Dlagnev earns Olympic spot - Omaha.com
Published Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm / Updated at 1:05 am
US Wrestling Trials
Dlagnev earns Olympic spot
Here are wrestlers with local ties who advanced to the London Games:

Men's Freestyle
• Jordan Burroughs, 74 kilograms: The two-time NCAA champion for the Huskers also won gold at the world championship last year.
• Jake Varner, 96 kilograms: Former Iowa State star finished third in 2008 Olympic Trials.
• Tervel Dlagnev, 120 kilograms: The former UNK wrestler beat UNO rival Les Sigman for his Olympic berth.

• Justin Lester, 66 kilograms: Attended Iowa State briefly in early 2000s.

Photo Showcase: U.S. Wrestling Trials
Results: Midlanders at the U.S. Wrestling Trials Sunday
Story: Former Iowa college stars come up short at Trials
Notes: Lingering injury costs former Mav

* * *

IOWA CITY, Iowa — IOWA CITY — Away from the crowd and cameras, Tervel Dlagnev wrapped Les Sigman in a brief hug in the tunnels of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It was a reminder of the friendship and respect between longtime rivals during the biggest achievement of Dlagnev's career.

The former University of Nebraska at Kearney standout shut down his UNO counterpart in the finals 3-0, 4-0 and 1-0, 2-0 Sunday night for the best-of-three matches victory at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials. With the win comes membership on this year's U.S. Olympic Team and a shot at competing at 120 kilograms (264.5 pounds) in freestyle at the London Games in August.

But Dlagnev went out of his way to acknowledge Sigman, who beat a younger, lighter and less experienced version of himself in all nine of their college matches. The two-time NCAA Division II champion at UNK believes Sunday's result evens their head-to-head freestyle record at 5-5.

“We've wrestled almost 20 times in referee competition,” Dlagnev said. “We've probably wrestled 80 times in simulations and practice. A lot of matches.”

But rarely during those bouts did Dlagnev stifle his foe so completely. He collected three late points in the first period of their first finals match and netted five in the last 15 seconds of the next period. In the finale, he edged Sigman by a point in the tiebreaker — known as a clinch — in a random draw that granted him the advantage of starting by grabbing Sigman's leg.

Sigman, who topped Dlagnev in the finals at the 2010 World Team Trials in Council Bluffs, finished out a tournament in which he felt healthy but never fully in sync.

“We know each other so well,” Sigman said. “And at this level, if you have a bad day you're out. I didn't have a very good day today.”

Dlagnev cruised through the Challenge Tournament during the morning session, winning two matches in straight periods. Sigman defeated higher-seeded — and crowd favorite — Steve Mocco from Iowa 3-0, 1-2, 1-0 to reach the brink of an Olympic bid.

But the evening went the way of the Bulgaria-born big man who grew up in Texas and didn't play a sport of any kind until he was a high school sophomore. He attracted plenty of supporters, including family and UNK coach Marc Bauer, who drove a full 30-passenger bus just to be heard in the corner of a near-sellout evening crowd of 13,712.

“This was as real as the Trials have felt,” Dlagnev said. “It wasn't like a dreamy haze. The Olympic team was tangible; it was real every match, every second and I give that all to God.”

Overall, nine Olympic spots were awarded Sunday after nine were set Saturday. The teams are men's and women's freestyle as well as Greco-Roman.

Dlagnev made the World Team in 2009 and won a bronze medal at the international event. But the 26-year-old said this victory validates even more the long hours he put in.

Sigman, 30, was finally healthy after entering the 2008 Olympic Trials at far less than 100 percent and missing out on multiple World Team Trials with various injuries in recent years. The four-time national champ at UNO (2003 to ‘06) has said he is leaning toward retiring after this Olympic cycle, but said Sunday that he will take some time before making a decision.

“It's disappointing when you don't perform like you've been training, especially this far along in my career. But I have great coaches and friends and a lot to be thankful for.”

Contact the writer: Evan Bland

evan.bland@owh.com    |  

Evan Bland is a staff writer for The World-Herald. He primarily covers western Iowa high school sports.

Video: Stothert says Crossroads project is 'full speed ahead,' but she won't support bond issue
PETA seeks OK from Iowa officials for 10-foot memorial to turkeys killed in crash
96th Street to have head-to-head traffic
‘Trash boom’ helps keep garbage under control in city pond
Oversight panel backs new whistleblower protections
Senate panel backs measure on marijuana oil for epilepsy
Ex-Obama official urges approval of Keystone XL pipeline
Omahans start their workday earlier than most, at 7:48 a.m.
Benefit to be held for family of Omaha shooting victim
FDA to propose rules regulating e-cigarettes
Lincoln man faces charges after wife found dead in home
Omaha Personnel Board to weigh a ‘ban-the-box’ proposal for city job applications
New Alegent Creighton Clinic to open in Council Bluffs
Grace: Your older self has a request — use sunscreen
Quilt created by Karen refugees in Lincoln showcases memories of homeland, dreams for future
At NU's helm, J.B. Milliken built the university by building relationships with state leaders
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
Omaha Hall of Fame inductees share stories of their lives in business
Agreement reached to end dog racing at Bluffs Run at end of 2015
Beau McCoy calls Pete Ricketts a 'convenient conservative' for immigration stance
Omaha's Eppley Airfield sees increased demand — and that means more fare options for travelers
Doug McDermott heads for Chicago to begin preparations for NBA draft
Shatel: Herold thinks big and dreams big when it comes to UNO baseball
Lab-grown vaginas among 'cutting edge' advances in sexual health
Warren Buffett says Coca-Cola pay plan 'excessive'

Thursday's Top Events
PCL baseball
Omaha at New Orleans, 7 p.m. (Live stats)

Game Time, TV/Radio Schedule
Thursday's Area Events
Thursday's TV/Radio Schedule

Prep Results
NEPrepZone.com (mobile)

Holes in One
Dog Racing Results
Horse Racing Entries, Horse Racing Results
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
< >
Blog: Dirk's 'Mad Chatter'
Dirk Chatelain offers his thoughts on the latest news from around the sports world, complete with links to the best articles, opinion columns, YouTube videos and more.
Civic Auditorium Timeline
World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel asked readers for their favorite memories of the Civic Auditorium. We combined their submissions with a few key events or moments in the auditorium's history.
CWS: Banner Years
The College World Series historical database, a growing home for historical information about past NCAA baseball championships, which have been played in Omaha since 1950.
Downtown Omaha event map
Discover the area surrounding the CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park and downtown Omaha -- including restaurants, arts & entertainment venues, hotels and local retail outlets.
Facebook: Tom Shatel's page
Get Tom Shatel's sports columns delivered straight to your Facebook feed.
Follow Tom Shatel on Twitter
Get instant analysis and commentary from World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel on Twitter.
Nebraska high school basketball's greatest night
Four elite teams. Two buzzer-beaters. One packed house. On March 11, 1989, the stars aligned and produced the best night in Nebraska high school basketball history.
Shatel's blog
Check out the latest from World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel.
Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports
Get World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel's book "Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports."
Super Bowl: Through the years
The Super Bowl is a yearly media madhouse. See how The World-Herald sports section's front pages portrayed each of the Super Bowl victories won by those players celebrated in our Mt. Rushmore of Super Bowl QBs.
Talk sports with World-Herald reporters
World-Herald reporters log on to talk about the latest news surrounding the Huskers, Jays, Mavericks, high schools sports and more. Check out the upcoming chat schedule or replay the latest discussions with the fans.
The disappearance of small-town football
Friday night lights across rural Nebraska are going dark. But one town, in its last season of gridiron independence, proved that school spirit is stronger than ever.
The Nebraska 100
In an historic 2005 series, The World-Herald selected the state’s all-time top 100 athletes. In a new web exclusive, see the digitized collection for the first time.
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »