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Special Wrestle-off between Daniel Cormier and Dean Morrison set for July 25 in Fargo, N.D., with U.S. World and Pan Am Games team berth at stake 7/2/2003 Gary Abbott/USA Wrestling

The Special Wrestle-off for the U.S. World and Pan American Games team at 96 kg/211.25 pounds in freestyle wrestling has been set for Friday, July 25 in Fargo, N.D.

There will be a best-of-three series held between 2003 U.S. Nationals Champion Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) and 2003 World Team Trials champion Dean Morrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC).

The competition will be held alongside the ASICS Junior and Cadet National Championships, which will be held in the FargoDome on the campus of North Dakota State Univ.

The session times for the Special Wrestle-off are at 9:00 a.m. Central Time for bout No. 1, and 1:00 p.m. Central Time for bout No. 2. If a third match is necessary, it will be held one hour after the completion of the second bout.

The winner of the series will represent the United States at the 2003 World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling in New York City, September 12-14, as well as at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, August 6-8.

USA Wrestling’s Executive Committee granted a delay of the World Team Trials Championship Series at 96 kg/211.5 pounds, after Cormier requested the delay. According to World Team Trials procedures, only the U.S. Nationals champion has the right to request a delay in the Championships Series.

Morrison assumed the No. 1 seed at the World Team Trials in Indianapolis, Ind., June 20-22, and won the event at the weight class, earning the right to face Cormier in the Special Wrestle-off. Morrison needed three matches to defeat 2002 World Team member Tim Hartung (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm). Morrison won the first match, 4-1 in overtime, then lost the second match 2-0 in overtime. In the third and deciding match, Morrison defeated Hartung, 3-2.

The Special Wrestle-off will be a rematch of the finals of the 2003 U.S. Nationals, which Cormier won by a 3-0 margin over Morrison. It was Cormier’s first U.S. Nationals freestyle title.

Cormier placed third at the World Team Trials in 2001 and 2002, earning a spot on Freestyle Team USA. He competed for Oklahoma State Univ., where he was a NCAA runner-up in 2001. Cormier was also a two-time NJCAA Junior College national champion for Colby CC. He was a three-time Louisiana state champion for Northside High School in Lafayette.

Morrison previously qualified for Freestyle Team USA in 1997, when he placed third at the World Team Trials at 187.25 pounds. His second place at the U.S. Nationals this year was his best career finish. Morrison was a 1994 NCAA champion for the Univ. of West Virginia. He attended Copaigue High School in New York.

TheMat.com will provide complete move-by-move coverage of the Special Wrestle-off matside from Fargo, N.D. on July 25.

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