Friday, April 25, 2008

Grapplers battle on road to Olympics

By Andy Hamilton
Iowa City Press-Citizen

What happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas last summer -- at least that's the way Doug Schwab sees things.

The Iowa assistant wrestling coach came away with a spot on the freestyle U.S. World Team last June in Las Vegas. But he didn't seem to gain the recognition he thought might come from forging through a star-studded bracket, and perhaps some are forgetting who walked away with the title.

"I don't want to say people don't give me credit, but it's like, 'He had one good tournament,'" Schwab said. "I want to show them I can have two, three, four, five, six, seven, a lot of good tournaments, and it wasn't just that I got hot one weekend and had a good week and beat some guys, but that I can beat these guys consistently."

Beating them again this weekend would put Schwab on the brink of a ticket to the Olympics.

"It's his spot," Iowa coach Tom Brands said. "He owns it. He's going to have to prove it, but he knows it."

Schwab, Mike Zadick and Joe Williams -- all former Hawkeyes who represented the U.S. at the 2007 World Championships -- were selected as No. 1 seeds entering Saturday's freestyle U.S. Nationals at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Zadick, however, said Thursday that he will not compete this weekend.

By winning their weight classes this weekend, Schwab, Williams and ex-Hawkeye and 2006 World champion Bill Zadick could squeeze through loopholes set up for past World Team members and earn free rides into the best-of-three championship series in June at the Olympic Trials. Mike Zadick's situation is a little stickier.

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