London Calling: Herbert Wins Spot on U.S. Olympic Team
Two-time NU NCAA champion wins 84 kg/185 lbs. weight class, earning trip to 2012 Summer Olympics
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Two-time Northwestern NCAA champion and Hodge trophy recipient Jake Herbert can officially add the title of Olympian to his resume. The NU graduate has once again reached one of wrestling’s highest honors as he won the 84 kg/185 lbs. freestyle division at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials Sunday to punch his ticket to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Herbert won two matches and did not give up a point prior to facing Travis Paulson (Sunkist Kids/Cyclone Wrestling Club) in the best-of-three finals. Herbert shut out former Missouri NCAA champion Max Askren (NYAC/Westpoint RTC) 3-0, 6-0 and blanked Phil Keddy (Hawkeye Wrestling Club), a former Iowa three-time All-American, 1-0, 1-0 before meeting Paulson.
In the finals, Herbert won the first period of the opening match, 1-0. Paulson then evened the match, winning the second period 2-1. In the decisive third period, Herbert scored with 28 seconds left but Paulson scored the final point with 11 seconds left, winning the third period, 1-1 and the first match.
Herbert would not lose a period the rest of the way. In the second match, he outscored Paulson 7-4 in two periods. The former Wildcat scored a three-point move late in the first and tacked on another point in the closing seconds to take the first, 4-2. He then scored three one-point moves in the second, winning the second, 3-2 and forcing a third match.
Herbert then officially became an Olympian, outscoring Paulson 5-1 in two periods in the final match. He took the first period 3-0 and Paulson tallied his lone point of the match with 1:41 remaining in period two. Herbert would then tie the score with a point at the 59-second mark and added another with 25 seconds left to win, 2-1.
Herbert is the first Northwestern graduate to win the trials and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Former NU NCAA champion Jack Griffin was an alternate for Team USA in 1992. Herbert now focuses his attention to his next goal of winning gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics, which run from July 27-Aug. 12 in London.
NU volunteer assistant coach and three-time All-American Brandon Precin also represented Northwestern at the U.S. Olympic Trials. He wrestled at 55 kg/121 lbs. and met Iowa’s two-time NCAA champion Matt McDonough (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) in the first round. McDonough, a junior at Iowa who received a wildcard for the trials, moved on with a 2-0, 3-0 decision. Precin then took on Ben Kjar (Kingdom Klub), who was the first-ever All-American at Utah Valley, and concluded his run at the Olympic Trials as Kjar won 6-0, 1-0.
Fans can watch a re-broadcast of Herbert’s victory in the finals tomorrow from 2-5 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network. Visit this website to find the NBC Sports Network in your area.
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