Lester (red) at the World Championships
MARQUETTE, Mich. – Fifteen United States Olympic Education Center Greco-Roman wrestlers and eight women freestyle wrestlers recently earned national rankings at the senior level from TheMat.com, the official Web site of USA Wrestling.
Harry Lester (Akron, Ohio) was able to maintain his No. 1 ranking at 66 kilograms, a position he’s held since May 2005. His first-place finish at the World Team Trials last summer and bronze medal performance at the World Championships in September contributed to his ranking.
“I try practice the same way every day—hard and intense. I know that if I want to be the best, I have to train that way, no matter if I was ranked first or tenth,” said Lester, who is a senior at Northern Michigan University.
USOEC teammates earning rankings were NMU sophomore Spenser Mango (St. Louis, Mo.) at No. 5 at 55 kg; junior Joe Betterman (Chicago, Ill.) at No. 4, senior Marco Lara (Long Beach, Calif.) at No. 5, junior Kerry Renger (Darlington, Pa.) at No. 8 and junior Chris Iorio (Holbrook, N.Y.) at No. 10 at 60 kg; senior Jacob Curby (LaGrange, Ill.) at No. 3 at 66 kg; junior Cheney Haight (Drem, Utah) at No. 4, senior Jacob Fisher (Platte City, Mo.) at No. 6, junior Kevin Lozano (Jefferson, La.) at No. 7 and sophomore Andrew Bisek (Chaska, Minn.) at No. 9 at 74 kg; freshman Jake Plamann (Appleton, Wis.) at No. 7 and sophomore Chas Betts (St. Michael, Minn.) at No. 8 at 84 kg; sophomore Gerard Habibian (St. George, Utah) at No. 8 at 96 kg; and junior Jake Marquardt (Blair, Neb.) at No. 4 at 120 kg.
USOEC assistant Greco-Roman coach Jim Gruenwald stated, “Having 15 guys ranked is great, but it is just the beginning. We expect the guys to constantly improve and the future [of our program] to produce more national champions and world medalist.”
Women freestyle wrestlers earning national rankings include NMU senior Liz Short (Lombard, Ill.) at No. 4 and junior Sadie Kaneda (Honolulu, Hawaii) at No. 7 in the 48-kilogram weight class; freshman Whitney Condor (Puyallup, Wash.) at No. 7 at 51 kg; senior Amy Borgnini (Terre Haute, Ind.) at No. 5 and sophomore Dany Hedin (Kailua, Hawaii) at No. 6 at 55 kg; graduate student Tina Pihl (Guilford, Conn.) at No. 7 at 59 kg; freshman Stefanie Shaw (Waterford, Conn.) at No. 6 at 63 kg; and freshman Dallas Monreal-Berner (Niles, Ill.) at No. 5 at 72 kg.
Freestyle head coach Shannyn Gillespie expressed his satisfaction with the latest rankings.
“It feels good that the USOEC’s program [can be] recognized nationally among the other top women’s teams in the country,” he said. “If the athletes do their personal best daily in practice, any performance outcome sought is within reach.”