CLEVELAND, Ohio -- North Carolina assistant wrestling coach Cary Kolat made a miraculous run through the U.S. Open advancing all the way to the finals after a three-year absence from competition. Kolat, who will turn 38 next month, had been guiding other wrestlers at the North Carolina Regional Olympic Training Center in Chapel Hill when he decided to make a run for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Kolat last wrestled competitively in 2008 when he was vying for a spot on the 2008 Olympic team and just last year became the Director of Wrestling Operations at North Carolina before being elevated to assistant coach during the 2010-11 season.
After training with several wrestlers at the North Carolina Regional Olympic Training Center Kolat decided to make a run at the Olympics one more time after being a two-time NCAA Champion and a member of the 2000 United State Olympic Wrestling squad.
Kolat entered the U.S. Open unseeded and advanced all the way to the finals knocking off second-ranked Josh Churella in the process. With the win Kolat earned a place in the finals against two-time NCAA Champion Teyon Ware who checked in a decade younger than Kolat.
Kolat took the first period from Ware, 1-0, before dropping the second period 5-0. Ware and Kolat battled to a 1-1 draw in the third period as Ware would claim the win.
The top eight ranked wrestlers in the U.S. will earn and invitation to the World Team Trials in Oklahoma City, Okla. set for June 9 of this year. With the run to the finals of the U.S. Open Kolat has a chance to be among the eight selected for a shot to represent the U.S. at 66 kg in the 2012 Olympics.