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NCAA: Olympian/U of Minnesota’s Deitchler Ruled Ineligible For Season

January 14th, 2010 by Tom

University of Minnesota freshman wrestler and former Olympian, Jake Deitchler has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the 2009-10 academic year.

The University of Minnesota received initial notice in September and appealed the ruling hoping for a review of the situation. Deitchler has not competed for the Gophers this season, while awaiting the results of the final appeal. Deitchler's eligibility will be reinstated under the conditions that he is withheld from competition for the 2009-10 academic year, forfeit a year of eligibility and repay the $4,000 prize money he received.

A 2008 graduate of Anoka High School and an Anoka, Minn. native, Deitchler represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Following the Olympics, Deitchler spent the 2008-09 academic year training and competing full-time with USA Wrestling at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"In the NCAA's ongoing effort to promote student-athlete welfare I do not think the NCAA is following or supporting their own ideology. The NCAA has handed a very young student athlete an overly harsh penalty, "head wrestling coach J Robinson said. "The punishment is quite severe and is a three part penalty. First; Deitchler must sit out a year, second he will lose one of his four years of eligibility, and third he must repay the money he received.

I understand that there needs to be a penalty, Robinson said but to deny a season of competition, take away an entire year of eligibility plus repay the money is excessive. People make mistakes, and as an 18 year-old kid who just represented his country in the Olympic Games and got lost in the moment I don't think this decision is in the best interest of the athlete, the NCAA, or the Olympic movement."

Robinson went on to add, "We had a very similar situation at Minnesota a few years ago where an athlete took money after the Olympics, in this case more money $6,000. The penalty the NCAA imposed was that the student athlete had to sit out two weeks and repay the money. That same year, this student athlete was eligible to compete in the NCAA Championships and became an NCAA All-American."

Deitchler will remain on the team and participate in all team practices, but cannot compete in 2009-10 for the University of Minnesota in any NCAA sanctioned events.

This is bigger than Jake Deitchler and I think it hurts our Olympic movement by setting a bad precedence. Robinson hopes that the NCAA will review and reverse their decision in the spirit of student athlete welfare and what best for a young student athlete that got caught up in the excitement of the Olympic Games while representing his country.

Robinson also said that Mario Mason has been reinstated and will resume competition with the team. Mason had been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules, causing him to miss the Southern Scuffle and the Iowa State Dual.

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TheMatside View by Gary Abbott: Top 10 stories of 2008

January 19th, 2009 by Tom

Happy New Year to everybody in the wrestling community.

The 2008 year has reached its final day, and in a tradition that we have continued for many years on TheMat.com, I will present my top 10 wrestling stories of the year.

During an Olympic year, many major stories have come from the Olympic Games and the trials process which determines the athletes who competed in the Olympics. However, there were outstanding stories at all levels of our sport, which gave wrestling fans much to enjoy all year long.

The word "unexpected" appeared in many articles this year, especially on the Olympic level of the sport. The longer you are involved in high-level wrestling, the more you understand that it is very difficult to predict the outcome at major events, where there are so many talented and motivated athletes competing under pressure.

Here are my Top 10 wrestling stories in 2008:

1. Henry Cejudo wins Olympic gold medal "The Olympic Games in the ultimate showcase for athletic talent, as the attention of the world focuses on this amazing event once every four years. Winning an Olympic gold medal is the pinnacle of any career. Henry Cejudo put together a performance to remember with his stunning victory at 55 kg in the Beijing Olympics in men's freestyle. At the age of 21, he became the youngest American Olympic wrestling champion ever. Cejudo lost the first period in all of his matches except the finals but wrestled with the confidence and skill of a veteran star. His victory was the highlight of the U.S. effort at the Olympic Games. His personal story, coming from a challenging childhood and moving to the U.S. Olympic Training Center as a high school junior, added to his tremendous achievement. Cejudo became a celebrity within the sports community after his victory celebration, and he has given our sport considerable positive national and international coverage ever since.

2. Univ. of Iowa returns to top of college wrestling "The Iowa Hawkeyes have a rich tradition in college wrestling, including some of the most dominant teams in the sport's history. The 2007-08 Hawkeyes lived up to that lofty tradition by capturing the 2008 NCAA Div. I Championships in St. Louis, Mo. by almost 40 points over the field. Led by NCAA champions Brent Metcalf at 149 pounds and Mark Perry at 165 pounds, Tom Brands' motivated team led throughout the tournament and clinched the team title before the finals. Metcalf was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the tournament, and wrestled with the kind of punishing style that was made famous by Hawkeye greats like Brands. It was the 21st team title for Iowa and perhaps the start of a new run of excellence for the program. Brands said it best when talking about their large margin of victory. "That's a tribute to this team. They came not to squeak by, but to dominate," he said.

3. Bouvaisa Saitiev wins third Olympic gold medal "Bouvaisa Saitiev of Russia has been recognized as the greatest freestyle wrestler of his era, starting his amazing Senior-level career with a gold medal in the 1995 World Championships in Atlanta, Ga. From that point on, Saitiev dominated almost every event he entered. He won Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004, and six World Championships gold medals. An injured Saitiev placed eighth at the 2006 World Championships, and the next year, his spot was taken over by Makhach Murtazaliev, a 2007 World Champion. Yet, Saitiev came back in 2008 to beat out Murtazaliev for the spot on the Russian team, then dominate the 74 kg weight class in Beijing to win his third Olympic title. He joins Greco-Roman star Alexander Karelin and freestyle star Alexander Medved as three-time Olympic wrestling champions. It may be many years before we see another freestyle wrestler with his combination of skill and toughness.

4. Clarissa Chun captures Women's World title "It was a breakthrough year for Clarissa Chun, who has been a nationally ranked women's freestyle wrestler for many years but has never made her mark on the international level. Chun surprised the wrestling world by defeating 2004 Olympic silver medalist Patricia Miranda to make the U.S. Olympic team. Her fifth-place finish at the 2008 Olympic Games featured some outstanding wrestling. Chun was not satisfied. She was the only U.S. Olympian to try out for the 2008 U.S. Women's World Team and made the most of the opportunity by winning the 48 kg gold medal at the Women's World Championships in Tokyo, Japan in October. She defeated a talented Makiko Sakamoto of Japan in the semifinals, and showed great composure in winning her finals match over Jyldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva of Kazakhstan. Chun became only the fifth U.S. wrestler to win a Women's World title, and an inspiration for those who have the perseverance to pursue their dreams.

5. Wheeler and Miller come through big with Olympic medals "The U.S. came home from the Beijing Olympic Games with three wrestling medals. Two of the medalists might have been considered considerable longshots. Adam Wheeler captured a bronze medal at Greco-Roman at 96 kg and Randi Miller won a bronze medal in women's freestyle at 63 kg. Both defeated veteran international talents to make the U.S. Olympic Team, with Wheeler knocking off 1995 World bronze medalist Justin Ruiz in the Olympic Trials, and Miller stopping 1994 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann. In Beijing, both had to bounce back from tough losses in order to win their medals. Miller was defeated in the quarterfinals by Japan's Olympic champion Kaori Icho, and Wheeler dropped a close match to Germany's Mirko Englich in the semifinals. Both came back with confidence and won their bronze-medal bouts. Miller stopped three-time World silver medalist Martine Dugrenier of Canada to claim her medal, and Wheeler stopped Korea's Han Tae-Young for his medal.

6. Jake Deitchler makes Olympic Team at age of 18 "One of the most inspiring performances of the year came during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in Las Vegas, Nev. in June, when 18-year-old Jake Deitchler stormed the field at 66 kg in Greco-Roman. This weight class had been dominated by Harry Lester, who won World bronze medals in 2006 and 2007 and was No. 1 at the weight for three straight seasons. Deitchler, who had graduated from high school in Minnesota earlier in the spring, wrestled with aggressiveness at the Trials. He shocked Lester in the semifinals, losing the first period but coming back to win 0-5, 5-2, 5-3. In the championship series, he defeated talented Faruk Sahin in two straight matches to make the U.S. Olympic Team. He became the first wrestler from high school to make a U.S. Olympic team in wrestling since Mike Farina of Illinois qualified for the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team in Greco-Roman. Although Deitchler was unable to win a medal at the Olympic Games, he has decided to pursue his Greco-Roman career full-time, choosing to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center rather than attend the Univ. of Minnesota to wrestle folkstyle. Expect to hear more about Deitchler in the future.

-- View the rest at themat.com

Anoka wrestler, Jake Deitchler, pulls off a stunner

June 16th, 2008 by Tom

Jake Deitchler Wrestler

Jake Deitchler became only the third high school wrestler to make the U.S. Olympic team with a shocking upset of Harry Lester -- considered one of the best Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world at any weight.

By RACHEL BLOUNT, Star Tribune

LAS VEGAS " Eighteen-year-old Jake Deitchler knew no one expected him to make the U.S. Olympic team. Only two other high school wrestlers had ever done so, and a person his age hadn't been on the team since 1976.

Still, Deitchler wondered: What if?

The three-time state champion from Anoka High School finished his senior year in April so he could train full-time, sweated in the wrestling room every day and came to the U.S. Olympic Trials thinking he had a chance. On Saturday, Deitchler pulled off an enormous upset in the challenge round of the 145.5-pound Greco- Roman division, then swept his opponent in the finals to earn a spot on the Olympic team.

Deitchler beat Faruk Sahin 0-5, 7-4, 1-1 in their first match of the final round at Thomas and Mack Center.

Deitchler then overcame a deep deficit in the second match for a 2-3, 7-5, 3-0 victory and a sweep of the best-of-three finals. In the semifinals, he beat heavily favored Harry Lester -- considered one of the best Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world at any weight -- in a shocking upset that left Lester in tears.

As the clock ticked down on Deitchler's victory, he drew a standing ovation from the crowd, while coach Brandon Paulson -- a 1996 Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman -- jumped up and down and pounded his hands on the mat.

"People say I'm not a very realistic person, "said Deitchler, smiling for the first time after a grueling, emotional day. "To tell you the truth, it doesn't really matter, if I can do things like this.

"I didn't have any pressure on me the whole tournament. In that second match, I thought, 'This is going to be a lifelong dream in about six minutes.' I just wrestled hard and came out on top."

By making the team, Deitchler formed the next link in Minnesota's grand Greco-Roman wrestling tradition. At least one man from the state has made the Olympic team in the sport every year since 1968.

Deitchler is the second Minnesotan to make the Olympic team at these trials, joining Ali Bernard of New Ulm, who earned a trip to Beijing by winning the women's 158 1/2-pound weight class Friday.

Other wrestlers who won their weight classes and Olympic berths Saturday included T.C. Dantzler (Greco-Roman, 163 pounds), Brad Vering (Greco-Roman, 185), Doug Schwab (men's freestyle, 145 1/2) and Henry Cejudo (men's freestyle, 121).

Paulson has been coaching Deitchler since 2004, when Anoka coach Todd Springer called him to say he had a young wrestler aching to work as hard as he could.

Paulson said he knew Deitchler would be a champion even then -- when Jake was 14 -- because he called Paulson every Sunday, begging him to work out.

Deitchler showed a flair for drama Saturday, losing the first period of every match he wrestled. Though he entered the trials as the runnerup at the 2008 U.S. championships, his youth kept expectations low.

Besides, Lester was favored to make the Olympic team and perhaps win a medal in Beijing.

Lester, a two-time bronze medalist at the world championships and six years Deitchler's elder, whipped him 5-0 in the first period of their semifinal. He scored early in the second before Deitchler was able to turn him for three points to win the period 5-2. In the final seconds of the third, Deitchler scored on a reverse lift and took the period 5-3 and won the match.

Lester walked out of the arena and buried his head in his hands. He came back to win the third-place match and retired immediately after.

Nearly three weeks ago, Deitchler walked in his graduation ceremony. In a little more than a month, he will take another walk, in the opening ceremonies in Beijing.

"What he's doing is historic, "Paulson said. "He is a phenomenal athlete. He's got to win, because he hates to lose."