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Two-time NCAA champion Teyon Ware making his mark in freestyle

By Craig Sesker he phone call came in the sum- mer of 2009. Teyon Ware was contemplating what the next step in his wrestling career would be when he received a phone call he


wasn’t expecting. The person on the other end was Olympic gold medalist and newly hired Penn State coach Cael Sanderson. “It kind of shocked me, to tell you the

truth, when Cael called me,” Ware said. “I was honored when he called me. He asked me what my goals were and I said I wanted to be a World and Olympic champion. He said he wanted to work with me and help me achieve my goals. Cael’s been on the Wheaties box. He’s been the best in the World. I jumped at the opportunity to train there with him.” Ware, who grew up in central Oklahoma, purchased a winter coat, gloves and a stocking hat after deciding to move to State College, Pa. Ware’s move to the Nittany Lion

Wrestling Club has paid huge dividends. After experiencing some success dur-

ing the 2009-10 season, where he won a Special Wrestle-Off to make the U.S. World Cup Team, Ware is determined to make the U.S. World Team this year. The eighth-seeded Ware knocked off

2010 World Team member Brent Metcalf en route to winning the U.S. Open freestyle title at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. on April 9 in Cleveland. He was named Outstanding Wrestler in freestyle. That win clinches him a spot in the best-of-3 finals at June’s U.S. World Team Trials in Oklahoma City. “Winning the U.S. Open was important because it lets me know I’m moving in the right direction,” Ware said. “I still real- ly haven’t done anything yet. Am I satis- fied with where I’m at? No. I need to keep trying to improve. Winning the Open was a big step, but I want to make the World

14 USA Wrestler

Two-time NCAA champion Teyon Ware turns Cary Kolat en route to winning the U.S. Open championship on April 9 in Cleveland. John Sachs photo.

Team and be a World champion.” Ware had been highly successful in the

sport at every level before starting to compete internationally. He was a four-time Oklahoma state champion in high school. He won a pair of Junior Nationals titles in freestyle. And he was a three-time NCAA finalist

and two-time NCAA champion for the Oklahoma Sooners. The 27-year-old Ware placed second at

the Sunkist Kids and Hargobind interna- tional events in 2009 before he won the Wrestle-Off for the spot on the 2010 U.S. World Cup Team. Ware started wrestling internationally at

60 kg/132 lbs. He lost in the quarterfinals of the 2006 U.S. World Team Trials. He eventually moved up to 66 kilos. He struggled in 2007 and 2008, going 0-2 at both the U.S. World Team Trials and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Ware made a dramatic move in the 2008-09 season. He decided to switch styles – changing from freestyle to Greco-Roman. After going 2-2 at the 2009 World Team

Trials in Greco-Roman and falling short of placing, Ware decided to switch back to freestyle.

“Wrestling Greco helped me a lot when

I came back to freestyle,” Ware said. “I can attack your legs or I can attack your upper body now. And I’m turning guys a lot more now when I’m in the top posi- tion.” Ware placed fifth at the 2010 U.S.

Open. He fell to Metcalf in the quarterfi- nals of the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament last year. He won his next match before losing in three periods to past World Team member Chris Bono. “It’s been a long road for me interna-

tionally,” Ware said. “I’ve had my strug- gles and it’s taken some time for me to get to where I’m at now. At times, it’s been real frustrating. I just kept believing in myself. I always knew I could be suc- cessful at this level. I had faith in my abili- ties.” Ware said 66 kilos is now a good fit for

him. “I was kind of caught in between weight classes when I started wrestling interna- tionally,” Ware said. “I felt I was too small for 145 and too big for 132. I still don’t cut much weight to make 145, but I’ve gotten stronger. I can just focus on practice every day instead of worrying about how Continued on page 15

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