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U.S. men’s freestyle team to compete in Olympic Test Event in London, England, Dec. 11

Steve Mocco competing at the 2011 U.S. World Team Trials. Mocco, a 2008 Olympian, is among seven men freestyle entries in the Olympic Test Event for Wrestling. Larry Slater photo

With the Olympic Games just months away, the world is looking towards London, England which will host the competition.

As part of the preparation for the Olympics, each of the Olympic sports will participate in a test event in Great Britain prior to the Games. The sport of wrestling will have its Test Event for the Olympic Games in the ExCel Center in London, Dec. 10-11.

The competition will be in the three Olympic styles of wrestling.

The United States will enter a talented team in men’s freestyle in this event. There will be no U.S. competitors in either women’s freestyle or Greco-Roman. The men’s freestyle competition is set for Sunday, December 11.

“This tournament is the Olympic Test event. We will have a chance to be in the venue, compete on the mats there and see the Olympic Village. We get to have this experience before going to the actual Olympic Games,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones.

Competing for Team USA is a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, Steve Mocco (Bethlehem, Pa./Lehigh Valley AC) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

The team also includes a 2011 U.S. World Team member, Reece Humphrey (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) at 60 kg/132 lbs. and a 2010 U.S. World Team member, Brent Metcalf (Iowa City, Iowa/New York AC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Other U.S. competitors include top Olympic hopefuls Angel Escobedo (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Andrew Howe (Cedar Lake, Ind./New York AC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. Raymond Jordan (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids) at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Dustin Kilgore (Berea, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Five of the U.S. competitors are past NCAA champions: Escobedo (Indiana), Metcalf (Iowa), Howe (Wisconsin), Kilgore (Kent State) and Mocco (Iowa and Oklahoma State).

The U.S. delegation will travel to Great Britain for a training camp in Sheffield prior to the competition, a great opportunity for American wrestlers to become acquainted with Great Britain in advance of the Olympics.

“We will be training in Sheffield, one of the three or four locations where we are considering training prior to the Games,” said Jones. “It will give us a chance to evaluate if this location has what we are looking for.”

Five additional athletes, all who competed in the 2011 World Championships for the United States, will attend the trip to participate in the training camp and to also experience London in advance.

“We are taking World Team members who are in the training camp but will not compete at the test event. They will do everything the other athletes are doing, except for wrestling the three or four matches on the competition day.”

Jones is very clear about what the goals are for this trip.

“The goals are always the same. Every guy that enters wants to win the gold medal. The plus for us is that we are in London prior to the Olympic Games. We will leave here with a wealth of knowledge. Our goal remains being the best team in the world and winning gold medals,” said Jones.

At London, Great Britain, Dec. 11

U.S. men’s freestyle athletes

55 kg/121 lbs. – Angel Escobedo, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Reece Humphrey, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Andrew Howe, Cedar Lake, Ind. (New York AC)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Raymond Jordan, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Dustin Kilgore, Berea, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Steve Mocco, Bethlehem, Pa. (Lehigh Valley AC)
National Freestyle Coach – Zeke Jones, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Lou Rosselli, Columbus, Ohio

U.S. athletes participating in training camp
55 kg/121 lbs. – Nick Simmons, Corvallis, Ore. (Sunkist Kids)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Teyon Ware, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Jake Varner, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)

Schedule for the competition

Saturday, Dec. 10
Competition in Greco-Roman (all weights) and women’s freestyle (48 kg, 55 kg)

Sunday, Dec. 11
Competition in men’s freestyle (all weights) and women’s freestyle (63 kg. 72 kg)
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