I wasn't the only person who felt at home in Hilton over the weekend. Former and current Cyclones competed for spots on the World Freestyle & Greco teams along with some the best wrestlers in the world.
The competition on Saturday was a Challenge Tournament for all the qualifiers in Men' & Women's Freestyle and Men's Greco. The winner of the Challenge advances to take on the current U.S. National winner at each weight.
Here are the results for those wrestlers with ties to ISU.
55 kg Results
5th seed Eric Akin finished 1st in the Challenge Tournament. He defeated former Cyclone Matt Azevedo on his way to the finals. He lost in the finals on Sunday to Sam Henson.
1st seed Matt Azevedo won twice after losing to Akin to take 3rd in the Saturday Challenge.
60 kg Results
1st seed Nate Gallick defeated 3 opponents to win the challenge tournament. He lost a hard fought battle on Sunday to Michael Lightner.
3rd seed Zach Roberson went 3-1 on Saturday to place 3rd.
66 kg Results
U.S. National Champion Chris Bono qualified for the World Team defeating Jared Lawrence 3-0 & 3-2.
74 kg Results
4th seed Nick Passolano lost to eventual Challenge winner Kirk White in the quarters and finished 3rd.
84 kg Results
9th seed David Bertolino did not place in the Challenger Tournament.
96 kg Results
6th seed Zach Thompson lost to eventual Challenge winner Nick Preston, and finished 4th.
96 kg Greco Results
6th seed Mark Knauer did not place.
I had an opportunity to talk to a few of our wrestlers about how they did, and their thoughts on wrestling in Hilton again. Here's what they had to say.
Would you talk about how you felt you did this weekend?
Roberson: "I'm not happy with the result, but after my loss I'm happy that I wrestled well after it and came back and won all the matches I could"
What was it like being in front of a Hilton crowd again?
Roberson: It was good, there's quite a few Cyclones fans here, and I think it showed we were getting a lot of cheers, so it was a good experience.
What's next for you?
Roberson: Starting over next year going to Sunkist, all the tournaments, Vegas & Trials again.
Talk about how you feel you did this weekend.
Thompson: I think I wrestled well. Just trying to adjust to the rules, things of that nature. I think that the new style, the way the officials are calling it they just need some more consistency on that. Other than that the rules are ok.
Any thoughts on wrestling at Hilton again?
Thompson: It was a great experience. I haven't wrestled here in 4 years. I graduated in 2001, wrestling here now in 05, and it was a great experience to wrestle here and feel the "Hilton Magic" again. You can always hear the fans, stuff like that, so it was a great feeling.
Have you had any problems transitioning from College to Freestyle?
Passolano: It hasn't been that big of a transition other than the weight. Working out with Bono, he makes it easy for the transition from College to Freestyle. When you have someone like him the wrestling room, you know you're better than everyone.
Any thoughts on wrestling at Hilton again?
Passolano: I hope, I think we did a good job here at Hilton, we've got to take and learn from it and build off it and there will be a bigger crowd and better turnout.
What has been the biggest memory from your
Passolano: I think the relationships I've
built with not just my teammates, coaches, but also the wrestling fans. They are
Two thirds of the way there. What did you think of the crowd today?
Bono: Unbelievable! To see all those people up
there, to see my name on the shirts. I didn't know my wife was doing all that
stuff. You just look up there, you see, wanted to win for the fans, I'm not
going to lie to you. These guys have stuck behind the program, you know that
being part of it, your one of the most special people around our program, to do
it in front of a thousand of them is even more special. I wish we could take
them all to
When do you start training for that?
Bono: We're going to take a little time off for that. There's some family time that has to be had, there's some golfing that has to be had. There's some relaxation. There's no Gold medal yet, so I'll be back in there as soon as my minds right, and I'll be ready to go.
Off the record, where's the party at?
Since the question was off the record, I can't tell you the answer.
I will however say that everyone had a great time!!