Top News Stories...
This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....
Shockley will succeed long-time chairman Jim Keen. Sr. as Chairman of the Board....
The Hawkeye senior will battle Virginia Tech's Devin Carter in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Saturday....
Cleveland, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia & St. Louis are Div. I finalists. Div. II and III finalists also announced....
|U.S. Nationals Freestyle Preview at 55 kg/121 lbs.|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
The two best wrestlers in the 55 kg/121 pound freestyle weight class remain a 36-year-old, three-time World and Olympic medalist and a 20-year-old Junior World medalist.
Veteran Sammie Henson (Flintstone, Ga./Sunkist Kids) is still the man here, but has only wrestled once since winning a bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships.
Henson lost to 2006 World champion Radoslav Velikov of Bulgaria in the Chicago Cup in early February. Henson, a past World champion and Olympic silver medalist, is coming off an injury he competed with at the Worlds last year.
Henson said the rumors that he is retiring are not true and he plans to be back on the mat again to make a run at his third straight U.S. World Team. Henson did not compete at the U.S. Nationals last year and is a question mark for this year's event.
Henry Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) is the defending U.S. Nationals champion. The 20-year-old Cejudo lost to Henson in the finals of the U.S. World Team Trials, but has wrestled extensively overseas this season and replaced Henson on the U.S. team for the World Cup. Cejudo was a Junior World silver medalist in 2006.
Matt Azevedo (Arroyo Grande, Calif./Sunkist Kids) placed second to Cejudo at the 2006 U.S. Nationals, He is ranked third in the U.S. He placed third at the 2006 U.S. World Team Trials.
Vic Moreno (Stanford, Calif./Advanced) is another wrestler to keep an eye on. Moreno won the Sunkist Kids International Open in October and the New York AC Holiday International a month later.
Luke Smith (Chippewa Falls, Wis.) placed fourth at the 2006 U.S. World Team Trials. Adam Smith (Newport, Pa./New York AC) placed fourth at the New York AC event. He was third in Vegas last year. Past Iowa All-American Luke Eustice (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) placed fifth at the U.S. Nationals in 2006.
Another possibility at this weight class is Nick Simmons (Williamston, Mich./Michigan WC). Simmons placed third at the 2005 U.S. World Team Trials. He just finished his college career at Michigan State, placing third in the NCAA Championships at 133.
Collin Cudd (River Falls, Wis./Badger), an NCAA qualifier for Wisconsin this season, placed fourth at the U.S. Nationals last year.
Mark McKnight (McDonald, Pa./New York AC) is another wrestler with strong freestyle skills. McDonald, an NCAA qualifier this past season for Penn State, finished sixth at the 2006 U.S. Nationals.
2004 Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) was planning to return this year, but suffered a torn ACL and likely is done for the year.
2006 U.S. NATIONALS RESULTS
1st - Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Matt Azevedo, Arroyo Grande, Calif. (Sunkist Kids), 0-1, 2-1, 4-2
3rd - Adam Smith, Newport, Pa. (ITCWC) dec. Collin Cudd, River Falls, Wis. (Badger), 7-0, 2-3, 5-0
5th - Luke Eustice, Coralville, Iowa (Hawkeye TC) dec. Mark McKnight, McDonald, Pa. (New York AC), 1-0, 4-2
7th - Terrance Clendenin, Toms River, N.J. (Unattached) dec. Grant Nakamura, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids), 8-2, 0-4, 4-2
1. Sammie Henson, Flintstone, Ga. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
3. Matt Azevedo, Arroyo Grande, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Vic Moreno, Stanford, Calif. (Advanced)
5. Adam Smith, Newport, Pa. (New York AC)
6. Jess Zobeck, Denver, Colo. (Grapplers Edge)
7. Luke Eustice, Coralville, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
8. Jason Powell, Eugene, Ore. (Sunkist Kids)
9. Pat McCaffrey, Colorado Springs, Colo.
10. Brad Pataky, Clearfield, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)