Executive Director’s Message

Transitioning between folkstyle and international seasons is exciting

once again. Congratulations to Penn State, under head coach Cael Sanderson, for winning their sixth NCAA title in the last seven years with a memorable performance. 7KH 1LWWDQ\ /LRQV ÀQLVKHG


ahead of strong competition and ran RII ÀYH VWUDLJKW LQGLYLGXDO QDWLRQDO titles from 149 pounds through 184, WKH ÀUVW WLPH WKDW KDV KDSSHQHG LQ NCAA Div. I history. :H DUH MXVW ÀQLVKLQJ RII WKH

major high school and college post-season events, where the Amer- ican folkstyle season comes to an exciting conclusion. There is a won- derful tradition in our country, where wrestlers at all levels are tested at the most important tournaments of the season. The United States is blessed to have a vibrant scholastic and colle- giate system, truly the foundation of our success at the international levels. This year, USA Wrestling

ODXQFKHG WKH ÀUVW :UHVWOLQJ:HHN Across America, celebrating our sport all across the nation. It was held the week of the NCAA Div. I Championships, and included a series of social media and event activities with a different theme each day. We

he 2017 NCAA Division I Championships in St. Lou- is, Mo. was a fantastic event

feel it was a success and plan to do this every year. The NCAA Div. I Champi-

onships had strong attendance with WRWDO DWWHQGDQFH DQG D ÀQDOV

crowd of 19,657 fans. ESPN and its platforms expanded its coverage of the event, with more time on the ÁDJVKLS (631 QHWZRUN UHDFKLQJ D larger potential audience than ever. The NCAA Fan Fest and the WIN Memorabilia Show between sessions were a success. Team USA held pub- lic workouts where fans could watch our top stars in training. It is easy to feel excited about

the future of our Senior international programs after watching the NCAA Championships. Two champions, Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder and Missouri’s J’den Cox, have already won Olympic medals for Team USA. Dominant 149-pound champion Zane Retherford of Penn State is a past Cadet World champion and placed third in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Freshman 174-pound champion Mark Hall of Penn State has won Cadet and Junior World titles in freestyle. Bo Nickal of Penn State, the 184-pound champion, is a past Junior World Team member. You can just look at the list of All-Americans and participants at

the NCAA Championships and you ZLOO ÀQG DWKOHWHV ZKR ZLOO PDNH D huge impact on our freestyle and Greco-Roman programs for many years to come. College wrestling con- tinues to be an important part of our Olympic development pipeline. We received some sad news

with the passing of longtime inter- national wrestling referee Tom Clark. Tom represented USA Wrestling as a referee at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and worked World-level events with skill and expertise. Tom also had a strong commitment to USA Wrestling’s youth programs, making an impact in both Ohio and Indiana, while giving back to the VSRUW DV D PHQWRU WR \RXQJ RIÀFLDOV nationwide. What made Tom even more special was his friendly and fun-loving spirit, which allowed us to laugh, smile and enjoy our involve- ment in the world’s greatest sport. The U.S. Senior Freestyle World

Team Trials, set for the Univ. of Ne- braska in Lincoln, June 9-10, will be a great competition. We are looking to sell out the arena. Not only can fans enjoy our top Olympic-level freestyle stars, but the UWW Junior World Team Trials in freestyle will also showcase our future Olympic stars. We also have major national

Rich Bender

tournaments in men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman at all age levels, including our popular National Duals series in June. It is capped off with the Grand-Daddy Of Them All, the combined Junior/Cadet National Championships in Fargo, N.D., July 14-22. It is the largest wrestling tournament on earth and the most respected domestic youth event, a can’t-miss wrestling spectacle. The 2017 World Champion-

ships are set for Paris, France, August 21-26, and USA Wrestling is orga- nizing special tour packages for fans to join with Team USA. There are three packages, one for seven days at the event, and two for 11 days, which includes time at training camp with our men’s freestylers (in Germany) or women’s freestylers (in France). Contact Ryan Johnson for details at for an amazing experience. Q


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