ISU Wrestlers Take to World Team Trials
AMES, Iowa – Several current and former Iowa State wrestlers will hit the mats Saturday and Sunday at the 2009 World Team Trials, presented by the U.S. Marines, in Council Bluffs, Iowa at the Mid-America Center. Wrestlers are competing in hopes of earning a spot on the United States freestyle team for the World Wrestling Championships in Herning, Denmark Sept. 21-23.
The top three placewinners at each weight class make the U.S. team, whereas the Team Trials champion qualifies to represent the country in Denmark.
At 60 kilograms (132 pounds), Cyclone two-time All-American Nick Gallick enters the field after placing fifth at U.S. Senior Nationals April 9-11.
Council Bluffs natives and former ISU standouts Trent and Travis Paulson return to their hometown as the favorites of the 66-kilogram (145.5-pound) and 74-kilogram (163-pound) weight divisions. The Paulson twins were champions at U.S. Senior Nationals in their respective weight classes. The former Cyclones combined to earn All-America honors six times at ISU. The Paulson brothers were third-place finishers at last summer’s Olympic Team Trials.
Former ISU assistant coach and 1996 NCAA 150-pound champion Chris Bono is also slated to compete at 66 kg.
ISU sophomore Jon Reader will compete at 74 kg. The Davison, Mich. native placed fifth at U.S. Senior Nationals. Reader is a two-time All-American thus far in his career.
At 84 kg (185 pounds), former Cyclone 197-pound All-American David Bertolino is set to compete. Bertolino placed fourth at the U.S. Senior Nationals.
Iowa State three-time NCAA finalist and 2009 NCAA 197-pound titlist Jake Varner is the top competitor in the 96-kg (211.5-pound) bracket. Varner won the U.S. Senior Nationals by shutting out his opponents, 27-0 over four matches. Varner placed third at last summer’s Olympic Team Trials at 84 kilograms.
Former Iowa Stater and two-time All-American Kurt Backes will also wrestle in the 96-kg division.
Freshman ISU heavyweight Eric Thompson qualified to wrestle at the World Team Trials in the 120-kg (264.5-pound) division by placing first at the Northern Plains Regional.