Jun 19, 2014 10:00 AM by Jordan Mason
Spenser Mango (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) was named 2013 Greco-Roman Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling. It is the first time that Mango has won this prestigious award.
Mango placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in September at 55 kg/121 lbs., the top placement among U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers and his highest career placement at the World or Olympic level.
Mango opened with a 4-0 win over Jani Happamaaki of Finland, then suffered a 2-4 loss to eventual runner-up Guygin Choi of Korea in round two. After Choi reached the finals, Mango won two straight repechage matches, defeating Fouad Fajari of Morocco by technical fall, 7-0, then Kanybek Zholchubekov of Kyrgyzstan, 6-2. Mango was edged in the bronze-medal match by Roman Amoyan of Armenia, 4-5.
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 also won his fifth career U.S. Open title in April, with a victory over Max Nowry in the finals, 3-0, 1-0. Mango won the Armed Forces in March at Joint Base McGuire - Dix - Lakehurst, N.J. with a 3-0 record.
Internationally, Mango won the 2013 New York Athletic Club International in New York, N.Y. in November, defeating Seunghak Kim of Korea in the finals, 2-1.
He was undefeated with a 3-0 record at the Jacob Curby Cup in LaGrange, Ill., beating athletes from Hungary, Serbia and Lithuania. He added a gold medal, wrestling up at 60 kg, at the Minnesota Storm Holiday Cup in December. He was also seventh at the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals in Baku, Azerbaijan in November.
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 Olympic Games and ninth in the 2012 Olympic Games.
In 2006, Mango was a World University champion and a Junior World bronze medalist.
Mango is a graduate of the Univ. of Northern Michigan, where he competed for the USOEC Greco-Roman program coached by Ivan Ivanov. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., he was a two-time state champion for Christian Brothers College High School.
PAST GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLER OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
2013 - Spenser Mango, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army WCAP
2012 - Chas Betts, Colorado Springs, Colo., Minnesota Storm
2011 - Justin Lester, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army
2010 - Justin Ruiz, Meridian, Idaho, New York AC
2009 - Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army
2008 - Adam Wheeler, Colorado Springs, Colo., Gator WC
2007 - Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2006 - Joe Warren, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2005 - Justin Ruiz, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2004 - Rulon Gardner, Wellsville, Utah, Sunkist Kids
2003 - Jim Gruenwald, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sunkist Kids
2002 - Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army
2001 - Rulon Gardner, Cascade, Colo., Sunkist Kids
2000 - Rulon Gardner, Afton, Wyo., Sunkist Kids
1999 - Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army
1998 - Matt Lindland, Lincoln, Neb., Sunkist Kids
1997 - Rulon Gardner, Gilbert, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1996 - Dennis Hall, Stevens, Point, Wis., Sunkist Kids
1995 - Dennis Hall, Stevens Point, Wis., Sunkist Kids
1994 - Dennis Hall, Stevens Point, Wis., Sunkist Kids
1993 - James Johnson, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids