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|New format featured at U.S. World Team Trials|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Fans will be treated to a new format when the U.S. World Team Trials for men's freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling roll into the Tyson Events Center on May 26-28 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Unlike previous years, the champions from the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas will not receive an automatic berth into the best-of-three finals.
Instead, only 2006 U.S. Nationals champions who are returning World medalists in freestyle or returning top five World finishers in Greco-Roman receive automatic berths into the finals. That means only freestyle wrestler Tolly Thompson of the Sunkist Kids and Greco-Roman competitor Justin Ruiz of the New York Athletic Club have clinched berths into the finals.
Thompson won a bronze medal at 120 kg/264.5 pounds last year at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, while Ruiz also won bronze at 96 kg/211.5 pounds. Both wrestlers won U.S. Nationals titles on April 15 in Las Vegas.
The remainder of the competitors in Sioux City will be seeded for the Trials and take part in the Challenge Tournament that will determine the finalists. Each weight class will be contested in just one day in a bracket format. The finalists in each class will then wrestle a best-of-three series to determine the champion.
Champions and second-place finishers from the U.S. Nationals will be seeded 1-2 in each weight class for the World Team Trials. The remainder of the athletes will be seeded by a committee the day before that weight class competes.
The Challenge Tournament will be held during the first session from 9 a.m. to 1:30 both days. The best-of-three finals will comprise the second session, starting at 4 p.m. both days.
The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by CSTV. The network plans a two-hour broadcast on Tuesday, June 6. The time for this broadcast has not yet been determined.
Champions in each weight class from the World Team Trials in freestyle and Greco-Roman advance to the World Championships on Sept. 26-Oct. 2 in Guangzhou, China.
Returning World bronze medalist Joe Williams (163 pounds) finished second in Vegas in freestyle, meaning he will draw the No. 2 seed behind U.S. Nationals champion Donny Pritzlaff for the World Team Trials.
Wrestlers who advance to the Challenge Tournament finals - in every weight class but 120 kg in freestyle and 96 kg in Greco-Roman - will meet in a best-of-three format to determine the World Team Trials champion.
Wrestlers who reach the finals of the Challenge Tournament at 120 kg in freestyle and 96 kg in Greco-Roman will meet in one match to see who advances to face Thompson and Ruiz in the best-of-three final round later that day.
Best-of-three finals in both styles will be held on both days. On Saturday, May 27, freestyle will be contested at 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs. and 96 kg/211.5 lbs. with Greco-Roman being contested at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., 74 kg/163 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
On Sunday, May 28, freestyle will wrestle at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs. and 120 kg/264.5 lbs. with Greco-Roman being held at 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs. and 84 kg/185 lbs.
The new format is similar to what is now used at the World Championships, where all matches in a particular weight class are wrestled all in one day.
Premium reserved seats for adults for the World Team Trials in Sioux City start at only $35 for the entire, two-day competition presented locally by Hy-Vee grocery stores. Reserved tickets for a single session are $20 apiece. Single session general admission tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.
Children 12 and under with a USA Wrestling card will be admitted free with a paid adult.
Tickets are available through a number of outlets, including the Tyson Events Center box office, by phone at 712-252-3434 or on the web at www.2006trials.org or www.ticketmaster.com.
The Tyson Events Center can seat up to 7,000 fans for the Trials. Sioux City has hosted numerous big wrestling competitions, including the NAIA nationals this year.
For more information on the World Team Trials, contact Event Director Tim Tushla at 712-251-7570.
The U.S. World Team Trials for women will be held at the Colorado Springs Christian School on June 30 in Colorado Springs. Winners in each weight class also advance to China.
The women's program, however, has chosen to have all the 2006 U.S. Nationals champions advance directly to the best-of-three series. All seven weights will compete on the same day.
2006 U.S. WORLD TEAM TRIALS SCHEDULE
MAY 26-28, AT SIOUX CITY, IOWA
FRIDAY, MAY 26
1-2 p.m. - Registration
1:45-2 p.m. - Medical check
2-2:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins for men's freestyle (55 kg, 60 kg, 96 kg) and Greco-Roman (66 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg, 120 kg)
3 p.m. - Seeding meetings for men's freestyle (55 kg, 60 kg, 96 kg) and Greco-Roman (66 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg, 120 kg)
SATURDAY, MAY 27
9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Challenge Tournament for men's freestyle (55 kg, 60 kg, 96 kg) and Greco-Roman (66 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg, 120 kg)
1-2 p.m. - Registration (remaining weight classes)
1:45-2 p.m. - Medical check (remaining weight classes)
2-2:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins for men's freestyle (66 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg) and Greco-Roman (55 kg, 60 kg, 84 kg)
3 p.m. - Seeding meetings for men's freestyle (66 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg) and Greco-Roman (55 kg, 60 kg, 84 kg)
4-8:15 p.m. - Best-of-three finals for men's freestyle (55 kg, 60 kg, 96 kg) and Greco-Roman (66 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg, 120 kg)
SUNDAY, MAY 28
9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Challenge Tournament for men's freestyle (66 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg) and Greco-Roman (55 kg, 60 kg, 84 kg)
4-8:15 p.m. - Best-of-three finals for men's freestyle (66 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg) and Greco-Roman (55 kg, 60 kg, 84 kg)
Presentation of the 2006 U.S. World Championship Teams will immediately follow the final match on Sunday night.