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|U.S. Freestyle World Team to compete in Super Cup in the Daghestan Republic of Russia|
By John Fuller USA Wrestling
Colorado Springs, Colo. - All seven members of the 2005 U.S. Men's Freestyle World Team will compete in the Super Cup, Nov. 12-14 in the Daghestan Republic of Russia. This tournament will be a similar format to the World Cup, with nations wrestling dual meets for numerous awards.
The first-place team will be awarded $40,000 to split among the participants. The second-place team will be awarded $30,000 and the third-place team will earn $20,000. There are also other individual awards given out for "Best Technique," "The Will To Victory" and "Best Judge."
Overall, 13 teams from 12 countries will compete in this competition. The 13th team is a team solely from the Daghestan Republic. Of the other 12 teams, the top four teams in the 2005 World Champions, Russia, Cuba, Georgia and Ukraine will send squads to this event.
Seven of the other eight teams, including the United States which placed eighth, also placed in the top 20 overall at the World Championships this year - Azerbaijan (20th), Armenia (16th), Belarus (17th), Iran (6th), Turkey (13th) and Uzbekistan (12th). The other team competing is Romania.
"This is a great event for our team to be able to compete in so soon after the World Championships," USA Wrestling National Freestyle Coach Kevin Jackson stated. "Our team was pretty disappointed with our performance after the World Championships this year, and this will give us an opportunity to show that we are better than an eighth-place finish."
Jackson also stated that with the amount of money being awarded and the countries competing, that he expects most of the top wrestlers to be in their respective nation's lineup. If all nations competing bring their top wrestlers, 19 of this year's 28 medalists from the World Championships would be present.
The U.S. team will include 2005 World bronze medalists Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Williams, who also won a World bronze medal in 2001, has won four gold medals at a similar event, the World Cup. Thompson won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Cup.
Former World champion Sammie Henson (Flintstone, Ga./Sunkist Kids) will compete at 55 kg/121 lbs. Henson won a World title in 1998 and followed that with an Olympic silver medal in 2000. He also won silver medals in the 1998 and 1999 World Cup.
Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC), who placed fourth in the 2004 Olympic Games, will wrestle for the U.S. team at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Cormier also placed fifth in the 2003 World Championships. In 2003, he placed third in another high-profile event in Russia, the Ivan Yarygin Cup, which billed the winners of the 96 kg and 120 kg weight classes against each other in a best of the big men competition.
Representing the U.S. at 84 kg/185 lbs. will be Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC), who placed seventh at this year's World Championships after losing a controversial match to former World champion Sazhid Sazhidov of Russia.
Rounding out the U.S. roster will be Michael Lightner (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Chris Bono (Ringgold, Ga./Sunkist Kids) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., both of whom competed in this year's World Championships.
Lightner was a newcomer to this year's World Team after winning a U.S. Nationals title earlier in the season.
Bono is a veteran of international competitions, winning a gold medal at the 2003 World Cup and also competing in the 2001 World Championships.
The team will be coached by Kevin Jackson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and USA Wrestling Freestyle Resident Coach Terry Brands (Woodland Park, Colo.).
The exact format of the Super Cup has not yet been determined and the final lineups of the other countries have not yet been released. TheMat.com will provide more information as it becomes available.
U.S. Roster for Freestyle Super Cup
at Daghestan Republic, Russia
Nov. 12-14, 2005
55 kg/121 lbs. - Sammie Henson, Flintstone, Ga. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Michael Lightner, Norman, Okla. (Sunkist Kids)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Chris Bono, Ringgold, Ga. (Sunkist Kids)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Joe Williams, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Mo Lawal, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Tolly Thompson, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
Coaches: Terry Brands (Woodland Park, Colo.) and Kevin Jackson (Colorado Springs, Colo.)