WORLD CHAMPIONS HENSON, GUTCHES, DOUGLAS WIN U.S. NATIONALS FREESTYLE TITLES
Three former World Champions claimed individual championships at the 2000 U.S. National Freestyle Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., April 21-22.
The top six placewinners in each weight class qualified to compete at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Dallas, Texas, June 22-24. The champions earned the top seeds and automatically move into the championship series at the Olympic Team Trials.
1998 World Champion Sammie Henson (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) edged 1999 World team member Eric Akin (Overland Park Kan./Dave Schultz WC), 3-2, at 119 pounds. Henson avenged a loss to Akin in the 1999 World Team Trials. It was Henson's third career U.S. Nationals title, with two in freestyle and one in Greco-Roman.
1997 World Champion Les Gutches, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Charles Burton, Bloomington, Ind. (New York AC), 3-0. It was his fifth straight U.S. Nationals title. Gutches was also a 1999 World bronze medalist.
1993 World Champion Melvin Douglas (Mesa, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) captured his eighth career U.S. Nationals title, defeating 1999 U.S. Nationals champion Dominic Black (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 4-3, in overtime at 7:31. Douglas returned to the mat this season, after taking a year off.
A reigning World champion was defeated at 286 pounds, when Kerry McCoy (State College, Pa./New York AC) edged 1999 World Champion Stephen Neal (Bakersfield, Calif./Sunkist Kids), 3-2 in the finals. It was McCoy's first U.S. Nationals titles, even though he had placed fourth in the 1998 World Championships.
Winning his fourth straight U.S. Nationals title was Lincoln McIlravy (Iowa City, Iowa /Hawkeye), who stopped Chris Bono (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids), 3-0 in 152-pound finals. McIlravy was a 1999 World silver medalist and 1998 World bronze medalist.
Claiming his third career U.S. Nationals title was Cary Kolat (Morgantown, W.Va./Dave Schultz WC), who stopped T.J. Jaworsky (Chapel Hill, N.C./New York AC), 5-1 at 138.75 pounds. Kolat was a 1997 World silver medalist and 1998 World bronze medalist.
Winning their first U.S. Nationals titles were Kerry Boumans (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC) at 127.75 pounds, Brandon Slay (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC) at 167.5 pounds. They are roomates and U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athletes.
Boumans, seeded second, defeated a surprise finalist, No. 8 seed Danny Felix (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids), 4-0. Both wrestlers were competing in the U.S. Nationals gold medal match for the first time.
Slay was the lowest seed to win a gold-medal in freestyle. Seeded No. 7 for the tournament, Slay stopped No. 1 seed Joe Williams (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye) in the finals, 5-3. Slay was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Freestyle championships after stopping Williams, who was fourth in the 1999 World Championships.
OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALISTS PAULSON, HALL WIN U.S. NATIONALS GRECO-ROMAN TITLES
Two 1996 Olympic silver medalists claimed Greco-Roman national titles at the 2000 U.S. National Greco-Roman Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., April 21-22: Brandon Paulson (Golden Valley, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 119 pounds and Dennis Hall (Plover, Wis./Sunkist Kids) at 127.75 pounds.
The top eight placewinners in each weight class qualified to compete at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Dallas, Texas, June 22-24. The champions earned the top seeds and automatically move into the championship series at the Olympic Team Trials.
Paulson won his first U.S. Nationals Senior title, defeating 1999 U.S. Nationals champion Steven Mays (Pensacola, Fla./Armed Forces) by a 1-1 referee's decision. Paulson's previous best finish was second place in the 1995 U.S. Nationals.
Hall won his ninth straight U.S. Nationals title, defeating Jim Gruenwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), 4-3 in the finals. Hall has beaten Gruenwald in the finals for the last four years. Hall was a 1995 World Champion, a 1996 Olympic silver medalist and 1994 World bronze medalist.
Another 1996 Olympic silver medalist was defeated in the finals, when Rulon Gardner (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) scored a 1-0 overtime referee's decision over Matt Ghaffari (Avon Lake, Ohio/Sunkist Kids). Gardner was fifth in the 1997 World Championships. Ghaffari has won four career World or Olympic medals and is a two-time Olympian.
Winning a fourth U.S. Nationals title was Matt Lindland (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids) , who received a 1-1 overtime referee's decsion over Keith Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./Armed Forces). It was the second straight year that Lindland beat Sieracki in the gold-medal match.
Winning his second career U.S. Nationals title were Kevin Bracken (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), Heath Sims, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Dave Schultz WC) and Quincey Clark, New Brighton, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
Bracken defeated four-time national champion Shon Lewis (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 3-2 in the finals at 138.75 pounds. Bracken broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period with the winning point.
Sims stopped Marcel Cooper (Quantico, Va./Armed Forces), in a 2-0 overtime referee's decision at 152 pounds. Sims last won the U.S. Nationals title in 1995.
Clark won the 187.25-pound title for the second straight year. He defeated two-time Olympian Dan Henderson 11-6 in the finals. Based on his performance, Clark was named Outstanding Wrestler in the Greco-Roman division. Clark placed fourth in the 1998 and 1999 World Championships.
Winning his first U.S.Nationals title was 1996 Olympian Jason Gleasman (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), who stopped 1999 Junior World Champion Garrett Lowney (Appleton, Wis./Minnesota Storm), 3-0 in the finals at 213.75 pounds.
WORLD CHAMPIONS SAUNDERS, BACHER CLAIM U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TITLES
Four-time World Champion Tricia Saunders (Phoenix, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) won the 101.25 pound title, continuing her dominance at the U.S. Women's National Championships, held in Las Vegas, Nev., April 21-22.
The top eight placewinners in each weight class qualified to compete at the 2000 Women's World Team Trials in Battle Creek, Mich., June 2-4. The champions earned the top seeds and automatically move into the championship series at the Olympic Team Trials.
Saunders won her 10th career U.S. Nationals title, extending her national record. She pinned college wrestler Clarissa Chun (Kapolei, Hawaii/Missouri Valley) in 2:51 in the finals. She has never lost to an American opponent during her Senior-level career.
In a battle of multiple-World medalists, Sandra Bacher (San Jose, Calif./Dave Schultz WC) defeated Kristie Marano (Albany, N.Y./ATWA), 5-1 in the finals at 149.75 pounds. Bacher was the 1999 World Champion at this weight class, and has won three World medals in her career. Marano, a four-time World silver medalist at 165.25 pounds, has dropped down to this weight class this year.
In 1998, Bacher jumped up to 165.25 pounds, and was beaten by Marano in the U.S. Nationals finals. It was Bacher's fourth U.S. Nationals title. Claiming her fifth U.S. Nationals title was Stephanie Murata (Williamsburg, Ky./Sunkist Kids), who stopped Patricia Miranda (Stanford, Calif./Dave Schultz WC), 8-2 in the finals at 112.25 pounds. Murata was fourth in the 1998 and 1999 World Championships.
First-time U.S. Nationals champions included Mabel Fonseca (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Sparta) at 123.25 pounds and Sara McMann (Lock Haven, Pa./Sunkist Kids) at 138.75 pounds and Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo.) at 165.25 pounds.
Fonseca stopped Malissa Sherwood (Rocklin, Calif./Dave Schultz WC), 7-6 in the championship match. It was the fifth time that Sherwood was second at the U.S. Nationals.
McMann scored an impressive 16-4 technical fall over Tonya Evinger (Bates City, Mo./Wrestling Central) in the finals. Based on her dominant performance, McMann was named Outstanding Wrestler in the women's tournament.
Smith pinned Dominique Smalley (Colorado Springs, Colo./TNT), in 5:10 for the gold medal. She was secon