2008 U.S. Freestyle National Championships preview
2008 U.S. Freestyle National Championships preview
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
The United States placed fourth in the team race at the 2007 World Championships, but the U.S. won only one medal.
Veteran Daniel Cormier (211.5 lbs.) broke through to win his first career World medal after he placed third at the 2007 Worlds.
The U.S. also had fifth-place finishers in the Worlds in Doug Schwab (145.5), Joe Heskett (163), Joe Williams (185) and Tommy Rowlands (264.5).
Heskett retired shortly after the Worlds because of a heart condition, but all the other wrestlers are back looking to build on the performances they had in 2007.
Cormier and Williams both wrestled at the 2004 Olympics. Cormier placed fourth and Williams finished fifth in Athens.
As usual, there are a number of top contenders in each of the seven weight classes in freestyle. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out this year as we move toward the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
55 KG/121 LBS.
Henry Cejudo made his first U.S. World Team in 2007, but lost in the first round at the World Championships.
Cejudo has come back strong this year, beating 2007 World bronze medalist Andy Moreno of Cuba to win the 2008 Pan American Championships.
Cejudo may have his hands full with 2004 Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas back wrestling this year. Abas has been sidelined by knee injuries the past two years, but is back now competing. Abas placed third at the 2008 Dave Schultz Memorial International and recently won the Olympic Trials qualifier in Washington.
It’s more than just a two-horse race at 121.
Vic Moreno has emerged as a top contender here and has looked very strong while receiving a taste of international competition. Moreno placed third in the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix earlier this year.
Matt Azevedo, who placed second to Cejudo in the 2007 World Team Trials, also is a threat to make a big splash here.
Nick Simmons also can’t be overlooked. Simmons lost a close, three-period battle to Cejudo in the finals of the U.S. Nationals last year.
Veteran Danny Felix came back and won the Sunkist Kids International Open earlier this year.
Past World champion and Olympic silver medalist Sammie Henson is another wrestler who could make a comeback here. Henson won a bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships, but wrestled only one match in 2007. If he does return, he will be a contender for the title.
60 KG/132 LBS.
2006 World silver medalist Mike Zadick made the World Team again in 2007, but lost in the first round and was eliminated.
The U.S. was still looking to qualify this weight class for the Olympics. Zadick was scheduled to compete at an Olympic qualifier on April 19 in Switzerland.
Nate Gallick, who beat Zadick in the finals of the 2007 U.S. Nationals, is a top contender in this division. Gallick is a past World University Games champion. Gallick lost to Zadick in a Special Wrestle-Off for a spot on the 2007 U.S. World Team.
Zach Roberson, third in the 2007 World Team Trials, is another wrestler who could make an impact in this class. Shawn Bunch, one of the most explosive wrestlers in the U.S. in any class, is a dangerous wrestler.
Angel Cejudo also is very talented. Cejudo won the Dave Schultz Memorial International earlier this year. 2005 World Team member Michael Lightner also could be in the mix as well as two-time NCAA champion Teyon Ware.
66 KG/145.5 LBS.
This typically is one of the deepest – and most wide-open weight classes – in this country. And this year is no exception.
Doug Schwab made his first World Team last year and finished fifth at the 2007 World Championships. Bill Zadick, slowed by injuries last year, is back now and hoping to regain the form of 2006 when he won a World title.
Trent Paulson has been one of the biggest surprises in this weight class. Paulson dropped down a weight class before winning the Dave Schultz Memorial International and the Kiev International this year.
Also expected to be in the mix is 2007 U.S. Nationals champion Chris Bono, who was second at the World Team Trials last year.
Zack Esposito and Jared Frayer also are contenders to win the title along with Eric Larkin and Jared Lawrence.
Past World medalist and Olympian Cary Kolat is back wrestling again. Kolat won the Sunkist Kids International Open last fall.
74 KG/163 LBS.
With 2007 World Team member Joe Heskett retired after he was diagnosed with a heart condition, this weight class also is virtually up for grabs in 2008.
Casey Cunningham placed second at the 2007 World Team Trials and will be the No. 1 seed at the U.S. Nationals.
Ben Askren, the two-time Hodge Trophy winner from Missouri, has made a quick transition to freestyle. Askren won a tournament in Canada before winning the New York AC International and placing third at the Kiev International.
2006 World bronze medalist Donny Pritlzaff, who lost to Askren in the New York AC event, is another threat to win the title. Tyrone Lewis, who lost to Pritzlaff in the finals of the 2006 World Team Trials, won the Sunkist Kids event earlier this season.
Travis Paulson also has wrestled well. He beat Askren at the Sunkist Kids tournament before losing to Lewis in the finals. He also took third in the Alexander Medved International.
Ramico Blackmon, third at the 2007 World Team Trials, also is capable of winning this division.
84 KG/185 LBS.
Veteran Joe Williams moved up a weight class last year before placing fifth at the 2007 Worlds.
Williams will receive a challenge from 2005 World Team member Mo Lawal, who has moved back down to 185 this season. Lawal moved up a class last year and placed second at the World Team Trials at 211.5 pounds.
2007 NCAA champion Jake Herbert of Northwestern has looked very strong during his Olympic redshirt year. Herbert won the Dave Schultz Memorial International.
2006 World Team member Andy Hrovat also could be a factor in this weight class along with past National Team member Chris Pendleton.
Veteran Lee Fullhart, a past Olympic Team Trials and World Team Trials runner-up, is another experienced wrestler in this division.
Clint Wattenberg is another wrestler who could be a factor. He was second at the 2006 World Team Trials and third in the event last year.
96 KG/211.5 LBS.
Daniel Cormier is looking to build on a strong 2007 when he won his first World-level medal. Cormier won a bronze medal at the 2007 Worlds.
Cormier is heavily favored to make his second straight Olympic Team in 2008.
Among the wrestlers looking to knock off Cormier are Damion Hahn, Sean Stender, Nik Fekete, Kyle Cerminara, Kurt Backes and Willie Parks.
Hahn, a two-time NCAA champion for Minnesota, placed third at the 2007 World Team Trials.
120 KG/264.5 LBS.
Tommy Rowlands broke through to make his first World Team in 2007. Rowlands placed fifth at the World Championships.
Rowlands is off to a strong start this year. He knocked off past World champion Alexis Rodriguez of Cuba en route to winning the 2008 Dave Schultz Memorial International.
Steve Mocco, second in the World Team Trials the past three years, is looking to finally make his first World-level team this year. The two-time NCAA champion has looked strong this season. Mocco already has won four tournaments this season.
2005 World bronze medalist Tolly Thompson, a World Team member in 2005 and 2006, also could be a factor here. Thompson was slowed by injuries in 2007, but is back healthy now.
Les Sigman, fourth in the 2007 World Team Trials, continues to gain international experience and make improvement. Sigman was second at the Sunkist Kids and New York AC events this season.
Pat Cummins could be in the mix as well. He was third at the 2007 Trials.
Tervel Dlagnev, fourth at the 2007 U.S. Nationals, is another top young heavyweight to watch. Dlagnev recently won his second NCAA Division II title while leading Nebraska-Kearney to the team title.
Cole Konrad, second at the 2007 U.S. Nationals, could be in the mix as well. Konrad has wrestled both freestyle and Greco-Roman this season.
2007 U.S. FREESTYLE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
55 kg/121 lbs.
1st – Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Nick Simmons, Williamston, Mich. (Sunkist Kids), 4-4, 4-3, 5-0
3rd - Vic Moreno, Palo Alto, Calif. (Gator WC) dec. Matt Azevedo, Pismo Beach, Calif. (Sunkist Kids), 1-0,1-0
5th - Adam Smith, Colorado Springs Co, Pa. (NYAC) dec. Michael Martinez, Pagosa Springs Colo. (Cowboy WC), 4-1, 1-0
7th - Grant Nakamura, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jess Zobeck, Elma, Iowa (USOTC), 0-6, 6-3, 4-3
60 kg/132 lbs.
1st – Nate Gallick, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) dec. Mike Zadick, Solon, Iowa (Gator WC), 0-1., 3-0, 2-0
3rd - Shawn Bunch, Leavenworth, Kan. (Gator WC) dec. Zach Roberson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids), 2-1,0-1,1-0
5th - Chris Fleeger, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC) dec. Danny Felix, Morgantown, W.Va. (Sunkist Kids), 1-0,0-1,2-0
7th - Eric Metzler, Evanston, Ill. (Wildcat WC) dec. Joey Rivera, Stroudsburg, Pa. (Warrior WC), 3-2,2-2
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
1st – Chris Bono, Ringgold, Ga. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jared Frayer, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC), 2-6, 3-1, 1-0.
3rd - Zack Esposito, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) inj. dft. Cary Kolat, Hampstead, Md. (unattched),
5th - Jared Lawrence, Sand Point, Idaho (Minnesota Storm) inj. dft. Eric Larkin, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids),
7th - Doug Schwab, Iowa City, Iowa (Gator Wrestling Club) inj. dft. Jesse Jantzen, New York, N.Y. (New York)
74 kg/163 lbs.
1st – Joe Heskett, Columbus, Ohio (Gator WC) dec. Casey Cunningham, Mt. Pleasant, Mich. (Sunkist Kids), 1-6, 4-0, 2-1
3rd - Donny Pritzlaff, Madison, Wis. (NYAC) dec. Ramico Blackmon, Colorado Springs Colo. (New York CA), 0-6,3-0,1-0
5th - Scott Owen, Annapolis, Md. (NYAC) inj. dft. Ben Askren, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids)
7th - Tyrone Lewis, Oklahoma City OK, Okla. (Gator Wrestling Club) pin Trent Paulson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids), 0:23
84 kg/185 lbs.
1st – Joe Williams, Dekalb, Ill. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Lee Fullhart, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC), 0-1, 1-0, 1-0
3rd - Andy Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC) dec. Chris Pendleton, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC), 6-0, 7-4
5th - Tyrel Todd, Bozeman, Mont. (New York AC) dec. Tony Gansen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 5-4, 5-2
7th - Bryce Hasseman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Jake Varner, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 3-0
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
1st – Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) dec. Mo Lawal, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC), 1-0, 1-0
3rd - Kyle Cerminara, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Dawid Rechul, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 1-0, 0-1, 1-0
5th - Kurt Backes, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) dec. Sean Stender, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids), 1-3, 3-0, 1-1
7th - Damion Hahn, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC) dec. Mike Tamillow, Evanston, Ill. (Wildcat WC), 4-2, 3-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs.
1st – Tommy Rowlands, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids) dec. Cole Konrad, Freedom, Wis. (Minnesota Storm), 3-2, 1-0
3rd - Steve Mocco, Stillwater, Okla. (New York) dec. Tervel Dlagnev, Arlington, Texas (Loper WC), 3-0, 3-0
5th - Michael Irving, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) inj. dft. Tolly Thompson, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
7th - Pat Cummins, Evanston., Ill. (New York AC) tech. fall Greg Wagner, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC), 8-2, 6-0
Re: 2008 U.S. Freestyle National Championships preview
Super 32 Challenge - October 26-27, 2013
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