SPOTLIGHT: The 2002 Sunkist Kids International Open

Stephen Abas
Stephen Abas (left) pins Jeff Prescott in the 55 kg/121 lb Men's Freestyle Finals
The Sunkist Kids International Open marks the beginning of the USA Wrestling season each year. As the oldest international open tournament in the USA, it gives wrestlers the opportunity to get their competitive season off to an exciting start with challenging matches against talented athletes from foreign countries as well as their own. In its 18th year of competition, the 2002 tournament featured international competitors from Bulgaria, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Colombia, and El Salvador.

Coincidentally, the Outstanding Wrestler awards were given to the champions at the lightest weightclasses in each division. The men's freestyle most outstanding wrestler was Stephen Abas of the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club (55 kg/121 lbs), who recorded a first period pin in the finals versus Jeff Prescott of the New York Athletic Club. Abas also took home the Sunkist championship trophy in 2001.

In the Greco-Roman division, Michael Santos (55 kg/121 lbs, US Army) earned the honor of Outstanding Wrester after defeating Grant Nakamura by technical fall. In the prelimiary pool round of competition, Santos defeated US National runner-up Lindsay Durlacher by a 9-4 margin.

Joe Heskett and Ramico Blackmon battle in the 74 kg/163 lb Men's Freestyle Finals

The finals of the 48 kg/105 lb women's weight class featured two foreign wresters: Carol Huynh of Canada defeated Ida Hellstroem of Sweden 7-0, and was named the Women's Outstanding Wrester. Huynh is one of the most accomplished lightweight female wrestlers competing on the International stage, as she was a silver medalist at the 2001 World Championships and a bronze medalist at the 2000 World Championships, and is expected to medal at the 2002 World Championships coming up on November 2-3, 2002 in Greece.

The photo galleries from Sunkist feature the work of two photographers:'s web designer Danielle Hobeika picked up a camera when she wasn't busy competing in the women's freestyle division. Her photographs from the men's freestyle and greco quarterfinals as well as the medal matches from all divisions will be posted along with Al's photos from all sessions.

Click here to visit's Special Events Section for full results and press releases from the 2002 Sunkist International.



Brandon McNab

Brandon McNab (top) won the Greco-Roman 74 kg/163 lb weight division

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