(LAS VEGAS) -- It was a night of sweeps, and surprises, at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
All six best-of-3 finals series ended in sweeps, including Clarissa Chun’s stunning sweep of 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda, on the first of three nights at the Olympic Trials on Friday night at the UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center.
Five American athletes – Chun, Spenser Mango, Marcie Van Dusen, Randi Miller and Ali Bernard – punched their tickets to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The Olympics for wrestling are scheduled for Aug. 12-21.
Chun, a past World Team member, pulled off a shocking upset over the heavily favored Miranda in a rematch of the 2004 Olympic Trials. Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) powered straight in on a double-leg shot in the closing seconds of the second match to clinch the championship in women’s freestyle at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Chun won the Olympic Trials after placing fourth at U.S. Nationals.
"I can't believe this - this is incredible," Chun said. "I knew I could do it and I had to do it. I just had to grit my teeth and do it. I'm so excited. I did it."
The 21-year-old Mango won a power-packed Greco-Roman class at 55 kg/121 lbs. by taking two straight matches from Sam Hazewinkel. Mango (St. Louis, Mo./USOEC/Gator WC) is a past World University champion. Hazewinkel had knocked off World bronze medalist Lindsey Durlacher in the semifinals in Friday’s first session.
"It all starts in our wrestling room," Mango said. "We have some of the best talent in the U.S. in our wrestling room at Northern Michigan, so when we get out on the mat we've already had experience wrestling some of the top guys in the U.S."
A determined Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) looked impressive in taking two straight bouts from two-time World bronze medalist Sally Roberts. Van Dusen was a 2007 World Team member. Roberts had dropped down a weight class this year.
Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) knocked off 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann in the finals at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. The powerful Miller was able to neutralize McMann’s offense with her superb defense.
Bernard, a two-time Junior World champion, won a loaded women’s freestyle class at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. that include two World champions, a World medalist and a World University champion.
Bernard (New Ulm, Minn./Gator WC)took two straight bouts from two-time World bronze medalist Katie Downing to earn a trip to China for the Olympics.
Joe Betterman (Chicago, Ill./USOEC/New York AC) won the Greco-Roman title at 60 kg/132 lbs. The U.S. did not qualify for the Olympics at 60 kilos, but the top three finishers in that weight class still make the U.S. National Team.
Day 2 of the Olympic Trials are set for Saturday. Greco-Roman will wrestle three more weight classes – 66 kg/145.5 lbs., 74 kg/163 lbs. and 84 kg/185 lbs. Men’s freestyle competition will start with wrestling in three classes – 55 kg/121 lbs., 60 kg/132 lbs. and 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
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