April 22, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Former University of Michigan standout Josh Churella (2005-08) took third place at 66kg/145.5 pounds to headline the Wolverine contingent at the U.S. Wrestling Olympic Team Trials on Saturday and Sunday (April 21-22) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Churella's only loss of the tournament came against Brent Metcalf, 1-0, 0-3, 1-0, in the semifinals. After dropping the opening period on an early Metcalf single leg, Churella evened the score with a win in the second-period clinch, dumping Metcalf to his back for three points. Metcalf scored a takedown out of a flurry on the edge midway through the third period -- the mat judge gave the point to Churella but was overruled by both tables -- and the point held up to give the match to the former Hawkeye NCAA champion.
Churella rebounded with back-to-back wins in the wrestlebacks, including a 3-0, 1-5, 2-0 decision over Chase Pami in the third-place contest. Churella took the first period on a last-second double-leg takedown for three points and was leading in the second when Pami shucked him by for a late three-pointer on the edge to even the period score. The match came down to the third-period clinch, which Churella started in the offensive position and quickly got Pami's knee to the mat.
Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell (High Bridge, N.J./Blair Academy), competing in his first senior-level competition, went 1-2 in Saturday's 60kg/132-pounds freestyle challenge tournament. He won his first match, earning a slick 0-1, 2-1, 5-3 comeback win against Derek Moore to claim his first freestyle win in three years. After losing the first period, the Wolverine wrestler also trailed in each of the final two frames. He evened the score in the second with a double leg in the final 25 seconds before countering to add a late insurance takedown, and with the score knotted at 1-1 late in the third, he countered a Moore duck attempt, stepping over and rolling back through for a pair of two-point exposures.
Russell lost to veteran Mike Zadick, a 2008 Olympian, 1-0, 2-1, in the quarterfinals after getting cautioned out from the offensive position in the first-period clinch and sacrificing the initial lead in the second with a pair of late Zadick scores. Russell was doomed by a couple scrambles in his next match as Andrew Hochstrasser put him on his back in each period en route to a 4-0, 3-0 decision.
Former Wolverine Tyrel Todd (2006-09) was eliminated from the 84kg/185-pound bracket after suffering a pair of losses in the Sunday morning challenge tournament. He lost a close first-round decision to Travis Paulson, 1-0, 2-0, dropping the first period on a pushout and the second on a pushout and late counter takedown. Like Russell a day before, Todd was doomed by a pair of scrambles in his consolation match against Jon Reader, giving up several exposure points in a 6-0, 0-1, 6-0 loss.
Michigan's lone representative in the Greco-Roman competition, former Wolverine Joe Warren (1996, '98-2000) went 1-1 at 60kg/132 pounds before withdrawing from the tournament. Warren, a 2006 world champion, used a big throw to pin Marco Lara just eight seconds into the second period of his quarterfinal match but lost to Joe Betterman, 3-0, 7-0, in the semifinals.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423