U S National Wrestling Championships to air TODAY on ESPN2 at 1 00 p m EDT

By Gary Abbott | May 25, 2001, 12 a.m. (ET)
Wrestling fans!!! The U.S. National Wrestling Championships, originally held in Las Vegas, Nev., will air TODAY on ESPN2 on Friday, May 25th at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Action in freestyle, Greco-Roman and women's wrestling will be featured on the telecast. The broadcast crew for the show will feature veteran play-by-play announcer Larry Nugent, along with 1996 Olympic Champion Kendall Cross and former Iowa State coach Jim Gibbons. The show will feature eight matches from the gold-medal finals, which were held in the world-famous MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The featured matches include: Women's 123.25 pounds - Tina George (Sunkist Kids) vs. Erin Tomeo (Sunkist Kids). George, a member of three U.S. World Teams attempts to win her first U.S. Nationals title, facing Tomeo, a high school star who has become a world-class competitor. Women's 149.75 pounds - 2000 World Champion Kristie Marano (ATWA), a five-time World medalist, faces the hottest wrestler on the women's circuit, high school star Toccara Montgomery (Sunkist Kids). Montgomery beat 1999 World Champion Sandra Bacher to qualify for the finals against Marano. Greco-Roman 127.75 pounds - 1996 Olympic silver medalist Dennis Hall (Sunkist Kids) faces his life-long rival, 2000 Olympian Jim Gruenwald (Sunkist Kids) in a battle of world-class stars. Hall, who owns three career World-level medals, and Gruenwald, who was sixth in the Sydney Games, have battled since their high school days in Wisconsin. Greco-Roman 187.25 pounds - A battle of 2000 Olympians will feature silver Matt Lindland (Sunkist Kids) against his Olympic teammate Quincey Clark (Minnesota Storm). Lindland has moved up in weight since his glory in Sydney, and faces America's best wrestlers at this class for the last three years. Greco-Roman 286 pounds -2000 Olympic Champion Rulon Gardner (Sunkist Kids) wrestles on American soil for the first time since his amazing victory at the Sydney Olympics over Russian star Alexander Kareline. Gardner faces 1999 World Team member Dremiel Byers (U.S. Army), America's top Greco-Roman wrestler in 1999. Freestyle 127.75 pounds - Kerry Boumans (Dave Schultz WC), the defending national champion and Olympic Team Trials runner-up battles Eric Guerrero (Sunkist Kids), a 1999 U.S. World Team member. Both athletes are skilled and aggressive and looking for a big year on the international level. Freestyle 167.5 pounds - 1999 World Team member Joe Williams (Sunkist Kids) battles Byron Tucker (Sunkist Kids), one of the most exciting young athletes on the U.S. freestyle circuit. Williams, who was fourth in the 1999 World meet, is looking to return to the top in a competitive weight division. Freestyle 187.25 pounds - Charles Burton (New York AC), who was fifth in the 2000 Olympic Games, faces college superstar Cael Sanderson (Sunkist Kids), the Iowa State phenom who has never lost a collegiate match. Sanderson attempts to continue his amazing success story at a new level against one of America's stars in Sydney. This TV show is a must view for all U.S. wrestling fans, as America's best athletes battle for coveted national titles. Those that wish to read about the results of these matches can visit TheMat.com's results section, and check out the Special Coverage of the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas. ESPN has challenged the wrestling community and the general public to prove its support of amateur wrestling by viewing two major international-style wrestling events in the upcoming weeks. ESPN has indicated to USA Wrestling that the ratings results from the 2001 U.S. National Wrestling Championships and the 2001 World Cup of Freestyle Wrestling will be reviewed to determine programming plans on ESPN and ESPN2 for the 2001 World Championships in New York City. This is a perfect opportunity for wrestlers, coaches, fans and supporters to make a difference in helping promote wrestling. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WRESTLING FANS WATCH THESE TWO BROADCASTS, OR SET THEIR VCR TO TAPE THESE TWO BROADCASTS. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT WAY THAT THE WRESTLING COMMUNITY CAN VOICE THE DESIRE TO SEE MORE WRESTLING ON TELEVISION.