Ellis Coleman (red) wrestles Jeremiah Davis (blue) in the 62-kilogram Grecco-Roman weight class during the challenge tournament for the finals of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling at Carver Hawkeye Arena on April 22, 2012 in Iowa City, Iowa.
While Greco-Roman wrestlers are taking to the mat in Daytona Beach, Florida, gold medals are at stake for U.S. women’s national teams in volleyball in Mexico and in water polo in China. U.S. athletes will be in action there and in other venues this weekend. Swimmers are seeking national titles and roster spots for the Pan Pacific Championships team at the Open Water National Championships in California. The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. in Gladstone, New Jersey, includes a strong Olympic field in the grand prix event. Three-time Olympic beach volleyball champion Kerri Walsh Jennings will go after another gold medal in Moscow while the indoor women’s national team chases after a medal in the Pan American Cup and the unbeaten men’s national team continues play in the World League.
As we ready for the weekend, here’s a look at five events to follow:
The “Flying Squirrel” is headed for Daytona Beach.
Ellis Coleman, a 2012 Olympian whose “flying squirrel” move became internationally known heading into the London 2012 Olympic Games, is among several Olympians who will compete Friday in the U.S. World Team Trials for Greco-Roman at the Ocean Center Exhibit Hall in Daytona Beach, Florida. Coleman is seeded No. 2 at 66 kilograms/145.5 pounds behind 2014 national champion RaVaughn Perkins.
Other top wrestlers include 2012 Olympians Spenser Mango and Ben Provisor. Sam Hazewinkel, a 2012 Olympian in freestyle at 55-kilograms and a two-time U.S. Open champion in Greco-Roman, will also compete for a world team spot at 59 kilograms.
Mango (59 kilograms/130 pounds), a two-time Olympian, and 2013 world team member Robby Smith (130kg/286 heavyweight) are in Friday night’s final round because they won 2014 U.S. Open national titles. Other national champions in the final round are Perkins (66 kilograms), two-time world team member Andy Bisek (75 kilograms), Jordan Holm (85 kilograms) and Caylor Williams (98 kilograms).
Winners in each of the six Olympic weight classes will compete in the 2014 FILA World Championships in September in Uzbekistan. The trials for men’s and women’s freestyle were held two weeks ago at Madison, Wisconsin. The Greco-Roman trials are being held in conjunction with this weekend’s USA Wrestling Cadet National Duals in Daytona Beach.
Olympians Haley Anderson, Alex Meyer and Andrew Gemmell will be among more than 100 swimmers competing Friday and Sunday in the Open Water National Championships in Castaic Lake, California. The 10-kilometer races will be held Friday, followed by the 5-kilometer races Sunday.
The men’s 10-kilometer race features a battle between Meyer, the 10-kilometer winner in 2013, and Gemmell, the 5-kilometer winner. In the women’s race, Anderson faces defending champion Christine Jennings and 2013 world cup winner Emily Brunemann. Anderson was the silver medalist in the women’s 10-kilometer race at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Brunemann’s World Cup Series 10-kilometer win was the first by an American in marathon swimming.
Other notable swimmers include 2013 FINA world championship team members Eva Fabian, Becca Mann, Sean Ryan and Jordan Wilimovsky.
The top four finishers in the 10-kilometer qualify for the Pan Pacific team; the top six clinch spots on the U.S. Open Water National Team.
Webcast: 11 a.m. Friday and Sunday, usaswimming.org
3) Water Polo
The USA Women’s Senior National Team is chasing after its eighth gold medal in nine years at the FINA World League Super Final in Kunshan, China.
The Americans were off to a fast start after an 11-10 shootout win against Russia and a 16-5 victory against Canada in the preliminary round. Alys Williams scored four goals in the win against Canada. The tournament continues through Sunday.
U.S. team members include 2012 Olympic gold medalists Kami Craig, Annika Dries, Melissa Seidemann and Maggie Steffens.
The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, which is attempting to win its third consecutive Pan American Cup, will face Puerto Rico Friday and Costa Rica Saturday in pool play in Mexico. The playoff round begins Tuesday in Mexico City and Hidalgo.
The 12-member U.S. roster includes four players who were on the gold medal-winning team at the NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament Pool A in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and four who were on the silver medal-winning squad at the Montreux Volley Masters in Switzerland.
No nation has won three consecutive Pan American Cups.
The United States began the tournament Wednesday with a 25-19, 25-19, 30-28 win against Colombia.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, Kerri Walsh Jennings is teaming up with April Ross in a run after beach volleyball gold at the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam. Walsh Jennings won a record 67th AVP Tour title earlier this month at the St. Petersburg (Florida) Open.
Webcast: 8 a.m. ET Sunday, universalsports.com
In Chicago, the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team will attempt to extend its unbeaten record in the World League. The United States, 4-0 after a pair of wins last weekend over defending World League champion Russia, will face unbeaten Serbia Friday and Saturday at UIC Pavilion.
Steffen Peters will go after his eighth USEF Grand Prix dressage national championship and third consecutive when the final two days of competition is held Saturday and Sunday at Dick and Jane Brown Arena in Gladstone, New Jersey.
All four U.S. dressage riders in the London 2012 Olympic Games are among the 16 entrants in the grand prix, including three-time Olympian Peters, aboard Four Wind Farm’s Legolas 92. Other Olympians in the field include Tina Konyot, aboard Calecto V; Adrienne Lyle, aboard Wizard; and Jan Ebeling, aboard Rafalca. They combined for a sixth-place Olympic team finish in London.
The event will also serve as the selection trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. began Thursday and continues through Sunday. Other events include the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship and the USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org.