USA Wrestling 2003 U S Freestyle ...

2003 U S Freestyle Nationals preview at 120 kg 264 5 lbs

By Gary Abbott | May 06, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)

2000 Olympian Kerry McCoy of the New York AC was the most experienced member of the 2002 U.S. World Team, and is still hunting for his first World-level medal. McCoy placed fourth in the World two times, and was fifth at the Sydney Olympics. As a New York native, he has a tremendous desire to win his first World title on the home mats in New York City at the 2003 World meet. After winning four straight World Cups, McCoy dropped to third this year. He has shown dominance over his U.S. rivals since the 2000 season. A surprise from the 2002 World Team Trials was Tommy Rowlands of the Dave Schultz WC, the No. 2 athlete behind McCoy on the national team ladder. Rowlands, a 2002 NCAA champion, has won World medals on the Junior level. Rowlands injured his ankle at the NCAA Tournament this year and could not complete the event. How well he has recovered from the injury could be a factor in his performance. He is considering a drop to 96 kg for his run at the Olympic team spot. With a win over veteran Tolly Thompson in the 2002 World Team Trials, Rowlands had his best freestyle finish as a heavyweight. Thompson, a 1998 U.S. Nationals champion, has considerable skill, size and experience to challenge for the top spot. He has been nationally competitive since his college career at Nebraska, where he won a NCAA title. Thompson has competed in numerous international events, and has beaten many of the world's best big men. His biggest challenge has been making the U.S. team. Brian Keck of the New York AC, who was a Greco-Roman specialist during the last Olympic cycle, has switched completely to freestyle. Keck won a title at this year's Pan American Championships and has high placements in many other tournaments. Veteran Angelo Borzio of the New York AC has been high in the standings in recent seasons at the U.S. Nationals and World Team Trials. The big question at this weight is NCAA champion Steven Mocco of the Hawkeye WC, who was a talented freestyler in high school but has not tested himself at the Senior level. Mocco was dominant in winning his college title this year for the Univ. of Iowa. He has qualified for U.S. Junior World teams and won three straight Junior National titles. Can Mocco turn his success in college folkstyle into a strong effort on the international freestyle scene? Las Vegas may be his first test. Andy Bowlby of Orange Crush placed fourth at last year's U.S. Nationals and has considerable age-group success in both styles. Among the placewinners last year in Las Vegas were Kevin Hoy of the Air Force Academy, Tony Walters of St. Anthony's and George Porter of the Minnesota Storm. Hoy placed second to Mocco at this year's NCAA meet. Former NCAA champion John Lockhart of Illinois is aiming for freestyle success. He wrestled at a number of events this season, and is fresh off a victory at the 2003 University Nationals. Others that can emerge at this division are Kellen Fluckiger of the Sunkist Kids, Billy Blunt of California and Hector Torres of the Sunkist Kids. 2002 U.S. Freestyle Nationals results at120 kg/264.5 lbs. 1st - Kerry McCoy, Bethlehem, Pa. (New York AC) dec. Tolly Thompson, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids), 3-0, ot, 7:56 3rd - Brian Keck, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Andy Bowlby, Philomath, Ore. (Orange Crush), 5-0 5th -Angelo Borzio, East Stroudsburg, Pa. (New York AC) dec. Kevin Hoy, US Air Force Academy, Colo. (Falcon WC), 10-3 7th - Tony Walters, Amityville, N.Y. (St. Anthony's) pin George Porter, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 1:02