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|Joe Warren named 2006 USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Joe Warren (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) has been named the 2006 Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling. This is the first time Warren has won this prestigious award.
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.
He has also been named as a finalist for the James E. Sullivan Award, presented to the nation's top amateur athlete. Warren will attend the Sullivan Award ceremonies in New York City on April 11.
USA Wrestling will be announcing major award winners each day this week on TheMat.com.
PAST GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLER OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
2006 - Joe Warren, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
2005 - Justin Ruiz, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
2004 - Rulon Gardner, Wellsville, Utah (Sunkist Kids)
2003 - Jim Gruenwald, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sunkist Kids
2002 - Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army
2001 - Rulon Gardner, Cascade, Colo., Sunkist Kids
2000 - Rulon Gardner, Afton, Wyo., Sunkist Kids
1999 - Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army
1998 - Matt Lindland, Lincoln, Neb., Sunkist Kids
1997 - Rulon Gardner, Gilbert, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1996 - Dennis Hall, Stevens, Point, Wis., Sunkist Kids
1995 - Dennis Hall, Stevens Point, Wis., Sunkist Kids
1994 - Dennis Hall, Stevens Point, Wis., Sunkist Kids
1993 - James Johnson, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids