On Saturday night at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jake Deitchler, a native of Ramsey, Minnesota (Anoka High School), accomplished something that has not been done since 1976: Make the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team immediately after his senior year of high school.
On Saturday afternoon, the 18-year-old Dietchler, who attended the same high school as 1996 Greco-Roman Olympic silver medalist Brandon Paulson, pulled the biggest upset of the tournament by beating two-time World bronze medalist Harry Lester in the Greco-Roman semifinals at 66 kg. On Saturday night, Deitchler capped off his amazing run by beating Faruk Sahin in two consecutive matches.
Deitchler was one of three Greco-Roman champions crowned on Saturday night. Also joining Dietchler on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Team will be a pair of U.S. World Team veterans in T.C. Dantzler and Brad Vering.
Dantzler, who was fifth at the 2006 World Championships, received an automatic berth in the championship finals after winning the 2008 U.S. Nationals. The 37-year-old Dantzler defeated rising star Cheney Haight in the finals in two consecutive matches at 74 kg.
Vering, a returning World silver medalist, bounced back from his upset loss at the 2008 U.S. Nationals to dominate Aaron Sieracki in two consecutive matches.
In freestyle, three returning U.S. World Team members won titles on Saturday night: Henry Cejudo, Mike Zadick, and Doug Schwab.
Cejudo stopped 2004 Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas in the 55-kg finals, winning in three matches. Cejudo, who was upset by Matt Azevedo in the finals of the 2008 U.S. Nationals, looked very impressive throughout the tournament.
Zadick, a 2006 World silver medalist, defeated Shawn Bunch two matches to one. However, even though Zadick won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, he is not guaranteed a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team, since the the U.S. has not qualified that weight class for the Olympics Games. There is still a chance, though, that Zadick could earn a wild card and compete in Beijing. Seven wild cards will be handed out among the 18 total weight classes in freestyle, Greco-Roman, and women's freestyle.
In a battle of former Iowa Hawkeyes, Schwab defeated 2006 World champion Bill Zadick two matches to one to make his first U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team.
Day 1 Recap
Jake Deitchler (66 kg)
TC Dantzler (74 kg)
Brad Vering (84 kg)
Henry Cejudo (55 kg)
Mike Zadick (60 kg)
Doug Schwab (66 kg)