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|Warren and Zadick are finalists for James E. Sullivan Award; Fans can vote online|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
The AAU has announced the 15 finalists for the James E. Sullivan Award, given each year to the nation's top amateur athletes. 2006 World Wrestling champions Joe Warren and Bill Zadick are among the star athletes selected as finalists for this prestigious award.
Fans can join in the voting for the nation's top amateur athlete online. The total fan votes count one-third toward the final tally. Voting ends March 31. USA Wrestling encourages the wrestling community to vote often for this award at:
Ballots for the 77th Sullivan Award are being sent this week to AAU officials, U.S. Olympic Committee members, college sports information directors and others. The winner for athletic excellence in 2006 will be announced April 11.
Warren (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) won a gold medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. in men's Greco-Roman at the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China, Sept. 25. He became only the fifth U.S. wrestler in history to win a gold medal at the World Championships in men's Greco-Roman.
Warren's effort, along with two other medalists, helped lead the USA to third in the team standings, matching its best-ever finish at the World Championships. Warren was competing in just his second World meet.
He won five straight matches on his way to the title. He opened with a 2-3, 3-1, 3-1 victory over past World champion Dilshod Aripov of Uzbekistan, then stopped past World medalist Ali Ashkani of Iran 2-1, 1-1. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Vyasheslav Djaste of Russia, 4-1, 2-0, then stopped two-time World medalist Euesebio Diaconu of Romania, 1-1, 2-1. In the championship finals, Warren defeated David Bedinadze of Georgia, 1-1, 4-1, 2-1.
Warren qualified for the U.S. World Team by winning the World Team Trials in Sioux City, Iowa in June, defeating Jeremiah Davis of the Sunkist Kids in the Championship Series in two straight matches. He also won a Challenge Tournament in order to qualify for the Finals Series.
Warren won a gold medal at 2006 Pan American Championships in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in June, the only American to claim a gold medal in Greco-Roman.
Warren is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. He was an All-American wrestler at the Univ. of Michigan. A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Warren was a state high school champion and holds the national record for most takedowns in a season.
Zadick (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) captured a gold medal at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. in freestyle wrestling at the World Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou, China on Sept. 28. Zadick was one of four U.S. freestyle wrestlers to win a medal, and the only gold medalist on the freestyle team. His effort helped lead the U.S. to a third place finish at the World Championships.
Zadick defeated 2005 World bronze medalist Otari Tushishvili of Georgia 1-2, 3-0, 1-0 in the gold-medal finals, with the match going down to a third-period leg clinch, which was won by Zadick.
Zadick won five matches to claim the title. He opened with a 3-0, 4-0 decision over Elar Hani of Estonia, then knocked off World bronze medalist Geandry Garzon of Cuba 4-0, 1-4, 3-1 in the second round. After a 2-2, 2-0 win over Fred Jessy of Nigeria in the quarterfinals, Zadick then rallied to beat Albert Batryov of Belarus 0-1, 1-0, 2-1 in the semifinals.
Zadick qualified for the U.S. World Team by winning the World Team Trials in Sioux City, Iowa in June, defeating Jared Frayer of the Gator WC in the Championship Series in two straight matches. He defeated Frayer 5-0, 3-1 in the first match, and won the second match, 1-0, 2-0. It was his second career U.S. World Team berth, along with his title at the 2001 World Team Trials. To reach the finals, Zadick defeated Mitch Mueller of the Sunkist Kids and Doug Schwab of the Gator WC.
Zadick placed second at the 2006 U.S. Nationals, dropping the gold-medal match to three-time U.S. World Team member Chris Bono of the Sunkist Kids, 0-1, 1-0, 3-0.
His younger brother Mike was also a member of the 2006 U.S. World Team, capturing a World silver medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. They were the first U.S. brothers to reach the World Championships finals since Tom and Terry Brands were champions at the 1993 World Championships in Toronto, Canada.
Zadick, 33, is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. He was a 1996 NCAA Div. I champion and two-time All-American at the Univ. of Iowa. A native of Great Falls, Montana, Zadick was a four-time Montana state high school champion.
The other finalists are: Brady Quinn (football), Joey Cheek (speedskating), Sasha Cohen (figure skating), Troy Dumais (diving), Chris Leak (football), Jessica Long (paralympian swimming), Joakim Noah (basketball), Apolo Ohno (speedskating), Candace Parker (women's basketball), Michael Phelps (swimming), Angela Ruggiero (ice hockey), Troy Smith (football) and Hannah Teter (snowboarding).
Three wrestlers have previously won the AAU James Sullivan Award, all who have been both World and Olympic champions: John Smith in 1990, Bruce Baumgartner in 1995 and Rulon Gardner in 2000.
Below is the list of past wrestlers who have been finalists for this prestigious award:
James E. Sullivan Award Finalists
1945 - M. Allen Northrup
1946 - Douglas Lee
1946 - Henry Wittenberg
1948 - Henry Wittenberg
1957 - Doug Blubaugh
1959 - Terry McCann
1966 - Larry Kristoff
1967 - Larry Kristoff
1970 - Wayne Wells
1971 - Dan Gable
1972 - Dan Gable
1973 - Lloyd Keaser
1975 - Lloyd Keaser
1976 - John Peterson
1977 - Stan Dziedzic
1978 - Lee Kemp
1979 - Lee Kemp
1980 - Ben Peterson
1981 - Chris Campbell
1982- Greg Gibson
1984 - Steve Fraser
1985 - Mike Houck
1986 - Bruce Baumgartner
1987 - Mark Schultz, John Smith
1988 - John Smith
1989 - John Smith
* 1990 - John Smith
1992 - Bruce Baumgartner
1993 - Bruce Baumgartner
1994 - Bruce Baumgartner
* 1995 - Bruce Baumgartner
1997 - Les Gutches
1998 - Sammie Henson
1999 - Stephen Neal
* 2000 - Rulon Gardner
2002 - Cael Sanderson
2004 - Cael Sanderson
2006 - Bill Zadick, Joe Warren