Downey Shewprashad win Beach World Team Trials in Rochester N Y as U S World Team is set

By Gary Abbott | July 10, 2007, 4:21 p.m. (ET)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The U.S. Men's Beach World Team was determined at Beach World Team Trials, held at Charlotte Beach on Sunday, July 8.

The top three placewinners in the two international Beach Wrestling weight classes earned the right to represent the United States in Beach Wrestling at the World Wrestling Games in Antalya, Turkey in September.

Claiming the World Team Trials at the Under 85 kg/185 lbs. division was 2006 World Beach bronze medalist Ray Downey of Babylon, N.Y. (East Meadow WC). On Saturday, Downey was the champion at the U.S. Beach Nationals at 176 pounds.

Downey defeated J.P. Reese (Rochester Hills, Mich./Parkland Destructors) in the championship finals, 2-1. Reese, who placed third at the 185 pound division on Saturday, scored the first point on a slick leg attack. Downey tied the match on an arm spin to a takedown, then scored the winning point on a leg attack takedown.

Downey defeated Mike Marone (Rochester, N.Y./unattached) in the semifinals, 2-0. Reese's takedown in the finals match was the only point Downey had allowed all weekend, in six matches during the U.S. Nationals and World Team Trials.

"We were evenly matched out there," said Downey about the Reese finals bout. "I felt good out there. My training has changed. I started speed training and that was the difference. This year, the quality of the tournament was tougher. There were zero easy matches. It was easier to win a national title than to defend it. I worked harder this year. It drives me. It keeps me going and keeps my diabetes in check."

Downey, 40, is a teacher and a wrestling coach. He has not yet decided whether he will go back to Turkey to attempt to win a second World medal. He was a New York State high school champion from Deer Park, and competed for Hofstra University.

Claiming the World Team Trials at the Over 85 kg/185 lbs. division was Rawle Shewprashad (New York, N.Y./Blast Double of NY), who was the champion at the U.S. Beach Nationals on Saturday at 210 pounds.

Shewprashad gave up over 100 pounds in the gold-medal finals match against Seth J. Houston (Avon Lake, Ohio/unattached), scoring a 2-0 decision. Houston was second at the U.S. Beach Nationals, weighing in at 321 pounds on Saturday.

Houston attempted a throw against Shewprashad, who countered the attack and put the bigger man to his back, ending the match.

"My goal was the win the national title and qualify for the World Championships. Whatever place I finished at the Trials didn't matter," said Shewprashad.

In the semifinals, Shewprashad defeated his teammate and training partner Carlos Dolmo (Bronx, N.Y./Blast Double of NY), 2-1.

Dolmo was the champion at 321 pounds in Saturday's U.S. Nationals, where he defeated Houston in the finals. Dolmo, who was fifth in the World Beach Championships last year. provided pointers to his teammate Shewprashad on how to compete against Houston.

"Dolmo was telling me to use a totally different strategy than I normally do," said Shewprashad. I grabbed the wrist and tried to get to a leg attack. But he then went for a throw, and I adjusted my weight and came out on top. Carlos's experience at the World level last year helped me in the match."

Shewprashad wrestled at Longwood High School in New York, then was a conference champion in college competing at SUNY-Brockport. Now 28 years old, Shewprashad is in medical school at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.

Dolmo also qualified for his second straight World Team, wrestling back to take third in the World Team Trials at Over 85 kg/185 lbs., defeating Patrick Bennett (Rochester, N.Y./Pat Bennett WC) in the bronze medal match, 2-1.

"I am definitely excited to represent my nation," said Shewprashad. "I will crank up my training now. Dolmo wants me to gain 20 pounds and beef up for the bigger boys at the Worlds. The goal is to have Dolmo and I in the World finals this year."

Earning the final spot on the U.S. World Team at the Under 85 kg/185 lbs. division was Mike Marone (Rochester, N.Y./unattached), who stopped Robert Teet (Warren, Mich./Silver Ravens) in the bronze medal match 2-0.

The top three athletes from each of the weight classes during Saturday's U.S. Beach Nationals qualified to compete in the World Team Trials event.

The U.S. National Beach champion at 187 pounds, Neil Cook (Rochester, N.Y./Team Titan), fell short of qualifying for World Team. Cook was beat in the semifinals by Reese, 3-1, then tried a throw and was caught in the consolation semifinals by Teet for his second loss of the day.

2007 U.S. Beach World Team members

Under 85 kg/185 lbs. - Ray Downey, Bablyon, N.Y. (East Meadow WC)
Under 85 kg/185 lbs. - J.P. Reese, Rochester Hills, Mich. (Parkland Destructors)
Under 85 kg/185 lbs. - Mike Marone, Rochester, N.Y. (unattached)
Over 85 kg/185 lbs. - Rawle Shewprashad, New York, N.Y. (Blast Double of NY)
Over 85 kg/185 lbs. - Seth J. Houston, Avon Lake, Ohio (unattached)
Over 85 kg/185 lbs. - Carlos Dolmo, Bronx, N.Y. (Blast Double of NY)