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Olympic medalist Coleman Scott ready to make big splash at U.S. World Team Trials

STILLWATER, Okla. – Coleman Scott owns an NCAA title.

And an Olympic medal.

But there is still something missing on Scott’s sparkling wrestling resume.

“I still haven’t made a World Team yet,” Scott says matter-of-factly.

Scott will have a golden opportunity to change that when he competes at the U.S. World Team Trials this weekend at Oklahoma State’s historic Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Scott won an NCAA title for the Cowboys in 2008 to cap a superb collegiate career where he was a four-time All-American. He continues to train in Stillwater and also serves as an assistant coach for Oklahoma State.

“Being back in Gallagher, I never thought I would get to wrestle here again,” Scott said. “It’s really exciting to have this opportunity to compete here again. I’m looking forward to it. I’m more motivated than ever to make this World Team. We have great training partners here and I think we are in position to put a few of our guys that are former Cowboys on the World Team. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”

Scott will be the No. 1 seed in the Challenge Tournament in men’s freestyle wrestling at 60 kg/132 lbs. on Friday.

The Challenge Tournament winner will battle 2011 World Team member Reece Humphrey in the best-of-3 final-round series. Humphrey advanced to the finals by virtue of winning April’s U.S. Open, where he beat Scott in the finals.

Scott, 27, weighed in on Thursday afternoon and took part in a pre-event press conference at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Scott, a three-time Pennsylvania state champion in high school, has placed third at the last three World Team Trials from 2009-11. He made a Junior World Team in 2006.

Scott turned in a superb 2012 season where he won the Olympic Trials before defeating Humphrey and past World Team member Shawn Bunch in a Special Wrestle-Off in New York City to make the Olympic Team.

Not expected by many wrestling observers to contend for a medal at the Olympics, Scott delivered with a masterful performance that culminated with an Olympic bronze medal in London.

Scott raised his arms in celebration after winning a medal, but he kept his Olympic performance in perspective.

“It wasn’t what I came here for,” Scott said in London. “I wanted to win a gold medal, but I made sure I wasn’t leaving here with nothing. I was disappointed in my semifinal loss, but I had to come back and win a medal. It feels good to go out with a win.”

Oklahoma State coach John Smith, a two-time Olympic champion and four-time World champion, has a simple explanation for why Scott is still competing.

“Coleman wants to be a World champion,” Smith said. “Any time you win a medal, it’s a hectic year. There are a lot of opportunities for you. He’s gone through that, but for the most part he’s stayed level-headed and he’s trained very well. He’s had some great matches as of late and I can tell you he’s ready to win here.”

Scott has played a key role in wrestling’s fight to stay in the Olympic Games for 2020 and beyond.

“The wrestling community is very big and it’s very strong,” he said. “Wrestling has really stood up and has been united in this fight. The powerhouses in wrestling like the U.S., Russia and Iran, we are going to do it together. We’ve made good changes in FILA and good changes with the rules. We are going in the right direction. With everything we have going on in the U.S. and worldwide, we are on pace to be back in the Olympics.”

Scott will compete in a tough World Team Trials bracket at 60 kilos that also includes Junior World silver medalist and two-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber. Nick Simmons, fifth in the 2011 World Championships at 55 kg/121 lbs., also is entered at 60 kilos along with past NCAA All-Americans Jimmy Kennedy, Andrew Hochstrasser and Alan Waters.

Stieber earned a win over Russia’s Opan Sat in the Rumble on the Rails dual last month in New York City. Sat was ranked No. 1 in the World at the time. Sat defeated Scott a few days later in the United 4 Wrestling dual in Los Angeles. Scott earned a win over Russia’s Artas Sanaa in New York.

“The more matches I wrestle the better – I’m never going to shy away from competition,” Scott said. “I have taken a couple of losses this year and that motivates me more than anything. It lets me know where I need to make my adjustments. It’s great to get those good, tough competitions. You want to test yourself as much as you can.”
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