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Early 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling preview for women's freestyle



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Women's freestyle wrestling will be contested at the Olympic Games for the first time in four weight classes - 48 kg/105.5 lbs., 55 kg/121 lbs., 63 kg/138.5 lbs. and 72 kg/158.5 kg. There are seven weight classes contested each year at the World Championships in women's wrestling. With only four spots for the Athens Games available, many athletes will be changing weight class this year. Because the U.S. women being deep and talented in seven weight classes, the battles for those four spots at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling, which takes place May 21-23 at Indianapolis' RCA Dome, should be full of drama. Today, www.trials2004.com continues its "Early U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling Preview," with a brief look at the contenders and favorites in women's freestyle. At 48 kg./105.5 lbs., Patricia Miranda (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC) is now a two-time World medalist after winning silver in New York City. In order to have a shot at Olympic gold, she'll most likely need to go through 2003 Nationals and World Team Trials runner-up Clarissa Chun (Colorado, Colo./Gator WC), and talented college star Mary Kelly (Mahomet, Ill./New York AC). Possibly moving down from 51 kg/112.25 lbs. are 2003 National champion Malinda Ripley (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) and National team member Katie Kunimoto (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC). There should be a logjam of talent at 55 kg/121 lbs., led by 2002 and 2003 World silver medalist Tina George (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army). Her top competitors are all talented, including 2003 National champion Tela O'Donnell (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC), national team member Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) and 2001 World silver medalist Stephanie Murata (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids). Possibly moving up from 51 kg/112.25 lbs. is 2003 World bronze medalist Jenny Wong (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids). Other athletes may choose to drop from 59 kg/130 lbs., as well. At 63 kg/138.75 lbs., Sara McMann (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) lost in overtime in the finals of the World Championships. To make the Olympic Team, she'll most likely have to defeat seven-time World medalist and two-time World champion Kristie Marano (Albany, N.Y./New York AC). McMann has beaten Marano at this weight for two years, then Marano moved up to wrestle at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. Possibly moving up from 59 kg/130 lbs. are 2003 World bronze medalist Sally Roberts (Colorado, Colo./Gator WC) and 2003 World Team Trials champion Erin Tomeo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids). Possibly dropping down from 67 kg/147.5 lbs. is Kaci Lyle (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids). Toccara Montgomery (Cleveland, Ohio/Cumberland College), Samantha Lang (Tualatin, Ore./Sunkist Kids) and Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) are a few of the athletes expected to challenge for the spot at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Montgomery beat high school star Lang at the World Team Trials, then won her second career World silver medal. Downing, who is originally from Pendleton, Ind., which is just east of Indianapolis, will be moving up from 67 kg/147.5 lbs., where she was the 2002 and 2003 World Team Trials champion. Others with high hopes are Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) and Stephany Lee (Honolulu, Hawaii/Missouri Valley College). At the World Championships last September, the U.S. women claimed a medal in all seven weight classes - one gold and four silver and two bronze. With only four weight classes, the U.S. only has room for four of those world medalists. It will definitely be "One Dream. One Weekend. One Shot." (The official theme created by USA Wrestling and the Local Organizing Committee for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling.) Visit themat.com next week for a look at the contenders in each of the Greco-Roman weight classes. Tickets are now available at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone (317-239-5151 in Central Indiana) or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Order forms are also available at the event's official Web site, www.trials2004.com. Two All-Session ticket packages are available. The first is the Gold Medal Club All-Session ticket package for $150, which features reserved seating, access to the Gold Medal Club Lounge, a souvenir program, a commemorative gift, autograph signings with former Olympic athletes, free parking and an exclusive opportunity to meet the new U.S. Olympic Team. The Silver Level All-Session ticket package is $80 in general admission seating. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials competition format features a two-day challenge tournament and a championship finals series. The challenge tournament in all three styles will take place Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22. This will include all of the competitors except the 2004 national champions who will advance to the finals. The 2004 national championships will be in Las Vegas April 9-10. Sunday, May 23, will be the championship finals in each weight class, featuring the national champion against the challenge tournament winner in a best-of-three series. In addition to women's freestyle, the spots in the seven weight classes for men's freestyle and Greco-Roman also will be up for grabs. Only the champions in each weight class will be on the U.S. Olympic Team and compete at the Olympic Games August 22-29, 2004, in Athens, Greece. The RCA Dome - home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, the 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006 and 2010 NCAA Men's Final Four, 2005 NCAA Women's Final Four and the 1991 World Gymnastics Championships - will be the site of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. It will be the first time an elite-level wrestling event will be staged in a domed stadium. USA Wrestling and Indiana Sports Corporation are organizing the event. For hotel reservations, fans should contact the Wrestling Housing Bureau at 1-800-556-INDY (4639) or housing@indianapolis.org, or visit www.trials2004.com on the Internet to reserve hotel rooms. In addition, those fans who purchase tickets in November are eligible to win the "World Team Prize Pack" via a drawing at the end of the month. The World Team Prize Pack includes a wrestling-themed banner autographed by Rulon Gardner, Cael Sanderson, Joe Williams, Kerry McCoy, Garrett Lowney, Tina George, Katie Downing, Toccara Montgomery and others. 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling Quick Facts When: May 21-23, 2004 Where: RCA Dome, Indianapolis Who: The top eight finishers in each weight class from the U.S. National Championships in Las Vegas April 9-10, 2004, qualify for the event as well as champions from five Olympic Trials Regional events. Competitors include a mix of champions and upcoming superstars. Athletes expected to compete in Indianapolis include: Olympic champion Rulon Gardner; World champions Dremiel Byers, Kristie Marano and Melvin Douglas; Olympic medalist Brandon Paulson; World medalists Cael Sanderson, Tina George, Patricia Miranda, Kerry McCoy, Sara McMann, Joe Williams, Toccara Montgomery, Jenny Wong and Sally Roberts and many other top wrestlers. Tournament Schedule: Day - Date - Session Time - Competition Day 1 - Friday, May 21 - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - Challenge Tournament Preliminaries and Consolation Rounds Day 1 - Friday, May 21 - 5-9 p.m. - Challenge Tournament Quarterfinals and Consolation Rounds Day 2 - Saturday, May 22 - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - Challenge Tournament Semifinals and Consolation Rounds Day 2 - Saturday, May 22 - 5-9 p.m. - Challenge Tournament Finals and Consolation Rounds Day 3 - Sunday, May 23 - 10 a.m.-12 noon - Championship Finals Match #1 Day 3 - Sunday, May 23 - 3:30-5:30 p.m. - Championship Finals Match #2 Day 3 - Sunday, May 23 - 5:30-6:30 p.m. - Championship Finals Match #3 (if necessary) Ticket Information: Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster. All-Session ticket prices are: Gold Medal Club - $150, Silver Level - $80. In central Indiana, call (317) 239-5151, or visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.trials2004.com over the Internet. Hotel Reservations: Contact the Wrestling Housing Bureau at www.trials2004.com, 1-800-55
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