Team USA signs autographs and holds public workouts at NCAA Championships

By Gary Abbott | March 17, 2006, 9:40 a.m. (ET)
Members of USA Wrestling's national team signed autographs and met fans at the NCAA Fan Festival, which is affiliated with the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., Friday, March 17.

Armed with sharpies and autograph cards, 10 top wrestlers and coaches spent 30 minutes signing autographs for hundreds of fans of all ages who attended the Fan Festival between sessions of the NCAA Championships.

Those who participated in this popular appearance were:

- 2005 World bronze medalist Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids)
- 2004 Olympian Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC)
- Three-time U.S. World Team member Chris Bono (Ringgold, Ga./Sunkist Kids)
- 2005 U.S. World Team member Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC)
- 2005 U.S. World Team member Michael Lightner (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
- 1992 Olympic champion and National Coach Kevin Jackson (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
- 2004 and 2005 World Team Coach Mike Duroe (Iowa City, Iowa)
- 2005 U.S. World Team member Joe Warren (Colorado Springs, Colo/New York AC)
- 1984 Olympic champion and National Coach Steve Fraser (Colorado Springs, Colo.
- 2005 and 2006 U.S. World Team Coach and 1995 Freestyle World Champion Bill Scherr (Evanston, Ill.)

During all three days of the NCAA Championships, Freestyle Team USA has conducted public workouts for fans to watch, also as part of the Fan Festival. Thousands of wrestling fans have been exposed to the training program of our nation's best international wrestlers. In addition to men's freestyle wrestlers, there were also members of Greco-Roman Team USA and Women's Team USA who attended the public workouts.

Freestyle National Coaches Kevin Jackson and Terry Brands ran the workouts, helping to prepare the athletes for the upcoming U.S. National Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., April 14-15. Jackson is an Olympic and World champion, and Brands is a two-time World Champion.

On Friday, one of those who participated in workouts was 2000 Olympic Greco-Roman champion and 2001 World Champion Rulon Gardner, who worked with the Greco-Roman coaches and athletes in the sessions.Working with the Greco-Roman athletes was National Coach Steve Fraser, the first U.S. Greco-Roman Olympic champion.

Two World medalists in women's wrestling, Jenny Wong and Sara McMann of the Sunkist Kids, worked out during the session. Bill Scherr, who will coach the U.S. Women's World Team for the second straight year, worked with the women athletes each day.