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|Henson is second, McMann is third in voting for USOC awards for May 2006|
By Russell Carlton U.S. Olympic Committee
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A pair of wrestlers were among the athletes honored as the The U.S. Olympic Committee announced its Athlete and Team awards for the month of May 2006.
Second place for the men's ballot went to freestyle wrestler Sammie Henson (Flintstone, Ga.). The wrestler won the title at 55kg/121 pounds at the U.S. World Team Trials in Sioux City, Iowa, May 27-28, to earn a spot on the U.S. World Team that will compete in the World Wrestling Championships in late September. At 35 years old, he defeated 2006 U.S. Nationals champion Henry Cejudo in two straight bouts for the championship. It's Henson's second straight U.S. World Team qualification.
Wrestling's Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa) took third place in the women's voting. She went 2-1 to lead the U.S. women's freestyle team to a third-place finish at the Women's World Cup on May 20-21. She won her two matches 6-0, 3-0 and 3-0, 7-0. Her only loss came at the hands of the 2004 Olympic champion and four-time world champion, falling 1-0, 1-0.
Cyclist Amber Neben and sprinter Justin Gatlin were named USOC May Athletes of the Month. The USOC Team of the Month was awarded to the USA Women's National Field Hockey Team.
Road cyclist Neben (Irvine, Calif.) successfully defended her overall title at the Tour de I'Aude on May 18, considered to be the most prestigious women's stage race in the world. After staking her claim to the yellow leader's jersey in stage nine, May 17, Neven entered the 10th and final stage with a narrow 14-second advantage over her Dutch Buitenpoort-Flexpoint teammate Susanne Ljungskog of Sweden. The overall title win was Neben's second in a row at the tour.
The reigning Olympic and World 100m champion, Gatlin (Raleigh, N.C.) tied the men's world record at the Qatar Super Grand Prix in Doha on May 12. His time of 9.77 seconds with a wind reading of +1.7 meters per second ties the record with Jamaican Asafa Powell, set in Athens on June 14, 2005.
The USA Women's National Field Hockey Team earned a spot in the 2006 World Cup with a fourth-place finish at the World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Rome. Entering the tournament as the No. 6 seed, the USA earned one of the five available world cup berths awarded at the tournament, scheduled for Sept. 27-Oct. 7 in Madrid. The USA went through pool play with a 3-1-1 record including wins over the world's No. 6-ranked team New Zealand (1-0) and host Italy (2-1), securing their seventh straight appearance at the sport's world championship tournament.
Results (first place votes in parentheses)
1. Amber Neben, cycling, 24 (4)
2. Paige Railey, sailing, 18 (6)
3. Sara McMann, wrestling, 16 (4)
Also receiving first-place votes: Marge Engle (Equestrian)
1. Justin Gatlin, track and field, 37 (10)
2. Sammie Henson, wrestling, 16 (2)
3. Andy Potts, triathlon, 13 (1)
Also receiving first-place votes: Jeremy Liggett (Judo), Reo Wilde (Archery)
1. Women's National Field Hockey Team, 32 (6)
2. Sailing, 28 (7)
3. Synchro. Diving, 23 (2)