USA Wrestling Marcie Van Dusen hon...

Marcie Van Dusen honored as USOC Athlete of the Month

By U.S. Olympic | Feb. 14, 2008, 12:39 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Olympic Committee announced USA Wrestling's Marcie Van Dusen and U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton's Zack Lund as its January Athletes of the Month while Women's Under-18 Ice Hockey was awarded Team of the Month honors.

Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) overthrew a dynasty when she scored one of the greatest upsets in women's wrestling history. In the 2008 Women's World Cup, held Jan. 19-20 in Taiyuan, China, Van Dusen was matched against Japanese superstar Saori Yoshida who was undefeated in international competition since 1998, and had a resume of wins that included an Olympic gold, five World Championships, and three Asian Championships. Undaunted, Van Dusen scored a 4-1, 1-1 win over Yoshida in the 55 kg/121 lbs. weight division ending the undefeated streak and helping Team USA take a 4-3 upset victory over Japan.

In the same tournament, Van Dusen also scored wins over Nataliya Synyshyn of Ukraine and Chinese veteran Sun Dongmei. Van Dusen's 3-0 record led the U.S. team to a second place finish in the competition.

Van Dusen was 10th in the 2007 World Championships and is a past University World champion. She is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.

Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah), the defending World Cup Champion, claimed his second gold medal of the season Jan. 18, on the 2006 Olympic track in Cesana, Italy. One week later on Jan. 25 in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Lund claimed silver, despite the fact that he was competing with a fractured rib suffered during a training run crash. Lund struggled at the start, pushing a time of 5.31 seconds, 20th best of the heat, before driving himself up 17 positions into third with a first run time of 1:10.53 seconds. Bettering his first heat effort, Lund pushed a tenth of a second faster in the second heat with a start time of 5.21 seconds, piloting his sled to the fastest time of the second run, a 1:10.04. Lund sped to the finish with the highest speed of the competition, 132.2 km/h, for a combined time of 2:20.57 to claim silver.

The U.S. Women's National Under-18 team traveled to Calgary, Canada to compete in the first-ever International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's U18 Championship, held Jan. 7-12. After outscoring opponents 28-2 in the preliminary round, which included back-to-back 11-0 shutout victories over Russia and Switzerland, Team USA blanked the Czech Republic by an 8-0 count in the semifinals to advance to the gold-medal game against host and No. 1 seed Canada. The Americans posted a 5-2 victory on Canada's home ice to capture the first World Championship at the women's U18 level.

On the statistical level, Team USA's goal keepers logged a 93.44% save rate, which won Alyssa Grogan (Eagan, Minn.) the Directorate Award as the tournament's top goaltender. The American ladies logged the fewest number of penalties for the tournament and backed it up with sound scoring as Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.) and Brooke Ammerman (River Vale, N.J) scored the third and fifth most goals during the tournament respectively, making Kessel the team's leading American scorer. Kendall Coyne (Palos Heights, Ill.), Anne Schleper (St. Cloud, Minn.) and Sarah Erickson (LaPorte, Minn.) were named Team USA's best players of the tournament.

USA Women's U18 Roster:

Alyssa Grogan (Eagan, Minn.), Rebecca Ruegsegger (Lakewood, Colo.), Blake Bolden (Stow, Ohio), Kasey Boucher (Lewiston, Maine), Alev Kelter (Eagle River, Alaska), Anne Schleper (St. Cloud, Minn.), Sasha Sherry (Lehighton, Pa.), Kelly Wild (Mendota Heights, Minn.), Brooke Ammerman (River Vale, N.J.), Kate Bacon (Chanhassen, Minn.), Ashley Cottrell (Sterling Heights, Mich.), Kendall Coyne (Palos Heights, Ill.), Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.), Sarah Erickson (LaPorte, Minn.), Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.), Meagan Mangene (Manorville, N.Y.), Madison Packer (Birmingham, Mich.), Kelley Steadman (Plattsburgh, N.Y.), Corey Stearns (Falmouth, Mass.), and Elizabeth Turgeon (Cherry Hills Village, Colo.).

Receiving second place in the women's voting was Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.), who just earned her second World Cup Title with the help of two gold medals in January. Rebounding from a fourth-place finish during the prior day's racing, Uhlaender cranked it up a notch and turned in a solid performance to claim gold Jan. 18, in Cesana, Italy. One week later, she produced yet another gold, her third of the season, at the St. Moritz World Cup, Jan. 25. In addition to her gold, Uhlaender set the track record and reclaimed the overall lead in the World Cup standings. Her double gold performance in January brings her career gold medal count to eight.

Sarah Erickson (LaPorte, Minn.) captained the U.S. Women's National Under-18 team to its first-ever International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's U18 Championship which gave her enough points to finish third in the voting. In leading Team USA to the gold medal, she recorded five goals and four assists in five victories. After the 5-2 title win over host Canada, she was named one of the three best U.S. players of the tournament. Erickson had three multiple-point games, including a three-point effort (2 goals, 1 assist) in an 11-0 blanking of Switzerland in the preliminary round.

As in December, the men's voting featured a tight points race, which resulted in a tie for second place between Nate Holland (Park City, Utah) of snowboarding and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, Calif.) of skiing, with cycling's Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) a mere one point behind them in fourth.

Holland, a 2006 Olympian, went into the 2008 season as a two-time and reigning X Games snowboardcross gold medalist. At the 2008 X Games, Holland came back and made an unbelievable set of runs to win X Games gold again, keeping the title for the third year in a row. No athlete has accomplished a three-peat in X Games men's snowboardcross since Shaun Palmer (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.) in 1999.

Sullivan, a two-time Olympian, won the first World Cup race of his career when he competed on the legendary Kandahar downhill course in Chamonix, France, Jan. 26. Coming into the Chamonix races, Sullivan had two top-10 results including sixth on the harrowing Kitzbuehel downhill (only two Americans have won races in the course's 68 year history). He ended the month fourth in the World Cup downhill standings.

Phinney won a gold medal for the United States in the men's four-kilometer individual pursuit at the third round of the 2007-08 UCI Track World Cup Classic in Los Angeles on Jan. 18. Again lowering his personal best, Phinney, a 17-year-old Boulder High School senior, is quickly becoming a solid contender to represent the United States in the 2008 Olympic Games. With consistent performances on the international stage, Phinney is now ranked second overall, only a single point behind the leader, in the four-race UCI World Cup standings after three events. If Phinney wins the overall World Cup title, he'll earn himself a ticket to Beijing according to the UCI's Olympic qualification procedures which awards World Cup champions with a start at the 2008 Olympic Games. Phinney, the reigning junior time trial world champion on the road and member of USA Cycling's junior national team, earned an elite national title in the pursuit in his first-ever track race in October with a 4:35.550.

Second place in the team vote went to the U.S. Men's Volleyball Team who won the 2008 NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic qualifying tournament by winning five straight matches and not dropping a set. In the final, the U.S. men defeated Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-19, 25-20. The victory qualified the team for the 2008 Olympic Games. Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was named best libero and best receiver. Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) won best spiker. Middle blocker Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) was named top blocker and opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i) took best server.

Coming in at third, the USA Women's World Cup Team in wrestling placed second as a team at the Women's World Cup, the international dual meet championships in women's wrestling, held in Taiyuan, China, Jan. 19-20. Six of the world's best women's wrestling nations were featured in this outstanding event. The U.S. opened this dual meet tournament with a 4-3 win over Ukraine, upset reigning World Champion Japan, 4-3 in the second round, but fell to host China, 4-3 in the final. Van Dusen (55kg) led the charge with three wins followed by Sara McMann (Gaffney, S.C./63kg) and Stephany Lee (Colorado Springs, Colo./72kg) with two wins a piece.

USA Women's Wresting World Cup Roster:

Stephanie Murata (Colorado Springs, Colo./ 48 kg/105.5 lbs.), Jenny Wong (Gaffney, S.C./ 51 kg/112.25 lbs.), Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./ 55 kg/121 lbs.), Leigh Jaynes (Colorado Springs, Colo./ 59 kg/130 lbs.), Sara McMann (Gaffney, S.C./ 63 kg/138.75 lbs.), Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo./ 67 kg/147.5 lbs.), and Stephany Lee (Colorado Springs, Colo./ 72 kg/158.5 lbs.).

Results:

Men
1. Zack Lund, Skeleton
2. Nate Holland, Snowboarding
TIE
2. Marco Sullivan, Skiing
4. Taylor Phinney, Cycling

Women
1. Marcie Van Dusen, Wrestling
2. Katie Uhlaender, Skeleton
3. Sarah Erickson, Women's Ice Hockey

Team
1. U.S. Women's U18 Ice Hockey
2. U.S. Men's Volleyball
3. USA Women's Wrestling World Cup Team

For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529.