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EXECUTIVE NOTES By Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director


EXCITING NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS STARTS BUSY SEASON The wrestling community is still buzzing from the excitement at the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships held in St. Louis in mid-March. As has become tradition, this event is a wonderful way to complete the college folkstyle season and carry us into the busy USA Wrestling national schedule for the year. We can all celebrate the record crowds that came out in St. Louis, with over 112,000 spectators over the three days of action. It was a complete sellout in St. Louis for the first time, and broke the attendance mark set just last year in Philadelphia. This is a great indication of the popularity of college wrestling here in our nation.


For those not there to see it in person, the coverage of the event from ESPN and its various media outlets allowed people to see live wrestling for most of the weekend. The live finals coverage on ESPN brought this great event to millions of people worldwide. The wrestling media was there in full force adding additional coverage for fans to enjoy, including our video and written updates on TheMat.com and TheMat.TV. It is no secret that the college programs that are active with


USA Wrestling, competing in our post-season events and pro- viding regional training centers for America’s elite athletes, are the teams that do well when the NCAA Championships roll around.


Congratulations to head coach Cael Sanderson, his staff and the athletes from Penn State for its outstanding performance on the way to a second straight NCAA team title. The Nittany Lions competed with skill and intensity, and was able to win with a total team effort. We congratulate Nittany Lion wrestler David Taylor for winning


the Outstanding Wrestler Award, the most pins trophy, the NCAA Dominant Wrestler award and the Dan Hodge Trophy after an amazing season. The Minnesota Gophers, under its coach J Robinson and


staff, had a great final day of competition to secure second place in the team race. Coach Robinson was named Coach of the Year by his peers, an honor well deserved. They can proud-


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ly display the second place trophy alongside the NWCA National Dual Meet trophy won in February. Tom Brands’ Iowa Hawkeyes also had an excellent effort by placing third in the team standings. USA Wrestling has worked closely with this team and the entire staff at Iowa in preparation for the upcoming U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, and we are pleased to report that like the NCAA Championships, we expect to be able to report that record crowds will join us in Iowa City on April 21-22 for this spectacular event. USA Wrestling wishes to thank the NCAA, its leader Jeff Jarnecke and our hosts in St. Louis for helping organize the USA Wrestling All-Star Dual meet at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis during the NCAAs. For the third straight year, we were able to showcase top international wrestling for the fans there free of charge. It has become a big tradition every year. We are also proud to report that during the week of the NCAA Championships, FILA announced that it has recognized American Folkstyle Wrestling as a traditional style of international wrestling, naming USA Wrestling as the interna- tional federation for the sport. This will provide us a wonderful platform to promote American Folkstyle to the international wrestling community and further strengthen its position within the wrestling world.


The success of the NCAA Championships was a great kickoff for the USA Wrestling spring and summer season. This year, we have the additional opportunity to host the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which has become a showcase event for the sport in our nation.


In addition to the outstanding action, the event will provide so much more for the wrestling community. Our hosts have organ- ized the ASICS Fan Fest which which will being presented between sessions in Downtown Iowa City. We will also host special reunions for the 1972 and 1984 Olympic teams, two of the greatest wrestling teams ever.


This is a great time for us all to celebrate our sport.


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