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|Special Wrestle-Offs set for women's freestyle to determine U.S. World Team spots at 51 kg, 59 kg and 67 kg|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Wrestling wants to make sure the seven best women's freestyle wrestlers are on the mat for September's World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
USA Wrestling Women's Freestyle Coach Terry Steiner is confident that will happen after the Special Wrestle-offs in the three women's non-Olympic weight classes - 51 kg/112.25 lbs., 59 kg/130 lbs. and 67 kg/147.5 lbs. - are held on July 10 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
The Wrestle-Offs will be held in the Sports Center II, in the far gymnasium located a floor above the OTC Wrestling Room. The silver and bronze medalists from the World Team Trials in the Olympic divisions - 48 kg/105.5 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and 72 kg/158.5 lbs. - are allowed to challenge at one of the non-Olympic divisions for a spot on the 2007 U.S. World Team.
The winners of the World Team Trials in the non-Olympic weights will have a "leg-up" in the Special Wrestle-off, meaning any of the challengers will need to win two straight bouts to make the team. The World Team Trials winners stand just one victory from making the World Team.
"We want our best girls representing the U.S. and we feel this is the fairest way to do it," Steiner said. "We give the non-Olympic champions from the World Team Trials some credit, but not full credit. They have to prove they are No. 1 by winning one more match. They knew the process before the Trials."
The World Team Trials champions in the non-Olympic weights are Patricia Miranda of the Sunkist Kids at 51 kg/112.25 lbs., Leigh Jaynes of the U.S. Army at 59 kg/130 lbs. and Katie Downing of the Sunkist Kids at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.
Miranda, a three-time World medalist and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, will face 2006 World Team member Mary Kelly of the New York AC in the Wrestle-Off at 51 kg. Kelly placed second at the World Team Trials at 48 kg.
Jaynes, who is looking to make her first World Team, will face the winner of a four-team Challenge Tournament at 59 kg. The Challenge Tournament will include Sharon Jacobson of the Sunkist Kids, Brandy Rosenbrock of the Michigan Wrestling Club, Tori Adams of the Sunkist Kids and Alaina Berube of the New York AC. Jacobson was second and Rosenbrock third at 55 kg at the Trials while Adams and Berube placed 2-3 at 63 kg at the Trials.
The four women in the Challenge Tournament at 59 kg will not be seeded and will be drawn into the bracket.
Downing, a past World bronze medalist, is scheduled to meet Stephany Lee of the Sunkist Kids in the Wrestle-Off at 67 kg. Lee placed second at 72 kg at the Trials.
USA Wrestling had a similar system of Special Wrestle-Offs at the non-Olympic weights in 2002 and 2003.
The four champions from the World Team Trials at the Olympic weights in women's freestyle have already qualified for the World Championships. They include Stephanie Murata of the Sunkist Kids at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., Marcie Van Dusen of the Sunkist Kids at 55 kg/121 lbs., Sara McMann of the Sunkist Kids at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Kristie Marano of the New York AC at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.
SPECIAL WRESTLE-OFFS SCHEDULE
3-3:30 p.m. - Weigh-ins for wrestlers at 51 kg, 59 kg and 67 kg
9 a.m. - First round of Challenge Tournament at 59 kg
10 a.m. - Second round of Challenge Tournament at 59 kg
1 p.m. - First match of Final Wrestle-Off at 51 kg, 59 kg, 67 kg
2 p.m. - Second match (if needed) of Final Wrestle-Off at 51 kg, 59 kg, 67 kg