with Ellenberger winning 2-1 over Upper Iowa's Travis Eggers in a first tiebreaker.

Ellenberger reached the third place match with Eggers only after a sudden victory win, 10-8, against Muhammad Abdur-Rahman of Ashland. Finally, Usman nipped Josh Shields of Mercyhurst, 3-2, in UNK's final third place match.

Big Ten Looking to Dominate NCAA Wrestling Tournament

NCAA Wrestling Tournament discussion

The day before the annual gathering of the nation’s best wrestlers hits the mats, the NCAA holds a press conference with five or six coaches from those programs expected to contend for a championship.

Oklahoma State has won 34 NCAA team titles, so it’s pretty much a given that the Cowboys’ head coach is part of the pre-tournament festivities.

John Smith will not be among the coaches this Wednesday.

“It doesn’t bother me that people don’t consider us one of the favorites. We aren’t,? said Smith, who takes eight wrestlers to St. Louis for the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championship which begins Thursday morning. “We need some things to happen and we have to be ready to fight for everything.?

O-State, after a third place finish in the five-team Big 12 Championship last weekend, enters the final collegiate tournament of the 2007-08 season ranked sixth.

After winning four straight titles from 2003-06, the Pokes finished fifth in Auburn Hills, Mich., in 2007.

Seven NCAA qualifiers return, including three All-Americans — Coleman Scott, Nathan Morgan and Brandon Mason. Jake Dieffenbach was a two-time NAIA champion before joining the squad before this season.

Tyler Shinn, Newly McSpadden, Jack Jensen and Jared Rosholt went a combined 6-8 in their first NCAA appearances. Three of the four had either the No. 1 or 2 seed in the first round.

“I think everybody knows that with the schedule we wrestle, we will be ready,? said Shinn, who finished second at the Big 12s and takes a 15-6 mark to St. Louis. “We didn’t wrestle like we are capable (at the Big 12s). For me, it’s about going and getting that second and third takedown.

“We have to be ready to fight. I think after our showing (last week) you are going to see a different team (in St. Louis).?

Scott, a senior 133-pounder, is a three-time All-American, advancing to the finals as a junior. He takes a 28-4 mark into his final collegiate tournament.

Morgan, also a senior, is a two-time All-American. The 141-pounder is 29-3.

Mason, a junior 174-pounder, advanced to the NCAA semifinals as a sophomore and eventually finished fifth. He is 26-5 and will be one of five Cowboys seeded among the top nine.

Rosholt is coming off a solid Big 12 showing, beating nemisis David Zabriskie of Iowa State in the finals. The sophomore is 29-3.

Dieffenbach dropped a pair of matches in a rugged 165-pound Big 12 bracket. He earned one of the league’s eight wild-card berths and is 19-5.

Jensen is as hot as any Cowboy, posting a pair of upset wins on his way to a third place finish at 184 at the Big 12s. For the first time in his career, Jensen (13-6) entered the rankings last week at No. 14.

Junior Newly McSpadden (21-9) wrestled his way into the 157-pound field, finishing third at the Big 12s.

“I don’t think there is a real clear-cut favorite, just four of five teams with a good shot,? Smith said.

Wrestling begins Thursday at 11 a.m.

The teams

Iowa lost just one dual meet — to Oklahoma State — and is No. 1 entering the NCAAs. The Hawkeyes, with the help of four Virginia Tech transfers, qualified nine and won the Big Ten title.

Tom Brands’ squad has eight ranked among the top eight, led by defending national champion Mark Perry (13-2 at 174) and No. 1-ranked 149-pounder Brett Metcalf (26-1).

Minnesota, the NCAA team champion in 2007, has had an injury-filled campaign, but challenged the Hawks last weekend at the Big Tens. Seven of the Gophers’ nine qualifiers are ranked among the top eight, including Jaysen Ness (35-1 at 125) and Dustin Schlatter (17-3 at 149). Senior Roger Kish (13-6 at 184) was an NCAA finalist in 2006 and is a two-time All-American.

Third-ranked Michigan has just six qualifiers, but five of them are ranked either 1, 2 or 3. Eric Tannenbaum (26-2) beat Perry in the Big Ten finals; Josh Churella (21-3 at 149) lost in the NCAA finals last season; freshman Kellen Russell (25-5 at 141), a Blair Academy product, is No. 2; and Steve Luke (25-2) is No. 2 at 174.

2007 runner-up Iowa State could be a major player when all is said and done. The Cyclones, ranked fourth, qualified all 10 wrestlers and have six ranked among the top 10 led by No. 1 Jake Varner (25-0 at 184).

Sophomore Nick Gallick (23-10) beat Morgan in the Big 12 finals at 141 and is part of a wide-open weight class.

March 14, 2008

Northern Illinois has limited number of NCAA tickets available

Northern Illinois has limited number of NCAA tickets available
DATE: 3/11/2008 11:44:00 AM
By Russell Houghtaling
NIU Sports Information

Fans looking to see Northern Illinois wrestlers at the NCAA Championships, Mar. 20-22, now have the chance to purchase a limited number of tickets reserved exclusively for Huskie fans by calling the NIU ticket office at (815) 752-6800.

Mid-American Conference champions Pat Castillo and Pat McLemore, along with at-large bid recipient Duke Burk will face the nation's best at the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis. By purchasing all-session tickets through the NIU ticket office for $120, fans will be placed in block seating with other members of Huskie nation.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for our fans to be together to cheer on NIU as we fight to be the best in the country," head coach Dave Grant said. "The NCAA Wrestling Championships are one of the great spectacles of American sport, and we're excited about sharing the event with our loyal fans."

For more information on tickets to the NCAA Championships, or any other NIU athletics events, contact the Northern Illinois Athletics Ticket Office at (815) 752-6800.

This is the best place to go watch if you plan on continuing beyond High School Wrestling.

Hanisch, Fanthorpe earn Academic All-Big 12 honors

Hanisch, Fanthorpe earn Academic All-Big 12 honors
Iowa State University Sports Information

IRVING, Texas –- Three Iowa State wrestlers have been named to the Academic All-Big 12 Conference team, the league office announced. Ben Hanisch and Nick Fanthorpe received first-team honors, while Cyler Sanderson was named to the second team. Hanisch receives the honor for the third time, while Fanthorpe and Sanderson are receiving the award for the first time.

The academic all-league wrestling squad consisted of 13 first-team members combined with four on the second team. First-team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, while the second team are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.

Hanisch is a senior majoring in biochemistry and minoring in entrepreneurial studies and economics. The Waterloo, Iowa native is one of two Iowa State wrestlers to receive first-team honors on three occasions. The only other ISU grappler to earn such accolades was current associate head coach, Cody Sanderson, who earned the honor four times (1997-2000).

Fanthorpe is a sophomore from Naperville, Ill., majoring in community and regional planning.

Sanderson is a sophomore majoring in fine arts. He joins the likes of his three older brothers by earning Big 12 academic honors. Cody, Cole and Cael Sanderson all earned academic recognition at least once during their Cyclone college wrestling career.

March 10, 2008

Iowa tops Minn. for Big Ten Wrestling title

Iowa tops Minn. for Big Ten title
The Gophers had the lead going into Sunday but lost all four of the day's championship matches.
By Trevor Born

Minnesota wrestlers went 0-4 in championship matches Sunday, as the Gophers took second place in the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament at Williams Arena. It was the first time since 1996 that the team didn't have an individual champion.
up next

NCAA Wrestling Championships
what: Wrestling
when: all day, Thu - Sun
where: St. Louis, Mo.

The Gophers finished with 112.5 points, 14.5 points behind first-place Iowa. Top-ranked Jayson Ness, Manuel Rivera, Dustin Schlatter and Gabe Dretsch all lost their championship matches. In all, Minnesota wrestlers went 1-10 on Sunday.

It was the first title since 2004 for the Hawkeyes, and just the third since the Gophers broke their 25-year championship streak in 1999.

Minnesota's chances of winning a second-straight title were stunted when two of their top wrestlers suffered tournament-ending injuries - C.P. Schlatter at 157 pounds and Roger Kish at 184 pounds. Gophers head coach J Robinson said that it were the NCAA tournament, he might have allowed the two to wrestle.

Because the team scores are based on how well each individual wrestler places, the Gophers lost a potential 28 points from the two forfeits.

The Gophers were in first place by 12.5 points coming into the final round, but a combination of the injuries and poor performance from those who did wrestle caused that lead to disappear quickly.

"It's pretty hard when you take the two of the best guys from a team, which has happened all year," Robinson said. "Then everybody has to pull extra weight and it makes it hard on them. That puts a lot of pressure on guys."

This season the Gophers have seen three of their top wrestlers - Kish, Dustin Schlatter and C.P. Schlatter - miss time with injuries. The tournament was the first time all season that the Gophers had their 10 best wrestlers competing at the same time, Robinson said.

Because the top seven finishers in each weight class advance to the NCAA tournament, both Kish and C.P. Schlatter qualified. The only Minnesota wrestler who didn't qualify was Tyler Safratowich.

The first collegiate meeting between Dustin Schlatter and Iowa's Brent Metcalf was the most anticipated match of the day, or of the season for that matter.

"That's what everyone in our sport has been looking forward to for years and years," Gophers head coach J Robinson said.

Metcalf came into the match ranked No. 1 and Schlatter No. 3 in the 149-pound weight class, which is widely considered the most talent-rich class in the country.

The match lived up to its billing. Schlatter led 3-2 until the final seconds, when Metcalf's two-point takedown with 12 seconds left gave him a 4-3 win.

Both wrestlers were four-time state champions in high school - Metcalf in Michigan and Schlatter in Ohio. Schlatter won his last meeting, which was in the championship of the Senior High School Nationals in 2005.

The two were supposed to meet in the dual-meet between Iowa and the Gophers this season, which Iowa won, but Schlatter missed it with the same hamstring injury that kept him out of more than half the season.

"He's been waiting for it, I've been waiting for it and the world has been waiting for it. Let's do it," Metcalf said after his semifinal win.

Ness upset

Sophomore Jayson Ness suffered his first loss of the year in the 125-pound championship, being upset 4-2 by third-seeded Angel Escobedo of Indiana. The loss ended Ness' 37-match winning streak, which was the second-longest active streak in Division I.

Escobedo was in control for almost the entire match, finishing with 3 minutes, 38 seconds more riding time - a statistic that keeps track of which wrestler is in control throughout the match - than Ness.

"I beat him at his own game," Escobedo said.

Ness was nearly pinned in his semifinal match, being caught by a quick move from fifth-seed Gabe Flores of Illinois, and was held on his back for more than a minute before escaping and winning 7-5.

The total attendance for the two-day, three-session tournament was 19,891.

Lindenwood wins NAIA National Title

Lindenwood wins NAIA National Title
DATE: 3/8/2008 11:49:00 PM
The Lindenwood wrestling team repeated as national champions on Saturday evening as the Lions captured the 2008 NAIA Wrestling National Championship. The Lions are the first NAIA program to repeat as national champions since Montana State-Northern won three straight from 1998-2000.

The Lions led throughout the tournament, but needed at least one win in Saturday’s championship finals to seal the victory. Lindenwood got more than that as Ray Stephens (133), Ryan Moyer (149) and Matt Cauley (174) all won individual national titles.

Lindenwood finished with 130 points, defeating second-place McKendree by 20.5 points. Dickinson State (107.5), Great Falls (101) and Dana (91.5) rounded out the top-five.

Ray Stephens (Miami, Fla./South Dade) had little trouble winning his weight class, with his closest match being a 9-7 decision win in the quarterfinals. He had one pin and two major decision wins in his other matches, including an 18-7 win in the finals against Dana’s Burke Barnes.

Ryan Moyer (Kansas City, Mo./Park Hill) also did not receive much of a challenge at 149 pounds. He advanced to the finals with two major decisions, one technical fall and one pin. In the finals, he had his toughest match but won by a 13-9 margin over Missouri Valley’s Brian Graham.

Matt Cauley (O’Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West) put the icing on the cake for Lindenwood by winning the 174 pound title. Cauley went 4-0 at nationals with one fall and two major decision wins. He won the finals by a 22-8 major decision over Great Falls’ Brendon DeCock.

Other Lindenwood wrestlers to place at the event were Dennis Kakrah (Miami, Fla./South Miami), who was second at 125 pounds, Lance Shunia (Southfield, Mich./Walled Lake Western), who was sixth at heavyweight, and Sam Schmitz (Salem, Ore./Newberg), who finished eighth at 149 pounds.

Kakrah won three matches, one by technical fall and two by decision, to advance to the finals at 125 pounds. In the finals, he dropped an 11-5 decision to Montana State-Northern’s Cody Borges, who was the number one ranked wrestler in that weight class.

Shunia went 4-3 at the event for his sixth-place finish. He won his first two matches before falling in the championship quarterfinals. Shunia bounced back with two decision victories before falling in the wrestleback semifinals and fifth-place match.

Schmitz also started the tournament with two wins before falling in the quarterfinals. He went 1-2 in wrestlebacks to finish the tournament with a 3-3 record.

The other six Lindenwood wrestlers all recorded at least one win to help contribute to the national championship. Michael O’hara (Redland, Calif./Redland East Valley) won three matches at 157 pounds. Richard Zuniga (Granger, Wash./Granger) (125), John Lloyd (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) (133), John Sumner (Eureka, Mo./Eureka) (165) and Neil Kemp (Detroit, Mich./Melvindale) (184) all won two matches. Those five wrestlers all lost in the fourth-round of wrestlebacks. Glen Shaw (Fallon, Nev./Churchill Co.) (165) won his opening match before two straight losses to end his tournament.

Lindenwood has now won four national championships since 2002 and have finished second or better in six of the last seven seasons. The program’s four national titles tie for the fourth most in the NAIA’s 51-year history, and the team’s 22 individual national championships are the sixth-best in NAIA history.

March 8, 2008

Iowa State favored in what is expected to be close battle at Big 12 Championships

Iowa State favored in what is expected to be close battle at Big 12 Championships
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Cael Sanderson obviously knew how to peak as an athlete.

The four-time NCAA champion, who went undefeated in college, already has proven as a coach that he knows how to get his teams to peak as well.

In his first year as head coach at Iowa State, Sanderson’s Cyclones won the Big 12 tournament title and placed a close second to Minnesota at the 2007 NCAA Championships.

Now in his second year at ISU, Sanderson's third-ranked Cyclones appear to be peaking at the right time again. Iowa State is the favorite to win the Big 12 Championships on Saturday at Oklahoma State’s Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.

But like last year, when the tournament came down to the final match, another very tight team race is expected between ISU, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Missouri and No. 14 Oklahoma.

“This is going to be a real exciting weekend,? Sanderson said Wednesday morning on the Big 12 Coaches’ Teleconference. “There are no heavy favorites going in. Just like the whole college season, there is a lot of parity.?

The top three finishers in each weight class, plus eight wild cards overall, will qualify for the NCAA Championships on March 20-22 in St. Louis.

“It’s going to be a great tournament,? Oklahoma coach Jack Spates said. “This is the toughest conference tournament in the country with some great wrestlers.?

Just how tough is the Big 12?

In recent years, returning All-Americans have fallen short of qualifying for nationals as well as wrestlers ranked in the top 10 nationally.

The Big 12 has a total of 33 wrestlers ranked in the top 20 nationally by InterMat.

The best example of the Big 12’s strength comes at 165. Missouri’s Nick Marable is ranked second, Oklahoma State’s Jake Dieffenbach is fifth, Nebraska’s Stephen Dwyer is seventh and Iowa State’s Jon Reader is eighth.

Iowa State emerged as the Big 12 tournament favorite after beating then-No. 2 Nebraska 22-12 in their final Big 12 dual meet in Ames.

“It was a good confidence-booster for our team,? Sanderson said. “We obviously want to be at our best at this time of the year. We need to be ready to go in that first round. With only five teams, the team that has a good first round will be in a real good position to win this.?

Iowa State’s star-studded sophomore class is led by top-ranked Jake Varner (184), who placed second in the nation last year. ISU heavyweight David Zabriskie came through in the final match of Big 12s last year, edging Oklahoma State's Jared Rosholt to give his team the championship.

“The key for us is to have all of our sophomores have their best performances at Big 12s and at nationals,? Sanderson said. “I have all the confidence in the world in these guys and they are starting to feel it themselves.?

Another key for ISU may be the performance of senior David Bertolino, who is coming off an upset win over Nebraska’s Craig Brester at 197 in a recent dual meet.

“Bertolino doing well is real important for our team and he knows that,? Sanderson said. “He is a senior and has that experience. He’s ready, we just need him to make it happen and lead like a senior by being consistent.?

The Huskers have nine ranked wrestlers in their lineup. The only NU wrestler who is not ranked, junior Chris Oliver, was second in the 2007 Big 12s and is a returning national qualifier at 157.

“Iowa State is favored, but crazy things happen at this tournament,? Nebraska coach Mark Manning said. “It could come down to the last couple of matches, it really could. There is a lot of parity and a lot of good wrestlers.?

Nebraska placed second at the National Duals. NU is expected to have No. 1 seeds for Big 12s in Paul Donahoe (125), Jordan Burroughs (149) and Brandon Browne (174).

“Peaking at the right time, there is an art to it,? Manning said. “You obviously can’t overtrain and your kids can only get up so many times in a season. Our kids understand that. People remember you by what you do at the end of the season.

“We’re well-prepared and our guys are excited and ready to go. There are going to be a lot of hard-fought battles.?

Oklahoma State, which has won 8 of the 11 team titles since the Big 12 was formed, also will be in the mix. The Cowboys, who own a record 34 NCAA team titles, handed top-ranked Iowa its only dual-meet loss of the season.

OSU is led by senior standouts Coleman Scott at 133 and Nathan Morgan at 141. Both will be seeded No. 1. Morgan, a two-time All-American, is seeking his fourth Big 12 title. Scott, a three-time All-American, is seeking his third Big 12 title.

The Cowboys also have four wrestlers who are expected to be seeded fifth.

“We have to wrestle better than we have all year, no question, to win the Big 12 championship,? said OSU coach John Smith, whose teams have won five NCAA titles. “We have to do special things and have guys turn in their best performance to win.?

Wrestling in their home arena could make a difference for OSU.

“It’s good to have the Big 12 tournament back in Stillwater,? John Smith said. “We’re excited about it and our team is excited about it.?

Said Sanderson: “Home-field advantage is always real. They have one of the better fan bases in the country, but we’re not planning on letting it affect our guys.?

Missouri, third in the NCAA team race in 2007, has a veteran team that is expected to be in contention as well.

Coach Brian Smith has a pair of returning Big 12 champions in Raymond Jordan (184) and Max Askren (197). Jordan will be seeded second behind Varner while Askren, a sophomore, will be a No. 1 seed.

The Tigers also are expected to have top seeds in Marable and Michael Chandler at 157.

“Every weight class is going to be real tight with four and five guys ranked at a lot of weights,? Brian Smith said. “There will be some people left home who belong at the NCAA tournament.?

Askren, brother of two-time Hodge Trophy winner Ben Askren, has come on strong in the second half of the season. Max Askren, 20-2 this season, is now ranked seventh nationally. He was seeded No. 1 at the 2007 NCAA tournament, but went 0-2 as a freshman.

“Ever since the National Duals, Max has been wrestling the best he’s ever wrestled,? Brian Smith said. “He wasn’t as focused in the first semester, but he’s been wrestling great in the practice room. He’s becoming more offensive and taking people down. He’s always been very good on top.?

Donahoe is a returning national champion at 125, but suffered a loss to true freshman Joey Fio of Oklahoma in a dual meet. Donahoe and Fio are seeded 1-2.

Donahoe placed second to Oklahoma’s Sam Hazewinkel in the 2007 Big 12 tournament before beating Hazewinkel in the NCAA finals. Donahoe, a junior, is 18-3 this season.

“Paul’s lost a few times, and I think the pressure is really off him as far as being the defending national champion,? Manning said. “It’s all about going in there and winning another title. Paul has the experience and he has shown great composure in big tournaments.?

Fio is part of a young Oklahoma team that gained some late-season momentum by knocking off Oklahoma State in their Bedlam dual.

“Joey comes to wrestle, and when you do that you give yourself a chance to win,? Spates said. “He’s an incredibly hard worker and anything you show him he will do. He has an intense desire and displays it on the mat.?

The dual win over OSU has provided a much-needed boost for OU.

“That win was a long time coming and our guys are excited about it,? Spates said. “It bolsters our belief that if we wrestle hard good things are going to happen. We are, on paper, the bottom team, the fifth-place team. But that’s not the attitude we are taking. We’re really coming on.?

March 7, 2008

Tommy Rowlands trains and coaches for wrestling success

Tommy Rowlands trains and coaches for wrestling success
Elizabeth Wiley USA Wrestling

Athletics have always been a big part of Tommy Rowlands’ life.

Both Rowlands and his three younger sisters played sports growing up, and all four of them competed in college at the Division I level. Meghan and Annie both played softball, at Ohio State and Kentucky, respectively. His third sister, Katie, was a member of the Kentucky women’s soccer team. Rowlands wrestled at Ohio State University.

Growing up in an athletic household, Rowlands was motivated by his sisters. An older brother to his three sisters, he was driven by siblings who were just as focused as he was.

“We all shared the same goals and vision,? said Rowlands. “It was nice to have people alongside you growing up that were working just as hard.?

This focus has served Rowlands well over the course of his wrestling career. While competing in college, Rowlands was a two-time national champion at Ohio State and a 2005 World University Games champion. He is also a five-time U.S. World Team member, two of those years in the 120 kg/264.5 lbs. weight class.

Now Rowlands has set his sights on a trip to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games. On March 2 in Colorado Springs, he proved that he is concentrated on making the trip across the Pacific Ocean come August.

At the 2008 Pan American Championships, Rowlands pinned past World Champion Alexis Rodriguez of Cuba in the first round of competition. It was the fourth time Rowlands had faced Rodriguez, but only his first win.

“He had an outstanding performance this weekend,? U.S. Freestyle National Coach Kevin Jackson said. “I think he really showed his potential. He showed how good he can be, and I think he can be even better.?

Rowlands built off the victory to take first place at the competition, posting a win over Antoine Jaoude of Brazil in the finals.

“It was a great momentum builder,? said Rowlands. “I am focused on getting ready for Nationals and Trials now. I am happy about the performance and want to focus on peaking for April 25 and June 15, and then look to the Olympics in August.?

While Rowlands has a had a few bumps in the road since his fifth-place finish at the 2007 World Championships, his performance at the Pan American Championships show that he is wrestling as well as anyone in the world.

“It’s going really well right now,? Rowlands said. “I had a rocky competition at Krasnoyarsk (Russia). It was a lot traveling for only one match. I kicked training up a notch after that. It’s really going great and I am focused.?

Now Rowlands is getting ready for two major events set to take place this spring. First, he will head to the U.S. National Championships in Las Vegas to defend his top billing at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Then, in June, Rowlands will return to Las Vegas for the Olympic Trials, where he will battle for a spot on the Olympic team.

Not only is Rowlands competing as a wrestler, he is also an assistant wrestling at Ohio State. Following his performance at the Pan American Championships, Rowlands returned to Ohio State to help the wrestling team prepare for the Big Ten Championships, set for March 8-9.

In addition to his own training, Rowlands is helping the Buckeye wrestlers achieve success on the national stage. So far he has been able to balance a busy schedule of coaching and training, in part thanks to the staff at Ohio State.

“Coach Tom Ryan and the staff here at Ohio State are very flexible,? said Rowlands. “They allow me a lot of freedom with my training and my coaching responsibilities here.?

Rowlands is in his second season as an assistant coach at Ohio State. Not only has the coaching experience helped the Buckeyes, but it has also helped Rowlands as a wrestler.

“I think coaching has definitely helped me,? he said. “It has really put things in perspective. I have been able to see how others deal with hardship and I feel like I am more well-rounded.?

Just as coaches must help their athletes make adjustments to their games, Rowlands has also made adjustments in his wrestling, the biggest of which happened two years ago.

Rowlands moved up a weight in 2006, from 96 kg to 120 kg, and the transition was a bit of challenge for him.

“It was certainly an adjustment to face world class opponents,? Rowlands said. “I think it took me a year to get comfortable and really hit full swing. I am focused on beating the top international wrestlers, like I was able to this weekend.?

The weight class, now that Rowlands is comfortable, seems to suit him very well. He finished first at the U.S. World Team Trials for the first time in his career, qualified the weight for the Olympics at the 2007 World Championships, and medaled at the Pan American Games and Championships.

“He really focused on working on his size and strength,? said Jackson. “Every day he worked on getting bigger and stronger. I think Tommy has made some great gains in the last six months.?

Wrestling heavyweight isn’t completely unknown to Rowlands. He was a heavyweight wrestler in college and had to cut weight to wrestle at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

“He has always been a heavyweight,? said Jackson. “He was cutting because he isn’t a big heavyweight, like Rodriguez (of Cuba), but Tommy has always been more successful at heavyweight. I think the move has made him a better wrestler. He is focused on the purity of skill now rather than cutting weight.?

Rowlands is not the only successful wrestler at this weight. Steve Mocco, Rowlands’ biggest competitor, has had a good year in competition. Mocco placed first at competitions in Belarus, Canada, New York, and at the Dave Schultz Memorial in February.

“We’ve been going at it since my sophomore year in college,? said Rowlands. “I respect him a lot. I think when two people want the same thing there is definitely going to be a rivalry. At the same time, we also realize there are other Americans who will challenge us.?

The rivalry between the two has not only raised the level at which they are competing, it has also improved wrestling in their weight class in the U.S.

“It’s really good for the country,? Jackson said. “Depth is the key to success. To have world class wrestlers training and competing against each other really raises the level of wrestling. It’s best for our country. No matter who wins they should be ready to do well at the Olympics.?

Neither wrestler is taking the rest of the country lightly, however. Rowlands knows it will take a solid all-around performance at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials to make it to the 2008 Olympics.

No matter how Rowlands does at the Olympic Team Trials, athletics will continue to be a part of his life, whether it is through competing in wrestling, coaching, or perhaps even taking up another sport.

Last May, Rowlands attended a New York Jets mini-camp. It was the first time since seventh grade that he had played football.

While it’s possible Rowlands may someday don an NFL jersey and hit the gridiron, for now he’s focused on winning a medal in Beijing.

“Football might be a possibility in the future but it’s hard to think past August,? said Rowlands.

2008 ACC Wrestling Championships: Tournament Preview

2008 ACC Wrestling Championships: Tournament Preview/Results/Discussion
ACC Wrestling Championships
Nicholas Clarke ACC

ACC Wrestling Set For 2008 Conference Championship
League’s 54th annual wrestling championship scheduled for this weekend

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Fresh off one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s six competing institutions travel this week to College Park, Md., for the league’s 54th Annual Wrestling Championship, set to be held Saturday, March 8, in the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center.

The Terrapins, who lead all league schools with 20 all-time titles, enter this year’s championship meet looking to claim their first ACC crown since 1973. Maryland, which completed its second-straight undefeated ACC season with a 16-15 win at Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 24, is led by two of the league’s top-ranked wrestlers in 197-pounder Hudson Taylor and 184-pounder Mike Letts.

Taylor, ranked fifth nationally in the latest polls, has posted 16 pins this season, along with six major decisions. The Pennington, N.J., sophomore is perfect in ACC competition, including an impressive 10-2 win over Virginia’s Brent Jones, who was ranked No. 20 at the time, in the Terps’ last dual meet. The runner-up in the 197-lb. division at the 2007 ACC championships, Taylor carries a 21-match winning streak into this weekend’s meet.

Letts, a junior from Walnut Port, Pa., is 19-4 overall this season with a 5-0 record in ACC competition. Thanks to three wins against ranked opponents this year, and a team-leading eight wins by way of major decision, he has remained ranked among the nation’s top 10 all year, and enters the weekend rated No. 9 in the 174-lb. division.

Virginia, which won its last ACC championship in 1977, posted a league-high 18 regular-season wins this year, including three against ACC teams. The Cavaliers are led by junior Rocco Caponi, sophomore Brent Jones and freshman Chris Henrich. Caponi, a two-time ACC Wrestler of the Week honoree this season, holds a 34-2 record in the 184-lb. division this year and is currently ranked No. 11 nationally. Jones, rated No. 20 in the 197-lb. division, and Henrich, the nation’s 19th-ranked 174-pounder, have combined for 52 wins during the 2007-08 season.

Others to look out for at this year’s ACC Championships include North Carolina’s Keegan Mueller and Justin Dobies, and NC State’s Taylor Cummings, Darrion Caldwell and Joe Caramanica.

Mueller, a junior native of Dallas, Texas, has won 20-straight bouts in the 165-lb. division to move into the nation’s top 10 for the first time in his career. Now 26-3 this season, he is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation. Dobies, a freshman heavyweight, is 15-1 in dual meets and ranks 20th nationally.

The Wolfpack’s Cummings, Caldwell and Caramanica are the defending ACC champions in the 125-, 141-, and 149-lb. weight classes, respectively. Cummings is 20-11 this season, while Caldwell, the league’s 2007 Wrestler of the Year, is 27-3 overall and ranked eighth nationally in the 149-lb. division. Caramanica, ranked No. 9 in the nation among 141-pounders, is 27-4.

Doors will open for Saturday’s events at 11:00 a.m. First-round matches will start at noon, with semifinals set to begin at 2:00 p.m. and the championship finals at 8:00 p.m. For ticket information, call the University of Maryland ticket office in the Comcast Center (800-462-8377).

EIWA Wrestling Championships Tournament Preview by John Harmon

EIWA Tournament Preview by John Harmon
DATE: 3/6/2008 5:38:00 PM
By John Harmon

There has been a trend in recent years for teams to put together a string of championship teams in the EIWA. Penn won the title from 1996-1999, and Lehigh won from 2002-2006. In 2007 Cornell won their first title since 1993, and shows no signing of giving it up without a fight any time soon.

The EIWA Championships are about more than a team title, of course, and ten individual championships are up for grabs, along with 47 invitations to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo. two weeks later.

Five champions return from 2007, and one of them is sure to lose, as Steve Anceravage of Cornell has moved up a weight class, to challenge Navy’s Matt Stolpinski at 174. Josh Glenn of American, who is also a defending NCAA champion, returns at 197. Jordan Leen of Cornell moves up to 157 to attempt his second championship and Ed Prendergast of Navy returns at heavyweight.

Two champions from 2007 who were expected to return will not be on the mats. Louis Caputo of Harvard (184), was injured in January and will not be defending his crown, and Matt Dragon of Penn (157) spent the season rehabbing from surgery and is deferring his eligibility.

Cornell brings a host of talented wrestlers into the competition, led by Anceravage and Leen. Freshman Mike Grey has been an inspirational addition to the squad at 133, where he is ranked #1 in the EIWA and as high as #2 nationally. Another blue chip freshman, Mack Lewnes, has lost only two bouts all season at 165 and seems sure to challenge for the championship at 165. Yet another freshman, D. J. Meagher, is competing in the very deep 149-pound weight class and is capable of pulling off one or more upsets.

One of the amazing stories about the Cornell squad involves sophomore Justin Kerber, who spent most of the season backing up Anceravage at 174. Kerber compiled a very respectable 22-9 record, mostly by entering open tournaments. But Taylor Moore, the starter at 197, was injured late in January, and Kerber decided to challenge a couple of teammates for the right to become the starter at 197. He won the challenge and has responded by going undefeated in six bouts, which includes defeating the #2 and #3 ranked men at the weight.

But the Big Red hav also suffered their share of adversity this season, starting with the loss of 125-pound star Troy Nickerson to surgery early in the season. His replacement is senior Mike Rodriguez, who has served in a backup role for most of his collegiate career. Rodriguez has been inconsistent at times, but his true potential may have emerged recently when he rolled up a 14-4 win over Rollie Peterkin of Penn, ranked #1 in the EIWA at the time.

More adversity came at heavyweight as 2007 runnerup Zach Hammond was injured in a late –season dual meet, bringing his season to an early end. His replacement is Maciej Jochym, a talented freshman who brings a 21-10 record into the tournament.

Adam Frey, runnerup at 133 as a freshman in 2007, has moved up to 141, where he has been battling the scales most of the season. It is uncertain whether he will compete in the 2008 tournament.

Two teams, Penn and Navy, appear to have the best chance of upsetting the defending team champion.

The Quakers are solid across all weight classes, and could place all ten wrestlers.. Rollie Peterkin (125) and Cesar Grajales (149) are arguably their best competitors. Peterkin was a backup to EIWA champion Matt Eveleth last season and will make a bid for his own title this season. Grajales was third at 141 as a freshman, but was slowed by injuries in 2007. Senior Rob Hitschler has emerged as a leader at 157, and Zach Shanaman has been a steady force at 165. Jeff Zannetti and freshman Scott Giffin have been sharing duties at 174, while senior Lior Zamir has been nationally ranked at 184. Sophomore Thomas Shovlin, sidelined by injuries his freshman year and much of this season has come on strong at 197. Trey McLean, a transfer from the Air Force Academy, has seen considerable success at heavyweight.

Navy is led by two defending wrestling champions, Matt Stolpinski at 174 and Ed Prendergast at heavyweight. Both have over 30 wins this season, and Prendergast is one of the pin leaders in the conference.
The Mids are also solid from top to bottom, and it’s possible they could qualify at least eight wrestlers.

Talented Joe Baker, who was an NCAA Qualifier a year ago, returns at 133, Freshman Bryce Saddoris , with 30 wins to his credit, has had an outstanding season at 149. Casey Caldwell has come on strong at 184, with Matt Parsons, who spent most of the season at 184, moving back to 197, where he placed a year ago. Senior Spencer Manley spent most of the season at 149, but moved up to 157 when beaten out by Saddoris.

Here is a look at the tournament by weight class:
125-- The upset of Peterkin by Rodriguez makes seeding here somewhat of a challenge. Peterkin has been ranked Top 10 nationally most of the season, and has defeated the only other serious challenger, Fernando Martinez of Army, 8-2. Martinez and Rodriguez have not met. Columbia’s Brandon Kinney, who placed third in 2007 by beating Martinez, defeated Rodriguez 3-2. Princeton freshman Tony Comunale, who has defeated Kinney 4-1, but lost to Rodriguez 9-8 looks like a possible NCAA qualifier, as does sophomore Jake Bucha of F&M, who has an 8-3 win over Comunale.

133-- This is a very deep weight class, and it would not be surprising to see the coaches select two wild cards here. Grey, who is ranked Top 4 nationally, will be the unanimous choice for #1 seed, followed by Seth Ciasulli of Lehigh. Bucknell’s David Marble is a returning NCAA Qualifier who has beaten Navy’s Baker, also a returning qualifier, 8-5 back in November. Brown’s Jeff Schell owns a 3-2 win over Whitt Dunning of Army, who has 23 wins this season.

141-- Army’s Matt Kyler, a returning finalist and one of the leading pinners in the EIWA this season, is the likely #1 seed. He will be challenged by Kyle Borshoff of American, a returning NCAA Qualifier, who has defeated high-scoring Steve Adamcsik of Rutgers 8-4. Freshman Corey Jantzen of Harvard missed much of the season with an injury, but returned to action for the last weekend of the season with two impressive wins. His credentials are solid, and is capable of upsetting one or more wrestlers seeded above him. Rick Rappo has been a steady performer for the Quakers, while Frey, who was a finalist at 133 a year ago, has seen limited time in competition this season, and is a somewhat unknown quality. ESU senior Sean Carr, who owns a 7-4 win over Kyler, is a potential NCAA qualifier.

149-- Harvard’s J. P. O’Connor was second to Leen at 149 a year ago, and his record is 21-1, so he will be the #1 seed. Trevor Chinn of Lehigh, second two years ago, beat Grajales in overtime on the last day of the dual meet season, so he will be seeded #2. Saddoris is a mat-savvy freshman with 30 wins who is capable of upsetting anyone seeded above him. Meagher is also a freshman who would be seeded higher but for a close 2-1 loss to Saddoris, and is also a threat to finish higher than his seed. Keep an eye on Bucknell freshman Kevin LeValley, who posted a 9-0 shutout of Saddoris back in November, as well as an 8-4 win over Navy’s Spencer Manley (now moved up to 157).

157-- As a returning champion who has defeated every conference opponent he has wrestled, Leen get the #1 seed. The rest of the weight class is wide open, with returning NCAA Qualifier Dave Nakasone of Lehigh, 8-0 against EIWA opponents, the likely #2 seed. Penn’s Rob Hitschler looks like the #3 seed despite an early season 6-5 loss to Chris Norrell of Rutgers. Manley, the All-Academy champion, moved up from 149 for the last few weeks of the season.

165-- Fans can look forward to a great finals bout between Mike Cannon of American and Cornell’s Lewnes, both projected as probable All-Americans this season. Cannon was runnerip To Anceravage a year ago, and will cop the #1 seed, although Lewnes has been ranked a bit higher in some national polls. Bucknell sophomore Andy Rendos, third as a freshman, is back, and will be seeded third. Penn’s Shanaman looks like a probable NCAA Qualifier.

174-- Regardless of who gets the top seed, a finals bout between Anceravage and Stolpinski will be eagerly awaited by fans, and virtually certain to happen. Franklin & Marshall will be bidding to have their first NCAA qualifier in ten years, as Justin Herbert, one of the conference leaders in pins, along with Anceravage, takes the mats. Herbert has a sparkling 23-2 record, with one of his losses coming at the hands of Stolpinski. Lehigh Freshman Alex Caruso looks like a probable NCAA Qualifier, and so does fellow freshman Scott Giffin of Penn, if he can beat out senior Jeff Zannetti for the right to represent his team.

184-- It looks like Army senior Scott Ferguson will get the top seed, as he owns a win by fall over Lior Zamir of Penn. Arnone will be in the hunt for a title, but will likely be seeded third because of a 4-3 loss to Zamir. The battle for the fourth qualifier slot will be intense, between Navy’s Casey Caldwell, Brown’s Matt Gevelinger, and Bucknell freshman David Thompson. Gevelinger has defeated Thompson (5-2), who has defeated Caldwell in overtime.

197-- Glenn will be the unanimous choice for top seed, but the rest of this weight class is wide open. Kerber’s story has already been related above. It appears that wrestlers ranked #2 - #6 are pretty evenly matched. Columbia senior Nick Sommerfeld has lost to Kerber in overtime, but owns a 6-5 win over Branden Stearns of Brown. Lamar Brown of Rutgers has a 10-3 win over Stearns, but lost 7-4 to Army’s Richard Starks, who lost 3-2 to Thomas Shovlin of Penn. Shovlin’s only conference loss was 3-2 to Kerber, so he may get the #3 seed.

285-- Navy senior Ed Prendergast will be the unanimous choice for #1 seed. The next three seeds are up for grabs between Trey McLean of Penn, Nathan Thobaben of Army and Levon Mock of Brown. Mock owns a 12-3 win over McLean in the finals of the Keystone Classic. McLean beat Thobaben 11-4 in a dual meet, as well as a 13-6 win over Hammond in the bout where Hammond’s season was ended by injury. Thobaben has a win by fall over Mock in the opening round of the Brockport Invitational back in November, but has losses to both Chris Birchler of ESU and Jochym. Mock has a late-season pin of Jochym to his credit.

Those who like to plan ahead will be interested to know that that the 2009 EIWA Championships are tentatively scheduled for Penn.

2008 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships Preview

2008 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships Preview
Joshua Schroeder Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The 35th Annual NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships are set for this Friday and Saturday, March 7-8, at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The two-day event, which features 160 wrestlers from 59 schools, is being hosted by Coe College, Cornell College, and the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Last year, Augsburg rode nine All-Americans, including three champions, to its Division III-record 10th crown. The Auggies posted 135.5 points to outdistance Wartburg (99.5), UW-La Crosse (92.5), and Luther (86).

This year’s field of 160 sports three returning national champions – David Morgan of King’s (Pa.) at 133 pounds, Josh Chelf of UW-La Crosse at 174, and Wartburg’s T.J. Miller at 197. There are a total of 34 former All-Americans in the draw, including three – Chelf, Buena Vista’s Jestin Hulegaard (133), and SUNY Brockport’s Shaheim Bradshaw (165) – who are looking to become four-time All-Americans.

No. 1-ranked Wartburg captured the title at January’s National Duals and has to be considered a favorite to capture its sixth NCAA title since 1996. The Knights qualified a Championship-best nine wrestlers, including four who are top-ranked in the most recent NWCA/Brute-Adidas individual rankings – Jacob Naig (149), Aaron Wernimont (157), Romeo Djoumessi (184), and Miller (197). Jacob Naig tops the most recent NWCA/Brute-Adidas individual rankings at 149, while Aaron Wernimont heads the list at 157, Romeo Djoumessi is No. 1 at 184 and Miller is first at 197. Of their other qualifiers, Robert Struthers (4th at 125), Jacob Helvey (4th at 133), Matt Kelly (3rd at 141), and Brian Borchers (3rd at 285) are all seeded.

No. 2 Delaware Valley and No. 3 Wisconsin-La Crosse each bring eight wrestlers to the Championships, while No. 4 Augsburg has seven wrestlers in the draw.

Delaware Valley has three wrestlers – Dan Hall (141), Michael Wilcox (184), and Kyle Bilquist (285) – seeded second entering the Championships and two others in the top eight. UW-La Crosse has five seeded wrestlers, led by No. 1 seeds Tim Palmer (165) and Chelf. Willy Holst (2nd at 149), Travis Lang (3rd at 133), Seth Flodeen (6th at 125), and Robert Gotreau (7th at 184) are all seeded for the Auggies.

Each of No. 5 Elmhurst’s four national qualifiers is seeded. All-American Jake Oster (125) and Kyle Katz (157) are third, while Jeff Kastel (149) is fifth and Mark Corsello (285) is sixth.

Championship co-hosts No. 6 Coe and No. 8 Cornell each have five qualifiers, three that are seeded. Two-time All-American Chris Heilman, the top-seed and No. 1-ranked wrestler at 125, leads the Ram contingent. 2007 All-American Pat McAuley (157) is seeded seventh, while Nick Nothern (133) is sixth. For the Kohawks, Clayton Rush (125) and Tyler Burkle (165) are each seeded second, while Tyler Jentz (174) is seeded seventh.

No. 7 Wisconsin-Stevens Point has pointed six individuals toward Eastern Iowa, three of whom are seeded. Eric Bath, a returning All-American at 174, is seeded second, while Craig Bollig (4th at 197) and Ben Engelland (5th at 184) also received seeds.

No. 9 North Central has only three qualifiers, but all are seeded. Two-time All-American Adam Johnson (133) is seeded first, while brothers Ben (165) and Gabe (184) Youel are seeded sixth and third, respectively. Heidelberg, rated 10th nationally, brings five wrestlers to Cedar Rapids, including the seeded Nicholas Sanchez (6th at 141), Ryan Fogliano (5th at 197), and Ryan Bowers (5th at 285).

Adding to the local flavor, No. 14 Luther has six qualifiers, including four who are seeded. The Norse are led by Alec Bonander (2nd at 197), John Miller (7th at 285), and Travis Grawin (8th at 141), all former All-Americans. Erik Hanson (5th at 157) was also awarded a seed.


125 – Heilman (Cornell) and Rush (Coe) are the top seeds, but Eracleo Vallejo (Manchester) and Flodeen (Augsburg) have each held the top spot during the season. Heilman, Flodeen, Vallejo, Oster (Elmhurst), and Kyle Flickinger (York) are all returning All-Americans from a year ago. Vallejo is unseeded and could face No. 3-seed Oster in the second round.

133 – Adam Johnson (North Central) may be the top seed, but David Morgan (King’s) is still the defending national champion. They are among five returning All-Americans at this weight. Jestin Hulegaard (Buena Vista) is a three-time All-American, but has a potential match-up with Johnson in the quarterfinals. All-Americans Jacob Helvey (Wartburg) and Jordan Kolinski (UW-La Crosse) are also in Johnson’s half of the bracket.

141 – Top-seed Mike Bonora (Rhode Island College) is the highest returning placewinner (6th) and has not dropped from the top spot in the rankings all year. He has not lost to a D3 opponent this year. A three-time qualifier, No. 2-seed Dan Hall (Delaware Valley) has posted wins over No. 5 David Manoogian (Case Western Reserve), No. 8 Travis Grawin (Luther), and Jason Adams (Augsburg). Matt Kelly (Wartburg) came on strong at the end of the season, posting an 18-1 record to take the spot away from 2006 and 2007 NCAA qualifier Zach McKray. Grawin is seeded eighth, but knows how to battle, finishing seventh last season after dropping his first match.

149 – No. 1-seed Jacob Naig (Wartburg) has been the top ranked wrestler at this weight most of the season. Willy Holst (Augsburg) makes a strong case as a No. 2 seed, winning the Great Lakes Regional and posting a 26-2 record. No. 3 seed Elliott Spence (Mt. St. Joseph) has moved down a weight after earning All-America honors each of the past two years at 157. No. 4 Paul LeBlanc (SUNY Cortland) is also a returning All-American after taking fourth at 141 in 2006. Unseeded Ryan Higgins (UW-Platteville) placed eighth at this weight a year ago, but it will not be easy to repeat the feat as he faces Naig right off the bat in a second round match.

157 – Wernimont (Wartburg) has been at or near the top of the rankings all season. The top seed, Wernimont is 36-1 with just a loss to Iowa State’s Cyler Sanderson and has posted wins over No. 2 Jason Brew (Olivet), No. 3 Kyle Katz (Elmhurst), No. 5 Erik Hanson (Loras), and No. 7 Pat McAuley (Cornell). McAuley is the only other All-American at this weight.

165 – With 18 qualifiers, 165 ties 125 as the largest weight class at this year’s Championships. No. 1-seed Tim Palmer (UW-La Crosse), who took third at last year’s meet, has been the top-ranked wrestler in the weight class all year long. Tyler Burkle (Coe) is undefeated and seeded second with wins over four wrestlers in the draw. No. 5-seed Shaheim Bradshaw (SUNY Brockport), a three-time All-American, has wrestled well at the NCAA Championships. Gino Russo (Baldwin-Wallace), who took sixth last season, is seeded third.

174 – The top three finishers at last year’s meet are all back for another chance at a title. Defending national champion and three-time All-American Josh Chelf (UW-La Crosse) is the No. 1 seed, followed by last year’s third-place finisher Eric Bath (UW-Stevens Point) and 2007 runner-up Kyle Vanderhyde (Olivet).

184 – Djoumessi (Wartburg) is undefeated and has been the top-ranked wrestler at the weight all season. He owns wins over each of the other top-4 seeds and is the highest returning placewinner from last season (fourth). No. 6 Nick Coleman (NYU) and No. 8 Jay Figgins (Loras) are also returning All-Americans at 184. The trio are joined by No. 7 Robert Gotreau (Augsburg) and unseeded Treavor LeBlanc (SUNY Cortland), who were both All-Americans at 174 in 2007.

197 – T.J. Miller (Wartburg) is the defending national champion, but has been taken to overtime twice by No. 2-seed Alec Bonander (Luther). No. 3 Paul Hartt (Lakeland) and No. 4 Craig Bollig (UW-Stevens Point), have each spent most of the season in the top four of the national rankings.

285 – No. 1-seed Trevor Hiffa (Oneonta St.), a returning Wrestling All-American, is undefeated against Division III competition this season. Kyle Bilquist (Delaware Valley) is seeded second, with Brian Borchers (Wartburg) third. Borchers has emerged from the shadow of four-time finalist Blake Gillis, steadily climbing the national rankings during the season. No. 4 Jaran Rutledge (Knox) is the highest returning placewinner, taking third for the Prairie Fire last season. No. 7 John Miller (Luther) is a two-time qualifier that earned All-America honors in 2006.

2008 MAC Wrestling Championships: Tournament Preview

2008 MAC Wrestling Championships: Tournament Preview/Results/Discussion
MAC Wrestling Championships
Mid-American Conference

The 2008 Mid-American Conference wrestling championships will take place this weekend and hosted by Kent State University on Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8.

Defending champion Central Michigan will be seeking its seventh consecutive league title. The Chippewas are 16-2 overall and completed a perfect 5-0 conference record. CMU 197-pounder Wynn Michalak will be going for his fourth consecutive MAC title. Only Kent State’s Brent Thompson and Ohio’s Russ Johnson (197-73) have won four consecutive individual MAC titles.

CMU is ranked No. 2 nationally and Kent State is listed No. 21 in the latest rankings by USA TODAY/Intermat /NCWA Division I Coaches poll.

Six weight classes feature at least two wrestlers ranked nationally in the Intermat Division I Wrestling Rankings.
At 133, Pat Castillo of Northern Illinois is No. 11, Sean Clair of Eastern Michigan is No. 15 and Dan Mitcheff of Kent State is No. 19.

No. 13 Eric Kruger of Central Michigan and No. 17 Drew Lashaway of Kent State will compete at 141.

13th-ranked Kurt Gross of Kent State and 14th-ranked Trevor Stewart of Central Michigan could battle for the title at 165.

Brandon Sinnott of Central Michigan is fourth in the nation at 174. Also ranked in the weight class is No. 13 Duke Burk of Northern Illinois.

At 184, Christian Sinnott of Central Michigan is fourth and Eric Cine of Kent State is 20th.

In the heavyweight division No. 8 Bubba Gritter of Central Michigan and No. 10 Jermail Porter of Kent State will compete.

Two other individuals stand alone as nationally-ranked college wrestlers in their respective weight classes. At 197, Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan is fourth in the nation. Luke Smith, also of Central Michigan, is ranked 18th at 125.

The complete schedule of events follows.

2008 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships
March 7-8 -- Kent State University
M.A.C. Center

Friday March 7, 2008
Weigh-In – 10 AM
Session I: First Round – 12-2 PM
Doors open to the public at 10:30 AM
Session II: Semi-Finals & Wrestle-Backs- 7 PM
Doors open to the public at 5:30 PM

Saturday March 8, 2008
Weigh-In – 11 AM
Session III: Finals & Consolation Finals – 12-2 PM
Doors open to the public at 10:30 AM
Final Round for True Second Place (If Necessary) – 2 PM

Single Session: $5.00 Adults/$3 Senior Citizens & Students
All-Session: $10.00 Adults/$5 Senior Citizens & Students

March 6, 2008

Big Ten weight-by-weight preview and predictions

Big Ten weight-by-weight preview and predictions
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

The Big Ten Championships are set for this Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

The top seven finishers in each weight class, plus two wild cards overall, will advance to the NCAA Championships on March 20-22 in St. Louis.

Nine of the 11 Big Ten teams are ranked in the nation’s top 20 by InterMat. They include No. 1 Iowa, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 10 Illinois, No. 11 Michigan, No. 13 Northwestern and No. 20 Indiana.

Iowa rolled to the title at the National Duals and has to be considered the clear favorite to win the Big Ten title after going unbeaten in league duals. If Minnesota’s key wrestlers are healthy, the returning Big Ten and NCAA team champion Gophers will definitely be in the mix as well.

The Big Ten features a pair of past NCAA champions in Iowa’s Mark Perry (165) and Minnesota’s Dustin Schlatter (149). Perry is a returning national champion and Schlatter won an NCAA title in 2006.

Here is a weight-by-weight breakdown of the 2008 Big Ten Championships:


Minnesota's Jayson Ness, ranked No. 1 in the country, placed fifth in the nation last year. He is a returning Big Ten champion. Ness is 33-0 this season and has been racking up major bonus points all season.

Among his biggest wins was a triumph over returning national champion Paul Donahoe of Nebraska.

Second-ranked Charlie Falck, second at the 2007 Big Tens, has had a very strong season but dropped a lopsided match to Ness in a dual this year. Falck is a returning All-American.

Ness hasn’t faced third-ranked Angel Escobedo of Indiana this season. Escobedo beat Ness at last year’s NCAA tournament. Escobedo placed fourth in the country in 2007. He dropped his only match of the season to Falck in a dual meet at Iowa.

Fifth-ranked Brandon Precin of Northwestern is another top wrestler to watch here. He was second at the Midlands Championships. Two other wrestlers who could contend are eighth-ranked Gabe Flores of Illinois and No. 9 Mark McKnight of Penn State.

Wisconsin’s Collin Cudd is ranked 20th.’s pick: Ness


Minnesota senior Mack Reiter is a two-time All-American, but is nationally ranked below four other wrestlers in his own conference. Reiter is ranked No. 9 nationally.

Jimmy Kennedy of Illinois is now ranked third after scoring a recent win over now-No. 4 Joey Slaton of Iowa. Michigan State’s Franklin Gomez is ranked fifth after coming up short of qualifying for nationals last season at 125. Kennedy, Slaton and Gomez are all sophomores.

Slaton will compete in his first Big Ten tournament after transferring to Iowa from Virginia Tech.

Wisconsin’s Zach Tanelli, ranked eighth, also will be in the mix here as will No. 12 Andrae Hernandez of Indiana and No. 13 Reece Humphrey of Ohio State.

Reiter, who did not place at NCAAs in 2007 after returning late in the season from a knee injury, has struggled at times this season. It will be interesting to see if Reiter, a senior, can return to the form of his freshman and sophomore seasons in the postseason.’s pick: Slaton


This looks like one of the most wide-open weight classes of the tournament with no clear-cut favorite.

Michigan true freshman Kellen Russell, ranked No. 1 earlier in the season, enters the Big Tens ranked fourth nationally. Wisconsin’s Kyle Ruschell is ranked fifth, Iowa’s Dan LeClere is No. 6, Ohio State’s J Jaggers is No. 7 and Minnesota’s Manuel Rivera is No. 8. Jaggers placed seventh at nationals last season.

Penn State freshman Garrett Scott is ranked 10th. Teammate Jake Strayer, an All-American at 133 last year, had been ranked as high as No. 2 this season. But Scott ended up winning the starting spot for Penn State.’s pick: Rivera


Watching this weight class alone will be worth more than the price of admission this weekend.

To say this weight class is loaded is a huge understatement. Wrestling fans are salivating about the prospect of watching all these talented wrestlers competing at the Big Tens.

This class starts with top-ranked Brent Metcalf of Iowa. Metcalf is unbeaten against Big Ten opponents, but is yet to face 2006 NCAA champion Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota. Schlatter, a two-time Big Ten champion, was out with an injury when the teams met in a dual.

Schlatter and Metcalf last met when Schlatter beat Metcalf in the finals of the Senior High School Nationals in 2005.

This weight class also includes two runner-up finishers from the 2007 NCAA tournament in Josh Churella of Michigan and Ryan Lang of Northwestern. Lang was second at 141 last year and won the Big Ten title at 141.

Then you throw in returning All-American Lance Palmer of Ohio State, 2007 Junior World freestyle champion Bubba Jenkins of Penn State and the dangerous Jake Patacsil of Purdue. That’s seven wrestlers ranked in the nation’s top nine in one poll.

Palmer caught and pinned Schlatter in a recent dual.

The first college matchup between prized recruits Metcalf and Schlatter is what fans are clamoring to see. But they have to reach the final round first against a very talented field.’s pick: Metcalf


This may be the Big Ten’s second-strongest weight class besides 149.

Wisconsin’s Craig Henning is a returning NCAA runner-up, but he may be the No. 4 seed for the Big Ten Tournament.

All-American Mike Poeta of Illinois has to be considered the favorite. Poeta is ranked second nationally and owns a win over top-ranked Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro. Gillespie was the NCAA champion at 149 last year before bumping up to 157 this year.

All-Americans Brandon Becker of Indiana and C.P. Schlatter of Minnesota also are ranked in the top six nationally as is Penn State’s Dan Vallimont. Becker is No. 4, Schlatter No. 6 and Vallimont No. 3. Schlatter is the returning Big Ten champion at 157. Schlatter also owns a win over Gillespie this season.

Michigan’s Jeff Marsh, ranked 15th, and Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar, ranked 16th, also could be a factor here. Marsh beat Poeta in a dual meet this season.’s pick: Poeta


The big question here obviously is how healthy is Mark Perry, Iowa’s three-time All-American.

This will be Perry’s first competition in nearly two months after he underwent knee surgery. Perry, the returning Big Ten champion at 165, has delivered in big competitions in his career. He’s placed second, third and first in the NCAAs for the Hawkeyes.

Perry still looks like the man to beat here, but will face strong opposition from three-time All-American Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan. Perry beat Tannenbaum, who is ranked third, in the Big Ten finals last year. Perry beat Tannenbaum 4-1 earlier this season at the National Duals.

This weight class also includes 11th-ranked Tyler Safratowich of Minnesota, No. 12 Colt Sponseller of Ohio State and No. 15 Matt Coughlin of Indiana. Sponseller, a freshman, has looked impressive in compiling a 16-2 record. Coughlin was an All-American last season at 149 before bumping up two weight classes this year.’s pick: Perry


Barring an upset, Michigan’s second-ranked Steve Luke and Iowa’s third-ranked Jay Borschel will meet in the Big Ten finals.

Borschel edged Luke at the National Duals before Luke returned the favor with a win over Borschel in a Big Ten dual meet.

Luke, a junior, placed sixth nationally last year after moving up from 157 to 174. Luke is a returning Big Ten champion. Borschel, a sophomore, is competing in his first postseason this year after transferring from Virginia Tech.

The Big Ten has five other ranked wrestlers at 174. They include No. 11 Gabe Dretsch of Minnesota, No. 12 Nick Hayes of Northwestern, No. 15 John Dergo of Illinois, No. 16 Dave Erwin of Penn State and No. 17 Nick Corpe of Purdue.

Dretsch is a veteran who could provide a big boost for the Gophers this postseason.’s pick: Borschel


The health of past NCAA runner-up Roger Kish of Minnesota likely will hold the key to what happens here.

Kish, a 2006 Big Ten champion, has been hampered by injuries this year and is ranked ninth nationally.

Two other returning All-Americans – Ohio State’s Mike Pucillo and Michigan’s Tyrel Todd – have emerged as the favorites at 184. Pucillo is ranked second nationally, one spot ahead of Todd.

Todd beat Pucillo in the fifth-place match at the 2007 NCAA tournament. Todd pinned Pucillo in overtime in the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational before Pucillo edged Todd 6-5 in a recent dual meet.

Iowa sophomore Phil Keddy, who has made huge improvement since last season, is ranked seventh in the country. Penn State’s Phil Bomberger is ranked 14th.’s pick: Todd


This should be another very good battle between three very good wrestlers at 197.

Penn State’s Phil Davis is a three-time NCAA All-American who placed second at nationals in 2006. Davis is ranked third, one spot behind Mike Tamillow of Northwestern. Tamillow, seventh in the nation last year, beat Davis 6-1 in a recent dual meet.

Tamillow is the returning Big Ten champion at 197.

Wisconsin’s Dallas Herbst, who fell one win short of All-American honors last year, is ranked sixth in the country.

The Big Ten also has ranked wrestlers here in No. 11 Patrick Bond of Illinois, No. 15 Joe Williams of Michigan State and No. 19 Anthony Biondo of Michigan.’s pick: Davis


Ohio State’s top-ranked J.D. Bergman, a two-time All-American at 197, is 27-1 in his first season at heavyweight.

Bergman’s only loss is to third-ranked Dustin Fox of Northwestern. Fox’s only loss this season is to No. 2 Kyle Massey of Wisconsin.

Fox placed third at NCAAs last year while Bergman took fourth at 197.

Two-time NCAA qualifier Matt Fields of Iowa is looking to finally make a splash in his final trip into the postseason. Fields, a senior, is ranked No. 6 in the country. He is 27-6 this season. His performances at Big Tens and NCAAs could hold the key to Iowa’s title hopes.

John Wise of Illinois is ranked 13th nationally.’s pick: Bergman


The Hawkeyes are very strong in 9 of 10 weight classes, and could score big points in every one of those divisions. Iowa is looking very strong. The biggest question for the Hawkeyes will be how all of their young wrestlers respond in their first trip to the postseason.

Minnesota is capable of pushing Iowa for the team title, but with so many key wrestlers battling injuries this year it may be tough for the Gophers to overtake the Hawkeyes.

Michigan and Ohio State have a handful of very good wrestlers capable of contending for titles, but may not quite have the overall depth to challenge for the team title. Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Northwestern also could make a splash in the team race.'s pick: Iowa

For wrestling videos from all of these wrestling matches, check out the torrent search.

March 4, 2008

Big Ten Conference Tournament Pre-Seeds Announced

Big Ten Conference Tournament Pre-Seeds Announced
DATE: 3/3/2008 7:00:00 PM
By Ryan Sheets
Big Ten Conference

Conference officials announced the preliminary seeds for the 2008 Big Ten Wrestling Championships today. The pre-seeds are determined by a vote amongst the conference’s head wrestling coaches after consideration of regular-season results. This year’s Big Ten Wrestling Championships will take place on the campus of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. at Williams Arena on March 8-9. The official Big Ten Championships bracket will be set on Friday, March 7.

Six different schools are represented as No. 1 seeds in the 10 weight classes. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State all lead the way with the most top seeds at two each.

Illinois’ James Kennedy (25-4 at 133) and Mike Poeta (26-2 at 157) represent the Illini as top pre-seeds for this year’s event. Kennedy is currently ranked No. 3 nationally at 133, and Poeta is No. 2 at 157, which is best in the conference in both classes.

Brent Metcalf (30-1 at 149) and Mark Perry (18-2 at 165) earned top-billing for Iowa. The Hawkeyes were Big Ten regular season dual champions and are currently the No. 1 nationally-ranked team. Metcalf is the top-ranked wrestler in the land at 149. Perry is the defending Big Ten champion at 165 after defeating this year’s No. 2 seed Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan in the 2007 finale. Perry is also ranked No. 1 in the nation at 165.

Michigan’s top seeds consist of Kellen Russell (26-5 at 141) and Steve Luke (27-3 at 174). Russell is ranked fourth in the country and finished with a 9-1 record in Big Ten matches. Luke will defend his 174 lbs. title this year after winning the Big Ten crown with a 5-2 decision over Penn State’s James Yonushonis in last year’s championship bout.

Mike Pucillo (25-1 at 184) and J.D. Bergman (27-1 at Hwt.) represent Ohio State as No. 1 pre-seeds. The Buckeyes finished second in the Big Ten regular season dual standings this year. Pucillo’s only loss this season came to Michigan’s Tyrel Todd. Todd was voted as the No. 2 pre-seed for this year’s event. Bergman’s lone loss also came to the No. 2 seed at Hwt. in Northwestern’s Dustin Fox.

Rounding out the top seeds are Minnesota’s Jayson Ness (33-0 at 125) and Northwestern’s Mike Tamillow (27-2 at 197). Ness hopes to lead the Golden Gophers to their third consecutive Big Ten Championship and repeat as individual champion at 125. Tamillow is in search of his second consecutive 197 lbs. title after winning at last year’s competition.

Last year Minnesota won the conference championship with a score of 156 points and had four wrestlers win individual titles. Wisconsin (100.5) placed second and Iowa (91), Penn State (90.5) and Indiana (85) rounded out the top five.

The complete list of pre-seeds follows.


125 lbs.
1. Jayson Ness, Minnesota
2. Charlie Falck, Iowa
3. Angel Escobedo, Indiana
4. Brandon Precin, Northwestern
5. Gabriel Flores, Illinois
6. Mark McKnight, Penn State
7. Nikko Triggas, Ohio State
8. Collin Cudd, Wisconsin

133 lbs.
1. James Kennedy, Illinois
2. Joe Slaton, Iowa
3. Franklin Gomez, Michigan State
4. Zach Tanelli, Wisconsin
5. Mack Reiter, Minnesota
6. Andrae Hernandez, Indiana
7. Reece Humphrey, Ohio State
8. Tim Haas, Penn State

141 lbs.
1. Kellen Russell, Michigan
2. Kyle Ruschell, Wisconsin
3. J Jaggers, Ohio State
4. Dan LeClere, Iowa
5. Garrett Scott, Penn State
6. Manuel Rivera, Minnesota
7. Keith Sulzer, Northwestern
8. Ryan Prater, Illinois

149 lbs.
1. Brent Metcalf, Iowa
2. Joshua Churella, Michigan
3. Dustin Schlatter, Minnesota
4. Bubba Jenkins, Penn State
5. Lance Palmer, Ohio State
6. Jake Patacsil, Purdue
7. Ryan Lang, Northwestern
8. Grant Paswell, Illinois

157 lbs.
1. Michael Poeta, Illinois
2. Dan Vallimont, Penn State
3. Brandon Becker, Indiana
4. C.P. Schlatter, Minnesota
5. Craig Henning, Wisconsin
6. Jeff Marsh, Michigan
7. Ryan Morningstar, Iowa
8. John Fulger, Michigan State

165 lbs.
1. Mark Perry, Iowa
2. Eric Tannenbaum, Michigan
3. Tyler Safratowich, Minnesota
4. Colt Sponseller, Ohio State
5. Roger Smith-Bergsrud, Illinois
6. Matt Coughlin, Indiana
7. Dave Rella, Penn State
8. Rex Kendle, Michigan State

174 lbs.
1. Steve Luke, Michigan
2. Jay Borschel, Iowa
3. Gabriel Dretsch, Minnesota
4. Nick Hayes, Northwestern
5. John Dergo, Illinois
6. David Erwin, Penn State
7. Nick Corpe, Purdue
8. Dan Clum, Wisconsin

184 lbs.
1. Mike Pucillo, Ohio State
2. Tyrel Todd, Michigan
3. Phil Keddy, Iowa
4. Roger Kish, Minnesota
5. Phil Bomberger, Penn State
6. Marc Bennett, Indiana
7. Ben Friedl, Illinois
8. A.J. Kissel, Purdue

197 lbs.
1. Mike Tamillow, Northwestern
2. Phil Davis, Penn State
3. Patrick Bond, Illinois
4. Dallas Herbst, Wisconsin
5. Joe Williams, Michigan State
6. Justin Bronson, Minnesota
T7. Chad Beatty, Iowa
T7. Anthony Biondo, Michigan

1. J.D. Bergman, Ohio State
2. Dustin Fox, Northwestern
3. Kyle Massey, Wisconsin
4. Matt Fields, Iowa
5. John Wise, Illinois
6. Chris Kasten, Purdue
7. John Laboranti, Penn State
8. Ben Berhow, Minnesota

February 29, 2008

An Insane Listing of Wrestling Tournament Videos (Events)

Here is a pretty good collection of NCAA Wrestling Tournament's, Olympics, and High School Wrestling Events.

Gregor Gillespie ready to make run at becoming Edinboro's first two-time NCAA champion

Gregor Gillespie ready to make run at becoming Edinboro's first two-time NCAA champion
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Watch the Finals Match from 2007 verses Josh Churella

Gregor Gillespie was back home in New York on a hot summer night, grilling out with his family when the phone rang.

The person on the other end tried to disguise his voice, but Gillespie knew exactly who was calling.

It was Edinboro coach Tim Flynn.

“Coach Flynn calls me the summer after my freshman year and says, ‘This is Dustin Schlatter, I just did 300 sit-ups. Can I get my second gold medal now?’? Gillespie says with a laugh. “He wasn’t trying to knock Schlatter, he was just trying to motivate me to work hard and get me to believe I could beat him. Flynn kept telling me every day I was going to be the guy who was going to be on the top of the podium.?

Flynn’s frequent summer calls and his daily assurances to Gillespie that he was good enough to win a national title became reality late last March in Auburn Hills, Mich. That’s when Gillespie stunned many wrestling observers by winning the NCAA title at 149 pounds.

Seventh at the NCAAs as a true freshman at 149 pounds, Gillespie knocked off Schlatter 3-2 in the semifinals and halted the Minnesota wrestler's 65-match winning streak. Schlatter won the NCAA title as a true freshman in 2006.

The fifth-seeded Gillespie followed by beating No. 3 seed Josh Churella of Michigan 3-1 in overtime in the finals.

Now a junior, the 21-year-old Gillespie has bumped up to 157 pounds and has his sights set on becoming Edinboro’s first two-time NCAA champion. Gillespie is 29-2 this year and ranked No. 1 by InterMat.

“It has made a world of difference for me,? Gillespie said of the move up to 157. “Life’s a lot easier now. I am eating more and eating better, I have more energy in practice, I can lift more and my schoolwork is a lot better this year. It was a tough cut to 149.?

His losses this season came to All-Americans Mike Poeta of Illinois and C.P. Schlatter of Minnesota. Poeta and Schlatter, Dustin’s older brother, also have been ranked No. 1 this season.

“I learned a lot from wrestling those guys,? said Gillespie, who is 103-8 in his career. “It was huge for me to see them during the season. I don’t want to face that caliber of wrestler for the first time at nationals. I watched film of those matches and I know there are some areas I can improve on against those guys.?

Gillespie, from Webster, N.Y., was not heavily recruited despite winning a pair of New York state high school titles. He placed third at Senior High School Nationals after falling to Brent Metcalf in the semifinals. Metcalf, now at Iowa and ranked No. 1 at 149 this year, then lost to Dustin Schlatter in the finals.

Edinboro has provided the perfect fit for Gillespie.

“I didn’t really have a lot of schools chasing me,? he said. “Buffalo, UNC-Greensboro, Bloomsburg, they were recruiting me. I had a great time on my visit to Edinboro and I loved the coaching staff. It’s only three hours from home. I can go home and my parents can come watch me wrestle.?

Gillespie, an explosive and physical wrestler, burst onto the college scene quickly. He knocked off a returning starter to win the 149 starting spot for Edinboro as a true freshman.

“We had another pretty good kid at 149 and we figured we would redshirt Gregor if those two were pretty even,? Flynn said. “Gregor was good in practice. But after he beat a pretty good kid 8-0 in the wrestle-off, I was like, ‘Wow, he’s really impressive.’ Lou Rosselli, my assistant at the time, and I looked at each after the match and almost said at the same time, ‘He’s wrestling, we need him.’ You never know how kids are going to transition from high school to college. He jumped in right away and started dominating.?

Gillespie won his first 23 college matches en route to a 40-4 freshman season that culminated with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City.

Gillespie entered the 2007 NCAAs as the No. 5 seed with a 30-2 record. After downing No. 4 seed Jordan Leen of Cornell 6-2 in the quarterfinals, he received his shot at the top-seeded Dustin Schlatter.

“Schlatter had been winning a lot of close matches and wasn’t scoring as many points as he did his freshman year,? Gillespie said. “I felt like if I put together a full seven-minute match I could beat him. I knew if I went after him in the first period and scored offensively I could win the match.?

A first-period takedown by Gillespie proved to be the difference in the one-point match.

“I shot in on a single and he pulled his knee back,? Gillespie said. “I kept a hold of his leg and turned it into a double and got the takedown.?

Flynn said Gillespie had the perfect mindset for the match.

“When you’re a returning national champion and you’ve won 65 straight matches, you obviously have a certain air of invincibility going and Schlatter did,? Flynn said. “The biggest key for Gregor was just believing he could beat a guy like Schlatter. He really believed he could prove everybody wrong and beat him.?

Gillespie had little time to celebrate his big Friday night win over Schlatter. He had to come back strong the next night to beat Churella in front of his home fans in Michigan.

“I was ecstatic the rest of the night after I beat Schlatter, but by the next morning all my focus was on Churella,? Gillespie said. “I didn’t want my claim to fame to be beating Schlatter, I wanted it to be winning the NCAA title.?

Flynn said Gillespie wrestles the way you are supposed to.

“He’s a pleasure to watch,? Flynn said. “He wrestles hard. He’s fast and he can score a lot of points. The fans like watching him compete.?

Gillespie is a unique talent on the mat with a unique personality off it. His name also is unique.

His parents, Susan and Brad, chose to name him Gregor because his mother is 100 percent German. His brother, Torsten, Edinboro’s starting 141-pounder, also has a German name.

Gillespie also is constantly changing his appearance.

He has four tattoos. He has a cross tattooed on his upper left arm and a Superman tattoo on his right arm. After he won his first state title, he had a big American flag with “New York State Champ? tattooed on his left thigh. He also has a pair of praying hands on the inside of his biceps.

“The tattoos are just kind of an expression of my personality and who I am,? he said.

Gillespie said he spent about a month of this season sporting a bleached-blonde Mohawk.

“We’re kind of a goofy team,? Gillespie said. “We’re serious about wrestling, but we like to have a little fun too. Edinboro is a small town, so we have to find a way to have some fun. Coach Flynn and some of the guys on the team didn’t believe me when I said I was going to get a Mohawk, so I did it. My girlfriend is a hairdresser and she gave me one.?

Flynn said Gillespie definitely keeps things interesting.

“He’s quite the character, but above all he’s just a very nice kid,? Flynn said. “He’s real happy-go-lucky and good to be around. He’s also taken on a leadership role on our team.?

Gillespie often can be found with his headphones on before a big match, listening to a variety of music. His music of choice is Country. A big fan of Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney, Gillespie traveled to Las Vegas to see Tim McGraw in concert at the MGM Grand.

“I don’t really listen to music to pump me up,? he said. “It’s more just to help me relax and to keep me from getting too distracted.?

Gillespie is focused on repeating his magical feat from 2007 when he competes at the 2008 NCAA Championships on March 20-22 in St. Louis.

“I’m going to follow the same routine I did last year at nationals,? Gillespie said. “I’m going to do exactly what I did as far as training, eating, getting rest and preparing for the tournament. I’m going to do all the right things. And I’m going to put faith in Tim Flynn’s coaching system and do what he tells me to do. He got me to believe I could beat Dustin Schlatter and now he has me believing I can reach the top of the podium again.?

February 27, 2008

Wade Sauer scratched from Pac 10s

Cal State Fullerton junior heavyweight Wade Sauer has been scratched from this weekend's Pac-10 NCAA Wrestling Championships at Eugene, Oregon, due to a neck injury suffered Feb. 17 in a match at Northern Colorado.

Sauer is ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 5 in the nation. He placed sixth at the 2007 NCAA Championships. He had a 27-3 record including a 17-0 mark in dual matches until he had to default at the end of the first period to Reece Hopkin of Northern Colorado in the final match of the regular season.

Kurt Klimek, a sophomore from Oceanside and Carlsbad High School Wrestling, will replace Sauer in Oregon. Klimek has a 12-4 record but is only 1-0 in dual matches.

February 26, 2008

Mendes Continues on Path of Perfection

More than 1,500 yearning fans heard the announcement they'd been waiting for: No. 1 vs. No. 2.

"At Oklahoma State, it was intense," said John Azevedo, head coach of the Cal Poly College wrestling team. "They make the announcement, 'No. 1 and 2,' and their fans are going wild."

But neither his second-ranked counterpart nor the rabid throng of onlookers in Stillwater, Okla. on Feb. 16 could phase Cal Poly's Chad Mendes, the top-ranked 141-pounder in the country.

After twice trailing, at 2-1 and then 3-2, Mendes took down Nathan Morgan with 10 seconds left in the match to claim a 4-3 victory.

It kept his dual record unblemished, at 22-0 heading into the Pac-10 Conference Championships.

"He was very calm, very poised and pulled out the match," Azevedo said.

Such composure has been a staple this season from the senior from Hanford who, on Dec. 8, pinned defending national champion Minnesota's Manuel Rivera, then the No. 3 grappler in his class, in just a minute and 34 seconds.

Now, Mendes, the eighth Mustang to go undefeated in single-season dual action, has his sights set on becoming Cal Poly's first national champion since Mark DiGirolamo accomplished the feat at 118 pounds in 1976.

As the first Cal Poly wrestler to be slotted No. 1 in 28 years, Mendes says any outside pressure stemming from being bestowed the highest assessment doesn't affect his day-to-day approach.

"It doesn't really bother me too much," Mendes said. "I've always been really close to being at the top, but just have never been quite there. I'm actually just being in the moment, taking this all in and liking it."

A Pac-10 champion in 2006, Mendes cited Cal State Fullerton junior Teddy Astorga, Arizona State freshman Chris Drouin and Boise State freshman Eli Hutchinson among those who might give him the most trouble at the conference championships.

"We've been training to win the Pac-10," Mendes said of his Mustangs (5-8, 4-4 Pac-10), who figure to also be led by sophomore Chase Pami (21-4), now No. 11 at 157. "If everyone does a little better than expected to do in rankings, we can win this, and a lot of the guys on the team are starting to know it, and it's starting to show."

Following the Pac-10 finals, held in Eugene, Ore. beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday and going through Monday, Mendes will turn his attention to the NCAA Championships, held in St. Louis March 20 to 22.

"There are guys out there I haven't wrestled," Mendes said. "I sometimes wonder about that, but it's not something I worry about. I've just got to keep my eyes on the title. I can't let that kind of stuff hold me back or scare me."

Azevedo doesn't seem worried, either.

"Some kids, if they lose early in the season, it sometimes relieves or releases the pressure of being undefeated," he said. "I've seen that, where, 'OK, I've lost and I'm not thinking about that anymore,' but I think as far as Chad is concerned, and we're concerned, the goal is to go undefeated and be a national champion."

Regardless of what transpires at the end of his pursuit of perfection, Mendes likely won't forget the simplest reason for his commitment to the sport: the fun of it.

"It's been fine," he said. "Some people keep asking, 'Is it going to get to you?' and that kind of stuff, but it doesn't bug me. This thing is fun and it doesn't get to me. It's all fun to me."

Wrestling Videos
from the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament and Big 12 Wrestling Tournament will be available shortly after the events. We are still working on securing videos from the PAC 10 Wrestling Tournament.

February 25, 2008

Big 10 and Big 12 Conference Wrestling Tournaments

The Big 10 and Big 12 High School Wrestling Tournaments are about to kick off. You can follow all of the action without heading down to Minneapolis by visiting the Big 10 Wrestling Tournament Results thread. The and this is the thread for the Big 12 Wrestling Tournament results.

The Big Ten Favorite this year is Iowa and the competition level is once again very high. Minneapolis is the perfect stage for the Championships this year, as it will draw in many fans hoping for the upset of the #1 Hawkeyes.

The Big Twelve Favorite is Oklahoma State. Lead by #1 Coleman Scott and Head Coach John Smith, the Cowboys will not go untested.

February 24, 2008

Augsburg wins Great Lakes Regional, qualifies seven to Nationals

Claiming two individual champions and qualifying seven wrestlers to the upcoming national tournament, the Augsburg College wrestling team won its sixth straight NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional championship, in action Saturday at St. John's University's Sexton Arena in the Warner Palaestra.

Augsburg, ranked No. 2 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings, claimed eight placewinners at the meet, winning the tournament with 129.5 points. Elmhurst (Ill.), ranked No. 15 nationally, claimed three champions and qualified four individuals to the national tournament, finishing second with 116.5 points. Concordia-Moorhead placed third with 114.0 points, qualifying three individuals to the national tournament, and North Central (Ill.) was fourth with 109.0, qualifying three individuals to nationals. Host St. John's was fifth with 87.5 points, qualifying three individuals to nationals.

The top two individuals at each weight class, along with three at-large entrants, qualify for the Division III national tournament, to be held March 7-8 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Augsburg's Willy Holst (SO, Prescott, Wis.), ranked No. 2 nationally at 149 pounds, dominated his weight class with four victories, including an opening 18-3, third-period technical-fall win and three major-decision wins -- 12-1 in the quarterfinals, 11-2 in the semifinals and 16-2 in the finals over No. 5-ranked Jeff Kastel of Elmhurst. Holst is now 28-2 on the year. A transfer from the University of Minnesota, Holst will be competing in his first Division III national tournament. He has a collegiate career record of 38-7.

Jason Adams (SO, Coon Rapids, Minn.) also claimed four victories, including a pin and 17-0 technical-fall win, to earn the title at 141 pounds, improving to 27-8 on the season. He scored a 7-4 win over Brent Skorup of Wheaton (Ill.) in the finals to earn a trip to the national tournament for the first time.

Travis Lang (JR, Bismarck, N.D.), ranked No. 1 nationally at 133 pounds, was upset in the finals by a 7-4 decision to Adam Johnson of North Central, ranked No. 3 nationally. Lang, now 35-2 on the year, reached the finals with three first-period pins -- a 42-second pin in the opener, 1:07 pin in the quarterfinals and 2:58 pin in the semifinals. He now has a team-high 19 pins on the year. A transfer from the University of Minnesota, Lang will compete in his first Division III national tournament. He has a collegiate career record of 71-21.

Also finishing second for Augsburg and qualifying for the national tournament was Seth Flodeen (JR, Cannon Falls, Minn.), ranked No. 6 nationally at 125, Beau Hansen (FY, Albert Lea, Minn.) at 157 and George Lynaugh (SR, Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley HS) at 174. Lynaugh won his "true-second" match to qualify for the national meet. Robbie Gotreau (SR, Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson HS), ranked No. 4 nationally at 184, placed third in his weight class but qualified for the national tournament as one of the three at-large selections.

Flodeen claimed a 5:30 pin in his opening match and edged Mogi Baatar of St. John's 10-8 in overtime in the semifinals, but fell 15-12 to No. 4-ranked Jake Oster of Elmhurst (Ill.) in the finals. Flodeen, an All-American and defending national runner-up at 125 last season, is now 21-7 on the season and 74-27 in his three seasons at Augsburg.

Hansen won three matches before falling 8-4 to Elmhurst's Kyle Katz, ranked No. 4 nationally, in the 157-pound finals. Hansen will make his first trip to the national tournament with a 28-7 record.

Lynaugh, a national tournament qualifier last season at 184 pounds, qualified this season at 174, claiming a pin among his three victories leading to the finals, where he was edged 6-4 by Concordia-Moorhead's Phil Moenkedick, ranked No. 10 nationally. He then scored a 2-1 triumph in the "true-second" match over Greg Schroeder of North Central to qualify for the national meet. Lynaugh is now 22-10 on the season and 59-20 in his Augsburg career.

A two-time All-American (fourth, fifth) at 174, Gotreau qualified for his third straight national tournament. He won his opening match by a 13-4 major decision, then claimed a third-period, 16-0 technical fall in the quarterfinals before being pinned by Dustin Baxter of St. John's with seven seconds left in the third period of the semifinals. In the wrestlebacks, Gotreau claimed an 11-2, major-decision win and 10-8 triumph in the third-place match. Gotreau is now 26-11 on the season and 135-37 in his Auggie career.

Augsburg heavyweight Andy Witzel (SO, Fulda, Minn.) finished third in his weight class, but was not among the at-large qualifiers. He want 3-1 on the day to finish 26-15 on the season. Wallace O'Connor (SR, Oshkosh, Wis./Oshkosh West HS) went 1-2 on the day at 197 pounds, as did Brandon Klukow (JR, Albert Lea, Minn.) at 165.

February 23, 2008

Hawkeyes wrap up NCAA Wrestling Duals

The Iowa college wrestling team is ready for its final test of the regular season.

With the Hawkeyes having dismantled the rest of the Big Ten, and just about everybody else in the nation, No. 11 Illinois (12-3, 4-2 Big Ten) is all that stands in the way of the Hawkeyes' outright Big Ten regular-season dual championship and the start of the Big Ten Tournament.

Despite the Hawks' squeaking by with victory margins of four, two, and seven in three of their last four Big Ten matchups after winning by an average of 11.75 in their first four conference duals, Iowa coach Tom Brands said he's not worried about them losing their edge.

"I don't look at it as being crisp or not crisp," he said. "Michigan liked the matchup with us; they always have. We don't have a sense of urgency for whatever reason early in the match sometimes, and from that regard, maybe we're not as crisp.

"... There is no uncertainty going into the dual meet. With this team, there is not a sense of us losing our edge. If anything we are further, and even with being 5-5 with Wisconsin and 5-5 with Michigan, you've gotta realize that our best wrestling is to come."

One wrestler whose found a resurgence as the season progressed is recent Big Ten Wrestler of the Week Chad Beatty.

Wrestling up two weight classes for much of the season, Beatty lost seven of his first nine matches at 197 pounds, but he has since won his last three matches, including a come-from-behind win against Michigan's 15th-ranked Anthony Biondo who had defeated the Wilton, Iowa, native earlier this season, 8-0.

"I've learned to wrestle the bigger guys a lot better than I did at first," the sophomore said. "I've gained a little bit of weight and my coaches have helped me adapt to the different type of match I need to wrestle. I'm using my quickness and trying not to let them get underneath me as much and use their weight to their advantage."

The win against Biondo couldn't have come at a more pressure-packed moment; the Hawkeyes trailed 16-12 with only two matches to go. Beatty snuck in for the winning takedown as time expired, setting the stage for heavyweight Matt Fields to save the day on Senior Day.

"That was probably my No. 1 Hawkeye moment," Beatty said. "It was awesome. The crowd got really got into it; it was a lot of fun."

While Brands lauded Beatty for wrestling smarter and with more patience over his last few matches, he said there is still not a comfort level 197 pounds - the same type of uncertainty growing with Dan LeClere and Ryan Morningstar.

"Chad Beatty - the difference is that he's become smarter. That's a place where a guy like LeClere could be a little bit better and certainly a guy like Morningstar," Brands said. "Beatty continued to improve his position, and Morningstar let the guy weasel and win the position, and there's a difference there."

But before the Hawkeyes bring the conference championship singlets out, they'll have a battle out in Champaign, where Illini wrestlers Gabe Flores, Jimmy Kennedy, Mike Poeta, and Patrick Bond are looking to move up or cement their spot on the top of the Big Ten seedings.

"We've got some potential high seeds, and if you get beat, you never know where you'll end up, and in the Big Ten everybody is beating everybody, so we've got to keep beating everybody, too," Brands said.

"It's the postseason, and that's when it's time to show up," said currently injured reigning NCAA Wrestling champion Mark Perry. "That's why I wrestle college is for the postseason, not the dual meets."

Perry competed in High School Wrestling at Blair Academy.

February 21, 2008

InterMat Division I NCAA Wrestling Rankings 02/19/08

Division 1 College Wrestling Rankings are released weekly by InterMat. These rankings are voted on by the NWMA and Coaches.

Division I NCAA Wrestling Rankings
Rank Team (First) Record Points Previous

1 Iowa 20-1 480 1
2 Nebraska 14-2 468 2
3 Oklahoma State 16-2-1 456 3
4 Central Michigan 14-2 442 5
5 Ohio State 19-3 433 6
6 Iowa State 14-4 417 7
7 Penn State 13-5 391 9
8 Wisconsin 13-4-1 389 13
9 Minnesota 13-7 382 4
10 Northwestern 8-7 362 12
11 Illinois 12-3 381 8
12 Michigan 15-8 354 10
13 Missouri 9-4-1 349 11
14 Edinboro 9-3 322 14
15 Cornell 6-5 305 15
16 Hofstra 13-8 298 16
17 Oklahoma 13-4 294 17
18 UT-Chattanooga 10-6 270 18
19 Old Dominion 16-3 266 19
20 Kent State 14-4 248 20
21 Indiana 12-8 227 21
22 Maryland 14-4 215 23
23 Pittsburgh 12-3 206 22
24 Cal State Fullerton 13-5 185 24
25 Penn 11-5 150 25

NCAA Wrestling Videos
InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I Individual Rankings.

125, Wrestler, Yr., School, Record, Last Week
1, Jayson Ness, So., Minnesota, 32-0, 1
2, Charlie Falck, Jr., Iowa, 29-2, 3
3, Angel Escobedo, So., Indiana, 24-1, 2
4, Paul Donahoe, Jr., Nebraska, 17-3, 4
5, Brandon Precin, So., Northwestern, 29-4, 5
6, Tanner Gardner, Sr., Stanford, 35-1, 6
7, Mike Sees, Sr., Bloomsburg, 27-3, 7
8, Gabe Flores, Sr., Illinois, 20-8, 9
9, Mark McKnight, Sr., Penn State, 11-6, 10
10, James Nicholson, Fr., Old Dominion, 28-8, 12
11, Dave Tomasette, Sr., Hofstra, 28-6, 13
12, Rollie Peterkin, So., Penn, 22-3, 8
13, Steve Mytych, Jr., Drexel, 31-5, 11
14, Tyler Shinn, So., Oklahoma State, 14-4, 14
15, Tyler Clark, Fr., Iowa State, 17-7, 15
16, Anthony Robles., Fr., Arizona State, 19-8, 16
17, Joey Fio, Fr., Oklahoma, 17-7, 17
18, Luke Smith, Sr., Central Michigan, 20-6, 20
19, Javier Maldonado, Sr., UT-Chattanooga, 15-6, 18
20, Collin Cudd, Sr., Wisconsin, 17-7, 19

1, Coleman Scott, Sr., Oklahoma State, 26-3, 1
2, Mike Grey, Fr., Cornell, 33-5, 2
3, Joey Slaton , So., Iowa, 29-2, 3
4, Franklin Gomez, So., Michigan State, 23-1, 4
5, Lou Ruggirello, So., Hofstra, 31-5, 6
6, Nick Fanthorpe, So., Iowa State , 25-4, 7
7, Jimmy Kennedy, So., Illinois, 23-4, 9
8, Zach Tanelli, Jr., Wisconsin, 20-8, 11
9, Mack Reiter, Sr., Minnesota, 18-6, 5
10, Kenny Jordan, So., Nebraska, 13-5, 8
11, Pat Castillo, Sr., Northern Illinois, 24-5, 10
12, Andrae Hernandez, So., Indiana, 17-8, 12
13, Reece Humphrey, So., Ohio State, 22-6, 13
14, T.J. Dillashaw, Jr., Cal State-Fullerton, 20-7, 14
15, Sean Clair, So., Eastern Michigan, 27-4, 15
16, Jeff Hedges, Sr. , UNC Greensboro, 22-9, 16
17, Kyle Hutter, So., Old Dominion, 29-11, 17
18, David Marble, So., Bucknell, 23-5, 18
19, Dan Mitcheff, So., Kent State, 26-6, 19
20, Tyler McCormick, Sr., Missouri, 4-7, 20

1, Chad Mendes, Sr., Cal Poly, 23-0, 1
2, Charles Griffin, Sr., Hofstra, 30-3, 4
3, Nathan Morgan, Sr., Oklahoma State, 27-2, 2
4, Kyle Ruschell, So., Wisconsin, 22-5, 6
5, Manuel Rivera, Sr., Minnesota, 28-5, 3
6, Kellen Russell, Fr., Michigan, 25-5, 10
7, Joe Caramanica, Jr., N.C. State, 29-4, 5
8, Dan LeClere, So., Iowa, 23-8, 7
9, Garrett Scott, Fr., Penn State, 16-3, 9
10, J Jaggers, Jr., Ohio State, 20-5, 8
11, Eric Kruger, Jr., Central Michigan, 21-5, 12
12, Cody Cleveland, So., UT-Chattanooga, 22-6, 13
13, Nick Gallick, So., Iowa State, 19-11, 14
14, Keith Sulzer, Fr., Northwestern, 13-4, 18
15, Ryan Prater, Fr., Illinois, 19-8, 11
16, Zach Bailey, So., Oklahoma, 25-9, 16
17, Carter Downing, Sr., Wyoming, 16-4, 17
18, Drew Lashaway, Jr., Kent State, 25-10, 19
19, Matt Kyler, So., Army, 35-5, 20
20, Mike Rowe, Jr., Nebraska, 8-4, 15

1, Brent Metcalf, So., Iowa, 29-1, 1
2, J.P. O'Connor, So., Harvard, 20-1, 2
3, Dustin Schlatter, Jr., Minnesota, 15-1, 3
4, Josh Churella, Sr., Michigan, 21-4, 4
5, Bubba Jenkins, So., Penn State, 19-3, 5
6, Lance Palmer, So., Ohio State, 19-6, 7
7, Jordan Burroughs, So., Nebraska, 26-5, 8
8, Darrion Caldwell, So., N.C. State, 29-3, 9
9, Morgan Atkinson, Sr., Cal State-Fullerton, 29-5, 10
10, Jake Patacsil, Jr., Purdue, 23-6, 14
11, Ryan Lang, Sr., Northwestern, 12-4, 6
12, Adam Hall, Fr., Boise State, 21-5, 11
13, Scott Ervin, Sr., Appalachian State, 32-5, 12
14, Cesar Grajales, So., Penn, 25-4, 13
15, Josh Wagner, Jr., Missouri, 19-8, 15
16, Joey Knox, So., UT-Chattanooga, 19-8, 16
17, Will Rowe, Jr., Oklahoma, 21-5, 17
18, Kyle Fried, Sr., Binghamton, 15-1, 19
19, Mike Roberts, Jr., Boston U., 26-6, 20
20, Trevor Chinn, Jr., Lehigh, 22-8, NR

1, Gregor Gillespie, Jr., Edinboro, 27-2, 1
2, Mike Poeta, Jr., Illinois, 24-2, 2
3, Dan Vallimont, So., Penn State, 24-1, 3
4, Brandon Becker, Sr., Indiana, 18-3, 4
5, Craig Henning, Sr., Wisconsin, 21-3, 5
6, C.P. Schlatter, Sr., Minnesota, 25-2, 6
7, Matt Kocher, Sr., Pittsburgh, 20-4, 7
8, Jordan Leen, Sr., Cornell, 16-2, 9
9, Josh Zupancic, Sr., Stanford, 32-5, 10
10, Tyler Sherfey, Jr., Boise State, 29-7, 13
11, Chase Pami, So., Cal Poly, 19-4, 14
12, Michael Chandler, Jr., Missouri, 20-5, 15
13, Cyler Sanderson, So., Iowa State, 26-4, 8
14, Ryan Hluschak, Sr., Drexel, 26-4, 11
15, Jeff Marsh, Sr., Michigan, 21-12, 20
16, Ryan Morningstar, So., Iowa, 19-10, 12
17, Chad Terry, Jr., Oklahoma, 17-5, 16
18, Zac Fryling, Sr., West Virginia, 10-5, 19
19, Matt Moley, So., Bloomsburg, 27-6, NR
20, Newly McSpadden, So., Oklahoma State, 19-8, 18

1, Mark Perry, Sr., Iowa, 18-2, 1
2, Nick Marable, So., Missouri, 20-3, 2
3, Eric Tannenbaum, Sr., Michigan, 26-2, 3
4, Mack Lewnes, Fr., Cornell, 28-3, 4
5, Jake Dieffenbach, Sr., Oklahoma State, 20-4, 5
6, Mike Cannon, So., American, 21-2, 6
7, Jon Reader, Fr., Iowa State, 24-5, 7
8, Colt Sponseller, Fr., Ohio State, 16-1, 8
9, Trevor Stewart, Jr., Central Michigan, 17-4, 9
10, Stephen Dwyer, So., Nebraska, 27-6, 10
11, Keegan Mueller, Sr., North Carolina, 23-3, 11
12, Moza Fay, Jr., Northern Iowa, 16-7, 12
13, Kurt Gross, Sr., Kent State, 25-7, 13
14, Matt Coughlin, So., Indiana, 22-7, 14
15, Jarrod King, Jr., Edinboro, 25-7, 15
16, Kurt Swartz, Fr., Boise State, 26-6, 16
17, Zach Shanaman, Jr., Penn, 19-6, 17
18, Chris Brown, So., Old Dominion, 30-9, 18
19, Andy Rendos, So., Bucknell, 23-7, 19
20, Tyler Safratowich, Jr., Minnesota, 25-7, 20

1, Keith Gavin, Sr., Pittsburgh, 24-0, 1
2, Steve Luke, Jr., Michigan, 26-3, 4
3, Jay Borschel, So., Iowa, 27-5, 2
4, Brandon Sinnott, Sr., Central Michigan, 23-3, 3
5, Brandon Browne, Jr., Nebraska, 28-2, 5
6, Alton Lucas, Jr., Hofstra, 22-4, 6
7, Matt Stolpinski, Sr., Navy, 33-6, 7
8, Brandon Mason, Jr., Oklahoma State, 24-4, 8
9, Mike Letts, So., Maryland, 18-4, 9
10, Steve Anceravage, Jr., Cornell, 25-3, 10
11, Gabe Dretsch, Sr., Minnesota, 25-9, 11
12, Nick Hayes, Sr., Northwestern, 19-9, 12
13, Duke Burk, So., Northern Illinois, 22-4, 13
14, Lloyd Rogers, So., UT-Chattanooga, 23-3, 14
15, John Dergo, So., Illinois, 17-10, 15
16, Dave Erwin, So., Penn State, 22-8, 16
17, Nick Corpe, Jr., Purdue, 22-10, 17
18, Phil Moricone, Jr., Edinboro, 20-9, 18
19, Chris Henrich, Fr., Virginia, 23-6, 19
20, Alex Caruso, Fr., Lehigh, 18-10, 20

1, Jake Varner, So., Iowa State, 22-0, 1
2, Mike Pucillo, So., Ohio State, 24-1, 2
3, Tyrel Todd, Jr., Michigan, 24-2, 3
4, Christian Sinnott, Sr., Central Michigan, 21-4, 4
5, Raymond Jordan, Jr., Missouri, 21-2, 5
6, Josh Weitzel, Sr., Oklahoma, 22-2, 6
7, Phil Keddy, So., Iowa, 24-7, 7
8, Kirk Smith, Fr., Boise State, 20-2, 8
9, Roger Kish, Sr., Minnesota, 12-5, 10
10, Ian Murphy, Sr., Cal State-Fullerton, 22-7, 12
11, Rocco Caponi, Jr., Virginia, 34-2, 13
12, Doug Umbehauer, Jr., Rider, 21-8, 20
13, Vince Jones, Jr., Nebraska, 17-10, 9
14, Phil Bomberger, Jr., Penn State, 17-6, 14
15, Brent Chriswell, Fr., Arizona State, 11-5, 15
16, Lior Zamir, Jr., Penn, 19-7,
17, Josh Arnone, So., Cornell, 3-1, 11
18, Chris Honeycutt, Fr., Edinboro, 18-4, 16
19, Josh Haines, Jr., Maryland, 13-5, 19
20, Eric Chine, Jr., Kent State, 29-10,

1, Josh Glenn, Sr., American, 11-0, 1
2, Mike Tamillow, Sr., Northwestern, 23-2, 2
3, Phil Davis, Sr., Penn State, 16-1, 3
4, Wynn Michalak, Sr., Central Michigan, 23-1, 4
5, Hudson Taylor, So., Maryland, 26-2, 5
6, Max Askren, So., Missouri, 20-2, 6
7, Craig Brester, So., Nebraska, 20-3, 7
8, Dallas Herbst, Jr., Wisconsin, 25-2, 8
9, Joel Flaggert, Sr., Oklahoma, 20-3, 9
10, Joe Rovelli, Sr., Hofstra, 23-4, 10
11, Patrick Bond, So., Illinois, 20-5, 11
12, Cayle Byers, Fr. , George Mason, 33-5, 12
13, Daren Burns, Sr., UNC Greensboro, 28-6, 13
14, Jared Villers, Sr., West Virginia, 15-2, 14
15, Joe Williams, Sr., Michigan State, 22-10, 16
16, T.J. Morrison, Sr., Rider, 18-8, 17
17, Matt Koz, Sr., UT-Chattanooga, 18-7, 18
18, David Bertolino, Sr., Iowa State, 19-10, 19
19, Anthony Biondo, Fr., Michigan, 23-10, 15
20, Brent Jones, So., Virginia, 32-9, 20

1, Dustin Fox, Sr., Northwestern, 17-0, 1
2, J.D. Bergman, Sr., Ohio State, 26-1, 2
3, Ed Prendergast, Sr., Navy, 29-4, 3
4, Kyle Massey, Jr., Wisconsin, 23-5, 4
5, Wade Sauer, Jr., Cal State-Fullerton, 26-4, 5
6, David Zabriskie, So., Iowa State, 23-5, 6
7, Matt Fields, Sr., Iowa, 26-6, 7
8, Jared Rosholt, So., Oklahoma State, 26-3, 8
9, Bubba Gritter, Sr., Central Michigan, 21-4, 9
10, Mike Spaid, Sr., Bloomsburg, 34-5, 10
11, Zach Hammond, Jr., Cornell, 18-6, 11
12, Jermail Porter, Sr., Kent State, 29-7, 12
13, Mark Ellis, So., Missouri, 16-8, 14
14, Zach Sheaffer, Jr., Pittsburgh, 29-10, 13
15, John Wise, Jr., Illinois, 22-11, 15
16, Jon May, Sr., Nebraska, 18-8, 17
17, Rashard Goff, Jr., Cleveland State, 18-8, 18
18, Joe Fendone, Jr., Edinboro, 14-7, 19
19, Dustin Rogers, Sr., West Virginia, 8-4, 20
20, Justin Dobies, Jr., North Carolina, 24-6, 19

February 20, 2008

Wrestler fights back from drug addicition to inspire team

Richard Jensen spent 17 years wrestling with an opponent he seemingly couldn't beat -- until he scored the biggest escape of his life.

Those were his toughest battles. Those were his darkest days.

Tangling with the top junior college wrestlers in the country? Spending hours each day priming his body to compete for seven minutes with athletes half his age?

That is the easy part for the 37-year-old sophomore at Clackamas Community College. It is nothing compared to what he's been through.

Jensen, a former methamphetamine addict and ex-convict whose recovery reconnected him to a sport that gave his life stability, takes a 15-13 record in the 184-pound weight class into Friday's opening round of the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in Rochester, Minn.

"I fought a battle for 17 years and I fought my way out of it and that's what I look at," he said. "It doesn't matter what the guy is ranked. It doesn't matter how intimidating he is. It doesn't matter that he's beat the crap out of me before. For seven minutes, I get to wrestle this guy and it's not that big of a battle; it's really not."

At least not compared to what he went through to get to this point.

Jensen grew up near Portland, Ore. As a wrestler at Tigard High School, he made up for what he lacked in natural talent with heart and hustle. He compiled a 17-2 record his senior year at Tigard, qualifying for the state's high school tournament.

Jensen said wrestling kept him out of trouble and brought balance to his life. However, after high school, he traveled down a treacherous path. He served nearly six years of prison sentences for repeated drug-related offenses.

"Toward the end, the time in jail got longer, the sentences got longer and heavier and the addiction got harder and I just wanted out, I really wanted out," Jensen said. "I was sentenced to jail for a year, I got out for six months and did everything I could to stay clean and it wasn't enough. I didn't know how. I wanted to [stay sober] so bad and I still got busted, I still got in trouble and I still used and they sent me to the Oregon state penitentiary."

Jensen was arrested on Oct. 10, 2003, for manufacturing methamphetamine. Shortly after he began serving a 13-month prison sentence, he learned his mother was dying of cancer.

"I was so unavailable that I didn't know she was sick and I didn't know she wasn't doing well," Jensen said.

Jensen called his mother every night from prison. He promised he would change his life; he would become a better man; he would break the grip that drugs held on him.

Everything I've done, every step of the way has been a blessing in my life and here it is -- I qualified for the national tournament. It just amazes me. It makes all the work so worth it. --Richard Jensen

Marie Elizabeth Hurley died a month after her son was sent to prison.

"I told myself I was going to honor my mother from here on out," Jensen said. "The only thing she really wanted from me was for me to be clean. That was something I had a really hard time giving to her."

The day after Thanksgiving in 2004, Jensen was released from prison and paroled to the Salvation Army in Portland.

"I had the clothes on my back and I was scared to death, I was scared of what was ahead of me, but I knew I didn't want to use drugs and alcohol anymore," he said. "Everybody in that homeless shelter used drugs and alcohol, and I told myself I wasn't going to do it no matter what."

He spent a month in the homeless shelter before meeting a recovering addict named David Fitzgerald, a mentor for the Central City Concern recovery program in Portland. Fitzgerald put Jensen through a series of tests to gauge his intent for staying clean before accepting him into the program.

"He didn't need a lot of help," Fitzgerald said. "He didn't need a lot of prompting. He was easy to work with, he just needed some direction and to be challenged every now and then. He was done using, he was done going to prison, and he had some things he wanted to do."

During all those days in prison, Jensen envisioned what he would do with his life when he was free again. He wanted to go to college. He had been sober for more than two years when he enrolled at Portland Community College.

He wanted to find out whether he could handle school again. He got good grades at Portland and enrolled at Clackamas Community College in the summer of 2006, intent on earning a certified technician degree from the school's automotive program.

Jensen approached Clackamas athletic director Jim Jackson to find out whether someone his age could join the wrestling team.

"He was real honest with me," Jensen said. "He said the odds were pretty slim that I would make it. He said the odds were against me. But when he said that, I realized there was a chance. It gave me hope because the battle I've fought to get out of the drug addiction, the odds were even worse and I was beating those odds. When he said that, I figured I was going to be part of the team and I was going to make the team."

Jensen showed up for the first day of workouts last fall, unsure what was ahead of him. His new teammates asked if Jensen was a new assistant coach. Once they learned he was there to compete, they started placing wagers on how long he would last.

Clackamas coach Josh Rhoden remembers that day well. Then a first-year coach with the Cougars, Rhoden put his team through a three-mile run on the school's outdoor track. Jensen showed up for the workout without running shoes and Rhoden offered him the opportunity to wait until the following day to make the run. The 36-year-old freshman ran in bare feet.

"He didn't want the guys to think he wasn't there to work out," Rhoden said. "That was pretty phenomenal. You kind of thought, 'This guy is pretty serious about what he's trying to do.' It was pretty awesome when he did that."

Jensen won two matches during his first season at Clackamas.

"The ones he did win were with all heart and guts and a lot of pain, I'm sure," Rhoden said.

The Cougars gave Jensen the award for the team's most inspirational wrestler at the end of the season. In fact, they renamed the honor after him.

"I never really needed to win a match to get what I came here for," said Jensen, who plans to open an independent auto repair shop after this season. "I got the bonus plan."

Jensen dropped a weight class this season -- he cut down to 184 pounds, at which he is ranked 11th in the country. Some improved technical skills have added to his victory count and to his inspiring story.

"To be truthful, he's come a lot farther than I thought was possible," Rhoden said.

Jensen's greatest moment on the mat came earlier in February when he qualified for the NJCAA meet.

"It was one of the highlights of my life," he said. "It just made everything I've been trying to do over the last four years, it made it all come to light, like every little piece of it was worth it. Everything I've done, every step of the way has been a blessing in my life and here it is -- I qualified for the national tournament. It just amazes me. It makes all the work so worth it. It makes me want to put my life in another gear and it makes anything possible. It doesn't have to stop there."

Further reading on TheWrestlingTalk.. new section on selecting the best wrestling camps for this summer.

Division 2 NCAA Wrestling Rankings

Division 2 NCAA Wrestling Rankings

Rank School (State) Points Last Ranking
1. Nebraska-Omaha 159 2nd
2. Minnesota State-Mankato 152 1st
3. Adams State (Colo.) 145 3rd
4. Western State (Colo.) 135 5th
5. Nebraska-Kearney 125 4th
6. Central Oklahoma 123 6th
7. Newberry (S.C.) 111 7th
8. Pittsburgh-Johnstown (Pa.) 105 8th
9. Ashland (Ohio) 84 10th
10. St. Cloud State (Minn.) 83 11th
11. Upper Iowa 76 9th
12. Gannon (Pa.) 75 12th
13. Findlay (Ohio) 64 16th
14. Mercyhurst (Pa.) 55 15th
15. Minnesota State-Moorhead 49 14th
16. Indianapolis (Ind.) 39 13th
17. Chadron State (Neb.) 34 17th
18. Wisconsin-Parkside 28 18th
19. Limestone (S.C.) 17 19th
20. Central Missouri 13 NR
Others receiving votes: Augustana (S.D.), Fort Hays State (Kan.), Northern State (S.D.)

NCAA Division II
Individual Rankings

125 Pounds
1. Cody Garcia, Nebraska-Omaha
2. Tyler Mumbulo, Upper Iowa
3. Nick Smith, Minnesota State-Mankato
4. Curtis Schurkamp, San Francisco State
5. Arsenia Barksdale, Adams State (Colo.)
6. Joe Mavins, North Carolina-Pembroke
7. Lucas Huffman, West Liberty State (W.Va.)
8. Eddie Lopez, Western State (Colo.)

133 Pounds
1. Brandon Reasy, Pittsburgh-Johnstown (Pa.)
2. Shane Perkey, Indianapolis (Ind.)
3. Jesse Cruz, Western State (Colo.)
4. Craig DeGreef, Wisconsin-Parkside
5. Raymond Dunning, Adams State (Colo.)
6. Tim Elliott, Central Oklahoma
7. Kelly Janke, Minnesota State-Moorhead
8. Mario Morgan, Nebraska-Omaha

141 Pounds
1. Kyle Evans, Central Oklahoma
2. Steven Fittery, Shippensburg (Pa.)
3. Jeff Rutledge, Nebraska-Kearney
4. Travis Elg, Minnesota State-Mankato
5. Matt Irwin, Indianapolis (Ind.)
6. Tony Washington, Newberry (S.C.)
7. Doug Surra, West Liberty State (W. Va.)
8. Josh Hensley, Adams State (Colo.)

149 Pounds
1. Todd Meneely, Nebraska-Omaha
2. Camille DuPont, Western State (Colo.)
3. Brian Pogel, Mercyhurst (Pa.)
4. Tommy Abbott, Minnesota State-Mankato
5. Tee Adams, Upper Iowa
6. Ryan Etherton, Nebraska-Kearney
7. Colby Robinson, Central Oklahoma
8. Joey Deaguero, Adams State (Colo.)

157 Pounds
1. Jason Rhoten, Minnesota State-Mankato
2. Joe Ellenberger, Nebraska-Kearney
3. Noomis Jones, Adams State (Colo.)
4. Antonio Guerra, Findlay (Ohio)
5. Andy Lamancusa, Mercyhurst (Pa.)
6. Muhammad Abdur-Rahman, Ashland (Ohio)
7. John Sundgren, St. Cloud State (Minn.)
8. Travis Eggers, Upper Iowa

165 Pounds

1. Zach Lee, Western State (Colo.)
2. Brett Hunter, Chadron State (Neb.)
3. Andy Pickar, Minnesota State-Mankato
4. Aaron Denson, Nebraska-Omaha
5. Kyle Becker, Wisconsin-Parkside
6. Hudson Harrison, Mercyhurst (Pa.)
7. Mitch Norton, Upper Iowa
8. Keenan McCurdy, Nebraska-Kearney

174 Pounds
1. Larry Wilbanks, Western State (Colo.)
2. Evan Copeland, Adams State (Colo.)
3. Jesse Feinsod, New Mexico Highlands
4. Marty Usman, Nebraska-Kearney
5. Ross Taplin, Nebraska-Omaha
6. Cory VanGroll, Wisconsin-Parkside
7. Tim Matheson, Minnesota State-Mankato
8. Tyler Tubbs, Minnesota State-Moorhead

184 Pounds
1. Jared Deaguero, Adams State (Colo.)
2. Brent Pankoke, Nebraska-Omaha
3. Dan Scanlan, Limestone (S.C.)
4. Keeno Griffin, Newberry (S.C.)
5. Mike Corcetti, Pittsburgh-Johnstown (Pa.)
6. Lars Lueders, Western State (Colo.)
7. Heath Jolley, Central Oklahoma
8. Beau Severtson, Augustana (S.D.)

197 Pounds
1. Josh Majerus, Chadron State (Neb.)
2. Jacob Marrs, Nebraska-Omaha
3. Josh Ohl, Ashland (Ohio)
4. Ty Copsey, Augustana (S.D.)
5. Donavan McMahill, Western State (Colo.)
6. Pat Walsh, Pittsburgh-Johnstown (Pa.)
7. Jarrett Edison, Central Oklahoma
8. Nick Wilkes, St. Cloud State (Minn.)

285 Pounds
1. Tervel Dlagnev, Nebraska-Kearney
2. Brady Wilson, Minnesota State-Mankato
3. Cy Wainwright, Newberry (S.C.)
4. Dustin Finn, Central Oklahoma
5. Dan Goodson, Upper Iowa
6. Tony Lewis, Nebraska-Omaha
7. Zach Majocha, Pittsburgh-Johnstown (Pa.)
8. Jesse Laber, Mary (N.D.)

A couple other things to check out while you're at it: This article on the Oregon Daily Emerald, all of the High School Wrestling State Tournaments, and check out the upcoming college stars in the High School Wrestling National Rankings

February 19, 2008

D1 NCAA Tournament Officials List

The officials for the 2008 D1 NCAA Wrestling Tournament have been released.

Mike Allen
Rick Cole
Ken Daws
Bob Derr
Pat Fitzgerald
David Frisch
Mike Hagerty
Randy Hartman
Dave Hickson
J R Johnson
Gary Kessel
Gary Mayaab
Mike McCormick
Ben Miller
Kevin Neville
Jim Ramirez
Kenny Ritchie
Joe Tauber
Ross Thomas
Matt Zeitz

The alternates in rank order are:
1. Michael Chase
2. Jake Llewellyn
3. Merle Tournay

NCAA Wrestling Rankings will be updated next week and Wrestling Videos will be available throughout the NCAA Wrestling Tournament. Also, check out this post about the Oregon Daily Emerald

Save Oregon Wrestling!

What would Kesey do?
Oregon Daily Emerald
On the eve of what may be the last wrestling match in University of Oregon history, the son of one of the team’s most legendary alumni says Ken Kesey wouldn’t go down without a fight.

Enter the Further bus, with its history of fighting the establishment.

Zane Kesey, a former UO wrestler, loaded the psychedelic rig with wrestlers and their supporters and, with the help of blaring loud­speakers, brought the battle to thousands lining up for Saturday evening’s UO men’s basketball game.

“There’s something going down that smells really bad,? said Kesey, 46.

“It’s something Dad was really passionate about. I’m positive there’s no way he would let this happen sitting down,? he said, referring to his father, the acclaimed author and longtime Pleasant Hill resident who died in 2001 at age 66 after an operation for liver cancer.

Channeling the Merry Pranksters, wrestlers in tie-dye hung off the top and back of the bus and out of its windows, shouting “Save Oregon wrestling!? and blaring “Give Peace A Chance!?

With riders leaping out to pass out fliers and T-shirts, the day-glo International Harvester school bus drew stares, honks and waves along its route from Glenwood to McArthur Court.

“Wrestlers, when they’re on their back, that’s when they fight harder than ever,? said Kesey, whose father remains one of Oregon’s top 10 wrestlers. “They’re on their backs now. I truly feel Oregon wrestling’s going to be saved.?

UO Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny announced in July that the school would most likely cut wrestling in favor of creating a new baseball program. Since then, wrestlers and their fans have been scrambling to save their sport.

Kilkenny and representatives of the UO athletic department were unavailable for comment Saturday night, but Kilkenny has cited a lack of funding, Title IX gender equity issues and lack of support.

In response, former coach Ron Finley has said he has collected pledges totaling about half of the $5.6 million needed to permanently endow the sport and make it self-sustaining. He said he also has found that wrestling doesn’t violate federal Title IX requirements. A crowd of more than 4,000 turned out for an all-star meet last year, he said.

“There is no good reason to get rid of wrestling,? said Finley, 67, who was head coach for 28 years before retiring in 1998. “They don’t care.?

Finley said he worries about what getting rid of wrestling will do to the viability of high school programs statewide. The dream of wrestling in college keeps many students in school, and the college program also turns out graduates who often go on to coach.

Current head coach Chuck Kearney said he’s also unconvinced by the athletic department’s arguments.

“If we hadn’t had wrestling at the UO, would (Kesey) have come?? he questioned. “Would he have written ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ or ‘Sometimes a Great Notion?’ ?

Zane Kesey’s brother, Jed, also was a UO wrestler. He was killed in a crash on the way to a 1984 wrestling tournament.

In true Ken Kesey fashion, Saturday’s event wasn’t without a bit of police scrutiny. A Eugene police car trailed for a few blocks, and a security guard outside of McArthur Court ushered several wrestlers out of the road — but the group carried on without further intervention.

As the bus circled the basket­ball arena, redshirt junior Jeremy McLaughlin described the potential end of his wrestling career as “surreal.?

“To feel like you’ve worked for a long time and to have it stripped from you, you just feel cheated,? said Mc­Laughlin, who’s pursuing a double major in English and religious studies. “Wrestling teaches dedication, hard work and commitment. We don’t want that to be severed because of a rash decision.?

Kesey said he may break out the bus with the FURTHR plates again today, to drive to the team’s final meet against Oregon State at 2 p.m. at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

“I don’t have many good excuses any more (to drive the bus),? he said. “There has to be passion and right now, there’s passion.?

February 18, 2008

Falck's Victory Lights Fire under Hawkeyes

Iowa wrestler Charlie Falck wasn't sure what to say after his victorious match Friday when asked if he knew that his opponent was undefeated.

"Yeah ... no, not really," Falck said quietly. "I knew he was (ranked) high."

Falck knew enough about Indiana sophomore Angel Escobedo to understand that he was faced with a daunting task. Escobedo's 24-0 record heading into the match at Carver-Hawkeye Arena was only a number to Falck, and it meant nothing once they started competing.

Or did it?

"Some guys pay attention to it and they shake in their shoes," Iowa coach Tom Brands said of an opponent's record. "And some guys pay attention to it for curiosity or education.

"And some guys look at it and say, 'You know what, I'm going to be the first black mark on that guy's record. And some guys pretty much pay attention to their own development and their own focus."

Whatever Falck's approach was, it worked as he withstood a late charge by Escobedo to prevail 4-2 in the opening match at 125 pounds.

Falck's victory lit a spark for the top-ranked Hawkeyes, who won eight of 10 matches and rolled to a 28-7 victory before an announced crowd of 6,116 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"That definitely is the game plan to get things rolling," said Falck (24-2), a junior from Strawberry Point.

Falck now has won two consecutive matches against Escobedo after defeating him 2-1 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament last season.

Falck said it helped his confidence knowing that he had defeated the second-ranked Escobedo before.

"I knew I beat him last year, and mentally that kind of helps because you know you did it once and you can do it again," said Falck, who entered the meet ranked third at 125 pounds. "He was really going to be shooting for me because we had a close match last year in Big Tens."

Falck struck first by recording a takedown with 34 seconds left in the first period. Falck scored the only points in the second period with an escape, but Escobedo was awarded a point when Falck was called for stalling in the third period.

Escobedo narrowed the gap to 3-2 with an escape in the third period, but he couldn't generate any offense as Falck held on to win 4-2, earning one point for riding time.

"It's a big win because he's ranked higher; it's a big win because it's February and it's a big win because the guy was undefeated," Brands said.

NCAA Wrestling Standout Sophomore Brent Metcalf lived up to his top ranking at 149 pounds and improved his record to 24-1 by dominating freshman Kurt Kinser from start to finish. Metcalf led 9-2 after the first period and 14-3 after the second before settling for a 19-6 victory, which resulted in four team points for the Hawkeyes.

Sophomore Dan LeClere helped set the stage for Metcalf in the preceding match at 141 pounds by whipping Scott Kelly in a similar fashion. LeClere was on the attack throughout the match and finished with 10 takedowns while improving his record to 19-6.

The crowd roared with pleasure when sophomore Phil Keddy tossed senior Marc Bennett into the scorer's table in the second period of their match at 184 pounds. Keddy led 9-2 after the first period and was the aggressor throughout the match, which ended with him winning 17-5.

Keddy recorded his final takedown with just seconds left in the third period to cap the pounding. He also twice nearly pinned Bennett.

"I'm satisfied with the fact that I scored a lot of points, not only with the under-hooks but with my leg attacks, which is something I needed to work on" said Keddy who improved his record to 20-6. "But I still wish I would have gotten the fall. I had him on his back a couple times, but I didn't get the (technical fall) even."

Indiana recorded its only two victories in back-to-back matches at 157 and 165 pounds. Sixth-ranked Brandon Becker pretty much had his way with Iowa sophomore Ryan Morningstar, winning 9-0 at 157 pounds.

Brands said afterward that Morningstar could respond from the loss in two ways.

"I thought we let this match get away even though it was a major decision," Brands said. "There's a lot of questioning himself there.

"You deal with these things either by 'I'm going to do something about it,' or you start to manufacture excuses."

Iowa's other winners were sophomore Joe Slaton at 133 pounds, second-ranked sophomore Jay Borschel at 171 pounds, sophomore Chad Beatty at 189 pounds and seventh-ranked senior Matt Fields at heavyweight.

Brands was impressed that so many fans attended the meet on the same night when the semifinals at the state wrestling tournament were being held in Des Moines.

"I think it's great," Brands said. "I think it's a tribute to our guys. I think it's a tribute to the way they wrestle. I think it's a tribute to how they've positioned themselves in the rankings.

"They've caught the imagination of everybody. You've got a team that's ranked No.1 in the country and has been for a big chunk of the year."

Friday's victory improved Iowa's record to 19-1 this season and it extended Iowa's winning streak to 17 against the Hoosiers, who fell to 12-8.

February 17, 2008

Iowa State wrestling: Son of ISU legend Carr to be Cyclone

Iowa State wrestling: Son of ISU legend Carr to be Cyclone
Register Staff Writer

Nate Carr had an outstanding wrestling career at Iowa State in the 1980s.

Now his son, Nate Carr Jr., wants to do the same for the Cyclones, starting in 2008-09.

The younger Carr, a junior college national champion at 157 pounds for Iowa Central Community College last season, said Wednesday he'll wrestle for Iowa State.

Carr's father won three NCAA wrestling championships and 122 matches between 1981-83 before earning a bronze medal in freestyle at the 1988 Olympics - and a place in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla.

"I don't want to go any lower than being a three-time national champ," said Carr Jr., who is being withheld from competition this season at Iowa Central.

Carr will have three seasons of eligibility at Iowa State, which he chose over Iowa.

Iowa State's history in the sport and coach Cael Sanderson were appealing, he said.

"When I was on my recruiting trip, he said, 'All we want to do here is win, no exceptions, and we want you to be a part of that winning,' " Carr said.

Carr will be the fourth family member to wrestle for the Cyclones. Nate Carr Sr.'s brothers, Solomon and Michael, also were Cyclones.

Carr Jr. signed to wrestle at West Virginia in 2005 after winning three Georgia state championships and forging a 210-2 career record. He did not qualify academically, and enrolled at Iowa Central.

The Carr name owns an impressive place in wrestling history. Fletcher Carr, Nate Jr.'s uncle, was a two-time NCAA Division II national champion at the University of Tampa and was head coach at Kentucky.

Jimmy Carr, Fletcher's brother, was 17 when he earned a spot at 114.5 pounds on the 1972 Olympic freestyle team that included three from Iowa State - Dan Gable, Ben Peterson and Chris Peterson.

February 16, 2008

Nebraska-Omaha's Todd Meneely turns life around, sets sights on winning second national title

Nebraska-Omaha's Todd Meneely turns life around, sets sights on winning second national title
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

Todd Meneely was one of those can’t-miss kids.

A four-time state champion who won Junior Nationals in freestyle and Greco-Roman, he was destined for greatness at the collegiate level. He knocked off Teyon Ware, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, in the finals at Junior Nationals.

Ranked among the nation’s top 10 overall recruits, Meneely signed with the powerful Iowa Hawkeyes and talked openly about his goal of wanting to win four NCAA Wrestling titles.

Meneely won his first three college matches as the Iowa starter at 133 pounds during the 2003-04 season. He then lost to Iowa State’s Zach Roberson, who went on to win the NCAA title that season, and everything seemed to start spiraling out of control.

He was struggling in the classroom and struggling with being homesick. He left Iowa halfway through his redshirt freshman season and returned home to Omaha. After brief stints at Nebraska-Omaha and Nebraska, Meneely’s wrestling career appeared to be over.

While Ware went on to win a pair of NCAA titles for Oklahoma, Meneely was sitting on the sidelines. That changed when Nebraska-Omaha coach Mike Denney decided to give Meneely another chance to get his life back on track prior to the 2006-07 season.

Denney’s decision paid huge dividends last year as Meneely won the NCAA Division II title at 149 pounds.

“It’s life-changing what Coach Denney did for me and I can’t thank him enough,? Meneely said. “I had already been given a couple of chances and I probably didn’t deserve another one. Wrestling has been the key for me getting back to where I need to be in my life. I felt so terrible about myself for a long time. I have come a long, long ways as a person and a student since I started wrestling again.?

Now a junior, the 24-year-old Meneely is ranked No. 1 in the country again this season in Division II. He is one of the leaders on a second-ranked Nebraska-Omaha team that is coming off a 32-7 home win over No. 1 Minnesota State-Mankato.

Meneely was 35-3 last season and has compiled a 16-2 record this year.

“I’m really proud of Todd,? Denney said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked and more. He’s been a team guy. Academically, he had a 3.3 grade-point average his last semester. He’s been a big part of our team.?

Meneely’s off-the-mat struggles started when he left home for the first time in 2002 and started his career at the University of Iowa. He redshirted his first season at Iowa, showing early promise as he lost only one match while competing in open tournaments during the 2002-03 season. He then broke into the Hawkeye starting lineup at 133 as a redshirt freshman in November 2003.

But he left Iowa after the first semester of that season.

“It was basically a lot of immaturity on my part,? Meneely said. “I liked Iowa and they have a great program. But for some reason I didn’t seem to have the same motivation I had in high school. I was going out too much and partying and things pretty much went downhill in a hurry. I wasn’t ready to be away from home and I wasn’t ready to handle things by myself. I made some big mistakes.?

Meneely transferred to Nebraska-Omaha in January 2004, but was only there a short time before landing at the University of Nebraska. After a short stint in Lincoln, he left school and appeared to be finished as a wrestler.

“I was so caught up in the negative lifestyle I was living,? he said. “I never thought I would ever be on the mat again. If it wasn’t for the UNO coaches, I definitely would have been done.?

So why did Denney give Meneely another chance?

“I felt like he was really committed to making things work this time – he wanted to turn things around and get back on track,? said Denney, who has coached the Mavericks to four national team titles. “I’m really glad I did give him a chance to come back here. He’s become a big part of our program. He has a great work ethic and has really been committed. The guys on the team really like him and he’s really fit in well with them. He’s really enjoying wrestling again and not putting too much pressure on himself.?

Meneely also credits the influence of his high school coach, Omaha Skutt Catholic’s Brad Hildebrandt, for his turnaround.

“Brad’s had a tremendous impact on me,? Meneely said. “He’s the one who showed me the way in wrestling by having a strong work ethic. A lot of people turned their back on me when I was having problems, but he was one of the people who helped me when I was down and out. I can’t thank him enough. I wouldn’t be here without him.?

Meneely also excelled in freestyle wrestling last year. Even though he hadn’t wrestled a freestyle match in nearly five years, he journeyed to Akron, Ohio, last spring for University Nationals and won the title at 60 kg/132 lbs. That win qualified him for the U.S. Senior World Team Trials in Las Vegas, where he finished 3-2 after being eliminated in the consolation semifinals of the Challenge Tournament.

Meneely said he plans to jump back into freestyle competition again after the college season, but he may have to bump up a class to 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

“The weight situation has kind of hurt me a little bit because I’m caught in between weight classes,? he said. “132 is a huge, huge cut and I honestly don’t know if I can do it anymore. 145, those guys are really big. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.?

For now, the focus is on bringing home his second individual national title and leading the Mavericks to the Division II team title.

“We have a great team at UNO with a great group of guys,? said Meneely, who plans to coach after his competitive days end. “We’re all best friends and we’re all there for each other. We work hard together and we hang out with each other.?

Being on a wrestling mat is something Meneely no longer takes for granted.

“It’s great to be wrestling again – I’m having so much fun,? he said. “I’m very fortunate that I’ve been given one more opportunity. I’m very, very grateful that Coach Denney and Coach (Ron) Higdon took another chance on me. It’s worked out really well for me.?

February 10, 2008

Mark Churella, one of Michigan's Finest

Mark Churella, one of Michigan's Finest

During Churella's four years at the University of Michigan, the school saw one of its most notable athletes reach incredible achievements.

He showed great promise of the things to come his freshman year when he placed third in the NCAA wrestling tournament, and began his reign as a three-time Big Ten Wrestling Champion. He highlighted his collegiate career by becoming the university's first three-time NCAA champion.

He set a goal in high school to pin everybody he wrestled. He only fell short by one. He continued this goal into college, where he is Michigan's leader in recording dual meet pins for the season with eight in two different seasons. Twice he had five consecutive falls.

Churella is a member of the University of Michigan's "Hall of Honor," and is a charter member of the state of Michigan's Wrestling Hall of Fame.

In 1977, he was also the U.S.W.F. Grand National champion, and in the same year he captured the Junior World crown.

While serving as head coach at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, Churella inaugurated the Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational Tournament, which is still one of wrestling's most prestigious pre-season competitions.

He continued to contribute to wrestling when he returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach from 1984-86. He now contributes to his local high school wrestling program with three sons involved in wrestling.

By becoming one of the greatest wrestlers to compete for the University of Michigan and promoting wrestling on the local, state, and national level, Mark Churella is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

February 8, 2008

Ryan Morningstar has the talent, but does he believe?

The latest setback in his unsatisfying sophomore season has been eating at Ryan Morningstar all week.

The Iowa wrestler knows he let a victory slip away Sunday against Wisconsin's Craig Henning. He knows he missed an opportunity to beat one of the top wrestlers at his weight class. And he knows he needs to start beating some high-caliber opponents soon.

"He knows he's capable," Iowa coach Tom Brands said. "He knows he can do better. I know he can do better. The desire is there. Sometimes it's a hollow desire, meaning the desire's there, but he doesn't quite know how to make that desire pay off. He wants to do it, but he doesn't quite know how and there's a little bit of a question in his mind, so he's spinning his wheels.

"That's where belief in yourself really comes into play here. He just needs to believe in himself. I know that he knows he can do it, but does he believe he can get the job done come heck or high water? Does he believe he can get the job done no matter what it takes?"

Those are questions that can only be answered with hard evidence. They're issues that can only be resolved over time with consistent high-level performance -- a task Iowa's 157-pounder is still trying to conquer.

"There have been some frustrating moments," said Morningstar, who takes a 16-7 record into tonight's dual at Arizona State. "But I've had some positives, and I need to keep building and put it all together. When the Big Tens and nationals roll around (in March), I'm hoping to have it all put together in my mind and be ready to go when I step on the mat."

Iowa's surge to the top of the national rankings has been by and large the product of the emergence of the team's super sophomores. The Hawkeyes have eight wrestlers currently ranked eighth or better, including sophomores Brent Metcalf (No. 1 at 149), Jay Borschel (second at 174), Joey Slaton (third at 133), Phil Keddy (seventh at 184) and Dan LeClere (eighth at 141).

Getting 15th-ranked Morningstar to join his classmates on a similar path of progression could help Iowa distance itself from the pack in March.

"We haven't given up on him, no way -- and there are some programs that might have given up on him," Brands said. "But from the outside looking in, he's going to have to come quite a ways. ... From my perspective, I don't know if it's that far."

The Hawkeyes (16-1) wrestle the unranked Sun Devils (9-5) at 8:30 p.m., the first stop of a weekend road trip that concludes Sunday afternoon at Boise State. Iowa will encounter just two ranked opponents tonight -- No. 15 Brent Chriswell at 184 and No. 14 Anthony Robles, whose inspiring rise in the rankings has gained national attention. Born without a right leg, Robles has used remarkable upper-body strength to overpower opponents on his way to a 19-6 record as a freshman.

"I think having one leg, some people might see that as a disadvantage," Robles told in December. "But I use crutches all day long, and that's given me great upper-body strength. That's an advantage I have over my opponents. They're smaller than me because they have both of their legs and I have a bigger upper-body.

"I think my advantages equal my disadvantages. It's kind of up to me to figure out what I need to do to win."

Morningstar is trying to figure out what he needs to do to beat top-level competitors, too. Five of his seven losses have come against opponents ranked seventh or better. But wrestling in a conference that features the top three 157-pounders in the country and five of the top eight, the three-time state champion from Lisbon needs a breakthrough to put himself alongside the Big Ten's best.

"I've had a lot of ups and downs," Morningstar said. "I think I've come a long ways in terms of moving my feet and mentally, but I need to start winning wrestling matches on a consistent basis. I lost some matches I shouldn't have lost. I lost some matches I could've won."

The match that stands out most is fresh in his mind. He had third-ranked Henning on the ropes after riding out the returning NCAA Wrestling finalist in the second period of a scoreless match. It gave Morningstar the upper hand going into the third period and forced Henning -- a wrestler known for creating offense with his defense -- out of his comfort zone. But the Wisconsin senior scored a takedown in the final minute

"I stopped moving my feet a little bit in the third period, and that's why I got taken down," Morningstar said. "I took it for granted when he was in on my leg. I stopped him, and I should've got my hips back even further than that, and I could've, but I didn't. That's technical. But more on the mental (side), I know I should've won that match, and I'm upset about it. It was my match to win, and I didn't close it out like I wanted to. It was definitely right there for the taking.

"It fires me up that I had it and let it slip away. It's a match I know I can win, I'm right there, I've just got to get over the hump."

Reach Andy Hamilton at 339-7368 or

January 31, 2008

Northwestern's Fox helps lead Wildcat wrestling to prominence

Dustin Fox used to get the strangest looks from other high school wrestlers when he introduced himself. Surely, they thought, this guy wasn't imposing enough to be the same Dustin Fox who was Ohio's top prep heavyweight and one of the nation's best.

Then he began his collegiate career at Northwestern and heard from the hecklers around the Big Ten. They looked at his build and long, dark-blond hair and wondered aloud if Fox had gotten lost on the way to a Chris Farley look-alike contest.

After earning his first NCAA Wrestling All-American honors as a junior, Fox is a perfect 14-0 to start his senior season.

"I used to laugh pretty hard at that. That's pretty funny," Fox said. "I've heard some good ones. Everybody's like, 'For being so fat, you're really quick.' I look bigger than the kids I wrestle, but they look like bodybuilders. I don't know if I look that impressive."

His wrestling résumè certainly does.

Fox, a senior from Galion, Ohio, is 14-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country at heavyweight. He was an All-American last season and has been a pillar in the reconstruction of Northwestern's program.

The Wildcats were the worst team in the Big Ten for four consecutive seasons at the turn of the millennium. They were so far behind the rest of the conference, in fact, that the aggregate point total the Wildcats accumulated in the conference meets from 2001 through 2004 wouldn't have resulted in anything better than sixth-place finish in any of those tournaments.

Northwestern hit rock bottom in 2001 when it hosted the conference meet. The Wildcats scored only six team points -- the fewest for a squad at the Big Ten tournament since 1984 -- and failed to qualify any wrestlers for the NCAA championships.

"We had good kids on the team, it's just that we had a lot of kids get hurt," Northwestern coach Tim Cysewski said. "A lot of guys we were planning on being starters for three or four years got hurt and a lot of them had season-ending or career-ending injuries. That set us back a lot trying to recover from that. We had to depend on kids who weren't starters to begin with, and that's tough on any team, especially a team such as ours. Our depth will always be an issue."

Cysewski has learned how to deal with roster impediments. He coaches a sport that has more starters per team (10) than the NCAA allows scholarships (the NCAA maximum is 9.9). He works at a school that costs students $43,000 annually to attend. Those circumstances have led the Wildcats to disburse their scholarship allotment in larger chunks than most of their competitors.

It's not an ideal situation for constructing a national contender. But Cysewski -- a junior on the 1975 Iowa team that won the first of the school's 20 NCAA titles -- has sold top recruits on the idea of getting a good education while building a tradition for Northwestern wrestling.

The first pieces of the reconstruction process snapped into place in 2003 when the Wildcats landed a pair of blue-chip recruits: four-time Ohio High School Wrestling state champion Ryan Lang and Pennsylvania state champ Jake Herbert. Lang's and Herbert's commitments were instrumental in helping Northwestern lure Fox the following year.

"It was just common sense knowing Jake and Lang were going to do very well at the college level," said Fox, who also considered Stanford, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Princeton and Virginia. "I saw an opportunity to build a team from scratch."

Northwestern surged from a 50th-place finish at the 2004 NCAA meet to 14th the following year when Fox was a freshman. The Wildcats matched a school-best finish last season when they placed fourth, collecting the bulk of their points from Herbert (the NCAA champion at 184), Lang (the runner-up at 141) and Fox (third at heavyweight).

Northwestern, currently ranked 10th, might have been a legitimate national championship threat this season with Herbert in the lineup. But he is taking the year off from college wrestling to train for the Olympic trials in freestyle and will return to the Wildcats in the fall for his senior season.

Nevertheless, Northwestern appears to be set for success after Fox, Lang and third-ranked 197-pounder Mike Tamillow exhaust their eligibility in March. The Wildcats added Mike Benefiel, one of the nation's top prospects last year, and signed Jason Welch, the top-recruit in the country this year.

Much like the program he wrestles for, Fox has made significant improvement since his arrival in Evanston. He went 33-5 as a junior after compiling a 47-23 record during his first two seasons.

"I'm a lot less nervous before matches and I don't waste as much energy on being nervous," he said. "It's not necessarily because I respect my opponents any less, but I realize that all I can do is wrestle as hard as I can and then let the chips fall where they may. I wouldn't say I'm lucky, but I happen to win."

Highly recruited coming out of high school, Fox chose Northwestern over schools like Princeton and Stanford.

Fox's success, however, is hardly an accident. He's better at riding opponents than he was when he got to college. He's stronger and quicker, too. After missing the first month of the season while getting down to the 285-pound weight limit, he's getting into better shape -- Fox said he was "a svelte 335" during the summer before losing 50 pounds -- and he's always been adept at, well, outfoxing his adversaries.

"He's a smart kid with a lot of things going for him," Cysewski said. "It's going to be exciting to see how he develops in the next 10 or 15 years. He might be the next billionaire. Anything he gets himself into and wants to focus in on, he's going to be really successful.

Fox isn't completely sure yet about his career path. He might train for the Olympic trials. He might utilize the Mandarin language classes he has taken at Northwestern to pursue a business career in China. He might use what he has learned in film studies to get into online video distribution.

But for now, Fox's concentration is centered on scripting the right ending to his college wrestling career.

NCAA Wrestling on TV February '08 - March '08

NCAA Wrestling on TV February '08 - March '08

Friday, February 1
BTN: Illinois at Michigan -- 6 p.m. EST (LIVE)
BTN: Iowa at Minnesota -- 8:30 p.m. EST (LIVE)
BTN: Illinois at Michigan -- 11 p.m. EST (Repeat)

Saturday, February 2
BTN: Iowa at Minnesota -- 1 a.m. EST (Repeat)
BTN: Illinois at Michigan -- 4 a.m. EST (Repeat)
BTN: Iowa at Minnesota -- 6 a.m. EST (Repeat)
BTN: Illinois at Michigan -- 8 a.m. EST (Repeat)
BTN: Iowa at Minnesota -- Noon EST (Repeat)

Sunday, February 3
BTN: Iowa at Minnesota -- 8 p.m. EST (Repeat)

Tuesday, February 5
BTN: Iowa at Minnesota -- 5 p.m. EST (Repeat)

Wednesday, February 6
BTN: Illinois at Michigan -- 2 p.m. EST (Repeat)

Thursday, February 7
BTN: Iowa at Minnesota -- 9:30 a.m. EST (Repeat)

Friday, February 8
BTN: Minnesota at Northwestern -- 7:30 p.m EST (LIVE)

Saturday, February 9
BTN: Minnesota at Northwestern -- 3 a.m. EST (Repeat)

Sunday, February 10
BTN: Minnesota at Northwestern -- 6 p.m. EST (Repeat)

Monday, February 11
BTN: Minnesota at Northwestern -- 10 a.m. EST (Repeat)

Friday, February 15
BTN: Michigan State at Penn State -- 5 p.m. EST (LIVE)

Thursday, February 21
IPTV: Iowa Conference Championships -- 7 p.m. CST (LIVE)

Friday, February 22
BTN: Purdue at Illinois -- 6 p.m. EST (LIVE)

Sunday, February 24
BTN: Michigan State at Michigan -- 12 p.m. (LIVE)
IPTV: Nebraska at Iowa State -- 2 p.m. (LIVE)

Sunday, March 9
BTN: Big Ten Championships -- TBA

January 30, 2008

Schwab to Step Down as Coach at Season's End at Buena Vista

In the news for NCAA Wrestling. Mark Schwab seems to be preparing to move towards UNI. NCAA Wrestling Rankings do not have UNI in the top 20, however, the team is solid. Speculation is that Brad Penrith's contact may not be renegotiated and there will be a vacancy.

Schwab was a 4 time high school wrestling champion at Osage High School in Osage, IA.

After guiding the Buena Vista University wrestling program for the past three-plus seasons, Director of Athletics, Jan Travis, has announced that head coach Mark Schwab will step down as coach of the Beavers effective May 31, 2008.

“I would like to thank Coach Schwab for the efforts and leadership he’s shown and put forth while guiding the Beaver wrestling program over these last four years,? Travis said. “We hate to see him go, but want to wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.?

Schwab became just the second coach to lead the Beavers since the start of the 1978-79 season when he was hired in 2004 following the retirement of legendary coach, Al Baxter. To this point, the 2007 Iowa Conference Coach of the Year has seen his squads improve from a pair of seventh-place finishes to last season’s fourth-place finish at the Iowa Conference Championships. The same can also be said at the NCAA Tournament, where his squads placed 30th and 21st, respectively, in his first two seasons, to a seventh-place standing a year ago.

Schwab says he will step down with plenty of good memories from his time guiding the Beavers.

“There were sure a lot of good moments here,? Schwab said. “What I consider best moments are small things overall - like guys breaking thru, winning hard fought matches. I loved it when we could celebrate as a team.?

BVU’s seventh-place team finish at the 2007 National Tournament was the program’s highest since placing fifth back in 2002. BVU’s fourth-place finish during last year’s Iowa Conference Championships was its highest since taking fourth in 2001.

To this point, Schwab has coached one individual conference champion and five All-Americans during his tenure, while also having a pair of wrestlers earn Scholar All-American accolades and one earn Academic All-Conference honors.

“It was a very challenging experience, and there is an awful lot to being a head coach in any sport; much more than most would think,? Schwab added. “With the three recruiting classes we had in, it was interesting to see just how much an individual differs from the next but yet how predicable we can all be. This experience was a hands-on dealing with people in all their stages of highs and lows. It’s personal education for future endeavors.?

“We are very sad to see Coach Schwab step down,? said BVU President Fred Moore. “He has led our wrestling program with tremendous distinction and character. At the same time, I understand his desire to start a new chapter in his life and wish him well. BVU has a proud wrestling tradition, and we will move swiftly to name a new head coach to lead us into the future.?

A search for a replacement will begin immediately.

January 26, 2008

Undefeated wrestlers spare in Oklahoma vs. Iowa State Dual

Oklahoma's NCAA wrestling dual against Iowa State tonight will feature a matchup of 2 undefeated wrestlers at 184 pounds.

The Sooners' Josh Weitzel will face top-ranked Jake Varner of Iowa State. Weitzel brings in a 19-0 mark this season, while Varner has won all 17 of his matches.

The meeting between Weitzel and Varner could be a pivotal point as the two teams try to get a leg up in the Big 12. Oklahoma comes in with an 0-1 mark in the conference, while Iowa State is in its first Big 12 dual.

January 21, 2008

No. 1 Hawkeyes earn 27-13 win over No. 7 Penn State

No. 1 Hawkeyes earn 27-13 win over No. 7 Penn State
Traci Wagner University of Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team extended its winning streak to six matches with a 27-13 win over #7 Penn State (8-3, 0-1 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes (13-1, 2-0 Big Ten) snapped Penn State's two-match win streak in the series, taking seven of the 10 bouts. A crowd of 7,525 gathered to watch Iowa win its 820th dual win in school history.

The dual started at 174 pounds, and Iowa jumped out to an 8-0 lead on wins by two Hawkeye sophomores. Jay Borschel (174) posted an 11-5 decision over Mark Friend and Phillip Keddy (184) scored a 19-3 technical fall in 6:35 over Philip Bomberger. Penn State answered at 197 when #2 Philip Davis pinned sophomore Chad Beatty in 4:57, to tighten the team score at 8-6.

Iowa rolled off five straight wins and 19 unanswered team points to guarantee the win. Senior Matt Fields started the run with his 80th career win - a 7-3 decision over John Laboranti at heavyweight. Junior Charlie Falck followed with a 2-0 win over Mark McKnight at 125, extending his winning streak to 11 matches and remaining undefeated in duals (14-0). Sophomore Joe Slaton picked up extra team points at 133 with his 14-6 major decision over Tim Haas. At 141, sophomore Dan LeClere scored a late takedown to defeat Garrett Scott, 4-3. Sophomore Brent Metcalf fought off his back and rebounded from a 6-1 first-period deficit at 149, pinning Bubba Jenkins in 5:33. The win was Metcalf's 15th straight as he improved to 18-1, 13-1 in duals.

The Nittany Lions closed out the dual with wins at 157 and 165. Sophomore Ryan Morningstar (157) dropped a 6-2 decision to Dan Vallimont and redshirt freshman Aaron Janssen (165) lost an 11-3 major decision to Dave Rella. Janssen was competing for senior injured starter Mark Perry.

Iowa will host Northwestern (5-4, 0-0 Big Ten) in its next dual. The match will be held Sunday, January 27 at 7 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa 27, Penn State 13

174 - Jay Borschel (I) dec. Mark Friend (PSU), 11-5
184 - Phillip Keddy (I) tech. fall Philip Bomberger (PSU), 19-3 in 6:35
197 - Philip Davis (PSU) pinned Chad Beatty (I), 4:57
Hwt. - Matt Fields (I) dec. John Laboranti (PSU), 7-3
125 - Charlie Falck (I) dec. Mark McKnight (PSU), 2-0
133 - Joe Slaton (I) maj. dec. Tim Haas (PSU), 14-6
141 - Dan LeClere (I) dec. Garrett Scott (PSU), 4-3
149 - Brent Metcalf (I) pinned Bubba Jenkins (PSU), 5:33
157 - Dan Vallimont (PSU) dec. Ryan Morningstar (I), 6-2
165 - Dave Rella (PSU) maj. dec. Aaron Janssen (I), 11-3

No. 3 Nebraska downs No. 2 Oklahoma State in Oklahoma City

No. 3 Nebraska downs No. 2 Oklahoma State in Oklahoma City
Amil Anderson University of Nebraska

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The No. 3 Nebraska wrestling team won six matches, including two bonus-point wins, en route to a 22-13 upset of No. 2 Oklahoma State in front of 2,496 fans at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Huskers’ win snapped a 14-dual losing streak to the Cowboys as the Huskers improved to 10-2 on the year.

The Huskers’ last win against OSU came 39-12 in Stillwater in 1993. The victory is just Nebraska's third all-time against the Cowboys.

Nebraska was led by junior Vince Jones and sophomore Jordan Burroughs, who both scored bonus-point wins. Jones pinned OSU’s Jack Jensen in 1:48 at 184 pounds to put the Huskers up 19-10 with two matches left. Jones earned his seventh pin of the year in high fashion to quiet the crowd. Jones took Jensen down halfway into the first period and caught him a cradle seconds later to earn the fall. Jones improves to 16-7 on the season and 8-2 in duals.

Burroughs scored 11 takedowns, including five in the first period, to score a 25-11 major decision over OSU’s Quinten Fuentes at 149 pounds. The win is Burroughs’ ninth major decision of the year as he leads the Huskers in bonus-point wins.

Junior Paul Donahoe rebounded from a 2-2 weekend at National Duals with an 8-6 decision over OSU’s Tyler Shinn at 125 pounds. Donahoe was down 5-4 in the third period, but scored an escape and a takedown to earn the come-from-behind victory. Fellow junior Chris Oliver also went 2-2 last weekend and also earned a big win against the Cowboys. Oliver racked up 2:23 of riding time to win a close 3-2 decision over No. 15 Newly McSpadden at 157 pounds.

Junior Brandon Browne defeated second-ranked Brandon Mason at 174 to improve to 24-2, and Craig Brester won 6-3 over No. 20 Clayton Foster at 197 as the Huskers won three of the final four matches.

Nebraska resumes action on Feb. 2 as the Huskers host No. 11 Missouri for Alumni Night at 7 p.m. in the NU Coliseum.

No. 3 Nebraska 22, No. 2 Oklahoma State 13
Ford Center, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Match Results

125 Pounds-No. 4 Paul Donahoe (NU) by dec. over Tyler Shinn (OSU), 8-6
133 Pounds-No. 1 Coleman Scott (OSU) by dec. over No. 8 Kenny Jordan (NU), 2-0
141 Pounds-No. 2 Nathan Morgan (OSU) by maj. dec. over Robert Sanders (NU), 21-9
149 Pounds-No. 7 Jordan Burroughs (NU) by maj. dec. over Quinten Fuentes (OSU), 25-11
157 Pounds-No. 19 Chris Oliver (NU) by dec. over No. 15 Newly McSpadden (OSU), 3-2
165 Pounds-No. 5 Jake Dieffenbach (OSU) by dec. over No. 8 Stephen Dwyer (NU), 10-8 SV
174 Pounds-No. 6 Brandon Browne (NU) by dec. over No. 2 Brandon Mason (OSU), 2-1
184 Pounds-No. 12 Vince Jones (NU) by fall over Jack Jensen (OSU), 1:48
197 Pounds-No. 10 Craig Brester (NU) by dec. over No. 20 Clayton Foster (OSU), 6-3
285 Pounds-No. 7 Jared Rosholt (OSU) by dec. over No. 20 Jon May (NU), 5-3

Iowa's Metcalf Earns Weekly Honor in Leading the Hawkeyes to National Duals Win

Iowa's Metcalf Earns Weekly Honor in Leading the Hawkeyes to National Duals Win
Metcalf was a perfect 4-0 in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals

Jan. 16, 2008

Wrestler of the Week
Brent Metcalf
So., Davison, Mich. / Davison

Metcalf notched four wins in last weekend's NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals to help Iowa win its first National Duals team title since 1996. In his first match of the day, No. 2 Metcalf pinned Cornell's Adam Frey in 6:37. He then went on to earn a 12-4 decision over No. 17 Josh Wagner of Missouri. In his third match, the Davison, Mich., native defeated No. 7 Josh Churella of Michigan, 4-2. In his final dual of the weekend, Metcalf beat No. 6 Jordan Burroughs of Nebraska in a 6-2 decision. For his effort, Metcalf was named the Division I Outstanding Wrestler of the event. Metcalf improved his winning streak to 13 matches and his season collegiate record to 16-1 with the four victories. He is currently 11-1 in dual competition, and leads Iowa in most team points scored in dual matches with 52. This is Metcalf's first career weekly laurel.

Wisconsin Hangs On For 18-15 Win, Davis Gets 150th Victory

Wisconsin Hangs On For 18-15 Win, Davis Gets 150th Victory
DATE: 1/20/2008 9:55:00 PM
Oklahoma City, OK
By Betsy Golomski
Wisconsin Sports Information

The No. 13 Wisconsin's NCAA wrestling team closed out the non-conference schedule Sunday with an exciting 18-15 win over No. 18 Oklahoma at the ESPNU Invitational in Oklahoma City. With the win, Wisconsin head coach Barry Davis earned his 150th career win and became the second coach in UW history to do so. The Badgers won six bouts to improve to 9-2-1 overall (0-1-0 Big Ten Conference) while the Sooners drop to 11-2 on the season.

The Badgers got out to a strong start and won their first three matches to go up 9-0. The dual began at 125 lbs. and No. 18 senior Collin Cudd scored three takedowns and had a point of riding time to earn a 7-4 victory over Oklahoma’s Joey Fio. UW junior Zach Tanelli, ranked No. 12, added to the lead with a 10-5 win over John Starzyk at 133 lbs.

Wisconsin’s No. 8 sophomore Kyle Ruschell had a tough bout against Oklahoma’s No. 11 Zack Bailey at 141 lbs. After a scoreless first period, Ruschell scored a takedown with 39 seconds remaining in the second while Bailey had an escape with 24 seconds left in the period. In the third, Ruschell secured the victory with an escape at 1:25 and hung on for the 3-1 win.

The Sooners then got on the board with a major decision victory at 149 lbs. Wisconsin freshman Kendall Vogel met No. 9 Will Rowe and fell, 19-6 to put the score at 9-4.

Wisconsin rebounded though with a win at 157 lbs. Senior Craig Henning, ranked No. 2, held Oklahoma’s Chad Terry scoreless in a 4-0 win. Henning had a takedown in the first period, an escape in the third and one point of riding time for the victory that put the Badgers up 12-4.

At 165 lbs. senior Jake Donar met OU’s Shane Vernon and wrestled a close match. Donar had a 5-4 lead heading into the third period but a two-point reversal for Vernon gave the OU grappler a 6-5 advantage with
1:36 left. Donar had a reversal of his own to re-gain the lead at 7-6 but Vernon would score a final reversal with just 16 seconds left to win the bout, 8-7 and put the team score at 12-7.

Oklahoma then pulled within one after a major decision win at 174 lbs and took the lead with another major decision win at 184 lbs. Badger junior Justin Peterson faced OU’s Jeff James and fell, 10-1 in the 174 lbs. bout. At 184 lbs., No. 14 sophomore Trevor Brandvold scored the first two points of the match with a takedown in the first period, but Oklahoma’s No. 7 Josh Weitzel came back for the 11-2 win and put the Sooners up, 15-12.

Down three, the Badgers had another tough bout at 197 lbs., which pinned Wisconsin’s No. 6 Dallas Herbst against Oklahoma’s undefeated No. 3 Joel Flaggert. In the first period, Flaggert took a 2-0 lead with a takedown.
After a scoreless second period, Herbst then evened the score at two with a nearfall with 32 seconds remaining in the third. With neither wrestler securing riding time, the bout went into a sudden victory period. After a scoreless minute, the match then moved on to a tiebreaker. In the first tiebreaker, Herbst did not allow Flaggert to score and rode out the 30-second period. In the second overtime, Herbst scored a reversal to put the score at 4-2 and maintained his riding time to give Flaggert his first loss of the season and tie the score at 15.

With the match on the line, UW junior Kyle Massey met OU’s Nathan Fernandez in the heavyweight bout. Fernandez struck first with an escape in the second period to put the score at 1-0. Massey then responded in the third with an escape of his own and a takedown to go up 3-1.
Fernandez scored one more escape but it was not enough as Massey won the bout 4-2 with 1:13 riding time and secured the Badger victory.

The Badgers will now look to the Big Ten schedule as they travel to Bloomington, Ind. to face Indiana Friday. Match time is set for 4 p.m.
(CT) and will broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

January 19, 2008

Wrestling: New fashion statement

Wrestling: New fashion statement
Colleges increasingly going to 2-piece unis
By Patrick Buganski

The sport of wrestling has been left relatively unchanged throughout its history, but a radical transformation in the look of high school wrestling might not be too far away.

Two years ago, the NCAA approved the use of two-piece wrestling uniforms, "doubles" as they are called, as opposed to a singlet. The new uniforms feature a body hugging short-sleeved top that tucks into form fitting shorts, not dissimilar to the bottom half of a singlet. The uniforms have been approved for use in NCAA wrestling competition for two years, but are worn by few teams. While many rules changes start at the collegiate level before trickling down to the high schools, there are no plans to allow the uniforms in high school competition for now.

"We've had discussions on it," said Bob Colgate, assistant director for the National Federation of State High School Associations. "We've had a proposal come to our committee, but our committee has not approved it. In due time it may get through, but right now, they're still looking at it."

The singlet became popular in the 1970s, but had been in use internationally as far back as the 1960 Olympic games. Before that, two-piece and three-piece uniforms were the norm.

The two-piece uniform became popular for workouts and at younger age levels, but feelings are mixed among current high school wrestlers.

"I like the two-piece uniforms," said St. Augustine junior Leon White. "But the thing about two-piece uniforms is, as you're wrestling, if a kid grabs it he can pull it out and now you have an untucked shirt."

Delsea sophomore Eric Reger has worn two-piece uniforms in all-star competition for Team New Jersey and would like to see them approved at the high school level.

"I actually prefer the two-piece," Reger said. "It's different than the singlet and all the teams don't have it and I would be looking for something that the other teams don't have."

Reger said concerns over safety and getting hands caught in the seams are easily fixed.

"If they don't fit right you can grab it," Reger said. "But if it fits right, it's just like a normal singlet."

Schalick senior Joe Manno agrees with Reger.

"I've wrestled people that had them," Manno said. "And it didn't seem to be a problem."

Manno said he's never worn one, but is looking into getting one for tournaments outside of high school.

Schalick coach Brian Farnham said his team wouldn't have them if they were approved.

"I wouldn't even consider it," Farnham said.

However, Delsea coach Greg Sawyer sees the two-piece uniform in a different light.

"If they allowed them, I would definitely look into it," Sawyer said. "I like them. It's just something different."

The fact that the uniforms are heavier and cover more of the body does present other concerns.

"They are hotter," Reger said. "But you're wrestling six minutes. It's not an hour-long event, you cool back down in a couple minutes."

January 18, 2008

National Duals serves as midseason checkpoint in college wrestling

The strangest half-season college wrestling has seen in years intertwined its top teams and turned its rankings into a tangled mess.

Penn State became the fourth team in six weeks to plant its flag at the top last week when it completed the climb to No. 1 after starting the season 11th. The Nittany Lions made their biggest surge by winning in December at Oklahoma State, which later beat Iowa after the Hawkeyes had taken the top ranking away from Iowa State one week after the Cyclones had done the same to Minnesota.

Brent Metcalf (left) and Iowa tore through the National Duals competition.

This was remarkable volatility in the sport -- Iowa, Oklahoma State and Minnesota have combined to win every NCAA title since 1989 -- and it set the stage for perhaps the most eagerly-anticipated National Duals since its inception that same year. The two-day tournament, which concluded Sunday in Cedar Falls, Iowa, has often been a midseason checkpoint for individuals and teams during the journey toward the NCAA championships in March.

If anything, though, this year's National Duals added another element of suspense to the final two months of the season.

"I almost think it's going to be one of those crazy seasons like college football," said Michigan coach Joe McFarland, whose team placed third. "I think there is a lot of parity right now, and I think the national tournament is going to show that. I think it's exciting for wrestling."

These were the biggest storylines from this year's National Duals:

Iowa's supremacy
The second-seeded Hawkeyes tore through the field on their way to the school's first title at the National Duals since 1996. Iowa outscored its four opponents by a collective 106-31 margin, won 32 of 40 individual matches and handled Nebraska 24-6 in the championship meet.

"We made a statement," said Iowa 149-pounder Brent Metcalf, named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. "The [Jan. 5] Oklahoma State match, I don't think our guys were prepared or ready to go. I feel like this is a better representation of what this team is all about."

The Hawkeyes didn't get an opportunity to avenge the 19-14 loss against Oklahoma State. The third-ranked Cowboys skipped the National Duals to compete at the Virginia Duals, where they beat No. 17 Illinois in the championship.

"Nine out of the top 10 teams were here, and the team that wasn't here whipped us a week ago," Iowa coach Tom Brands said. "That's something I think we ironed out here. I don't think we needed [Oklahoma State] here to iron it out. I think we ironed it out."

This bodes well for Iowa's chances in March. The National Duals champion has gone on to win the NCAA title 12 times in 18 years. The Hawkeyes stood on top at the end of the season in five of the six other instances.

"We don't let our guard down," Brands said. "I gave them a couple compliments after the Midlands [title in December] and I'm going to keep the compliments to myself now. We're going to continue to be hard-drivers because this team has a lot of potential."

Minnesota's ailments
The Gophers were the consensus No. 1 team in the country when the season started. They had nine starters returning from the squad that swept the National Duals and NCAA championships last season, led by 2006 national champion Dustin Schlatter and runner-up Roger Kish.

Roger Kish didn't look 100 percent at the National Duals.

But Schlatter, ranked No. 1 at 149, wasn't on Minnesota's active roster for the National Duals. Kish wrestled, but didn't look like the guy who compiled a 74-8 record during the past two seasons. Both were dealing with unspecified injuries, which contributed to Minnesota's slide to a fourth-place finish.

"We're not that far away," Minnesota coach J Robinson said. "You stick those two guys in there and it's a whole different deal."

The Gophers stumbled in the semifinals, losing 24-13 against unseeded Nebraska. The Huskers took advantage of Minnesota's ailments. Sixth-ranked Jordan Burroughs won by technical fall at 149 and No. 10 Vince Jones came from behind in the final 10 seconds, tossing Kish to his back for a fall at 184.

"This is just part of the way toward March," Robinson said. "It doesn't make much difference. Nothing counts here. We've just got to go back and get healthy, that's our problem."

Parity joins the party
There was a time when the only mention of parity in college wrestling came when someone mentioned the disparity at the top. But the playing field has leveled in recent years.

The 10 individual NCAA champions came from 10 different schools in 2004 and again last year, and the perception of parity's arrival at the elite level in the sport is a viewpoint that gathered validity during the first two months of the season at the National Duals.

Nebraska became just the second unseeded team in tournament history to reach the finals of the National Duals. The Huskers took down No. 9 Northwestern, No. 1 Penn State and No. 5 Minnesota on their way to the finals.

Unseeded Ohio State placed fifth, finishing ahead of the Nittany Lions and third-seeded Iowa State and No. 4 Central Michigan.

"It's hard to tell [what this means for March] because this is a dual-meet tournament [and] it has more to do with how you match up with people than anything else," Robinson said. "A lot of people will draw a lot of conclusions from it, but I don't think it's that big of a deal."

Perhaps more telling were some of the individual outcomes. Five of the top-ranked individuals in the country didn't compete at the National Duals. Three of the five who did sustained their first losses of the season. Nebraska's Paul Donahoe, the defending NCAA champion at 125, went 0-2 Sunday. Michigan freshman Kellen Russell lost twice Saturday after entering the tournament 18-0 and ranked No. 1 at 141.

"There's a lot of good kids going to a lot of different places," Nebraska coach Mark Manning said. "You've got a lot of good, young coaches out there who are go-getters and they're doing a good job recruiting and training kids, and they hustle."

.. Metcalf did his High School Wrestling in Michigan.

January 14, 2008

NCAA Wrestling Mid-Season Review by

National Duals weekend is kind of the halfway mark at least in my opinion of the ncaa wrestling season, and stuff has been wild so far. Just some long, rambling, assorted thoughts on the action we've seen at the ten weights so far.

125: I personally think Ness, Donahoe, and Escobedo are the class of the weight here, and the three do have a history with each other. Donahoe and Escobedo have only wrestled once, Donahoe won. Ness and Escobedo split last year, and with his win today Ness is now 3-1 lifetime over Donahoe. Guys like Precin, and Charlie Falck are definitely capable of getting up there too, but as of right now I just haven't seen it yet.

133: The first of several weights that are all kinds of jumbled up. Kicking off the season Ruggirello was looking like he wanted to try and run away with things, but he's cooled off. Scott has probably established himself as the guy to beat here, but guys like Ruggirello, Reiter, Gomez, Grey, Kennedy, and Slaton have shown themselves as dangerous competitors for him here too. Scott gassed bad when he was trying to go for the major against Slaton, and thats kind of been a thing for certain OK State lightweights. Having John Smith in his corner gives him a big advantage though.

141: Another weight where no one knows much. Russell got knocked off twice this weekend, Griffin has been beaten, Strayer got knocked off and may not even be the best 141 pounder on his own team, Mendes is still undefeated, but save for Rivera to the best of my knowledge off the top of my head he really hasn't wrestled anyone yet. Speaking of Rivera he's now up to two matches lost when healthy over the last two years. Morgan, like his teammate Scott will definitely be there, and Ryan Lang still may make his way back down here. I like Morgan and Rivera here.

149: Maybe the toughest weight in the country headlined by the Evil Boring Ducking Staller and The God of Wrestling, but the top ten here is absolutely ridiculous. O'Connor, Jenkins, Burroughs, Palmer, Rowe, Churella, Caldwell, and as of right now Lang. Regardless, I still think Dustin takes it here, prospective matches between him and Metcalf, and him and Caldwell are still up there as probably top 5 for the rest of the season.

157: Poeta looks tough. Henning hasn't seemed to have wrestled a whole, whole lot, his biggest match this year was probably the decision he dropped in the Vegas semi's to Poeta, but as a returning finalist he deserves his props. CP can beat anyone here if he wrestles, it really makes me laugh as a fan of his to watch him sometimes. He dillydallies and dances around for a minute and a half, then forces his left underhook in and takes people down EASILY. Gillespie has dropped tough matches to CP, and to Poeta, but he's great from every position, and I think he manages to sneak back into the semi's come tourney time.

165: Still Perry, and Tann's weight to lose. Perry has dropped some matches he shouldn't, but he always seems to bring it come tournament time, and Tann is just so solid. Guys like Lewnes, and Marable specifically have flown under the radar up to top 5 rankings. I think Sponseller from Ohio State is the best true freshman in the country and winds up somewhere on the AA list.

174: This is Keith Gavin's weight to lose. Beyond him, Borschel has knocked off a bunch of the top guys, but he's also dropped several himself to Mason, and Dretsch just off the top of my head. Luke, and Sinnott are both very tough, as is Brandon Browne. Lucas has some big wins this year, but he always seems to keep matches close, and hasn't shown himself as adept at winning the close ones as some others have.

184: Unless someone can figure out a way to deal with Varner's brickwall strategy and take him down when he just stands in the middle because he's so big and strong you can't move him then this is probably Varner's weight to lose. Something is wrong with Kish, go ahead and call me sour grape eating, bitter Gopher fan, but the Kish that I've watched this weekend, and really in any of his matches so far this year hasn't been the same guy that was just mauling people last year. Sinnott, Pucillo, and Todd have shown themselves to be consistent performers, Raymond Jordan, and Vince Jones are as well when they're healthy.

197: Glenn, and Davis are absolute monsters. This is probably the second toughest weight save for 149, and the situations are actually pretty comparable, you've got the big two who sit on the top, and then a murderers row going down the list. Tamillow is deservedly ranked #3 and wrestling with Herbert all the time has paid off big for him. He's improved a ton over the last two years. You've got two former NCAA #1 seeds in Michalak, and Askren. Then guys like Flaggert who always seems to beat Michalak, Brester, Taylor, and Herbst who absolutely woodshedded Askren in the Vegas finals.

285: I keep saying that I think Bergman wins this weight, but Dustin Fox with his victory over him this weekend has established himself as the guy who deserves the #1 ranking for now. Big Ed has shown flashes, but he also may not even be the best heavy on his own team. Dlagnev pwns everyone here anyway though.

January 13, 2008

Iowa goes 17-3 in individual matches on Day 1

Iowa goes 17-3 in individual matches on Day 1
University of Iowa Sports Information

The Iowa wrestling team handed Missouri its first loss of the season Saturday afternoon, beating the Tigers, 27-9, in the quarterfinals of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Falls. Hawkeye Head Coach Tom Brands picked up his 40th career victory and Iowa improved to 9-1 this season with the win. Iowa will face sixth-seeded Michigan (12-1) in the tournament semifinals Sunday at 11 a.m. in the UNI-Dome. Fifth-seed Minnesota (8-1) and unseeded Nebraska (8-1) will meet in the other semifinal.

Iowa, the second seed at the tournament, jumped out to a 24-0 lead against seventh-seed Missouri, winning the first seven weights. Junior Charlie Falck started things off with a 19-7 major decision over Tony Pescaglia at 125 pounds. Falck remains undefeated at 10-0 in dual competition, and is 15-1 in collegiate matches this season. Sophomore Joe Slaton (133) and Dan LeClere (141) followed with decisions, and sophomore Brent Metcalf picked up a 12-4 major decision over Josh Wagner at 149. It was Metcalf's 11th straight win and his second bonus-point victory of the day as he improved to 14-1.

Sophomore Ryan Morningstar kept the Iowa momentum going with a 5-4 win over Michael Chandler at 157 and senior Mark Perry escaped in the tiebreak period to beat fourth-ranked Nick Marable, 3-2 in overtime. Sophomore Jay Borschel was one of seven Hawkeyes to score two wins on the day with a 13-2 major decision over Brock Wittmeyer at 174.

Missouri put its first points on the scoreboard at 184, when Raymond Jordan scored a 3-2 win over Phillip Keddy. Tiger Max Askren followed with a 3:24 pin over Iowa's Rick Loera at 197. But Hawkeye senior Matt Fields put an end to Missouri's scoring run with a late takedown to defeat Mark Ellis, 5-4, at heavyweight. Fields improved to 14-2 on the season and 10-0 in dual competition.

Iowa, who defeated unseeded Cornell, 32-3 in the tournament's opening round, went 17-3 on the day. Michigan posted first day wins over unseeded Northern Iowa (30-6) and Hofstra (19-15). The Wolverines are led by top-ranked Kellen Russell (141) and Eric Tannenbaum (165), and second-ranked Steve Luke (174). Tannenbaum and Luke went 2-0 on the day, while Russell went 0-2. The probable match-up of Tannenbaum and Hawkeye senior Mark Perry will be a rematch of the 2007 Big Ten Championship finals, which Perry won 5-2. Tannenbaum won the other previous meeting between the two, 6-2 in sudden victory at the 2007 dual in Ann Arbor.

National Duals, Day 1 Reap

NATIONAL DUALS, DAY 1 RECAP: Unseeded Huskers make statement by knocking off No. 1 Penn State
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

National Duals Website

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – In the days leading up to the National Duals, Nebraska was being labeled as a darkhorse or sleeper team.

But there was nothing really all that surprising about what the unseeded Cornhuskers did Saturday at the UNI-Dome.

Most wrestling observers were well aware the Huskers were a dangerous team and they proved it by pounding No. 8 Northwestern 25-9 in the first round before topping No. 1 Penn State 19-13 in the quarterfinals.

Nebraska entered this event ranked only 10th nationally as a team despite having seven wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in the country.

“Our guys used that as motivation,? said NU coach Mark Manning, whose team has seven national qualifiers in its lineup. “But we know that no one is giving you anything and you have to go out there and fight hard. We have the mentality that we need to prove ourselves every time we go out on the mat.?

The Huskers now advance to face No. 5 seed Minnesota in the semifinals on Sunday morning at 11. Minnesota, the reigning NCAA tournament champion, has won this event the past two years.

The other semifinal will match No. 2 Iowa against No. 6 Michigan. Second-seeded Iowa State was upset by Hofstra in the opening round before Hofstra fell to Michigan in the quarterfinals.

Penn State’s loss marked the fourth time this season the nation’s No. 1 team has lost a match. Minnesota, Iowa State and Iowa also have been ranked No. 1 before dropping dual meets.

The only Husker who is not ranked, sophomore Mike Rowe, provided the pivotal win for Nebraska at 141 pounds with a 6-4 win over second-ranked Jake Strayer of Penn State.

Nebraska started quickly against the top-ranked Nittany Lions. Returning national champion and top-ranked Paul Donahoe of Nebraska put his huge gas tank on full display in the third period at 125. Donahoe piled up most of his points in the final two minutes in scoring a 13-4 major decision over No. 7 Mark McKnight of Penn State.

After Nebraska’s Kenny Jordan downed Tim Haas 2-0 at 133, Rowe came through with a gritty win over a returning All-American in Strayer. That gave the Huskers a 10-0 lead. It was Rowe’s first match of the season after he missed the first semester because of personal issues.

“Mike’s maturity is really showing,? Manning said. “He’s battled through a few issues that a lot of athletes go through in college. But he is growing up and we think he is a guy who can really help us.?

Rowe was Nebraska’s starter at 133 for part of last season, but he had trouble dropping to that weight class. A top recruit coming of DeMatha High School in Maryland, Rowe bumped up to 141 for this season.

“I just had to go out there and wrestle hard for the team,? Rowe said. “I came in prepared to wrestle and when I got my chance I tried to make the most of it.?

Nebraska also pulled off a key win at 174 when No. 5 Brandon Browne rallied for a 5-4 win over No. 17 David Erwin. Browne gave up the opening takedown and Erwin piled up nearly three minutes of riding time before Browne rallied.

“Browne showed a lot of resiliency the way he came back,? Manning said. “He’s a tough kid and he showed why in that match. He just kept fighting and battling.?

Nebraska dropped a dual meet earlier this season at Minnesota, the team it meets in the semis, but forfeited at two weights. Donahoe missed the dual with an injury. The Huskers have a full lineup now while Minnesota is missing past NCAA champion Dustin Schlatter (149), who is sitting out this weekend with a hamstring injury.

Nebraska is in the semifinals of this event as an unseeded team for the second time in three years. Nebraska finished third at the 2006 National Duals despite not being seeded. Nebraska’s best finish in this event was second in 1993 and 1996, both in Lincoln, Neb.

Iowa flexed its muscle with dominating wins over Cornell (32-3) and No. 7 Missouri (27-9). The Hawkeyes looked dominant in their first competition since falling to No. 3 Oklahoma State last Saturday night at home. Iowa won 17 of 20 matches Saturday.

In Iowa’s win over Cornell, returning NCAA champion and second-ranked Mark Perry of Iowa controlled third-ranked Mack Lewnes 7-0 at 165. Lewnes is a freshman. Cornell did pull off a surprise in the dual with Iowa as freshman Mike Grey, ranked seventh, posted a 10-3 win over No. 2 Joey Slaton.

The Hawkeyes capped the day with a strong finish as senior heavyweight Matt Fields fired in on a leg attack to score the winning takedown in the closing seconds against Missouri. The sixth-ranked Fields pulled out a 5-4 win over No. 12 Mark Ellis of Missouri.

“Fields winning like he did, I liked seeing that. Give him credit for the way he came back,? Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “Now we have to get ready for tomorrow and take the next step. We put on a good show for the fans, but we just have to make sure we take care of business. It’s all about getting wins and dominating and wrestling aggressively. We need to keep attacking.?

Iowa State and 12th-ranked Hofstra finished in a 18-18 deadlock in the first round. Each team won five matches before Hofstra won the tiebreaker by virtue of most falls. Eighth-ranked Lou Ruggirello, who was ranked No. 1 earlier this year, pinned No. 4 Nick Fanthorpe of ISU at 133.

“I knew it was going to be a pretty even dual and that it may come down to bonus points,? Ruggirello said. “I knew the pin was really big for our team. It feels great to be able to help out the team like that. Our team wasn’t seeded, but we know we are right there with the top teams that are here.?

Minnesota downed No. 4 seed Central Michigan 20-16 in the semifinals. The Gophers won 6 of 10 bouts, including No. 10 Gabe Dretsch’s 6-3 win over No. 3 Brandon Sinnott of CMU at 174. Third-ranked Christian Sinnott of CMU edged No. 2 Roger Kish of Minnesota 3-2 at 184.

Another freshman, top-ranked Kellen Russell of Michigan, suffered his first collegiate loss in a 9-3 setback to unranked C.J. Ettelson of Northern Iowa at 141. But the sixth-seeded Wolverines dropped only one other bout in a 30-6 first-round win over tournament host Northern Iowa. Among Michigan’s wins was No. 1 Eric Tannenbaum’s 8-2 triumph over No. 8 Moza Fay at 165.

Michigan followed with a 19-15 win over Hofstra in the quarterfinals. Fifth-ranked Charles Griffin of Hofstra beat Russell 7-5 in that dual.

Missouri Defeats Indiana at National Duals

Cedar Falls, Iowa -The eighth-ranked Missouri wrestling team (6-0) came from behind to defeat No. 15 Indiana, 22-18, in their opening dual of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)/Cliff Keen National Duals. With the win, Missouri advances in the championship bracket and will meet with No. 2 Iowa at 3 p.m. (CT) on mat five in the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Missouri junior Marcus Hoehn (Farmington, Mo.) helped cut Indiana's team lead in half, 6-3, earning a 3-1 win by decision over Scott Kelly at 141 pounds. A hand fight through the first two minutes of action, Hoehn scored first with a takedown 2:43 into the bout. Kelly earned his escape after choosing down to start the second period and the two went into the third with Hoehn leading, 2-1. With Hoehn down to start the third, the Tiger grappler managed an escape with 1:26 remaining in the period and held on for his 12th win of the season.

Still down, 12-3, after Missouri 149-pounder Josh Wagner (Milton, Wis.) suffered a fall in 2:46, it was teammate Michael Chandler (High Ridge, Mo.) who once again brought the Tigers within six of the Hoosiers. Wrestling at 157 pounds, Chandler, entering the match ranked 12th in the nation, held off No. 9 Brandon Becker, 3-2, winning the bout on 1:25 of riding time. Chandler held Becker to only two escapes and improves to 16-1 on the season.

Second-ranked Nicholas Marable (Collierville, Tenn.) helped the Tigers string back-to-back wins together for the first time of the bout. Battling with No. 7 Matt Coughlin at 165 pounds, Marable won his fourth bout of the year over a top-20 ranked opponent, with a 5-2 win by decision. Marable led the match 3-1 heading into the third period allowing Coughlin an escape to pull within one. In the end, Marable scored a takedown on the edge of the mat with one second remaining in the match.

Wrestling at 184 pounds, sixth-ranked junior Raymond Jordan (New Bern, N.C.) won his sixth straight bout with a 4-1 win by decision over Marc Bennett. Scoreless through the first period, Jordan chose down to start the second and escaped in 17 seconds for the one point lead. Scoring a takedown in the third period and accumulating 1:14 of riding time, Jordan won and moves to 15-1 on the year.

Next to the mat at 197 pounds, No. 6 Maxwell Askren (Hartland, Wis.) scored Missouri's first win by major decision against Indiana, outscoring Joe Fagiano, 12-1, with four takedowns, one escape, two points due to Hoosier stalling and one point for 3:41 of riding time.

Down two points, 18-16, heading into the heavyweight bout, Missouri sophomore Mark Ellis came through once again, pinning John Sandberg in 6:48 to give the Tigers a 22-18 win. The ninth fall of the season for Ellis, it marks the second dual of the year in which the heavyweight's final win proved the deciding factor for Missouri. Ellis dominated Sandberg, and held a 10-1 lead before sticking the exhausted Hoosier for the fall.

Missouri will take on Iowa in the quarter-finals of the National Duals, with Iowa entering with an 8-1 record. Iowa also holds a 3-0 lead in the all-time series with the Tigers. The last meeting between the two programs came during the 2006 National Duals, with Iowa managing a 31-12 win.

Wt. Wrestler vs. Wrestler: Result MU IU
125 No. 2 Angel Escobedo (IU) dec. John Olanowski (MU): 10-4 0 3
133 No. 10 Andrae Hernandez (IU) dec. No. 7 Tyler McCormick (MU): 7-3 0 6
141 Marcus Hoehn (MU) dec. Scott Kelly (IU): 3-1 3 6
149 Kurt Kinser (IU) fall No. 12 Josh Wagner (MU): 2:46 3 12
157 No. 12 Michael Chandler (MU) vs. No. 9 Branden Becker (IU): 3-2 6 12
165 No. 2 Nicholas Marable (MU) vs. No. 7 Matt Coughlin (IU): 5-2 9 12
174 Trevor Perry (IU) fall Brock Wittmeyer (MU): 6:11 9 18
184 No. 5 Raymond Jordan (MU) dec. Marc Bennett (IU): 4-1 12 18
197 No. 6 Maxwell Askren (MU) major dec. Joe Fagiano (IU): 12-1 16 18
HWT No. 12 Mark Ellis (MU) fall John Sandberg (IU): 6:48 22 18

January 12, 2008

There will be no Iowa-Iowa State rematch for now in the National Duals.

There will be no Iowa-Iowa State rematch for now in the National Duals.

Iowa State, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, lost to unseeded Hofstra 19-18 on criteria in the preliminary round of the tournament today at the UNI-Dome.

Meanwhile, No. 2 seed Iowa rolled to a 32-3 decision over Cornell University.

The difference in the Iowa State-Hofstra meet was Lou Rugirello's pin over Iowa State's Nick Fanthorpe at 133 pounds. It was the only fall in the meet and served as the tie-breaker.

Iowa State was the highest seed to lose in the opening round among the three divisions of NCAA wrestling competition or the NAIA.

In order for the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones to wrestle again, they needed to win both of their meets today and meet in the semifinal round at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Iowa State's next match at 3 p.m. will be a rematch — against Northern Iowa in the consolations. The Cyclones beat the Panthers 29-10 at McLeod Center in Cedar Falls on Dec. 16.

Northern Iowa lost its opening meet today 30-6 to No. 6 seed Michigan.

Iowa will face No. 7 seed Missouri in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m..

January 11, 2008

Parity party at National Duals

Parity party at National Duals
By Eric Peterson
For The Gazette

AMES - Here's what we know about the college wrestling scene with half a season left before the NCAA meet: no one has any idea how it'll end.

So far it's been a game of musical chairs atop the rankings. Minnesota, Iowa State and Iowa have spent time at No. 1. Each has lost a home dual meet while holding the top spot, the Hawkeyes being the latest victim with a loss Saturday to
Oklahoma State.

Penn State is No. 1 heading into this weekend's National Duals tournament at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. ISU's Cael Sanderson is one of a handful of coaches believing his team realistically can win the two-day event.

``We have as good a chance as anybody,'' he said.

In recent years it's been Oklahoma State and Minnesota dominating medal stands. There's parity in the sport now, which is creating interest in places other than Stillwater, Iowa City and around the Midwest.

``I don't remember anything like this since I've been involved with college wrestling,'' Sanderson said. ``It's good for the sport. There's a lot of excitement. A lot of fans think their program is coming to the top.''

ISU's first-round opponent Saturday is unseeded Hofstra. The Cyclones (7-1) are seeded third.

Sophomore Cyler Sanderson likes his team's chances to advance deep into the touranment.

``We've got a good draw,'' said ISU's 157-pounder. ``It'll be tough the whole way, but we've got a great team and will be fighting for (the title) like anybody else.''

Sanderson (17-1) likes the unpredictability.

``It's kinda fun. There's not a super dominant team,'' he said. ``There's a lot of real solid teams this year. The top five or six, everybody's beating each other.''

The Cowboys - ranked No. 3 - are the only team ranked in Intermat's top 10 not participating this weekend. If seeds hold to form, ISU would face Michigan in the quarterfinals and Iowa in the semifinals.

It's a rematch the Cyclones would like. Iowa beat ISU, 20-13, last month at Hilton Coliseum.

``It would be fun to wrestle them again,'' said top-ranked 184-pounder Jake Varner. ``That dual doesn't really mean a whole lot, other than bragging rights. Nobody remembers that 20 years from now. I'd rather win an NCAA title.''

Varner, last year's NCAA runner-up, is 12-0 and top-ranked at his weight. The sophomore is as focused as ever.

``I don't think about being ranked No. 1, I don't think about who I'm wrestling and who's ranked or whatever,'' Varner said. ``I just think about wrestling.''

Of course, rankings mean little at this point in the season. The Cyclones would like to be No. 1 in March when they travel to St. Louis for the NCAA Championships.

May the best team win, whoever it is.

``It's going to come down to who wants it the most and who is going to fight for it the hardest,'' Cyler Sanderson said. ``It'll make for an interesting and exciting national tournament.''

January 10, 2008

The Future of the National Duals

The Future of the National Duals
NWCA may ask NCAA wrestling to make annual event part of the sport's restructuring program

By Mike Finn, W.I.N. Editor

On the weekend of Jan. 12-13, 2008, many of the top teams in college wrestling will descend on Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the newest edition of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals.

Well, not everyone.

Missing for just the fourth time in the 20 years of the annual event is Oklahoma State, which has captured the championship eight times since the first Duals were held in Hampton, Va., in 1989.

“We’ve never hung a banner up in (OSU’s) Gallagher-Iba Arena on winning the National Duals,? said Oklahoma State coach John Smith, whose Cowboys will participate in the Virginia Duals, which is taking place the same weekend in Hampton, Va. “I like the event, but it’s not the national championship. It’s another tournament.?

“Clearly, until we can get the perception that it is a true national championship, we are always going to have that issue to deal with,? admitted Mike Moyer, the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

That is one reason Moyer and the NWCA hopes to make the Duals so important that the NCAA may wish to sponsor the event in the future.

In fact, the National Duals is just one part of a renewal project the NWCA is undertaking to improve the sport. In February, the NCAA will go over a strategic plan created by the NWCA and the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Committee to improve the college sport.

Among the items on the agenda is determining how qualifiers will be determined for the Div. I tournament, changing the sport’s season to one semester and putting more importance on dual meets and a true championship.

“There are some people out there who believe putting the NCAA name on the tournament could legitimize the event,? Moyer said. “Obviously the NCAA has significant resources to take the Nationals Duals from what it is to being something even that much bigger.

“I would say one of the primary focuses of the National Wrestling Coaches Association in our collaborative effort with the NCAA is to develop strategies that place more emphasis on the dual meets,? added Moyer. “That can include a wide array of possibilities.

“One of the things being discussed is the notion of having some type of dual meet season that culminates with a national dual meet championship. Then you would have some type of individual tournament season, culminating with the NCAA Championships as we know them today.?

One of the NWCA’s ideas is to create a separate dual meet season that would conclude with a National Dual championship in February, followed by an individual tournament in early April.

“One of the guiding principles is to look how we can can maneuver our season so that we don’t compete head to head with (NCAA basketball’s) March Madness,? Moyer said. “One of the things that we are considering is having the National Duals before the March Madness and the individual championships after the basketball tournament.

“We are also looking into making wrestling more of a one-semester sport.?

All of these ideas are in the preliminary stage and will take time to go through the NCAA governing process.

“There are a number of factors,? said Brad Traviolia, deputy commissioner of the Big Ten Conference and Chairman of the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Committee. “The NCAA has a bi-annual budgeting process. Even if it is approved there, it may not become effective for a few years.

“There are some things that are short-term implementation like the selection procedures for the NCAA individual championships. There is a directive (from the NCAA) that the procedure be implemented for the 2009 season.?

And since the NWCA and the NCAA Wrestling Committee had to come up with another plan for selecting NCAA qualifiers — other than choosing wrestlers based on historical data — these united groups will use this opportunity before the NCAA to share a bigger plan for wrestling.

“The cabinet, which asked us to come up with a new (qualifying) system, has asked for an update so that’s what we are providing them,? Traviolia said. “Instead of just providing them an update in fixing this short-term issue, we wanted to let them know the scope of what we are trying to do.

“We will mention this strategic plan, the need for it and the support the wrestling community has for it. We want to give them a preview of some of the things that we are thinking about like having an NCAA dual championship.?

Getting the message across could take time, especially if the NCAA decision makers are not that familiar with wrestling.

“The biggest challenge that wrestling faces is that during all the different approval processes to go through the system, there is such a low percentage of people in the room whose schools sponsor wrestling on their own campus,? Traviolia said.

“These are all good quality administrators who want to do the right thing, but when you don’t have the sport on campus, there is always the fear that they might not fully understand or it may not hit home with them.

“One of the challenging things is to educate folks, who may not be familiar with the sport.?

They also must get the national wrestling community on the same page, which has been hard in the past.

“Whether it’s voting at the convention or talking about the selection criteria for the NCAAs, there really have been strong difference of opinions and some infighting within the wrestling community,? Traviolia said.

“We think we have a system and a structure that everyone will be able to support from schools that sponsor wrestling.?

(You can also read this article by subscribing to W.I.N. Magazine. Either contact our office at 1-888-305-0606 or subscribe through this website by selecting the “Subscribe? section on our front page.)

National Duals set to Go

NATIONAL DUALS PREVIEW: Wide-open race expected when top college teams meet this weekend
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – None of the top teams have lost to Appalachian State like Michigan did in football.

But a wild first half of the college wrestling season still bears a striking resemblance to what happened in a topsy-turvy college football season where the top of the rankings changed on a regular basis.

Just consider what has already happened this season in college wrestling:

Returning NCAA tournament champion Minnesota started the season No. 1 before dropping a home dual to Iowa State. The Cyclones became the No. 1 team before falling at home to Iowa.

The top-ranked Hawkeyes then lost a home dual this past Saturday to Oklahoma State, who earlier was defeated at home by Penn State. OSU also finished second to Central Michigan at the Reno Tournament of Champions.

Parity has been a recurring theme among the top college wrestling programs this season. And that’s what makes this weekend’s National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals so intriguing.

“There are a lot of great matchups individually and match-wise,? said Penn State coach Troy Sunderland, whose team ascended to the No. 1 ranking this week. “There are some very good teams that aren’t even seeded. You could probably wrestle this event a bunch of different weekends and get a different result every time.?

Oklahoma State is headed to the Virginia Duals this weekend, but all the other top guns in the college ranks are expected to be at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Saturday and Sunday for the National Duals. Penn State is the No. 1 seed, followed by Iowa, Iowa State, Central Michigan and Minnesota.

The National Duals are being held at the UNI-Dome for the third straight year. In addition to Division I, team champions also will crowned in Division II, Division III, NAIA, Junior College and women’s college wrestling.

Minnesota has won the National Duals the past two seasons. The Gophers beat Missouri in the finals last year.

Minnesota is led by national champion Dustin Schlatter (149) along with All-Americans Roger Kish (184), Mack Reiter (133), Jayson Ness (125) and C.P. Schlatter (157). National qualifier Manuel Rivera, ranked fourth at 141, also is a top wrestler for the Gophers.

Even with all the firepower and experience in its lineup, Minnesota is still seeded fifth.

“I don’t know how we’re a No. 5 seed – that’s kind of ridiculous,? Minnesota coach J Robinson said. “You have to look at more than just who beat who because some teams obviously match up differently with others. It’s kind of crazy, but I guess it will all change again next week anyway.?

So what kind of impact will being the No. 5 seed have on the Gophers?

“I’m sure that will impact our team,? Robinson said. “I’m sure it bothers our wrestlers a little bit and it will provide motivation. That’s what I’m hoping it does. I’m real happy with how our team is progressing. We have a real good group of guys and they have great attitudes.?

If Robinson is right about his team being seeded too low, the Gophers could meet Big Ten foe Penn State in the semifinals.

Iowa looked impressive in knocking off Iowa State on the road without returning NCAA champion Mark Perry (165) in the lineup. Perry was back for the Midlands Championships as the Hawkeyes rolled to the team title.

But as has been the case this season, Iowa didn’t stay on top for long. Oklahoma State, keyed by transfer Jake Dieffenbach’s upset of Perry, scored a 19-14 win over Iowa before 14,000-plus fans last Saturday night in Iowa City.

“It shows you can’t let your guard down against anybody,? Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “We need to wrestle with the same mindset and intensity we had at Midlands. The match with Oklahoma State should spur us to get better. We obviously have some areas we need to get better in.?

Iowa opens against Cornell. One of the most anticipated matchups of the day will come at 165 when the second-ranked Perry faces talented freshman Mack Lewnes of Cornell. Lewnes is 24-1 and ranked third nationally.

The Hawkeyes will be competing this weekend just an hour and a half drive away from their campus. Barring an upset, Iowa and Iowa State will meet again in the semifinals.

“This is a real important event and we’re peaking for it as always,? Brands said. “We’re ready to go, we’re excited, we’re fired up. We’re right up the road from Iowa City and we’re competing in a hotbed of wrestling where Dan Gable grew up and where the (Dan Gable) Wrestling Institute is. We’re looking forward to this.?

Penn State is led by three-time All-American Phil Davis (197) and 2007 Junior World champion Bubba Jenkins (149). The Nittany Lions learned Tuesday they had become the fourth team to hold the No. 1 ranking this season.

“We talked about it at the end of practice,? Sunderland said. “Being ranked No. 1, that doesn’t change how we train and how we practice. We’re not defending anything. We know we need to continue to get better. We want to be No. 1 at the end of the year. It’s a nice position to be in and a nice acknowledgement, but we know we still have a lot of work to do.?

Iowa State, led by returning NCAA runner-up Jake Varner (184), also will be in the hunt to win the team title in Cedar Falls. The Cyclones placed second behind Iowa at the Midlands.

“It’s anybody’s tournament – it’s just a matter of which team shows up and takes it,? Iowa State coach Cael Sanderson said. “There obviously are no easy matches. You have to be on your game. This tournament is great preparation for the end of the season. We want to wrestle the best competition and we will see that this weekend.?

Iowa State has a young lineup that includes six sophomores who each wrestled in the NCAA Championships last year.

“We’re making progress each week,? Sanderson said. “The National Duals will give us an opportunity to see how much progress we’ve made. We’re eager and anxious to get back out on the mat. We’re coming along real well. We just have to come out there and fight. I like where we’re at right now.?

Michigan could be a tough draw this weekend as well. The Wolverines have All-Americans in their lineup in Josh Churella (149), Eric Tannenbaum (165), Steve Luke (174) and Tyrel Todd (184) along with stud freshman Kellen Russell (141). Tannenbaum and Russell are both ranked No. 1 nationally. Michigan opens with tournament host Northern Iowa. Tannenbaum is scheduled to face No. 8 Moza Fay of UNI.

Central Michigan is another team to keep an eye on this weekend. The fourth-seeded Chippewas are led by All-American Wynn Michalak at 197. Central Michigan faces a tough first-round opponent in Ohio State. The dual could come down to the heavyweight match where No. 2 J.D. Bergman of Ohio State is scheduled to face No. 8 Bubba Gritter of Central Michigan.

Seventh-seeded Missouri also will bring another strong team to Cedar Falls. The Tigers are led by All-American Tyler McCormick at 133, fourth-ranked Nick Marable at 165, sixth-ranked Raymond Jordan at 184 and No. 10 Max Askren at 197. Marable is scheduled to face No. 7 Matt Coughlin when the Tigers wrestle Indiana in the first round.

Eighth-seeded Northwestern is led by veterans Ryan Lang (149), Mike Tamillow (197) and Dustin Fox (heavyweight). Brandon Precin (125) placed second at the Midlands Championships. Fox is ranked No. 1, Tamillow third, Precin fourth and Lang fifth.

Unseeded Nebraska, which faces Northwestern in the first round, is another team capable of making a big splash in Cedar Falls. The Huskers have seven NCAA qualifiers in their lineup. Nebraska is led by NCAA champion Paul Donahoe (125) and junior-college national champion Kenny Jordan (133). NU was unseeded in this event two years ago before placing third.

The Donahoe-Precin bout which starts the dual at 125 could hold the key to this match's outcome.

“There are probably six or seven teams thinking they have a chance to win this tournament,? Nebraska coach Mark Manning said. “There is a lot of parity and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. There are a lot of good matchups right away. I know we will have our hands full with Northwestern. They have a really good team.?

National Duals – Division I First-Round Pairings

No. 1 Penn State vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga

No. 8 Northwestern vs. Nebraska

No. 5 Minnesota vs. West Virginia

No. 4 Central Michigan vs. Ohio State

No. 3 Iowa State vs. Hofstra

No. 6 Michigan vs. Northern Iowa

No. 7 Missouri vs. Indiana

No. 2 Iowa vs. Cornell

January 6, 2008

Iowa "Whipped" in loss to Oklahoma State

The #1 NCAA Wrestling team's coach Tom Brands didn't mince words following the Hawkeyes' first dual defeat Saturday night.

No. 5 Oklahoma State (6-1) sent top-ranked Iowa (7-1) to the loss, 19-14, in front of 14,332 fans at Carver Hawkeye Arena.

"We got whipped," Brands said. "I don't like this feeling because it feels too much like last year - going up and down. We've got a lot of improving to do. I don't like it, but I wouldn't have it any other way because now we know what needs to be done."

Iowa won four of the 10 weights, including two by major decision. Junior Charlie Falck opened the dual at 125 with a narrow 7-5 decision over Ben Ashmore. Falck fought out off his back early in the third period and scored a reversal with one minute left to pick up the win.

Sophomores Brent Metcalf (149) and Phillip Keddy (184) both scored major decisions, while senior Matt Fields closed out the dual with a 4-3 win over Jared Rosholt at heavyweight. Fields picked up his 75th career win with the victory, while Keddy posted his 25th.

Oklahoma State won five of the six matches in which it was favored, and added an upset to its six-win tally.

Top-ranked Coleman Scott held off a late charge by second-ranked sophomore Joe Slaton at 133 to win 8-6 and hand Slaton his first loss of the season. Cowboy senior Nathan Morgan followed with an 8-4 win over sophomore Dan LeClere at 141. Juniors Newly McSpadden (157) and Brandon Mason (174) both scored decisions for Oklahoma State and senior Jake Dieffenbach upset second-ranked senior Mark Perry, 5-3, at 165.

Iowa's next competition will be at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Jan. 12-13 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. The two-day annual tournament features 16 teams from NCAA Division I, 12 from NCAA Division II, 15 from NCAA Division III and NAIA, eight NJCAA teams, seven NWCA teams and five women's wrestling teams.

Oklahoma State 19, Iowa 14
125 - Charlie Falck (I) dec. Ben Ashmore (OSU), 7-5
133 - Coleman Scott (OSU) dec. Joe Slaton (I), 8-6
141 - Nathan Morgan (OSU) dec. Dan LeClere (I), 8-4
149 - Brent Metcalf (I) maj. dec. Quinten Fuentes (OSU). 20-8
157 - Newly McSpadden (OSU) dec. Ryan Morningstar (I), 4-2
165 - Jake Dieffenbach (OSU) dec. Mark Perry (I), 5-3
174 - Brandon Mason (OSU) dec. Jay Borschel (I), 2-0
184 - Phillip Keddy (I) maj. dec. Cody Hill (OSU), 12-2
197 - Clayton Foster (OSU) maj. dec. Rick Loera (I), 12-1
Hwt. - Matt Fields (I) dec. Jared Rosholt (OSU), 4-3

January 5, 2008

Heavyweight has a firm grip on goals

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

When Arlington High's Tervel Dlagnev arrived at the University of Nebraska-Kearney in the fall of 2003 as a member of the Lopers' wrestling team, big hopes were not riding on his shoulders.

Dlagnev's best finish in UIL competition for Arlington was a third-place state medal as a senior. He had been invited to join UNK's NCAA Division II squad only after Arlington assistant coach Andrew Bauer urged his brother, UNK coach Marc Bauer, to consider taking Tervel. Marc Bauer recalls that his brother told him Dlagnev had "a lot of upside."

Boy, did he. Four-and-a-half years later, Dlagnev is considered by most to be the top college heavyweight in the country, regardless of division, and a potential Olympian. This season at UNK, he is going for his second consecutive Division II title and he is fourth in the U.S. freestyle heavyweight rankings. Texas fans can watch him Saturday at the Lone Star Duals in Grand Prairie, where he will compete with the Lopers.

"His goal is to be Olympic champion, and I think he could very well be an Olympic champion," said Tolly Thompson, a 2005 world heavyweight medalist for the U.S. and one of Dlagnev's training partners. "He isn't afraid to do what it takes to get there."

Dlagnev's quickness and work ethic have helped him get to the top.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder has been wrestling as a heavyweight for the past four seasons, but he wrestled at lighter weights in high school and in his first year at UNK before redshirting because of injury. That earlier experience has proven advantageous.

"Tervel is active and quick, and that's hard for big guys to catch up with," Marc Bauer said. "Though guys can get hold of him, he can always maintain good position, and the guys don't feel like they can grab onto anything. He circles really well, and he's got a great shot for a big guy."

Dlagnev continues to go out of his way to educate himself about technique and strategy, and to find the best competitions and training partners. It was Thompson who helped get Dlagnev noticed on the national freestyle scene after they met through a mutual acquaintance in 2006. Thompson worked out with Dlagnev and asked the youngster to be his training partner while Thompson prepared for the 2006 World Team Trials. As a result, Dlagnev worked out at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Thompson and others encouraged Dlagnev to compete at last year's U.S. national freestyle championships, where he finished fourth. That experience showed Dlagnev he could compete at the highest levels.

"Once Tolly started putting time into me, I really started believing in myself," Dlagnev said. "That's when I started to think about the Olympics."

A knee injury has hindered Dlagnev the past four weeks, but he will compete tonight in a dual meet and continue his comeback at the Lone Star Duals.

He has a big year ahead. After the Division II Championships in March, he will have the U.S. Championships in April and the Olympic Trials in June. He doesn't plan to stop after that.

"I want to stick around as long as I can," he said. "I only have this certain window to wrestle before I'm physically unable to compete, so I want to take advantage of it."

Lone Star Duals

Friday-Saturday, South Grand Prairie High School, Grand Prairie

Who: High school teams will compete Friday and Saturday. Colleges compete Saturday only, starting at 8 a.m.

Friday competition begins at 8 a.m.

Perry seeks family bragging rights

The rivalry between the two most-storied programs in NCAA wrestling has been one-sided since Oklahoma State put a vice-like grip on the series against Iowa seven years ago, and Mark Perry Jr. hears all about it nearly every time he goes back home.

The faithful followers of the Cowboys are rarely responsible for any good-natured taunts toward the son of Stillwater.

No, the teasing comes from a couple members of Oklahoma State's first family of wrestling -- a grandfather who doesn't mind pointing out the score since his grandson joined the Hawkeyes and an uncle who joins in every now and then by taunting his nephew.

"My grandpa (Lee Roy) Smith (Sr.) and uncle Lee Roy (Jr.) mess with me, and it pisses me off," Perry said. "It's mostly my grandpa Smith that heckles me when we get beat by them. The past couple years at the national tournament when (the Cowboys) were up high (in the standings) and we weren't doing well, he'd ask where we were at."

For the first time since Perry arrived at Iowa, the Hawkeyes are on top of the NCAA wrestling rankings. For once, Perry's team enters a dual against the program coached by his uncle, John Smith, with match-ups, momentum and perhaps one of the largest crowds in college wrestling history on its side.

Nearly 10,000 tickets had been sold as of Friday afternoon, and Iowa officials are expecting a strong turnout at the ticket window before the 7 p.m. start of the showdown between the No. 1 Hawkeyes (7-0) and the sixth-ranked Cowboys (5-1) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"There's only been one time since I've been here where I've walked out of the tunnel and been in complete awe (of the crowd), and that was last year against Iowa State," said Perry, a senior who captured the 165-pound national title last March by beating longtime nemesis Johny Hendricks of Oklahoma State in the NCAA finals. "That would be cool to see that one more time before I graduate. ... That would be great if it was like that with the crowd, the energy, pretty much a packed house."

Perry, of course, wants to be part of a dual victory against the Cowboys, too. And this, his last opportunity, also might be his best.

Perry is one of four Iowa wrestlers who are heavily favored tonight based on rankings. The other six Hawkeyes are either slight underdogs or involved in toss-up matches.

"In this particular dual meet, it's always winning the close matches that are going to make a difference," John Smith said. "I think we've had a team in a similar position we're in right now and we've come out ahead. But we also know there's not a lot of room for an upset for us, especially when you're on the road."

Said Iowa coach Tom Brands: "There's no ranking here. This is Oklahoma State against Iowa. There are some tough matches. We're the No. 1-ranked team and they're favored in six on paper. Big deal."

The marquee bout of the night is at 133 pounds where Oklahoma State's top-ranked Coleman Scott wrestles second-ranked Iowa sophomore Joey Slaton.

"I've just got to stay tough for seven minutes and go out and attack like I have been," said Slaton, who is 12-0 with three wins against top-10 opponents.

Iowa recruited Scott, a three-time Pennsylvania state champion, before he signed with the Cowboys. The three-time All-American was an NCAA runner-up last year at 133 and his come-from-behind victory two years ago at 125 against Luke Magnani turned out decisive in the outcome of an 18-14 Oklahoma State win in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It also was an illustration of how the Cowboys have controlled the series since 2000.

"They wrestle full matches," Brands said. "I remember some big dual meets where there were some big individual matches where we were ahead 5-0 and they wiggled their way back in there and won the close match because they stayed tough. We've got to slam the door on them. If you score five points, score five more and then five more."

Most of those outcomes were produced by seasoned Oklahoma State wrestlers competing for veteran-laden teams during a stretch when it won four consecutive NCAA titles. This collection of Cowboys features four freshmen and only three wrestlers -- Scott, Nathan Morgan (141) and Brandon Mason (174) -- who have competed at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"Our freshmen don't need to use this match as an experience," John Smith said. "They need to use this match like they are experienced."

Oklahoma State's only loss was a 21-18 defeat Dec. 9 against Penn State in Stillwater. The Cowboys finished second to Central Michigan at the Reno Tournament of Champions, but Smith said that was his team's best performance of the season.

"Overall, I left there feeling pretty good about where we were and the things we've done," he said. "If we can carry that over into (tonight), we'll make it a great dual. But anything less, when you're on the road like this in a healthy environment, it can be ugly."

Iowa hasn't posted a win in the series since Feb. 4, 2000, when its last national-championship team beat the Cowboys 20-14 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Oklahoma State has won all six meetings between the two programs since Perry stunned followers of the sport in November of 2002 when he signed with Iowa, turning down an opportunity to wrestle for his uncle and for a team that was stocked with multi-time NCAA champions Hendricks and Chris Pendleton at 165 and 174.

The Cowboys are 4-0 since Perry joined the Iowa lineup, but John Smith won't point that out to his nephew.

"I don't need to fuel Mark's fire any," he said. "I know better than that. I'd never give him any ribbing because I know it's probably not going to (lead to) a good outcome the next time around. I stay pretty humble with Mark."

Perry already has an idea of what he'll say to his grandpa and uncle Lee Roy if the Hawkeyes handle the Cowboys -- nothing.

"(Oklahoma State has) gotten the better of me and the team I'm a part of since I've been in college," he said. "I just want to perform well individually and as a team, and this is the last chance that I'll have as a part of this rivalry as an athlete. Hopefully it'll end in a good way."

January 4, 2008

Minnesota-Iowa dual to be shown live on Big Ten Network

Minnesota-Iowa dual to be shown live on Big Ten Network
Ryan Maus University of Minnesota

The Feb. 1 Big Ten wrestling dual meet between the defending national champion Minnesota Golden Gophers and the No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes will be broadcast live from Williams Arena on the Big Ten Network beginning at 7:30 p.m., network officials confirmed today. The meet is a late addition to the BTN wrestling broadcast schedule, which will feature seven dual meets and the 2008 Big Ten Championships on March 9.

The “border battle? rivalry between the Golden Gophers and Hawkeyes is one of the collegiate wrestling’s fiercest. Iowa leads the all- time series between the programs 62-24-1, but the Gophers have won nine of 15 dual meets between the two since 1998. J Robinson’s squad earned a convincing 29-13 win in Carver-Hawkeye Arena last season en route to their third national championship in seven years. The teams last met in Minneapolis on Jan. 22, 2006, a 25-9 win for the Gophers. 6,695 fans were in attendance at that meet, which was also held in Williams Arena.

The Golden Gophers are currently ranked third in the latest USA Today/ NWCA/Intermat national coaches poll and have compiled a 6-1 dual meet record so far in 2007-08. The team is coming off a lopsided victory at the 2007 Southern Scuffle tournament last weekend, Minnesota’s second title at the event in three years.

The Hawkeyes moved up to No. 1in the national rankings after defeating then-No. 1 Iowa State in a dual meet Dec. 9. It was the first time Iowa had gained the top spot since in the NWCA poll since the 2000 season.

The Gophers and Hawkeyes will both compete at the 2007 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals Jan. 12-13 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The schools have met five times all-time at the annual event, with Minnesota winning three of those match-ups.

Videos will be available for the event in the NCAA Wrestling Videos archive.

Nebraska's Manning Nabs 100th Win

Husker head NCAA wrestling coach Mark Manning collected his 100th dual win at Nebraska as the Huskers rolled to a 38-6 dual victory over Northern Colorado on Wednesday night. NU collected six bonus-point victories in the dual as they improved to 5-1 on the year.

Manning continues to cement his place as one of the winningest coaches in Husker history. He is now 100-40-2 in the NCAA since coming to Lincoln in 2000, while his 100 dual victories trail only Tim Neumann (199) in NU history. Manning was 8-9 in his first season, but has collected more than 10 wins every year since.

Nebraska started the match with a forfeit at 133 pounds, but it was all Huskers after that as NU won the final nine matches of the night, including six bonus-point wins. Leading the way for the Huskers was junior Brandon Browne, who pinned Ryan Johnson in 3:49 at 174 pounds and collected his team-leading 19th win of the season.

Sophomores Jordan Burroughs and Craig Brester collected technical-fall victories as Burroughs notched a 21-6 win at 149 pounds and Brester improved to a perfect 5-0 in duals this season with a 21-5 victory at 197. Junior Paul Donahoe also stayed perfect on the year at 125 pounds with a 17-6 major decision over Tony Mustari, while sophomore Stephen Dwyer and junior Vince Jones also collected major decisions at 165 and 184, respectively.

Patrick Aleksanyan notched his second dual win of the season at 141 pounds with a 6-1 decision, while Chris Oliver returned to action at 157 with a 5-0 decision over Justin Gaethje. Senior Jon May captured the lone win of the night over a ranked opponent as he defeated No. 20 Reece Hopkin, 7-6, in the heavyweight class.

The Huskers continue their road trip with a Friday night dual against Oregon State at 9 p.m. CT at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore.