MARQUETTE— Four United States Olympic Education Center Greco-Roman and two freestyle wrestlers took home gold with first-place finishes at the University National Championships last weekend (April 23-26) in Akron, Ohio.
The top two wrestlers in each weight class also qualified to compete at the U.S. World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 30-31. In all, nine USOEC wrestlers qualified for the world event: five in freestyle and four in Greco-Roman.
The USOEC Greco-Roman gold medalists were Northern Michigan University junior Ben Sanchez (Leominster, Mass.) at 66 kilograms, sophomore Aaron Briggs (Tuscon, Ariz.), 74 kg; senior Andy Bisek (Chaska, Minn.), 79 kg; and freshman Chad Hemerson (Menterey, Calif.), 84 kg. Former USOEC athletes also took first with Robert Smith, 96 kg; and Peter Kowalczuk, 120 kg.
In freestyle, sophomore Schuyler Brown (Montpelier, Va.) and freshman Melissa Apodaca (Chugiak, Alaska) won gold at 59kg and 63kg, respectively. Also qualifying were the freshmen trio of Emily Martin (Frisco, Texas), second, 51 kg, Amy Whitbeck (Duanesburg, N.Y.), third, 55 kg and Erin Clodgo (Richmond, Vt.), third, at 72 kg. Martin and Whitbeck won the true second place to earn the world event spots.
“It’s great to see the younger guys in our program starting to emerge as front runners in their weight classes,” said Greco-Roman assistant coach Jim Gruenwald. “World Team Trials is a big competition for us, and we hope to do just as well if not better than we did at [University] Nationals.”
Other top finishers on the Greco-Roman side were: freshman Max Nowry (Wheeling, Ill.), second, and sophomore Paul Tellgren (Anoka, Minn.), fourth at 55kg; at 66 kg, sophomore Bo Beckman (Orem, Utah), third and facility-use athlete Alex Fleming, second; at 70 kg, freshman Corey Hope (Carol Stream, Ill.), fourth; at 74 kg, junior Marco Toledo (Foley, Ala.), second and sophomore Jonathan Drendel (North Aurora, Ill.), fifth; at 84 kg, junior Talan Knox (Salt Lake City, Utah), third; at 96 kg, sophomore Zac Nielson, second; and at 120 kg, David Arendt, third.
In freestyle, sophomore Amber Miracle (Berlin, Wis.) finished third at 67 kg while volunteer women’s freestyle coach Kuuiini Johnson (Aiea, Hawaii) and sophomore Lindsey Brooks (Houston, Texas) were fourth and fifth at 72 kg.
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