Four World Champions earn victories at Dollamur U S Grappling World Team Trials

By Gary Abbott | Sept. 16, 2008, 11:29 a.m. (ET)
Jeff Monson of Victory Athletics controls Brandon Ruiz of Grappler's Edge in the Dollamur U.S. Grappling World Team Trials. Alicia Anthony photo

ROCKLIN, CALIF. - Four returning World Grappling champions claimed victories in USA Wrestling's Dollamur U.S. Grappling World Team Trials, held at Sierra College on Saturday.

2007 World Grappling champions who captured World Team Trials titles for the second straight year were men's champions Ricky Lundell of Grappler's Edge at 154 pounds and Jeff Monson of Victory Athletics at 275 pounds along with women's champions Lisa Ward of Victory Athletics at 105.5 pounds and Felicia Oh of BJMUTA at 121 pounds.

Lundell tore through the bracket with dominant performances, scoring a submission in all three of his matches. Lundell dominated Tom Lecuyer of K3 Kombat Sports in the gold-medal finals. He was named Most Valuable Grappler for his performance.

Monson won all three of his matches to capture a four-athlete round robin. He stopped runner-up Brandon Ruiz of Grappler's Edge in his final match, 4-2. Monson quickly scored a high crotch takedown to start the match, and ultimately won the bout with a reversal.

Monson, a veteran MMA star and former Div. I wrestling star for Oregon State and Illinois, won all three matches by decision. Ruiz has been a nationally ranked Greco-Roman wrestler who has extensive Grappling experience.

Ward won a best-of-three championship series against 2007 World silver medalist Bahar Shahidi of Grappler's Edge, using a guillotine choke to score a submission in 1:19. Shahidi has dropped down to 105.5 pounds after winning her 2007 World medal last year at 121 pounds.

In a battle of returning World champions, Oh defeated Tara LaRosa of the Philadelphia Fight Factory in the finals, 4-3 in overtime. The score tied at 3-3 at the end of regulation. Oh scored the winning point on an escape when LaRosa had a lapse of judgement and let her go at the start of the overtime. Oh won her World title last year at 121 pounds, while LaRosa was a World champion at 136.5 pounds.

The other three men's weight classes featured some very competitive action, with new World Team Trials champions crowned in each of them.

2007 World silver medalist Matt Sanchez of Ultimate Fitness won a five-athlete round-robin at 136.5 pounds, winning four matches with dominance. His closest bout was a 5-1 decision over talented Brian Peterson of BJMUTA, who was the eventual runner-up. Sanchez's other three matches were all won by submission.

Former Univ. of Minnesota wrestling star Jacob Volkmann of MMAA won the 176-pound title, defeating veteran grappling star Dennis Hallman of Victory Athletics, 5-0 in the championship finals. He scored a takedown and a side mount for the margin of victory in the finals. Volkmann won his other two matches by submission, including a semifinal victory over 2007 World bronze medalist Michael Kelly of Gilbert Grappling in 5:04. Kelly came back to place third in the weight class.

"I was pleased with my performance in the first two matches because I was able to control my opponents and stay out of trouble," said Volkmann. "But in the final, Hallman was able to sink in a straight leglock that had me in trouble, so I was irritated with myself for allowing that to happen. I am extremely happy to be going to Switzerland and representing my team, Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, my sponsor, Heatwave, and most importantly my country and USA Wrestling."

Capturing a loaded 202.5-pound division was former Cal-State Bakersfield wrestling star Raphael Davis of Caique BJJ, who won by submission over former Cal-State Fullerton wrestling star Ian Murphy of Ultimate Fitness in 2:09. Davis used a guillotine choke to score the submission.

Davis won all three of his bouts, including a semifinal win over former Univ. of Wisconsin wrestler Aaron Stark of Team Quest, 14-5. Murphy qualified for the finals with a 7-2 decision over 2007 Grappling World champion Malcom Havens of Grappler's Edge.

Stark, who was a successful fighter in the IFL, placed third in the weight class with a 32-second submission over Danny Clark of MMA Institute in the bronze-medal match. Clark won his consolation semifinal match with a submission over Havens in 5:50.

Miesha Tate of Victory Athletics claimed the 158.5-pound title, upsetting returning World champion Valerie Worthington of New Breed in the finals match, 4-2. Tate scored the opening takedown in the match, and was able to score a reversal later in the match for the margin of victory.

The other women's individual champion was Molly Helsel of NCFC, who captured the 138.5 pound division uncontested.

Winning the national championship team award was Victory Athletics, based upon its performance in the 11-event World Team qualifying series, with the Dollamur World Team Trials as the final and deciding event. Victory Athletics has won a custom 36 x 36 x 2 "National Champions" wrestling mat from Dollamur. Victory Athletics had 107 points, followed by Grappler's Edge with 83 points and Ultimate Fitness with 55 points.

At Rocklin, Calif., September 13

Men's division

136.5 pounds
1st Place - Matt Sanchez of Ultimate Fitness
2nd Place - Brian Peterson of BJMUTA
3rd Place - Danny Kessler of American Pankration
4th Place - Leonard Snow of Grappler`s Edge
5th Place - Manuel Ortiz of Unattached

154 pounds
1st Place - Ricky Lundell of Grappler`s Edge
2nd Place - Tom Lecuyer of K3 Kombat Sports
3rd Place - Matt Holt of Victory Athletics
4th Place - Jeremy Umphries of Legion Elite
1st - Ricky Lundell (Grappler`s Edge) won by submission over Tom Lecuyer (K3 Kombat Sports)
3rd - Matt Holt (Victory Athletics) dec. Jeremy Umphries (Legion Elite), 4-3, OT

176 pounds
1st Place - Jacob Volkmann of MMAA
2nd Place - Dennis Hallman of Victory Athletics
3rd Place - Michael Kelly of Gilbert Grappling
4th Place - Brad Sandoval of Ultimate Fitness
1st - Jacob Volkmann (MMAA) dec. Dennis Hallman (Victory Athletics), 5-0
3rd - Michael Kelly (Gilbert Grappling) won by decision over Brad Sandoval (Ultimate Fitness), 2-1

202.5 pounds
1st Place - Raphael Davis of Caique BJJ
2nd Place - Ian Murphy of Ultimate Fitness
3rd Place - Aaron Stark of Team Quest
4th Place - Danny Clark of MMA Institute
1st - Raphael Davis (Caique BJJ) won by submission over Ian Murphy (Ultimate Fitness), 2:09
3rd - Aaron Stark (Team Quest) won by submission over Danny Clark (MMA Institute), 0:32

275 pounds
1st Place - Jeff Monson of Victory Athletics
2nd Place - Brandon Ruiz of Grappler`s Edge
3rd Place - Bobak Ranjbaran of Demon Jiu jitsu
4th Place - Peter Becker of Xtreme Couture

Women's division

105.5 pounds
1st Place - Lisa Ward of Victory Athletics
2nd Place - Bahar Shahidi of Grappler`s Edge
1st - Lisa Ward (Victory Athletics) won by submission over Bahar Shahidi (Grappler`s Edge), 1:19

121 pounds
1st Place - Felicia Oh of BJMUTA
2nd Place - Tara LaRosa of Philadelphia Fight Factory
1st - Felicia Oh (BJMUTA) dec. Tara Larosa (Philadelphia Fight Factory), 4-3, OT

138.75 pounds
1st Place - Molly Helsel of NCFC, uncontested

158.5 pounds
1st Place - Miesha Tate of Victory Athletics
2nd Place - Valerie Worthington of New Breed
3rd Place - Angela Poe of Grappler`s Edge

National Champion Team Standings
(winner receives champions mat from Dollamur)

1. Victory Athletics, 107
2. Grappler's Edge, 83
3. Ultimate Fitness, 55