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Strong field expected for FILA Junior World Team Trials



The FILA Junior World Team Trials has provided a stage for future American stars to perform and excel on their way to earning spots on Team USA at the Senior level.

This year's FILA Junior World Team Camp and Trials for freestyle and Greco-Roman is being held June 4-10. The training camps are being held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the competition is being held at East Middle School in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The week will start with a camp and conclude with the FILA Junior World Team Trials competition on Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, at East Middle School in Colorado Springs. The winners in each weight class advance to the FILA Junior World Championships on Aug. 29-Sept. 3 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

2004 Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas and 2006 World Team member Donny Pritzlaff are among the American wrestlers who have won Junior World titles.

Among the wrestlers expected to compete in freestyle is 2006 U.S. Nationals champion Henry Cejudo, who placed fifth in the Junior World Championships last year. The 19-year-old Cejudo, who just graduated from high school, placed second at the U.S. World Team Trials on May 27 and won the Pan American Championships on June 3. He competes at 55 kg/121 pounds.

Also expected to compete is 2006 FILA Junior Nationals freestyle champion Brent Metcalf, a six-time Junior Nationals champion who redshirted this past season at Virginia Tech. Metcalf will compete at 66 kg/145.5 pounds in freestyle. Metcalf has indicated he plans to follow former Virginia Tech coach Tom Brands to Iowa. Metcalf has been working out at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in recent weeks.

Cornell's Troy Nickerson, who placed second at March's NCAA meet at 125 pounds as a true freshman, also plans to compete in freestyle. He is expected to compete at 121 or 132. Two-time All-American Coleman Scott of Oklahoma State won FILA Junior Nationals in freestyle at 60 kg/132 lbs. Scott is expected to wrestle this weekend.

"This is an extremely important event and a big step toward developing our future Olympians," said Dave Bennett, USA Wrestling's National Developmental Freestyle Coach. "If you look at those wrestlers who have won at the FILA Junior World level in the past you will find some of our top people on it. Because the Junior World Tournament is in Guatemala this year it is particularly important that we get our best age level wrestlers to compete. We have as close to a home court advantage as we have had since 1998."

Champions from April's FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas earn an automatic berth into the finals of the FILA Junior World Team Trials. Freestyle champions from the FILA Junior Nationals include Metcalf, Scott, Marty Eng (110 pounds), Franklin Gomez (121), Matthew Coughlin (163), Chad Beatty (185), Brent Jones (211.5) and Trey McLean (264.5).

Among the top wrestlers expected to compete in Greco-Roman are Spenser Mango and Robbie Smith. Mango won FILA Junior Nationals and University Nationals at 55 kg/121 lbs. while also placing second at the U.S. Nationals. Smith won FILA Junior Nationals and University Nationals at 96 kg/211.5 pounds.

Mango is involved with the U.S. Olympic Education Center program at Northern Michigan and competes for the Gator Wrestling Club. Smith, who competes for the New York Athletic Club, is a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

The rest of the FILA Junior Nationals champs in Greco-Roman include Eric Grajales (110), Shawn Jones (132), Jason Robbins (145.5), Andy Bisek (163), Chas Betts (185) and Brandon Rupp (264.5).

FILA JUNIOR WORLD TEAM TRIALS SCHEDULE
Thursday, June 8
5 p.m. - Medical check and weigh-in (Olympic Training Center wrestling room); Greco-Roman weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/132 lbs. Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Friday, June 9
9 a.m.-noon - Challenge Tournament at East Middle School. Greco-Roman weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs. All qualified wrestlers participate with the exception of the highest place finisher from the 2006 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.

2-4:30 p.m. - Finals. Greco-Roman weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Freestyle weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Best-of-3 championship series with the champion of the Challenge Tournament facing the highest place finisher from the 2006 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.

5 p.m. - Medical check and weigh-in (Olympic Training Center wrestling room). Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Freestyle weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Saturday, June 10
9 a.m.-noon - Challenge Tournament at East Middle School. Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Freestyle weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs. All qualified wrestlers participate with the exception of the highest place finisher from the 2006 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.

2-4:30 p.m. - Finals. Greco-Roman weights: 74 kg/163 lbs., 84 kg/185 lbs., 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Freestyle weights: 50 kg/110 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs., 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Best-of-3 championship series with the champion of the Challenge Tournament facing the highest place finisher from the 2006 FILA Junior National Championship in attendance.
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