Two-time World Champion Terry Brands (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye) was among the eight Challenge Tournament freestyle wrestling champions, all who qualified for the Championship Series at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Wrestling at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas.
Brands defeated 1999 World Team member Eric Guerrero (Stillwater, Okla./Sunkist Kids), 6-1 in the finals match. Brands will face 2000 U.S. Nationals champion Kerry Boumans (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC) in the best-of-three series on Saturday, June 24.
Brands has not wrestled in a year, since he won the 1999 World Team Trials in Seattle, Wash. He did not compete in the 1999 Pan American Games and World Championships due to injury, then announced his retirement. He was a World Champion in 1993 and 1995, and placed second in the 1996 Olympic Team Trials to eventual Olympic Champion Kendall Cross.
1999 World Champion Stephen Neal (Bakersfield, Calif./Dave Schultz WC) captured the Challenge Tournament at 286 pounds, stopping Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids), 8-2 in the finals. Neal will face 2000 U.S. Nationals champion Kerry McCoy (State College, Pa./New York AC) in the best-of-three series on Saturday. McCoy upset Neal in the Nationals finals, and continued a back-and-forth battle between the talented heavyweights going back to their college careers.
At 119 pounds, Eric Akin (Overland Park, Kan./Dave Schultz WC) defeated Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif./Sunkist Kids), 7-6 in a wild battle that went down to the final seconds. Akin, a member of the 1999 U.S. World Team, needed a last-second flurry to stop Abas, a 1988 Junior World Champion and 1999 NCAA champion from Fresno State. Akin will face 2000 U.S. Nationals champion Sammie Henson (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) in the best-of-three finals series.
Bill Zadick (Iowa City, Iowa /Hawkeye) claimed the 138.75-pound Challenge Tournament, stopping T.J. Jaworsky (Chapel Hill, N.C./New York AC), 5-0. Zadick will face 2000 U.S. Nationals champion Cary Kolat (Morgantown, W.Va./Dave Schultz WC) in the best-of-three series. It is a rematch of last year's World Team Trials finals series, won by Kolat.
At 152 pounds, Chris Bono (Gilbert, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) scored an exciting takedown in overtime to edge Pat Santoro (Bethlehem, Pa./New York AC), 8-7, at 7:08. Bono trailed with seconds left in regulation, when Santoro was penalized for fleeing the mat to tie the score at 7-7. Bono will face 2000 U.S. Nationals champion Lincoln McIlravy (Iowa City, Iowa/Gateway WC) in the best-of-three series. McIlravy, a two-time World medalist, and Bono have competed for many years, going back to their college and youth wrestling days, with McIlravy having won every match.
Brian Dolph (Ridley Park, Pa./Dave Schultz WC) scored a mild upset over 1999 World Team member Joe Williams (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye), 6-4 at 167.5 pounds. Dolph jumped to a 6-0 lead in the first period. Dolph will face 2000 U.S. Nationals champion Brandon Slay (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC) in the best-of-three series on Saturday.
At 213.75 pounds, 1999 World Team member Dominic Black (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) edged Chad Lamer (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye), 5-2, in overtime at 7:30. Black will face 2000 U.S. Nationals champion and 1993 World Champion Melvin Douglas (Mesa, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) in the best-of-three series on Saturday, June 24. At 187.25 pounds, Lee Fullhart (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) stopped Mike Van Arsdale (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 6-2. Fullhart will face 2000 U.S. Nationals runner-up Charles Burton (Bloomington, Ind./New York AC) in the best-of-three series on Saturday, June 24. This series will not determine what athlete attends the Olympic Games, however. Due to injury, 2000 National champion Les Gutches (Corvallis, Ore./Sunkist Kids) has received an extension on his Championship series until a time and date to be determined against the winner of Saturday's series.