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Notes from the Challenge Tournament at the U.S. World Team Trials on Sunday, May 28

SIOUX CITY, IOWA - The U.S. World Team Trials at the Tyson Events Center featured the final seven weight classes, four in freestyle and three in Greco-Roman on Sunday, May 28. The morning session determined which athletes will compete in Saturday's Championship Series, a best-of-three finals to be held at 4:00 p.m. Among the highlights of the session are the following notes:

One of the biggest upsets in the session happened at 84 kg/185 lbs. in Greco-Roman, where Aaron Sieracki of the U.S. Army defeated 2004 Olympian and three-time World Team member Brad Vering of the New York AC, 4-0, 3-0. Sieracki will have his first chance in the finals of a World Team Trials, where he faces 2006 U.S. Nationals champion Jake Clark of the U.S. Marines. After the 2004 Olympic Trials, Sieracki, then with the U.S. Air Force, had retired from the sport. "I took a year and a half off," said Sieracki. "I was done completely. I was out of the military completely and had a corporate job. About March the next year, I was missing it. I called Coach Shon Lewis and said I wanted to wrestle again. I have a few years left, and want to do it while I can."

Sieracki's brother Keith is a former World Team member who was defeated at 74 kg/163 lbs. on Saturday. It is a dream for the brothers to make a World Team during the same year. "We have two more years to both win it," said Aaron Sieracki. "It will be done one of these years.

There were five sets of brothers who entered the tournament, and only one remains alive in getting both brothers on the U.S. World Team The youngest of the Zadick brothers, Mike, won the World Team spot in freestyle at 60 kg/132 lbs. on Saturday night. His brother Bill, seeded No. 2 after taking second at the U.S. Nationals at 66 kg/132 lbs., made the finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., winning his semifinal match against Doug Schwab of the Gator WC, 2-0, 1-0. Bill will face Jared Frayer of the Gator WC in the finals, after Frayer upset national champion Chris Bono of the Sunkist Kids in their semifinal showdown, 1-0, 0-3, 4-0.

"I'm excited," said Mike Zadick after his brother's semifinal win. "I like the opportunity ahead of us. Since we started wrestling, when I was like five years old, I wanted to be on a U.S. team with him. We said that we could be on a World team together. We now have a possibility to win two gold medals together. Bill's being with Terry Brands at the Olympic Training Center has been positive for him. With me winning has motivated him. Me seeing him wrestle better motivates me."

One part of the brother acts, Justin Ruiz of the New York AC, made the U.S. Greco-Roman team with a victory at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. on Saturday. His older brother Brandon, competing for the Sunkist Kids, was defeated at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. yesterday.

The other brother acts included the Paulsons in freestyle (Travis and Trent, both at 74 kg/163 lbs.) and the Gallicks in freestyle (Nate and Nick, both at 60 kg/132 lbs.). Both Gallicks were beaten on Saturday.

Trent Paulson scored the biggest upset of the session on Sunday morning, defeating 2000 Olympian and two-time World bronze medalist Joe Williams of the Sunkist Kids in the quarterfinals. However, Trent was eliminated in the semifinals by Tyrone Lewis of the Gator WC, when Lewis scored a three-point takedown in an overtime clinch in the final period for a 3-0, 0-1, 3-0 win. Travis won his first match over Tyron Woodley of the Tiger Style WC, but was defeated in his quarterfinal bout by U.S. Nationals champion Donny Priztlaff of the New York AC.

In the wrestlebacks, the Paulsons drew each other in the consolation semifinals, but chose not to wrestle. Travis won the match by forfeit over his twin brother Trent.

USOEC athlete Spenser Mango of the Gator WC has earned a reputation as an outstanding thrower from the reverse lock position. He won gold medals at the FILA Junior Nationals and the University Nationals, and followed up with a silver medal at the U.S. Nationals. However, in a quarterfinal match against Anthony Brooker of the U.S. Air Force, which went the full three periods, Mango was unable to get his lift in the last period, but scored two gut wrench turns to win the bout, 1-1, 3-0, 5-0. Mango was not able to advance to the finals here, however, losing in the semifinal match against Sam Hazewinkel of the Gator WC, 2-4, 4-2, 5-0.

Hazewinkel, a junior at the Univ. of Oklahoma, placed third at the U.S. Nationals, losing in the second round at that tournament to Neal Rodak of the U.S. Army. "I had my mindset better this match," said Hazewinkel. "I feel like I am getting my par terre in place now." Hazewinkel will face U.S. Nationals champion Lindsey Durlacher of the New York AC in the championship finals. "He got me last year here in the finals," said Hazewinkel. Hopefully, I'll switch that one around. Durlacher is tough, though."

Only one athlete in Sunday's competition did not have to compete in the morning session, 2005 World bronze medal Tolly Thompson of the Sunkist Kids. Thompson was the only athlete in today's competition who met the criteria to advance directly to the Championship Series, by winning a World medal last year, then capturing a U.S. Nationals titles this year. That means that 120 kg/264.5 lbs. was the only division where the challenge tournament was wrestled completely to a finals match.

Earning a spot in the final series against Thompson was Steve Mocco of the New York AC, who defeated Tommy Rowlands of the Sunkist Kids, 1-0, 1-0 in the Challenge Tournament finals. Mocco was awarded the point on a call on the edge in the second period that went to the videotape review. Thompson defeated Mocco in the finals of the U.S. Nationals this year, as well as in the finals of both the U.S. Nationals and World Team Trials last year.

In the semifinals, Rowlands won a very competitive bout against 2006 NCAA champion Cole Konrad of the Minnesota Storm, 1-1, 1-1. Rowlands scored the last point in both periods to win the criteria, including a step out by Konrad in the closing seconds of the second period.
A first round match match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in freestyle featured a pair with Iowa State connections. Aaron Holker of the U.S. Army, who won an NCAA title for Iowa State, faced Cyclone freshman Mitch Mueller of the Sunkist Kids. Holker entered the U.S. Army after college and served in Iraq prior to moving to Colorado Springs, Colo. to train with the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. Holker won the first period, 1-0, but Mueller came back with a second period win 7-1 with multiple leg lace turns. The third period went to Mueller by a 2-1 score.

Lou Rosselli is one of the 2006 U.S. Freestyle World Team coaches. He was among the three new coaches named to the coaching staff at Ohio State, to work under new head coach Tom Ryan. Along with Rosselli, named to the Buckeye staff are two competitors in this weekend's tournament, Joe Heskett of the Gator WC at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Tommy Rowlands of the Sunkist Kids at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Rosselli left the staff at Edinboro Univ. and Heskett came over from Cal Poly, while Rowlands was moved up into an official coaching position there.

There is an Askren wrestling in the World Team Trials this year, but it is not NCAA champion Ben Askren of the Univ. of Missouri. Younger brother Max, who was redshirted as a freshman for the Tigers, qualified for the World Team Trials by placing seventh at the U.S. Nationals. Ben entered the U.S. Nationals and did not qualify, and chose not to seek a spot in the tournament by skipping the University Nationals event. Ben had competed in this event the last few years. Ben Askren was in the corner, along with Tiger head coach Brian Smith, coaching his brother, along with former Missouri All-American Tyron Woodley at 74 kg/163 lbs.

USOEC wrestler Jeremiah Davis of Sunkist Kids entered the 60 kg/132 lbs. division in Greco-Roman as the top seed, after becoming the U.S. Nationals champion by moving up the runner-up position at U.S. Nationals after Joe Warren of the New York AC tested positive for a banned substance at the event and had his title removed. A few weeks after the U.S. Nationals, Davis was beaten in the finals of the University Nationals by Nathan Piasecki of the Pinnacle Performance WC. Piasecki earned the No. 4 seed, and drew Davis in the semifinals. Davis won the match, 0-4, 2-1, 5-1, and earns the right to wrestle Warren again in the World Team Trials finals, after Warren stopped Joe Betterman of the New York AC, 4-1, 6-0 in his semifinal bout.
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