Former Sun Devil Danny Felix Wins Wrestling World Team Trials
June 1, 2009
TEMPE - Four wrestlers with ties to the Arizona State University program were on the mats at the USA Wrestling World Team Trials over the weekend with former Sun Devil Danny Felix capping a remarkable tournament appearance by capturing the 55kg freestyle division and earning a place on Team USA for the first time in his career. The tournament, which was held at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was used to select the representatives for Team USA at the upcoming World Championships that will be held in Herning, Denmark, in September.
Felix, 35, a three-time Pac-10 Champion and one-time All-American at 118 pounds for the Sun Devils, opened the weekend in the 55kg challenge tournament and won all three matches. He first downed Ben Kjar (Wolverine WC) in a 0-1, 1-0, 1-0 decision in the quarterfinals before knocking off Obe Blanc (Gator WC) in the semifinals by a 1-0, 0-1, 1-0 score. In the finals, Felix defeated Logan Steiber (NYAC), 1-0, 3-0, to earn the right to face Nick Simmons in the championship series for the Team USA spot.
Needing to win two matches in the best of three series with Simmons, Felix came out on top in the first match as he scored a 0-1, 2-0, 2-0 decision. Simmons came back to tie the series at 1-1 as he defeated Felix, 1-1, 2-0, to set-up the final match. In the winner-takes-all third match, Felix won, 2-1, 1-0, and punched his ticket to the World Championships where he will be coached by another former Sun Devil and current National Team Head Coach Zeke Jones.
Three others for the Sun Devils competed with one nearly making the World team as well. Kelsey Campbell, the winner of the USA Championships in April, awaited the winner of the women's freestyle 59kg division in the championship series. In the series, she faced Deanna Rix (NYAC), where she lost, two matches to one. Campbell, who took silver at the Pan-Am Championships last month, came out on top in the first match, 2-0, 1-0, but was unable to win the needed second match as Rix won 3-0, 1-0 and then 1-0, 1-0.
Erik Nye was one victory shy of advancing to the championship series in the 120kg Greco-Roman division as the senior-to-be lost to Brandon Rupp (NYAC) in the challenge finals, 0-1, 1-0, 1-0. Nye, competing for Sunkist Kids, opened the tournament with a 1-0, 3-0 defeat of Akil Patterson (TFWC) in the quarterfinals, before scoring a 1-0, 0-1, 1-0 decision over David Arendt, Jr. (Marines) in the semifinals.
The final Sun Devil in the field was current assistant coach Brian Stith, who placed sixth in the 66kg freestyle division. Stith opened the tournament with a quarterfinal victory over Mario Mason (MN Storm), 3-0, 3-2, before falling to Darion Caldwell (Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 1-0, in the semifinals. Stith then withdrew from the tournament with an injury and falling to sixth in the event.