MARQUETTE– Two United States Olympic Education Center Greco-Roman wrestlers placed first at the 2011 FILA Junior World Team Trials May 19-20 in Franklin, Ind., enabling them to compete at the FILA Junior World Championships July 29-31 in Bucharest, Romania.
Northern Michigan University sophomore Josh Castellano (Wood Dale, Ill.) and freshman Marcus Finau (Oahu, Hawaii) finished first last year in their respective weight classes, 74 kilograms and 96 kg, which granted them an automatic bye into a best of-three championship round.
Castellano faced bracket winner Joey Moorhouse (Maverick Wrestling), winning the first match 2-0, 5-0 and the second match 1-0, 5-0.
Finau lost the first match to bracket winner Alex Polizzi (Northwestern) 1-2, 3-0, 1-0, but came back to win the second and third matches, 1-0, 3-0, and 2-0, 1-0.
“It was different because usually you wrestle all day to get the jitters out and to warm up, but I didn’t have that opportunity,” said Finau, “Polizzi was already warmed up for the first match whereas I was not, but after the first match I knew his style and I adjusted for the second and third matches.”
NMU freshman Joseph DeNova (Fortson, Ga) faced Zack Nelson (Samurai) at 60 kg in the first round bracket match, winning by decision 5-0, 8-0. DeNova then beat Sammy Jones (Scorpion Wrestling Club) 2-0, 2-0, making him the bracket winner. Last year’s winner Jesse Thielke (Sunkist Kids) defeated DeNova 3-4, 8-0, due to an elbow injury by DeNova in the third period. DeNova returned for the second match but fell short when Thielke pinned him in the second period.
Freshman Caleb Smith (Patoka, Ind.) defeated Britton Thompson (Trojan Wrestling Club) by a 2-0, 1-0 decision. Kalvin York (Badger Wreslting Club) knocked Smith to the loser’s bracket with a 7-0, 1-0 decision. Smith got pinned in the second period by Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets).
Sophomore Mark Stenburg (Lockport, Ill.) won his first match at 84 kg over Eli Adams (YES Greensboro) 0-4, 7-0, 2-0, but lost by a 1-0, 0-1, 8-1 decision to Joel Bauman (Minnesota Storm).
“We were expecting the guys to do pretty well,” said assistant coach Willie Madison, “They had to use the techniques that they learn every day in practice in order to win the big matches.”
All wrestlers had to previously qualify for this event in order to compete. The next competition is the 2011 Senior World Team Trials June 9-11 in Oklahoma City, Okla.