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|U.S. freestyle team, led by Cejudo, Wattenberg and Hahn, set to compete in tournament in Russia|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
A team of top U.S. freestyle wrestlers will travel to Russia to compete in an international tournament and dual meets in mid-June.
USA Wrestling National Freestyle Resident Coach Terry Brands will coach the team. Brands, a two-time World champion, was recently inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
The team will compete in dual meets against Russian all-star teams, and will also enter the Shamil Umakhanov International Tournament in Khasavyurt, Russia on June 17-19.
Three athletes who earned No. 2 rankings on Freestyle Team USA as runner-ups at the U.S. World Team Trials will be on this tour.
They include Henry Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Clint Wattenberg (Ithaca, N.Y./New York AC) at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Damion Hahn (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Cejudo made national news this year by winning the U.S. Nationals while a Colorado high school student, the first to win a freestyle national title on the Senior level since USA Wrestling became the national governing body. Cejudo placed second behind 1998 World champion Sammie Henson (Flintstone, Ga./Sunkist Kids) in a competitive Championship Series at the World Team Trials.
Wattenberg and Hahn reached the highest ranking intheir careers by earning a spot in the Championship Series at the U.S. World Team Trials. Hahn was a two-time NCAA champion at the Univ. of Minnesota, while Wattenberg achieved NCAA All-American status at Cornell Univ.
There will also be four wrestlers on the tour who are No. 3 ranked on the national team after placing third at the U.S. World Team Trials: Matt Azevedo, Arroyo Grande, Calif. (Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Cliff Moore, Iowa City, Iowa (Hawkeye WC) at 60 kg/132 lbs., Jared Lawrence, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and Joe Heskett, Grover Beach, Calif. (Gator WC) at 74 kg/163 lbs.
One of the nation's top college prospects will also compete on the tour, Brent Metcalf (Davison, Mich.) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Metcalf took a redshirt year as a freshman at Virginia Tech this year, and is expected to transfer to the Univ. of Iowa for next season. Metcalf tied a national record last year by winning his sixth career Junior National title while completing an outstanding high school career in Michigan. Metcalf won the FILA Junior World Team Trials on Sunday.
U.S. FREESTYLE RUSSIA TOUR TEAM
55 kg/121 lbs. - Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Matt Azevedo, Arroyo Grande, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Cliff Moore, Iowa City, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Jared Lawrence, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Brent Metcalf, Davison, Mich.
74 kg/163 lbs. - Joe Heskett, Grover Beach, Calif. (Gator WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Clint Wattenberg, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Damion Hahn, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Andy Patrick, Boise, Idaho (Bronco WC)
Coach - Terry Brands, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Team Leader - Steve Barrett, Moscow, Russia