COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, Feb. 20, 2008) -Army wrestlers earned two silver medals and a bronze in the 2008 Dave Schultz Memorial International wrestling competition at the U.S. Olympic Training Center over the weekend.

Dremiel Byers and Keith Sieracki earned silver medals while Iris Smith earned a bronze medal in competition that saw some of the top international wrestlers competing in an Olympic-style event.

The tournament drew many of the athletes that will be in prime position to represent their country in the Beijing Olympics this year.

Byers, Sieracki and Smith certainly proved they will be in the running for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team after each of them turned in impressive showings at the competition. Sieracki earned a silver medal Saturday in an event he said he gets geared up for because it is a chance to wrestle at home with family and friends being able to watch him. He dropped a razor-thin decision to his opponent and afterwards said he is excited to be a part of the event.

Aca,!A"This is a good time for me because it gives my fellow Soldiers, Family members and other people a chance to see me wrestle. I am always ready to wrestle but for some reason I get a little extra adrenaline when I can perform in town. ItAca,!a,,cs great to have everyone watching and cheering you on so it means a lot to me and this is one of my best tournaments. I moved up a weight class for this tournament and I was matched up with one of the top guys from Italy in the finals. He beat my nemesis pretty handily and it was a chess match for us as I couldnAca,!a,,ct score on him and he couldnAca,!a,,ct score on me. I beat him pretty good seven years ago and this showed me just how much he improved over that time,Aca,!A? Sieracki said.

Byers was his usual dominant self through the semi-finals of his weight class. In the semis Byers sprained his medial collateral ligament and went into his contest against the Cuban world champion with only one good leg. Byers said he never thought about not competing against the Cuban because Aca,!A"this is my home turf and I will try to defend my home turf the best I can, even if it could mean suffering a career-ending injury. That is just the fight of our team and that is what we are about (as Soldiers and members of the WCAP team).

Byers lost a close decision to the Cuban champion but would not let the injured leg be an excuse. He said he looks forward to being able to compete against him and other wrestlers in the future.

Aca,!A"I hate that I lost to him but I know one thing is going to be different the next time we meet,Aca,!A? Byers said.

The next time they meet could be in Beijing for the Olympics.

(Walt Johnson writes for the Fort Carson Mountaineer)

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