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Burroughs, Byers, Lester among champions crowned at U.S. World Team Trials



Jordan Burroughs scores a takedown against Andrew Howe in the finals. Tony Rotundo photo.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jordan Burroughs was nervous.

He was tight, tense and just wasn’t himself in his first match against Andrew Howe in the first match of the best-of-3 final-round series at the U.S. World Team Trials.

But Burroughs, the two-time NCAA champion and reigning Hodge Trophy winner, found a way to rally to win the first match on Friday night at the Cox Convention Center.

The explosive Burroughs looked more relaxed in the second match as he defeated Howe to make his first World Team in freestyle wrestling at 74 kg/163 lbs. He won the first match 1-0, 1-2, 3-2 before taking the second 3-1, 1-0.

Burroughs was one of eight champions crowned Friday who advance to September’s World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

“I was tense, and you could see it in that first match,” Burroughs said. “I gave up a lot of takedowns, but I just opened up more in the second match. Howe is a real tough wrestler. Coach (Mark) Manning just told me to relax and do what I came here to do and what got me to this point. I wrestled hard and stayed in good position in the second match.”

The physical, hard-nosed Howe, a 2010 NCAA champion and U.S. Open champion, made Burroughs work for his title.

Howe won the Challenge Tournament to earn a shot at Burroughs in the finals.

World gold, silver and bronze medalist Dremiel Byers made his sixth straight World Team and eighth overall in Greco-Roman at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. He swept U.S. Army teammate and close friend Tim Taylor in the finals.

“I’m still chasing those medals until the right one comes,” said Byers, a 2008 Olympian. “I want to win that Olympic gold medal. It’s the one that’s eluded me.”

Two-time World bronze medalist Justin Lester made his fifth World Team after sweeping Army teammate Glenn Garrison in the Greco finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Lester beat Garrison in April’s U.S. Open finals.

2008 Olympian Spenser Mango made his third straight World Team after sweeping Paul Tellgren in the Greco finals at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Cheney Haight downed training partner Jordan Holm in a rematch of the U.S. Open finals in Greco at 84 kg/185 lbs. The series went the full three matches. Haight came back to beat Holm after falling to him in the finals of the Open.

2008 Olympian Ali Bernard took two straight matches over past World champion Iris Smith to make her second World Team in women’s freestyle at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Two-time Junior World bronze medalist Helen Maroulis made her second World Team after defeating Ashley Hudson in women’s freestyle at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Jake Varner made his second World Team after sweeping surprise finalist Chad Hanke in the freestyle finals at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Varner reached the quarterfinals of the World Championships in 2009.

Reece Humphrey outlasted Shawn Bunch in a gritty, three-match series between Ohio Regional Training Center teammates in freestyle at 60 kg/132 lbs.

Humphrey repeated his win over Bunch from April's U.S. Open.

Humphrey won the World Team Trials, but the World Team member is not yet determined in this weight class. Humphrey and Bunch will be entered in an international tournament later this year. In order for Bunch to make the team, he will have to medal at the event and place higher in the standings than Humphrey.

Bunch qualifies for this under new criteria which recognizes international performances. Bunch won the Medved International in Belarus to meet this criteria.

Nine more champions will be crowned in all three styles on the second and final day of the Trials on Saturday. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. with the finals set for 6:30 p.m.

2004 Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson is scheduled to compete at 84 kg/185 lbs. He returned to the mat earlier this season, winning the Northeast Regional. It was his first competition since the 2004 Olympics.

FRIDAY NIGHT’S FINALS RESULTS

FREESTYLE

60 kg/132 lbs.
Reece Humphrey (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) def. Shawn Bunch (Columbus, Ohio/Gator WC), 2 matches to 1
Bunch dec. Humphrey, 5-0, 4-1
Humphrey dec. Bunch, 2-0, 1-0
Humphrey dec. Bunch, 3-0, 3-0

74 kg/163 lbs.
Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids) def. Andrew Howe (Cedar Lake, Ind./New York AC), 2 matches to 0
Burroughs dec. Howe, 1-0, 1-2, 3-2
Burroughs dec. Howe, 3-1, 1-0

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Jake Varner (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) def. Chad Hanke (Dayton, Ore./NWRTC), 2 matches to 0
Varner dec. Hanke, 3-0, 2-0
Varner dec. Hanke, 3-0, 2-0

WOMEN’S FREESTYLE

55 kg/121 lbs.
Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./New York AC) def. Ashley Hudson (Wildwood, Mo./Gator WC), 2 matches to 0
Maroulis dec. Hudson, 1-0, 2-0
Maroulis, dec. Hudson, 6-2, 3-0

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Ali Bernard (New Ulm, Minn./Gator WC) def. Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Bernard dec. Smith, 1-0, 1-1
Bernard dec. Smith, 3-1, 1-3, 1-0

GRECO-ROMAN

55 kg/121 lbs.
Spenser Mango (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) def. Paul Tellgren (Anoka, Minn./Minnesota Storm), 2 matches to 0
Mango dec. Tellgren, 6-0, 0-2, 2-0
Mango dec. Tellgren, 2-0, 4-0

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Justin Lester (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) def. Glenn Garrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Lester dec. Garrison, 2-0, 3-0
Lester dec. Garrison, 4-0, 2-0

84 kg/185 lbs.
Cheney Haight (Boise, Idaho/New York AC) def. Jordan Holm (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm), 2 matches to 1
Holm dec. Haight, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0
Haight dec. Holm, 3-0, 1-0
Haight dec. Holm, 1-0, 0-1, 2-0

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Dremiel Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) def. Tim Taylor (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 2 matches to 1
Byers dec. Taylor, 3-0, 1-0
Byers dec. Taylor, 1-0, 2-0
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