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|U.S. Nationals preview at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in menís freestyle wrestling|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Mo Lawal has emerged as the No. 1 wrestler in freestyle at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. The 2005 U.S. World Team member has bounced back from his stunning semifinal loss to Andy Hrovat at 84 kg/185 lbs. in the 2006 World Team Trials and looks equipped to dominate at his new weight class.
Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) has gained experience by wrestling in a number of overseas events. He won the Takhti Cup in Iran and the New York AC event at 96 kilos. He also was the lone American winner in freestyle at the Chicago Cup, knocking off a wrestler from Russia.
Daniel Cormier, a fixture at this weight class the past four years, remains a question mark. He's had trouble making 96 kilos. He moved up to heavyweight for the Schultz tournament and captured the title.
Nick Preston (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) has moved up to No. 2 in the rankings here after finishing second at the Schultz event. Damion Hahn (Ithaca, N.Y./Minnesota Storm), second to Cormier at the 2006 World Team Trials, also remains in the mix as does Nik Fekete (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), who was third at the Trials.
Kyle Cerminara (Lewiston, N.Y./New York AC) also could contend. He placed third at the Schultz tournament, beating Dawid Rechul (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) to take the bronze.
J.D. Bergman (Columbus, Ohio/Ohio International WC) placed fourth at the 2006 World Team Trials. Bergman also was fourth at the 2006 U.S. Nationals.
All-American Phil Davis of Penn State placed fifth last year in Vegas.
Missouri freshman Max Askren (Columbia, Mo./Sunkist Kids) finished seventh at the 2006 U.S. Nationals. Askren was the No. 1 seed at the 2007 NCAA meet at 197, but was upset in his first two matches.
2006 U.S. NATIONALS RESULTS
1st - Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) dec. Nik Fekete, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 3-0, 5-0
3rd - Damion Hahn, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) dec. J.D. Bergman, Columbus, Ohio (Ohio International WC), 2-0, 1-0
5th - Phil Davis, State College, Pa. (Penn State WC) injury default Sean Stender, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
7th - Max Askren, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Mikhail Abdul-latif, Vashon Island, Wash. (Burnaby Mountain), 0-5, 5-4, 3-3
1. Mo Lawal, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
2. Nick Preston, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
3. Damion Hahn, Ithaca, N.Y. (Minnesota Storm)
4. Nik Fekete, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
5. Kyle Cerminara, Lewiston, N.Y. (New York AC)
6. Sean Stender, Cedar Falls, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
7. Dawid Rechul, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
8. J.D. Bergman, Columbus, Ohio (Ohio International WC)
9. Phil Davis, State College, Pa. (Penn State WC)
10. Mike Tamillow, Oak Park, Ill. (Wildcat WC)