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U.S. Nationals Greco-Roman preview at 84 kg/185 lbs.



The defending U.S. Nationals champion and 2006 World Team member is Jake Clark of the U.S. Marines, who after many years on the Senior circuit broke through with clutch victories last year. Clark was able to beat 2004 Olympian Brad Vering of the New York AC in the finals at the U.S. Nationals last year, then made his first World Team by defeating Aaron Sieracki of the U.S. Army in the finals at the World Team Trials. Clark was second behind Vering for a number of years at this division, and seems to have a new intensity in his training and competition.

His winter included a silver medal at the Haparanda Cup in Sweden, where he lost to Vering in the finals. Clark won all three bouts at the World Cup recently, showing that his skills remain sharp heading into the U.S. Nationals. Clark won the Armed Forces Championships in both styles recently and will be expected to be in top form in Las Vegas.

Vering is looking to return to the top of this weight after falling to No. 3 on Greco-Roman Team USA last season. He was defeated in the World Team Trials by Aaron Sieracki, and lost to Sieracki again this fall at the New York AC Holiday International. His win over Clark in Sweden could give him a No. 1 seed in Las Vegas, but most expect this to be a very competitive division. Vering won the Dave Schultz Memorial International and the Haparanda Cup, and seems to have bounced back well from last year.

Sieracki, however, has seemed to struggle a bit this year. He started the year off very well, with gold medals at both the Sunkist Kids International and the New York AC Holiday International. However, he was defeated at the Dave Schultz Memorial by Justin Millard of the U.S. Air Force, then lost to both Millard and Clark at the Armed Forces Championships. He has the experience and talent to win this weight class, but has not put together a full tournament to get a gold medal either at U.S. Nationals or World Team Trials.

This weight class has a number of young talents, including Jake Plamann of the Gator WC, Chas Betts of the Minnesota Storm and Jesse Robbins of the Florida Jets. Plamann was fourth at both the Sunkist Kids International and the New York AC Holiday International this year. Betts, a USOEC athlete, won a University World silver medal in 2006, and was third at the New York AC tournament. Robbins had some good bouts in the Sunkist Kids International.

Veteran John Wechter of the Sunkist Kids is always a tough draw, and was fifth at the U.S. Nationals last year. Also placing at the U.S. Nationals last year was Dave Spangler of the U.S. Air Force. Two of last year's All-Americans may not compete at this weight this year, as Brad Ahearn of the Army has moved up to 211.5 pounds and Zac Dominguez of the Sunkist Kids has not wrestled at all this season.

Jeremy Pederson of the U.S. Marines has been very active this year, competing in a number of overseas tournaments. Ryan Cunningham of the Marines, Aaron Haake of the Minnesota Storm and Abram Haddon of American Pankration are others who have been active on the Senior level.

2006 U.S. Nationals results at 84 kg/185 lbs.
1st -Jacob Clark, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps) dec. Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 1-1, 2-1
3rd - Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Brad Ahearn, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 1-1, 1-1
5th - John Wechter, East Lansing, Mich. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jake Plamann, Kaukauna, Wis. (Gator WC), 3-0, 6-0
7th -Zac Dominguez, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Dave Spangler, Iowa City, Iowa (U.S. Air Force), 3-0, 4-1

TheMat.com rankings at 84 kg/185 lbs. for February 2007
1. Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
2. Jacob Clark, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps)
3. Justin Millard, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force)
4. Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
5. Jake Plamann, Kaukauna, Wis. (Gator WC)
6. Chas Betts, St. Michael, Minn. (USOEC/Minnesota Storm)
7. John Wechter, East Lansing, Mich. (Sunkist Kids)
8. Jesse Robbins, Oviedo, Fla. (Florida Jets)
9. Jeremy Pederson, Quantico, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps)
10. Dave Spangler, Iowa City, Iowa (U.S. Air Force)
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