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Jordan Burroughs named John Smith Freestyle Wrestler of the Year

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Jordan Burroughs, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champ, has been named the John Smith Freestyle Wrestler of the Year, USA Wrestling announced Wednesday.

It is the third consecutive year that Burroughs has won this honor, named for two-time Olympic champion and four-time World champion John Smith, who is now head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State. Burroughs is the first three-time winner since the award was first presented in 1992; two other wrestlers, Cael Sanderson and Joe Williams, are two-time winners.

Burroughs won a gold medal at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in September at 74 kilos/163 pounds, becoming the only U.S. wrestler to earn gold at the 2013 Worlds. The two-time NCAA champ and three-time Big 12 titlewinner at the University of Nebraska won the Worlds in dominating fashion, outscoring his five opponents in Budapest by a combined 34-3 total.

It was the third straight gold medal for Burroughs, to accompany a 2011 World gold medal and a 2012 Olympic gold medal. With the 2013 Worlds championship, Burroughs became only the second American to win three or more World or Olympic titles in a row, joining award namesake John Smith who won six straight World and Olympic golds from 1987-1992.

Even more amazing: Burroughs won gold at the 2013 Worlds less than one month after breaking his ankle in training. The additional hardware – a plate and five screws in his ankle – did not affect the Sickerville, N.J. native’s winning ways.

Burroughs won gold medals at three other major international events in 2013: the 2013 Freestyle World Cup in Tehran, Iran in February, the Stepan Sarkissian International in Vandazor, Armenia in August, and the Alexander Medved International champion in Belarus in March.

Spenser Mango takes Greco award

Spenser Mango earned his first-ever Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year honors for 2013, USA Wrestling announced Tuesday.

A graduate of the University of Northern Michigan, Mango placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in September at 55 kilos/121 pounds, the highest finish among U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers, and his highest career placement at the World or Olympic level.

Mango has had a successful season. In March, Mango won the Armed Forces at Joint Base McGuire – Dix – Lakehurst, N.J. with a 3-0 record. The following month, Mango claimed his fifth career U.S. Open title in April, with a victory over Max Nowry in the finals, 3-0, 1-0. In June, Mango qualified for his fourth career U.S. World Team with a victory at the U.S. World Team Trials in Stillwater, Okla. in June, defeating Nate Engel in the championship series in two straight matches, 5-0 and 7-0.

Mango, a 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympian, has made every U.S. World and Olympic team at his weight class since 2008, a six-year run as No. 1 in the USA. He was eighth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and ninth at the 2012 London Olympics.

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