Betterman finally wins at U.S. nationals

Updated: April 11, 2009, 2:09 AM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Joe Betterman finally won a national wrestling title.

Betterman beat Spenser Mango 1-0, 2-0 Friday night to capture the 132-pound Greco-Roman title at the United State National Championship and avenge defeats in the championship match the past three years.

The top seven finishers in each weight class advance to the World Team Trials May 30 and 31 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

"Me and Spenser are real close and have similar styles," Betterman said. "It is always a tough match when I face him."

The tournament victory was Betterman's first since winning the Olympic Trials last summer. Betterman didn't compete in the Beijing Olympics, however, because the United States didn't qualify in his weight class.

Instead, he was a sparing partner and spectator. He worked with Mango -- who took eighth at 121 pounds.

"It was very disappointing to be there at the Olympics and see all my friends walk in the opening ceremony," he said.

T.C. Dantzler won his fourth straight nationals with a 1-0, 3-0 victory against Aaron Sieracki.

The most competitive match of the evening came in the 121-pound finals with Jermaine Hodge capturing his first national title in a 1-0, 0-3, 4-4 victory against Sam Hazewinkel. Hodge won the third period tiebreaker because he recorded a three-point throw.

Also, Frank Sahin took the 145½-pound division with a 3-0, 1-0 victory against Mark Rial while Harry Lester posted a 2-0, 1-0 victory over Jake Fisher at 163 pounds championship. Lester was picked as most outstanding wrestler for Greco-Roman.

Brad Ahearn won his second consecutive national title with a 2-0, 1-0 victory against R.C. Johnson in the 221½-pound final. Dremiel Byers, who took seventh at the 2007 Olympics, closed the night with a 5-0, 1-0 victory against Brandon Rupp in the 264½-pound championship.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press