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|U.S. Nationals preview at 60 kg/132 lbs. for Greco-Roman wrestling|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Joe Warren of the New York Athletic Club has established himself as the No. 1 man in Greco-Roman wrestling at 60 kg/132 pounds.
Warren will take the mat in Las Vegas after a superb 2005 where he won the U.S. Nationals and World Team Trials before placing ninth in the World Championships. Warren has steadily moved up the ladder on the national scene after taking second at the 2004 Olympic Trials.
Warren continued to stockpile momentum by capturing the Sunkist Kids and New York Athletic Club tournaments this season. The former Michigan wrestler competes with an abundance of passion and intensity.
Second-ranked James Johnson of the U.S. Army lost to Warren in the best-of-three finals at last year's World Team Trials. Johnson, 24, is an excellent athlete who holds a black belt in karate and competed in gymnastics while growing up.
Jacob Hey of the U.S. Air Force was second at the U.S. Nationals and fourth at the World Team Trials last year, but he has not competed this year. If he returns, Hey has the experience to be a major factor.
U.S. Olympic Education Center wrestler Willie Madison of the Gator Wrestling Club also has shown progress and is ranked third. Madison was third at the 2005 World Team Trials and fifth at the U.S. Nationals. Madison fell 5-0, 3-0 to Warren in the finals of the New York AC meet.
Dallas Seavey holds down the No. 4 spot in TheMat.com rankings. Seavey, a freshman at the USOEC program, showed great potential with a strong performance at the Dave Schultz Memorial International. Seavey beat Madison 2-2, 3-0 in that tournament.
This weight class is loaded with young hopefuls, all who seek to use the U.S. Nationals as the next step in their development. Other athletes to watch include Jeremiah Davis of the Sunkist Kids, Josh Habeck of the U.S. Army, Marco Lara of the New York Athletic Club, Kerry Regner of the Angry Fish Wrestling Club, Jeremy McLean of the U.S. Marines, Chaz Tillman of the USOEC and Justin Cannon of the U.S. Marines.
Davis was second at the Sunkist Kids meet, beating Tillman, Habeck and Madison before being pinned by Warren in the finals. He beat Regner in the Dave Schultz Memorial.
Habeck was fifth at the Sunkist Kids Open and Lara was third at the NYAC tournament. He beat McLean and Tillman in New York and lost to Madison.
Veteran Duaine Martin of the U.S. Army also could end up at this weight class. Martin placed fourth at the Sunkist Kids Open at 121 pounds, but has shuttled back and forth between 121 and 132 in his career. Martin won the recently completed Rocky Mountain Regionals at 132 pounds, so he already has qualified for the World Team Trials at the weight.
Warren has paid his dues behind some of the sport's top stars, including Olympians Jim Gruenwald and Dennis Hall, and is the clear-cut favorite in this division now. It will be interesting to see of the younger competitors and how they fare in a meet of this significance.
2005 U.S. NATIONALS RESULTS
1st - Joe Warren, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Jacob Hey, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force), 1-0, 5-0
3rd - Jeremiah Davis, El Cajon, Calif. (USOEC/Sunkist Kids) dec. Duaine Martin, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 0-3, 3-1, 1-0
5th - Willie Madison, Metairie, La. (USOEC/Gator WC) dec. Marco Lara, Tanstaa, Fla. (New York AC), 1-0, 1-3, 1-0
7th - Kerry Regner, Darlington, Pa. (USOEC) dec. Justin Cannon, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marines), 0-3, 5-0, 1-0
THEMAT.COM RANKINGS FOR MARCH 2006
1. Joe Warren, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
2. James Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
3. Willie Madison, Metairie, La. (USOEC/Gator WC)
4. Dallas Seavey, Seward, Alaska (USOEC)
5. Jeremiah Davis, El Cajon, Calif. (USOEC/Sunkist Kids)
6. Josh Habeck, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
7. Marco Lara, Long Beach, Calif. (USOEC/New York AC)
8. Kerry Regner, Darlington, Pa. (USOEC/Angry Fish)
9. Jeremy McLean, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps)
10. Chaz Tillman, Howell, Mich. (USOEC)