Williams named Outstanding Wrestler as U.S. Junior World Freestyle Team determined at 1997 Espoir Nationals
West Lafayette, Ind. - The 1997 United States Junior World freestyle wrestling team was determined at the 1997 Espoir Nationals held at Purdue Univ., May 16-17.
The Espoir Nationals feature many of the best wrestlers in the United States from 17-20 years old. This year, the winner at each weight class at the Espoir Nationals will qualify to represent the United States at the Junior World Wrestling Championships in Tarku, Finland, Aug. 9-19.
FILA, the international wrestling federation, has changed its age levels. The Espoir level has been eliminated and the FILA Junior level has been adjusted to include wrestlers 17-20 years old.
T.J. Willimas (Markham, Ill./Quicksilver) was named the Outstanding Wrestler in freestyle. Williams, a 1996 Junior Nationals champion, scored a 10-4 decision over five-time Junior Nationals champion David Kjeldgaard (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Univ. of Oklahoma) at 154 pounds.
Other members of the U.S. team include T.J. Hill (Farmington, Mo.) at 108 pounds, Eric Guerrero (San Jose, Calif./Sunkist Kids) at 132 pounds, Brad Vering (Howells, Neb./Husker WC) at 182.5 pounds, Shane Zajac (Mokena, Ill./Oregon State Univ.) at 198 pounds and J.R. Plienis (Edgemere, Md./Husker WC) on 253 pounds.
Hill claimed his sixth career national title on the age-group level, including two Cadet National titles, three Junior National titles and an Espoir national title. He scored a 10-0 technical fall over Ryan Lewis (Vernal, Utah) in the finals.
Guerrero, a 1997 NCAA Div. I champion for Oklahoma State Univ., scored a 4-1 decision over Rob Loper (Erie, Pa./Pittsburgh WC) for the 132 pound title. It was Guerrero's second straight Espoir National freestyle title.
Vering and Zajac were both Junior National champions in 1996, and claimed their first Espoir National titles. Vering scored an 10-0 technical fall over Joe DeGain (Clarkston, Mich./Cliff Keen) in the finals. Zajac stopped Brandon Ruiz (Salt Lake City, Utah/Elite) in the finals, with an 11-1 technical fall.
Plienis pinned his final two opponents, including a 2:09 pin of Matt Gaul (Reading, Pa./Penn State WC) in the finals. He has now won four age-group national titles,
Rounding out the U.,S. team are Jeff Ragan (Englewood, Fla./Sunkist) at 114.5 pounds, Stephen Abas (Hayward, Calif./Sunkist) at 123.25 pounds, Adam Tirapelle (Clovis, Calif./Dave Schultz WC) at 143 pounds and Steve Blackford (West Des Moines, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 167.25 pounds.
The Penn State Wrestling Club claimed the team title with 30 pts., followed by the Minnesota Storm with 26 points.
1997 ESPOIR FREESTYLE NATIONALS AND FILA JUNIOR WORLD TEAM TRIALS
at West Lafayette, Ind., May 16-17
49 kg/108 lbs. - 1st - T.J. Hill, Farmington, Mo., won by tech. fall over Ryan Lewis, Vernal, Utah, 10-0; 3rd - Cleophas Johnson, Firebaugh, Calif., pin Adam Kulikowski, Boulder, Colo., 4:33; 5th - Eddie Shutty, Parma, Ohio, dec. Davey Starks, Stoughton, Wis., 9-3; 7th - Junior Hernandez, Knoxville, Tenn., dec. John Hammer, Suisun, Calif., 3-2
52 kg/114.5 lbs. - 1st - Jeff Ragan, Englewood, Fla. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Witt Durden, Dublin, Ga., 9-2; 3rd - Aaron Holker, Orem, Utah (Wasatch) dec. Michael Delany, Orange, Calif. (Team S. California), 5-2; 5th - Zach Roberson, Overland Park, Kan. (E. Kansas) won by inj. dft. over Jeff Ratliff, Marion, Ohio (Marion Monsters); 7th - Josh Buchanan, Farmington, Mo. won by tech. fall over Cole Denison, Tonsket, Wash.
56 kg/123.25 lbs. - 1st - Stephen Abas, Hayward, Calif. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jeremy Hunter, West Alexander, Pa. (Penn State WC), 9-1; 3rd - Jason Silverstein, Ramsey, N.J. (Blair WC) won by tech. fall over Jody Strittmatter, Ebensberg, Pa. (Pitt.-Johnstown), 12-0; 5th - Matt Azevedo, Las Vegas, Nev. (Sunkist) dec. Josh Bales, Boise, Idaho (Boise State), 11-3; 7th - Eric Larkin, Vail, Ariz. (Sunnyside WC) dec. Antonio Banvelos, Fresno, Calif., 8-7
60 kg/132 lbs. - 1st - Eric Guerrero, San Jose, Calif. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Rob Loper, Erie, Pa. (Pittsburgh WC), 4-1; 3rd - Michael Lightner, Marlow, Okla. (Oklahoma U) dec. Doug Schwab, Osage, Iowa (Hawkeye WC), 8-6; 5th - Paul Gomez, Castorville, Calif. (Quicksilver) dec. Bryce Kelly, Camden, N.Y., 7-6; 7th - Jared Frayer, Clearwater, Fla. (Dave Schultz WC) dec. David Stoltz, Mt. Prospect, Ill., 14-11
65 kg/143 lbs. - 1st - Adam Tirapelle, Clovis, Calif. (Dave Schultz WC) dec. Jamill Kelly, Atwater, Calif. (Quicksilver), 5-0; 3rd - David Esposito, Matawan, N.J. (Lehigh WC) won by tech. fall over Bill Maldonado, Hammond, Ind., 12-1; 5th - Jonte Davis, Fresno, Calif. (Team Fujii) dec. Mark Castle, Eugene, Ore., 12-10; 7th - Jeremy Hardman, Constantine, Mich. (Central Michigan Univ.) dec. Eric Schmiesing, Clear Lake, Minn., 7-4
70 kg/154 lbs. - 1st - T.J. Williams, Markham, Ill. (Quicksilver) dec. David Kjeldgaard, Council Bluffs, Iowa (Oklahoma U), 10-4; 3rd - Eric Jorgensen, LaGrande, Ore. (Oregon State) dec. Luke Becker, Cambridge, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 8-7; 5th - Ryan Bernholz, Mt. Sinai, N.Y. won by inj. dft. over Shad Benton, East Freedom, Pa. (Penn State WC); 7th - Brad Pike, Brownstown, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) won by inj. dft. over Joe Heskett, Copley, Ohio
76 kg/167.25 lbs. - Steve Blackford, West Des Moines, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) dec. Otto Olson, Everett, Wash. (USA Everett), 5-4; 3rd - Gabriel McMahan, Gakona, Alaska (Hawkeye WC) won by tech. fall over Andy Varner, Bakersfield, Calif., 12-2; 5th - Ryan Cunningham, Perrinton, Mich. (Central Michigan Univ.) won by tech. fall over Shawn O'Rourke, LaGrande, Ore., 10-0; 7th - Chris Snyder, Mishawaka, Ind. (Chip In) dec. Steve Saxlund, Pipestone, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 6-3
83 kg/182.5 lbs. - 1st - Brad Vering, Howells, Neb. (Husker WC) won by tech. fall over Joe DeGain, Clarkston, Mich. (Cliff Keen), 10-0; 3rd - Nate Patrick, Naperville, Ill. dec. Damion Hahn, Lakewood, N.J., 5-3; 5th - William Hill, Indianapolis, Ind. (Michigan State Univ.) dec. Nik Fekete, Cranford, N.J., 9-7; 7th - Brandon Holmberg (Minnesota Storm) won by inj. dft. over Josh Schroeder, Aurora, Ohio (American Univ.)
90 kg/198 lbs. - 1st - Shan Zajac, Mokena, Ill. (Oregon State Univ.) won by tech. fall over Brandon Ruiz, Salt Lake City, Utah (Elite), 11-1; 3rd - Turk Lords, Belt, Mont. dec. Pat Quirk, Hinsdale, Ill. (U of Illinois), 3-1; 5th - Andrew Johnson, Ft. Myers, Fla. (Edinboro Univ.) won by inj. dft. over Zach Thompson, Cleveland, Ohio (Cyclone); 7th - Justin Ruiz, Salt Lake City, Utah (Elite) dec. Pat Popolizio, Niskayuna, N.Y. (Sunkist), 7-5
115 kg/253 lbs. - 1st - J.R. Plienis, Edgemere, Md. (Husker WC) pin Matt Gaul, Reading, Pa. (Penn State WC), 2:07; 3rd - Dave Clymer, Hastings, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Billy Blunt, Modesto, Calif., 10-5; 5th - Matthew Orndorff, Corvallis, Ore. (Oregon State Univ.) pin Matt Mueller, North Patchogue, N.Y. (Pittsburgh WC). 0:59; 7th - Anthony Morici, Easton, Pa. (Penn State WC) pin Mark Janus, Williamsport, Md. (Penn State WC), 2:32
Teams - 1st - Penn State WC, 30; 2nd - Minnesota Storm, 26; 3rd - Husker WC, 20; 4th - Pittsburgh WC, 14
Outstanding Wrestler - T.J. Williams (Quicksilver), 154 pounds
Most Falls - Dave Clymer, Hastings, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), four falls in 5:50