MARQUETTE– Two United States Olympic Education Center wrestlers won silver at the U.S. Open for Greco-Roman and freestyle Dec. 17-18 in Arlington, Texas. Ten others placed in the top seven, earning a chance to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Northern Michigan University sophomore Melissa Apodaca (Chugiak, Alaska) placed second at the 63 kilogram weight class. Apodaca went 5-0 until the championship round, where she lost to Elena Pirozhkova.
Senior Zach Nielsen (Zimmerman, Minn.) finished 4-1 at 84 kg for second place, losing 1-0, 1-0 to Chas Betts for first place. Junior Mark Stenberg (Lockport, Ill.) won three straight matches until losing to champion Betts in the semifinal round, placing sixth.
At 55 kg, sophomore Max Nowry (Wheeling, Ill.) defeated Nikko Triggas 1-0, 1-0 for third place and a tournament record of 4-1. Freshman Mike Fuenffinger (Hibbing, Minn.) defeated Nathan Engel 2-0, 1-0 for fifth place.
“We had some great wins at the Open,” said coach Rob Hermann. “The wrestlers need to continue having the frame of mind that their goal is to be the best in the world and to practice hard until their goals come true.”
Two Greco-Roman wrestlers placed fourth: junior Josh Castellano (Wood Dale, Ill.) at 66 kg and sophomore Toby Erickson (East Helena, Mont.) at 120 kg. Junior Tanner Andrews (North Aurora, Ill.) placed fifth at 74 kg; Marcus Finau (Ewa Beach, Hawaii) finished sixth at 96 kg; and at 60 kg, sophomore Joey DeNova (Forston, Ga.) placed seventh.
Freestyle wrestler senior Schuyler Brown (Montpelier, Va.) placed sixth at 55 kg. Freshman Erin Golston (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) finished seventh at (weight).
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be held April 21-22 in Iowa City, Iowa.