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Cejudo named USOC Male Athlete of the Month for April

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Olympic Committee announced wrestler Henry Cejudo and cyclist Sarah Hammer as its April Athletes of the Month. The USOC Team of the Month was awarded to the U.S. National U-18 Men's Ice Hockey Team.

Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) won the 55kg/121-pound title in men's freestyle wrestling at the U.S. National Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., April 15. A senior at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, he became the first high school wrestler to win a U.S. Nationals title in men's freestyle since USA Wrestling became the National Governing Body in 1983.

In the gold-medal final, Cejudo defeated the No. 1 seed Matt Azevedo of the Sunkist Kids, 0-1, 2-1, 4-2. In the semifinals, Cejudo defeated No. 2 seed Luke Eustice of the Hawkeye TC, 2-2, 3-1. Both Azevedo and Eustice had scored wins over Cejudo earlier in the year.

In the preliminary rounds, Cejudo beat Grant Nakamura of the Sunkist Kids, 7-0, 2-1 then stopped Mark McKnight of the New York AC, 2-2, 1-1.

Cejudo is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete, and was fifth in the 2005 Junior World Championships. He has won four state high school titles, two in Colorado and two in Arizona.

On the opening day of competition at the 2006 UCI Track Cycling World Championships April 13-16 in Bordeaux, France, Hammer (Temecula, Calif.) captured the gold medal in the women's 3000-meter individual pursuit to become the first U.S. elite world champion on the track since Marty Nothstein won a gold medal in 1996. She is also the first American woman to win a world title since 1995.

The U.S. National Under-18 Men's Ice Hockey Team won the 2006 IIHF World U-18 Championship, going a perfect 6-0-0 in the tournament. Team USA had a 3-1 victory over Finland in the gold medal game and is the first time in USA hockey history that a team has won back-to-back gold medals at an international hockey federation event.

Second place for the men went to triathlete Mark Fretta (Portland, Ore.), who became only the second U.S. male athlete to hold the International Triathlon Union World No. 1 ranking. With a sixth place finish at the Ishigaki ITU World Cup on April 16, he accumulated enough world cup points to take his place atop the triathlon world. Fretta also won his division of the Carlsbad 5k running race with a personal best time of 14:46.

Cycling's Floyd Landis (Murietta, Calif.) was third. Landis won the general classification of the fourth running of the 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia, April 18-23. He ended the more than 600 mile, six-day stage race maintaining his four-second lead over fellow American Tom Danielson. Landis completed the course in 24 hours and 54 seconds.

Second place for the women went to Candace Parker (Naperville, Ill.). She was the youngest member of the 2006 USA Basketball Senior National Team that won the 2006 Opals World Challenge April 7-12 in Australia. She finished the tournament as the USA's leading scorer (18.0 ppg) and second leading rebounder (8.4 rpg), averaging two assists per game and shooting 69.0 percent (40-58) from the field. Parker also ranked second among all tournament participants in the four-team field for scoring and rebounding and was first for field goal percentage. She scored in double-digits four times and posted a pair of double-doubles.

Diving's Kelci Bryant (Indianapolis, Ind.) finished in third place. She won three gold medals at the 2006 Speedo U.S. Open, placing first in every event she competed in. Bryant placed first on 1-meter with a score of 271.00, scored a 335.35 to win the 3-meter and won the 3-meter synchro competition with a score of 285.60.

Fencing's Junior Women's Saber Team ended in second place for the team vote. The U.S. team of Jackie Jacobson (Dunwoody, Ga.), Caroline Vloka (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), Rebecca Ward (Portland, Ore.) and Dagmara Wozniak (Colonia, N.J.) defeated teams from Hong Kong, Italy and China by wide margins to earn the Junior Team title at the Junior & Cadet world championships. The score of the final match against China was 45-32.

The Debbie McCormick Curling rink and Sailing's Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and Carrie Howe (Grosse Point, Mich.) tied for third place.

Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.), Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) lost in the quarterfinals of the World Curling Tour Players Championship. With the finish, the team ended the season ranked No. 5 on the world curling tour money list - the highest finish ever for a U.S. women's team.

Barkow, Capozzi and Howe won two major international regatta titles, defeating 25 boats in each of the two events. After winning the yngling fleet at the Princess Sofia Trophy, they received their gold medals from Queen Sofia of Spain before they traveled to France and successfully defended their titles.

Results (first place votes in parentheses

1. Henry Cejudo, wrestling, 24 (6)
2. Mark Fretta, triathlon, 22 (3)
3. Floyd Landis, cycling, 16 (2)
Also receiving first-place votes: David Boudia (Diving), Jesus Mendez III (Boxing), Graham Wicas (Fencing), Brady Ellison (Archery), Jimmy Siemers (Water Skiing)

1. Sarah Hammer, cycling, 27 (5)
2. Candace Parker, basketball, 23 (6)
3. Kelci Bryant, diving, 21 (4)
Also receiving first-place votes: Dallas Friday (Wakeboarding), Rebecca Ward (Fencing)

1. Men's Ice Hockey 37 (11)
2. Junior Women's Saber Team 25 (1)
3. Debbie McCormick rink 17 (4)
3. Sailing 17 (1)
Also receiving first-place votes: University of Florida (Wakeboarding)
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