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Cejudo wins Sunkist title

By Craig Sesker MESA, Ariz. – Henry Cejudo knows he is still a long way from where he needs to be to repeat as Olympic wrestling cham- pion.

But his performance on Oct. 30 was a positive step in the right direction for the 2008 Olympic gold medalist. Cejudo’s long-awaited return to compe- tition finally happened when he captured a championship at the Sunkist Kids International Open at Skyline High School.

Competing in a tournament for the first time since winning the Olympics in August 2008 in Beijing, China, Cejudo downed 2009 World Team member and fellow Phoenix native Danny Felix to win the men’s freestyle title at 55 kg/121 lbs. "I give myself a C or D," he said. "That's not me out there. I had a hard weight cut. I had to be extremely conser- vative with my energy and really be smart with what I did. Every time I did focus in on something I got it. It feels good obvi- ously to win, but my ultimate goal is the 2012 Olympics. You will be seeing a lot more of me, I promise you." The 24-year-old Cejudo downed the 37-year-old Felix 1-0, 1-0 in the finals. Cejudo fired in on a beautifully executed inside trip to score the winning takedown with five seconds left in the second peri- od.

The first period was scoreless after two

school titles before moving to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs prior to his junior year in high school.

Cejudo won four matches en route to the title at the Sunkist Open. He swept all four opponents in two periods. Cejudo appeared to wrestle better as the day went on. He opened with a 1-0, 1-0 win over past NCAA All-American Ben Kjar.

Both periods were scoreless after two minutes before Cejudo won ball draws and finished in the leg clinch both times to win the match. Kjar came back to fin- ish fourth.

Cejudo planned to wrestle at the Hargobind International in Canada before competing in an event in France after that.

Henry Cejudo wins the Sunkist Kids International Open title on Oct. 30 in Mesa, Arizona. Larry Slater photo.

minutes before Cejudo won a ball draw and finished in the leg clinch to win the period.

"Danny is dangerous," Cejudo said. "People don't understand how strong he is. He holds good position out there. He's hard to move and he's hard to score on. His body is just like a rock." Cejudo won a pair of Arizona state high

Cejudo became the youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion after winning in Beijing at age 21. He wrestled for only the second time since winning the Olympics.

Cejudo earned a win in May during the U.S. dual meet against Russia in New York City.

Cejudo was asked if he had the same fire now that he had before winning the 2008 Olympics. “It’s a different fire,” he said. “It’s still there. I just haven’t wrestled in a long time. I will get there. I just need to get more training and more matches in.”

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