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By Craig Sesker, TheMat.com
In 2014, USA Wrestling decided to hold the U.S. World Team Trials for men’s freestyle on a different weekend than the U.S. World Team Trials in Greco-Roman. It was the first time since 1999 that USA Wrestling has held these events on a separate date and location.
One of the key reasons for hosting the events at different times was to allow men’s freestyle athletes an opportunity to try out for the Greco-Roman World Team if they would like. Just two days after the World Team Trials in freestyle were completed in Madison, Wis., there are already some talented freestyle wrestlers who have made a commitment to try out in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Confirmed for the U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Daytona Beach, Fla. on June 13 are freestyle stars Sam Hazewinkel (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) at 59 kg/130 pounds, J.D. Bergman (Columbus, Ohio/NYAC/Ohio RTC) at 98 kg/216.5 pounds; plus two heavyweight stars at 130 kg/286 pounds, Tyrell Fortune (Portland, Ore./Titan Mercury WC) and Jarod Trice (Ames, Iowa/Titan Mercury WC).
Hazewinkel, 31, has extensive Greco-Roman experience and success, and actually started his Senior-level career as a Greco-Roman wrestler. He won two U.S. Open Greco-Roman titles (2005, 2007) and was the runner-up at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Greco-Roman. Hazewinkel was also third in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Greco-Roman. He was the 2008 University World champion in Greco-Roman, and won a number of medals at international events in Greco-Roman.
In 2009, Hazewinkel entered freestyle competitions, and went on to earn a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team in freestyle. He is now a two-time U.S. Open champion in freestyle (2011 and 2014). In addition, he is a native Floridian, having competed for Pensacola Christian Academy in high school, before he went to college at the Univ. of Oklahoma. Hazewinkel was second at the 2014 U.S. World Team Trials in freestyle this past weekend in Madison, Wisc.
Bergman, 29, made the U.S. Senior National Team in Greco in 2005 after finishing third at the U.S. World Team Trials that year. He won a University Nationals title in Greco in 2005, and also was a two-time Junior Nationals champion and a FILA Junior Nationals champion in that style.
Bergman placed third at the U.S. World Team Trials in freestyle at 97 kg/213 lbs. on Saturday in Madison, Wis.
Fortune, 23, is one of the nation’s top young talents, and has competed in both freestyle and Greco-Roman in recent season. He wrestled both styles at the 2013 World University Games in Russia, winning a bronze medal in freestyle and placing fifth in Greco-Roman. Fortune wrestled both styles at the 2013 U.S. Open, placing second in freestyle and sixth in Greco-Roman. Back in 2009, he competed in both styles at the FILA Junior World Championships, placing seventh in freestyle while also wrestling in Greco-Roman.
Fortune was second at the 2013 U.S. World Team Trials in freestyle, and was true third at the 2014 U.S. World Team Trials in freestyle this past weekend. He competed in college at Grand Valley Univ. and Clackamas CC.
Trice, 25, has also competed in both freestyle and Greco-Roman in recent seasons. In 2013, Trice was third at the New York AC International in Greco-Roman. In 2010, Trice was the University Nationals champion in both styles, and placed second in both styles at the 2010 University World Team Trials. Trice placed eighth in the University World Championships in Greco-Roman in 2010.
Trice was fourth in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in freestyle and competed this past weekend at the 2014 U.S. World Team Trials in freestyle in Madison.
Based on the qualification procedures, many other wrestlers who have competed primarily in freestyle will be able to enter the U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Daytona Beach. A number have already told USA Wrestling that they are seriously considering this opportunity. As USA Wrestling receives confirmation on other entries, they will be announced.
The U.S. World Team Trials in Greco-Roman will be held alongside the Cadet National Duals in freestyle and Greco-Roman, featuring the nation’s best 15-16 year olds competing for their state association teams. Both events will be broadcast LIVE on Flowrestling’s Flo Pro platform.