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Murata, George-Wilson win Special Wrestle-offs for U.S. Women's World Team


Two positions on the 2000 U.S. Women's World Team were determined through Special Wrestle-offs held Sunday, August 13 at the Bloomquist Gym at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Each Special Wrestle-off was a best two-of-three series, with the winner qualifying to compete in the 2000 Women's World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept. 1-3.

At 112.25 pounds, 2000 U.S. Nationals Champion Stephanie Murata (Williamsburg, Ky./Sunkist Kids) defeated Patricia Miranda (Saratoga, Calif./Dave Schultz WC), two matches to none.

At 123.25 pounds, Tina George-Wilson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) stopped 2000 U.S. Nationals runner-up Malissa Sherwood (Rocklin, Calif./Dave Schultz WC), two matches to none.

Murata defeated Miranda in the first match by a 3-1 margin, then scored a 5-1 decision in the second match. Murata controlled the action throughout both matches, and led early in both bouts.

Murata was the 2000 U.S. Nationals Women's freestyle champions at her weight class. Due to an injury, she did not compete in the U.S. Women's World Team Trials in Battle Creek, Mich., held in June, and received an extension on her championship series.

Murata is a five-time U.S. Nationals champion and has qualified for her fifth straight U.S. World Team. She has finished fourth in the past two World Championships.

To qualify for the Special Wrestle-off, Miranda defeated Jenny Wong (Stillwater, Minn./Sunkist Kids) in the finals of the 2000 World Team Trials. She was second in the 2000 U.S. Nationals and finished third in the 1999 World Team Trials. Miranda wrestles for Stanford University.

"Technically, Stephanie was very strong," said Mike Duroe, USA Wrestling's National Women's Coach. "Her conditioning was not where she wanted it to be, because of her injury. This is the fifth time she has qualified for the World Championships, an impressive feat."

George-Wilson won the first match, 6-4, coming back from an early 3-0 deficit. In the second match, the first period ended scoreless and the athletes started the second period from the clinch position. George-Wilson scored the first points, and went on to a 4-0 decision.

Sherwood placed second at the 2000 U.S. Nationals but was given the top seed after National Champion Mabel Fonseca (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Sparta) competed for Puerto Rico in the Pan American Championships in May. By competing for a country other than the U.S., Fonseca became ineligible to compete for a spot on the U.S. World Team. Sherwood did not compete in the U.S. Women's World Team Trials due to injury, and received an extension on her championship series.

George-Wilson has qualified for her third straight World Championships, as she was also a member of the 1998 and 1999 U.S. World Teams. She finished sixth in the 1999 World Championships. George-Wilson defeated Erin Tomeo (Volant, Pa./TAPS) in the finals of the 2000 World Team Trials to qualify for the Special Wrestle-off at 123.25 pounds.

Sherwood has placed second in the U.S. National Championships five times. She was a 2000 Dave Schultz Memorial Champion and was named Women's Outstanding Wrestler at the competition.

"Tina feels good physically and mentally and is ready to compete," said Duroe. "She'll use the upcoming training camp to finetune her performance."

The U.S. Women's World Team is the defending World Champions going into the competition in Bulgaria. The team is conducting its World Team Training Camp in Evanston, Ill., August 14-28, before departing for Bulgaria for the World Championships.


51 kg/112.25 lbs - Stephanie Murata, Williamsburg, Ky. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Patricia Miranda, Saratoga, Calif. (Dave Schultz WC), 3-1 and 5-1.

56 kg/123.25 lbs. - Tina George-Wilson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) dec. Malissa Sherwood (Rocklin, Calif./Dave Schultz WC), 6-4 and 4-0.

Winners qualify for position on 2000 U.S. Women's World Team.

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