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Hall of Fame to host Latino-American Wrestling Experience at 2014 NCAAs

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The National Wrestling Hall of Fame will honor Latino-American wrestlers with an exhibit and forum at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, along with an online booklet later this month, the Stillwater, Okla.-based facility announced Friday.

The tribute, titled the Latino-American Wrestling Experience, features a visual display showcasing all Latino-American wrestlers who have won NCAA Division I titles and those who have represented the United States on freestyle and Greco-Roman senior teams at the World Championships and Olympic Games. The exhibit will be on display at the NCAA Fan Festival at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, across the street from the Chesapeake Energy Arena which is hosting the 2014 NCAA D1 championships.

In addition, the Hall of Fame will conduct a forum on the topic, scheduled between the first and second sessions of the NCAAs on Thursday, March 20. The Latino-American Wrestling Experience forum, slated to begin at 4:15 p.m. Central at the NCAA Fan Festival Main Stage, will feature four wrestling greats of Latino heritage, including three-time NCAA champ Eric Guerrero; collegiate women’s national champion Jessica Medina; World and Olympic team member Bill Rosado; and NCAA champ Frank Santana.

The forum moderator will be Noel Thompson, a former Latino-American wrestler, who is now a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors.

Both the exhibit and the forum are free to the public.

In addition, an online digital booklet based on the exhibit will be made available later this month. The booklet, which pays tribute to a cross-section of Latino Americans who have made their mark on the sport at the high school, collegiate and international levels of wrestling, will be accessible to the public on the Hall of Fame website beginning March 28.

“We want people to be able to view the booklet as they wish,” according to Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith.

“The Latino-American Wrestling Experience is a story about one of the most vibrant ethnic groups of our sport’s legacy,” said Smith.

The Latino American Wrestling exhibit, online book and DVD recording of the forum will be made available as tools for wrestling coaches, parents and fans to interest Latino American youth to take up the sport, Smith said. “Not only will engaging Latinos in the future help strengthen our sport’s growth, but also it is a sport that anyone of any size or gender can participate in and learn from.”

The tribute to Latino-American wrestlers is the third in the Hall of Fame’s “Inclusion & Diversity” series which has also honored African-American and Native American wrestlers.

Want to know more about the 2014 NCAAs? Click here for a complete list of College Wrestling Examiner stories on the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships... including a photo-list of must-see sites for college wrestling fans in the Oklahoma City area.

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