USA Wrestling Gruenwald beats Hall...

Gruenwald beats Hall in Challenge Tournament finals at Greco Roman World Team Trials in Saint Paul M

By Gary Abbott | June 22, 2002, 12 a.m. (ET)

2000 Olympian Jim Gruenwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) controlled the action, on the way to 4-0 decision over 1992 and 1996 Olympian Dennis Hall (Plover, Wis./Sunkist Kids) in the Challenge Tournament finals at the Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Saint Paul, Minn., June 22. This was one of the highly anticipated showdowns of the Challenge Tournament finals. The winners of the Challenge Tournament earned the right to advance to the Championship Series of the World Team Trials on Sunday, a best-of-three series against the 2002 U.S. Nationals champion. The winner of Sunday's series earns a spot on the 2002 U.S. World Team, which will compete in Moscow, Russia in September. Gruenwald and Hall have a long rivalry, going back to their days in youth programs in Wisconsin. Hall won the showdown at the Team Trials from 1997-99, but Gruenwald has claimed many of the battles in the last three years. By defeating Hall, Gruenwald earns the right to face 2002 U.S. Nationals champion Glenn Nieradka of the U.S. Army in the championship series on Sunday. Nieradka beat both Hall and Gruenwald at the 2002 U.S. Nationals and was named Outstanding Wrestler. Five of the seven Challenge Tournament champions will be competing in their first World Team Trials finals ever on Sunday. The new World Team Trials finalists are Lindsay Durlacher (Evanston, Ill./Wildcat WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs., James Shillow (Fredricksburg, Va./U.S. Marine Corps) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Brad Vering (Waterloo, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 84 kg/187.25 lbs., Justin Ruiz (Taylorsville, Utah/Dave Schultz WC) at 96 kg/211.75 lbs. and Corey Farkas (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Air Force) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Durlacher defeated Duaine Martin (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marine Corps), 6-1 in the Challenge Tournament finals match. Durlacher will face 2002 U.S. Nationals champion Brandon Paulson (Anoka, Minn./Minnesota Storm) in the finals series on Sunday. Paulson beat Durlacher 6-1 in the U.S. Nationals finals in April. Shillow stopped Mike Ellsworth (Colorado Springs, Colo./Michigan WC), 4-1 in the Challenge Tournament finals. As the fifth seed in the Challenge Tournament, Shillow was the highest seed to claim the Challenge Tournament title. He will face 2002 U.S. Nationals champion Kevin Bracken (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) in Sunday's final series. Vering beat Kenny Owens (Quanitco, Va./U.S. Marine Corps), 7-0 in the Challenge Tournament finals. On Sunday, Vering will face 2002 U.S. Nationals champion Ethan Bosch (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC). Bosch beat Vering 6-2 in the 2002 U.S. Nationals finals. Ruiz claimed his Challenge Tournament title with a tight 3-2 overtime win over Dan Hicks (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marine Corps). The win allows Ruiz the opportunity to face 2002 U.S. Nationals champion, and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, Garrett Lowney, (Appleton, Wis./Minnesota Storm) in the finals series. Lowney stopped Ruiz 5-0 in the U.S. Nationals finals. Ruiz told reporters after the match that he intended to forfeit during Sunday's finals, giving the World Team spot to Lowney. Ruiz is a Mormon, and has not competed on his sabbath day, Sunday, since he returned from his Mormon mission about a year ago. Farkas edged Matt Lamb (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), 7-5 in the Challenge finals bout. As a No. 4 seed in the Challenge Tournament, Farkas has had one of his best career performances. He has now drawn 2002 U.S. Nationals champion Dremiel Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in Sunday's finals series. Making the World Team Trials finals for the second straight year is T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. Dantzler stopped Darryl Christian (Colorado Springs, Colo./Dave Schultz WC), 7-2 in the Championship Series finals. Dantzler will battle long-time rival and 2002 U.S. Nationals champion Keith Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in Sunday's finals series. Sieracki beat Dantzler in last year's World Team Trials finals in two straight matches, and Sieracki won in the 2002 U.S. Nationals finals, 4-1. This evening, the freestyle challenge tournament finals for men and women will be held, starting at 4:00 p.m.