CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State wrestler Chad Hanke and head coach Jim Zaleskyannounced Friday that the senior will not compete during the 2011-12 season in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Trials, scheduled for April in Iowa City.
Hanke, a native of Dayton, Ore., will take the season off from collegiate competition to prepare for the chance to compete in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Games, which are scheduled to be held July 27 through August 12 in London.
The wrestling Olympic Trials are set for April 21 and 22 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa.
"The last couple tournaments went really well in my favor," Hanke said. "I'm second in my class right now. So we (the coaches) decided to talk about it. Another thing was my weight at 197; in freestyle, the weight class is 211 so it's a lot easier for me to get bigger for that class."
Hanke was expected to compete at 197 for the Beavers, but will instead focus on qualifying for the Olympics at 96 kg, which is the equivalent of 211.5 pounds.
However, both Hanke and Zalesky didn't leave out the possibility that he could move up to the heavyweight class, at 264.5 pounds.
"I think it's a great opportunity for him," Zalesky said. "We looked at it this summer and talked about it a little bit. We weren't sure on it but came back at it again this fall. He's second right now and it's a good time for him to get some International experience and get better. These chances only come around once every four years."
Hanke is coming off a 2010-11 campaign that saw him qualify for his first NCAA Championships tournament at 197 pounds. He went 23-13 and at one point was ranked as high as 15th nationally.
In three seasons with the Beavers, he is 75-38, racking up 12 pins, nine technical falls and 16 major decisions.
This past April, he won the championship for the 211 pound weight class at the University Nationals in Akron, Ohio. He went 6-0 in the event.
Oregon State has had eight wrestlers compete at the Olympics, including one in each of the last two Summer Olympiads (Oscar Wood in 2004 and Heinrich Barnesin 2008).