LAS VEGAS, Nev. Sooner wrestler Sam Hazewinkel claimed his first 55 kg/121 lbs. individual men’s greco-roman title at the U.S. National Wrestling Championships at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., Saturday.
After finishing third in 2004, No. 1 seed Hazewinkel (Gator WC) defeated No. 2 seed Lindsey Durlacher (New York AC) in the finals, 2-0, 3-0.
The bout went two periods. Hazewinkel earned a two-point throw in the first period and a three-point throw at the 1:55 mark in the second.
“It was nice to get the win,” said Hazewinkel. “It was good to get out of the rut of taking third at big tournaments. I took third there last year, I took third at the trials, and I took third at nationals the last two years. It was nice to finally win at a big tournament.”
On the way to the finals Hazewinkel defeated No. 5 seed Spencer Mango (USOEC/Gator WC), 2-0, 4-0 and No. 8 seed Eric Albarracin (U.S. Army), 2-0, 1-0.
Along with Hazewinkel, former Sooner Michael Lightner claimed his first 60 kg/132 lbs. individual men’s freestyle title at the U.S. National Wrestling Championships. Lightner (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) defeated Nate Gallick (Tucson, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) in the finals, 0-1, 3-0, 1-0. The bout went down to the wire in the deciding third period, with the score of the period tied 0-0.
Lightner won the flip and secured the leg, and took down Gallick for the takedown and the deciding 1-0 third period victory.
In the quarterfinals, earlier in the day, No. 8 seed Lightner, upset 2004 Olympic silver medalist Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif./Sunkist Kids), the No. 1 seed. He reached the finals with a win over No. 4 Celso DeAnda (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC).
For his stellar performance Lightner was named Outstanding Wrestler in men’s freestyle tournament.
“We’re really excited and proud of both Michael and Sam,” said OU head coach Jack Spates. “For Michael to not only win the U.S. Nationals, but to beat the silver medalist in the Olympics is a credit to his talent, his dedication and his training. For Michael to win after being out for about six months with a sever knee injury is a tremendous accomplishment.”
“Sam is just a great competitor with a tremendous passion and he is such a credit to our program and our university,” added Spates. “For Sam to not only win the U.S. Nationals but to be un-scored on is an incredible event. Now both of these wrestlers are two matches away from representing the United States in the world championships.”
Hazewinkel and Lightner qualified for the 2005 Senior World Team Trials in Ames, Iowa from June 17-19.