Oct. 27, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. - Former Sooner (2002-2007), three-time Big 12 champion and four-time All-American Sam Hazewinkel was crowned champion at the 2009 Sunkist International Open, held last weekend in Phoenix, Ariz., competing at 55 kg in the Freestyle division.
Hazewinkel of Sunkist Kids defeated 2009 U.S. Nationals runner-up Obe Blank (Stillwater, Gator WC) in the finals, 0-1, 1-1, 1-0.
"This is an important first step in Sam's transition to Freestyle wrestling and ultimately in pursuit of an Olympic gold medal," OU head coach Jack Spates said. "It is impressive to capture the gold medal in his first venture back into Freestyle, and I think he has a great chance of making the World team."
Hazewinkel, who also serves as a current University of Oklahoma club coach, is a two-time U.S. Open champion and Olympic alternate in Greco, but has switched to Freestyle in order to train under World champion and Olympic silver medalist, Sammie Henson, and workout with former USA World team member, Michael Lightner. Henson and Lightner currently serve as assistant coaches at OU.
"Sammie (Hazewinkel) has no doubt benefited from training with Coach (Sammie) Henson, who in addition as a prowess collegiate coach, adds so much to our International efforts," Spates said. "I fully expect Coach Henson to be a World team coach in the near future."
Additionally, former OU wrestler Jared Frayer also took home the gold medal at 66 kg, defeating former Sooner and two-time national champion Teyon Ware in the finals. Will Rowe, a 2009 senior at Oklahoma, earned fourth place at 66 kg in his first International competition since graduating.
"We are proud of our other Sooners - Jared Frayer winning the championship and Teyon Ware taking the silver medal," Spates said. "Will, who still trains in Norman, looks to have a bright future after an impressive outing in his first post-collegiate competition."