MARQUETTE— The United States Olympic Education Center men’s Greco-Roman wrestling team has qualified eight more wrestlers to compete at the 2008 Olympic Trials. Athletes qualified by finishing in the top seven at the U. S. Senior National Championships April 25-26 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Northern Michigan University junior Spenser Mango (St. Louis, Mo.) grabbed first place at 55 kilograms, defeating 2006 World bronze medalist Lindsey Durlacher, 1-3, 3-0, 7-0. It was Mango’s first U. S. National title, and he was named Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament.
“I think my biggest improvement has been my defense,” said Mango. “I guess a good offense is a good defense.” Mango had already qualified for Olympic Trials at 60 kg by winning the University National Championships April 10-13.
At 60 kg, USOEC assistant coach and 2004 Olympian Jim Gruenwald (Marquette, Mich.) took on USOEC facility use athlete and 2007 World Team member Joe Betterman (Chicago, Ill.) in their second matchup ever. Gruenwald came out with the gold, beating Betterman 5-0, 6-3. Both qualified for a second time to compete at the Olympic trials.
NMU senior Jacob Curby (LaGrange, Ill.) took fourth at 66 kg, falling to Faruk Sahin (U.S. Army) in the final match. Junior Ben Sanchez (Leominster, Mass.), finished eighth at 66 kg and failed to qualify for Trials.
At 74 kg, junior Andy Bisek (Chaska, Minn.) wrestled his way to a silver medal, while teammates and NMU seniors Jake Fisher (Platte City, Mo.) and Cheney Haight (Orem, Utah) finished in third and fourth, respectively. Rounding out the weight class, sophomore Talan Knox (Salt Lake City, Utah) took seventh place and junior Marco Toledo (Miami, Fla.) finished in eighth place.
The 84 kg weight class qualified three USOEC wrestlers for the Olympic Trials: junior Chas Betts (St. Michael, Minn.), facility user Jake Plamann (Kaukauna, Wis.) and freshman Zak Nielson (Zimmerman, Minn.). The wrestlers finished in third, sixth and seventh place respectively.
Sophomore Peter Gounaridis (Leominster, Mass.) finished in seventh place at 96 kg, and freshman Peter Kowalczuk (Oak Park, Ill.) took fifth place at 120 kg to complete the USOEC lineup.
On the women’s side, the USOEC freestyle wrestling team had a strong showing. At 55 kg, NMU freshman Shyla Iokia (Wailuku, Hawaii) began the tournament beating teammate and 2007 Junior World Champion Whitney Conder (Puyallup, Wash.), an NMU freshman. Conder did not place in the tournament. Iokia then took on teammate and NMU senior Amy Borgnini (Terre Haute, Ind.), beating her in two periods. Borgnini finished in eighth place.
Iokia also beat two-time Senior World Champion Sally Roberts before falling to Senior World bronze medalist Jenny Wong 1-0, 1-0. She finished the tournament in sixth place and qualified for the Olympic Trials.
Teammates, senior Sadie Kaneda (Honolulu, Hawaii) and sophomore Alyssa Lampe (Tomahawk, Wis.) finished in sixth and seventh place respectively at 48 kg. At 59 kg, junior Nikki Darrow (Lanesboro, Mass.) took on freshman Amber Miracle (Berlin, Wis.) and came out on top in a 1-0, 1-0 match finishing in seventh and eight place. The 59 kg weight class is not an Olympic weight class, therefore to qualify for Olympic Trials wrestlers needed to finish in the top-four. Facility user Ku’u Johnson (Aiea, Hawaii) finished in eighth place at 72 kg.
Overall, the USOEC will send 15 Greco-Roman wrestlers and three women’s freestyle wrestlers to the Olympic Trials June 13-15 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Media Relations Coordinator