Wrestlers qualified Team USA for seven additional spots at the London 2012 Olympic Games after stellar performances at the FILA Pan American Olympic Qualifying Tournament held March 23-25 in Kissimmee, Fla. Dremiel Byers (Kings Mountain, N.C.) and Clarissa Chun (Honolulu, Hawaii) won titles in their respective weight divisions to grant the U.S. Olympic Team berths. Freestyler Brent Metcalf (Davison, Mich.) and Greco-Roman wrestlers Spenser Mango (St. Louis, Mo.), Ellis Coleman (Oak Park, Ill.), Andrew Bisek (Chaska, Minn.) and Chas Betts (St. Michael, Minn.) placed second to qualify the U.S. as well. In total, the U.S. has qualified for 16 of the 18 Greco- Roman and freestyle events that will be contested in London.
RACING TO THE PODIUM
U.S. speedskaters captured five medals for Team USA at the single distance world championships held March 22-25 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. Jonathan Kuck (Champaign, Ill.) led the way with two individual bronze medals in the 5000 and 10000m events. Kuck joined teammates Shani Davis (Chicago, Ill.) and Brian Hansen (Glenview, Ill.) to capture a silver medal in the men's team pursuit. Davis rounded out the medal count with an individual bronze medal in the 1000m race.
Four U.S. archers collected gold medals at the season-opening Arizona Cup on March 25 in Phoenix, Ariz. Brady Ellison (Glendale, Ariz.) earned the top spot in men's recurve while Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho) won the men's compound event. In the women's competition, Miranda Leek (Des Moines, Iowa) earned her first-ever Arizona Cup title with a 6-0 shutout win in recurve while Jamie Van Natta (Toledo, Ohio) won the compound competition.
Eva Lee (Orange, Calif.) and Paula Lynn Obanana (Minneapolis, Minn.) earned the women's doubles silver medal at the 2012 Polish Open International Badminton Championships on March 25 in Wroclaw, Poland. Iris Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) and Rena Wang (Arcadia, Calif.) also represented Team USA on the podium with a bronze-medal performance.
Team USA rallied to collect a fifth-place finish at the world women's championship in Lethbridge, Alberta. The U.S. overcame four opening losses to go on an undefeated seven-game run and contend for a playoff spot. Canada ended the team's playoff hopes, however, defeating the U.S. in the tiebreaker match, 9-8.
The Washington rink led by Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) captured its fourth straight title - and ninth overall - at the USA Curling Mixed National Championship on March 24 in Portage, Wis. Clark joined forces with Cristin Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.), Sean Beighton (Seattle, Wash.) and Bev Walter (Seattle, Wash.) to defeat a California club in the final, 9-5.
Kelci Bryant (Chatham, Ill.) and Abby Johnston (Upper Arlington, Ohio) led the U.S. with a silver medal in the synchronized 3-meter dive during the second leg of the FINA Diving World Series held March 23-24 in Beijing, China. The duo pushed past Canada in the tiebreaker round to secure second place. Team USA scored three additional top-five finishes with a fourth-place effort in the individual 10-meter and fifth-place results in the synchronized and individual 3-meter dives.
Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) won his ninth USEF national championship on March 26 in Ocala, Fla. Weber took control of the competition on the opening day and secured the four-in-hands title with a total score of 123.28.
Margie Engle (Wellington, Fla.) and 17-year-old Reed Kessler tied for the 2012 USEF national show jumping championship on March 24 in Wellington, Fla.
Fourteen-year-old Victoria Colvin (Loxahatchee, Fla.) rode her way to a first- place finish at the Fifth Annual George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championships on March 24 in Wellington.
Scoring 75.541%, Alix Szepsi (Hamilton, Mass.) and horse William topped the leaderboard at the Global Dressage Festival Classic 2 on March 21 in Wellington. Christopher Hickey (Colora, Md.) and horse Balissa HTF came in second.
The U.S. women's epee team qualified for the Olympic Games and earned the first world cup medal in team history with a silver-medal performance at the St. Maur Epee World Cup on March 25 in France. The women's quartet of Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.), Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) recorded wins over Kyrgyzstan, France, Japan and Italy to finish second in the 26-nation field.
The U.S. men's epee team concluded the first leg of the world cup season with a fourth-place result at the Paris World Cup on March 19. The team, comprised of Andras Horanyi (Boulder, Colo.), Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.), Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.), defeated the Czech Republic and China before falling to Switzerland.
Paul Ruggeri (Manlius, N.Y.) and John Orozco (Bronx, N.Y.) secured respective silver and bronze medals on the horizontal bar at the March 25 world cup in Cottbus, Germany.
Jazzy Kerber (Highland Park, Ill.) brought home five bronze medals at the Opal Cup held March 24-25 in Calais, France. Kerber scored the all-around bronze medal as well as bronze in each of the four events. Teammate Monica Rokhman (Northbrook, Ill.) won the silver medal in the ribbon final.
U.S. women earned three of the top-four spots at the world cup skeet shooting event on March 25 in Tucson, Ariz. Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) earned the gold medal and came close to perfection with a score of 99 out of 100. Eighteen-year-olds Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) and Morgan Craft (Hughesville, Pa.) finished third and fourth, respectively.
SKI & SNOWBOARD
Dylan Ferguson (Amesbury, Mass.) successfully defended his aerials title with another gold medal at the U.S. Freestyle Championships on March 25 at Stratton Mountain, Vt. Maddy Olsen (Park City, Utah) earned her first national title after battling difficult course conditions. In dual moguls, K.C. Oakley (Piedmont, Calif.) and Cody Tempel (Missoula, Mont.) also captured national titles. Heather McPhie (Bozeman, Mont.) and Jeremy Cota (Carrabassett Valley, Maine) earned their first-ever national championships in single moguls.
The U.S. earned five medals at the FIS Junior World Championships held March 21-24 in Valmalenco, Italy. Ali Kariotis (Tiburon, Calif.) earned the gold medal in dual moguls while Bradley Wilson (Butte, Mont.) earned the top spot in moguls. Kiley McKinnon (Madison, Conn.), Jonathan Lillis (Rochester, N.Y.) and Anna Park (Davis, Calif.) also secured medals at the world event.
The U.S. Men's U-23 National Team suffered its first loss to Canada in 20 years with a 2-0 defeat in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament on March 24 in Nashville, Tenn. In the first round of the tournament, the U.S. earned a 6-0 win over Cuba. The U.S. is currently third in the Group A standings.
Brian Baker (Nashville, Tenn.) put on a dominant performance at the Costa Mesa Pro Classic, winning every set en route to the overall victory on March 25 in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Venus Williams (Lynwood, Calif.) rallied in a marathon match to defeat Aleksandra Wozniak in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., on March 25. Serena Williams (Lynwood, Calif.) advanced to the fourth round after defeating Roberta Vinci, 6-2, 6-1, on March 24.
Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.) and Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) posted top-eight finishes at the world cup on March 25 in Mooloolaba Australia. Bennett completed the race in 2:05:35 for seventh place, finishing just ahead of Jorgensen in eighth.
D'Ann Arthur (Dallas, Texas) and Daniel Hedgecock (Minneapolis, Minn.) captured the USA Triathlon Elite Duathlon national titles on March 24 in Pelham, Ala. Hedgecock covered the course in 1:50:48 to secure the title in his first-ever elite duathlon event. Arthur won her first elite duathlon title with a two-minute margin of victory.
The U.S. Men's National Team closed out the Four Nations Tournament with a 2-0-1 overall record after a final round tie against Montenegro on March 25 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The U.S. defeated Germany, 12-10, and Italy, 9-8, earlier in the tournament.
The U.S. Women's National Team scored two straight victories on its Italian exhibition tour beginning March 21 in Italy. The team first secured a 9-7 win over the Italian National Team in Avezzano and then edged the Italian team again in Ostia, 9-8.
UPCOMING CALENDAR - MARCH/APRIL
20- 1 - Nordic Skiing Vuokatti, Finland IPC World Cup
23-31 - Shooting Tucson, Ariz. ISSF Shotgun World Cup
26 - Soccer Nashville, Tenn. Men's CONCACAF Tournament
26-27 - Alpine Skiing Aspen, Colo. Paralympic U.S. (Speed) Nationals
28- 3 - Alpine Skiing Winter Park, Colo. U.S. Alpine Championships
29- 1 - Equestrian Wellington, Fla. CDI5* West Palm Beach (Dressage)
29- 1 - Equestrian Temecula, Calif. Galway Downs CIC3* (Eventing)
30 - Rowing West Windsor, N.J. Non-Qualified Paralympic Trials
31- 6 - Sailing Palma, Spain Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta
31- 8 - Curling Basel, Switzerland World Men's Championship