Dustin Schlatter delivers big win to make first U.S. World Team in freestyle wrestling
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - Dustin Schlatter crashed the party.
Fans clad in bright red "Paulson Power" shirts were ready to celebrate hometown boy Travis Paulson making his first U.S. World Team on Saturday night, but the 23-year-old Schlatter had other ideas.
Schlatter won four straight ball draws and four straight leg clinches to sweep Paulson in two straight matches in the freestyle finals at 74 kg/163 lbs.
Schlatter redshirted this past season at Minnesota while shifting his focus to freestyle.
"My goal from the start of this season was to make the World Team this year," Schlatter said. "I had planned on going to a couple of international tournaments and this is what I was training for. Winning this was definitely a goal from the start."
Paulson, whose twin brother Trent is favored to win the freestyle title at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. on Sunday, was competing in his hometown of Council Bluffs on Saturday.
"You can't let it go to the clinch every time," Travis Paulson said. "I gave it everything I had to score a takedown. I put it all on the line, but it didn't happen. I need to get better. My goal is to be a World champion. If I want to be a World champion, I need to be able to get a takedown in two minutes."
The fans in the Mid-America crowd sat stunned when Schlatter, an NCAA champion who will be a senior at Minnesota next season, made his first World Team on the Senior level.
Travis Paulson, 26, won the U.S. Nationals in April and was favored to win the World Team Trials title.
"This is very frustrating," Paulson said. "It was bad luck (with the ball draws), but I can't let it go to the clinch."
Prior to this season, Schlatter hadn't competed in freestyle since finishing high school.
"I wanted to take him down and score, and not have it come down to the clinch," Schlatter said. "He has real strong defense and real good positioning, kind of similar to me in that respect. I knew if somebody got a takedown it was going to decide that period because defense is where both of us are strong.
"I never like going to the clinch, but I felt like I was prepared for it. You have to be prepared when you wrestle freestyle."
11 of the 21 World Team berths were clinched on Saturday night. The 11 champions from Saturday advance to September's World Championships in Herning, Denmark.
Another NCAA champion and senior-to-be in college, Jake Varner, also punched his ticket to Denmark by winning a title on Saturday. Varner took two straight matches from 2008 Olympian Andy Hrovat to win the freestyle title at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Shawn Bunch made his first World Team by winning two straight matches over 2006 World silver medalist Mike Zadick in the freestyle finals at 60 kg/132 lbs.
Zadick had beaten Bunch in the finals of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and the finals of the 2009 U.S. Nationals. Zadick had made three straight World-level teams for the U.S.
2008 Olympian Spenser Mango made his first U.S. World Team on the Senior level by taking two straight matches from past World bronze medalist Lindsey Durlacher in Greco-Roman at 55 kg/121 lbs.
Mango hit a celebratory backflip after the win.
"I've been to the Olympics and now I need to build on that," Mango said. "Now that I'm on the World Team, I need to get ready to win a gold medal at the World Championships."
Mango's close friend, two-time World bronze medalist Harry Lester, made his fourth straight World Team by taking two straight from Jess Hargrave in the Greco-Roman finals at 74 kg/163 lbs.
Lester punctuated the win with a pin over Hargrave in the second period. Lester has moved up a weight class this year after being upset in the 2008 Olympic Trials and placing third.
"I've been to three straight World Championships and I haven't reached my goal yet," Lester said. "It's time to go in there and win a gold medal. I'm going to do everything I can to win it this time."
Chas Betts pulled out a gritty match over 2008 Olympian T.C. Dantzler in the Greco-Roman finals at 84 kg/185 lbs. Dantzler had made the previous five U.S. World Teams. Betts is a past World University silver medalist.
Jessica Medina delivered one of the day's biggest upsets when she earned a tough three-match win over 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda in women's freestyle at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.
Ali Bernard, fifth in the 2008 Olympics, looked strong in her return to the mat at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Bernard took two straight bouts in the finals from Jenna Pavlik.
Deanna Rix, fifth in the World in 2008, came back to down U.S. Nationals champion Kelsey Campbell to win the women's freestyle title at 59 kg/130 lbs.
Junior World champion Adeline Gray looked dominant in winning the title at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. She took two straight matches from Christen Paysse.
The second and final day of competition is set for Sunday at the Mid-America Center. The session starts at 9 a.m.
BEST-OF-3 FINALS RESULTS
60 kg/132 lbs.
Shawn Bunch (Gator WC) defeats Mike Zadick (Gator WC), 2 matches to 0
Bunch dec. Zadick, 3-0, 1-3, 2-1
Bunch dec. Zadick, 3-0, 0-2, 1-0
74 kg/163 lbs.
Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota Storm) defeats Travis Paulson (Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 0
Schlatter dec. Paulson, 1-0, 1-0
Schlatter dec. Pauslon, 1-0, 1-0
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Jake Varner (Sunkist Kids) defeats Andy Hrovat (New York AC), 2 matches to 0
Varner dec. Hrovat, 0-1, 3-0, 1-0
Varner dec. Hrovat, 0-1, 2-0, 1-0
55 kg/121 lbs.
Spenser Mango (New York AC) defeats Lindsey Durlacher (New York AC), 2 matches to 0
Mango dec. Durlacher, 3-0, 5-0
Mango dec. Durlacher, 2-0, 3-0
74 kg/163 lbs.
Harry Lester (New York AC) defeats Jess Hargrave (U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Lester dec. Hargrave, 4-4, 1-0, 1-0
Lester pins Hargrave, 3-0, 0:29
84 kg/185 lbs.
Chas Betts (Minnesota Storm) defeats T.C. Dantzler (Unattached), 2 matches to 1
Betts dec. Dantzler, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0
Dantzler dec. Betts, 2-0, 2-1
Betts dec. Dantzler, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Dremiel Byers (U.S. Army) defeats Brandon Rupp (New York AC), 2 matches to 0
Byers dec. Rupp, 2-0, 1-0
Byers dec. Rupp, 1-0, 2-0
51 kg/112.25 lbs.
Jessica Medina (New York AC) defeats Patricia Miranda (Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 1
Miranda dec. Medina, 3-0, 1-4, 3-1
Medina dec. Miranda, 1-0, 0-4, 4-3
Medina dec. Miranda, 0-1,1-1,1-0
59 kg/130 lbs.
Deanna Rix (New York AC) defeats Kelsey Campbell (Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 1
Campbell dec. Rix, 2-0, 1-0
Rix dec. Campbell, 3-0, 1-0
Rix dec. Campbell, 1-0, 1-0
67 kg/147.5 lbs.
Adeline Gray (New York AC) defeats Christen Paysse (Univ. of Cumberlands), 2 matches to 0
Gray dec. Paysse, 4-0, 3-0
Gray pins Paysse, 1:59
72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Ali Bernard (Gator WC) defeats Jenna Pavlik (USOTC), 2 matches to 0
Bernard dec. Pavlik, 4-2, 7-2
Bernard dec. Pavlik, 7-0, 4-0