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Associated Press
Former Northwestern University wrestler and Olympic hopeful Jake Herbert speaks during a news conference, Friday, April 20, 2012, in Iowa City, Iowa. ?The U.S. Olympic Team Trials are Saturday and Sunday in Iowa City. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

CORALVILLE, Iowa — The U.S. Olympic Team Trials could have been a final showcase for the elder statesmen of American wrestling.

Instead, this weekend's meet in Iowa City is shaping up to be a celebration and validation of the nation's vibrant young talent.

Former champions Cael Sanderson, Kurt Angle and Rulon Gardner are out. Youngsters Jordan Burroughs and Jake Varner are in — and even 2008 gold medalist Henry Cejudo is a relative comeback kid at just 25.

Gardner declined to discuss why he didn't weigh in on Friday. But he was always a longshot to get past longtime friend and rival, Dremiel Byers.