A half-dozen quick hits for a Monday morning (non-wrestling news after the jump):
1. Big time for the little guy. Army Sgt. Spenser Mango recently had his turn as the feature subject of “100 Olympic Hopefuls in 100 Days,” a series put together by our good friends at USA Today. Click over to read about the Greco-Roman Olympian’s path into the Army World Class Athlete Program, his Army duties when he’s not wrestling or training, and how much weight he has to cut to make the 55-kilogram (121-pound) limit.
2. Lester’s homecoming. Mango may have received the national press, but WCAP teammate and fellow Olympic qualifier Spc. Justin Lester may do him one better Saturday — a full day of celebrations and wrestling clinics in Akron, Ohio, that’ll be officially declared Justin Lester Day by the mayor. Hit the link for event details and more on the 66-kg Greco-Roman grappler, as well as how you can donate to a fund set up to send Lester’s family to London to watch him compete. Need more? Follow him on Twitter. While you’re at it, follow us on Twitter.
3. West’s streak snapped. Former Marine Dustin West had two straight first-round knockouts entering Friday night’s 185-pound fight with Joe Ray at XFC 18 in Nashville, Tenn. West and Ray traded heavy punches in the first round, but it was West who got the worst of it in the opening match of the HDNet live broadcast, eating a few knees but surviving until the bell. After missing a takedown attempt early in the second round, West’s fate was sealed — he tapped to an arm triangle about a minute into Round 2, falling to 6-5 for his career and 1-1 in the XFC.
4. Big East drama? Unlike Navy, other teams planning to take part in the Big East Conference’s football expansion have to give notice to their current conferences, giving everyone time to sort out exit fees, scheduling and the like before the move becomes official. Boise State, a Mountain West Conference member this year set to join the Big East in 2013, has yet to give that notice, according to a CBSSports.com report, firing up speculation that the Broncos could stay in the MWC. The change of heart could cost Boise State $5 million in exit fees for a conference it never joined, according to the report, but staying in the MWC past a July 1 withdrawal deadline would cost even more — up to $24 million in fees and lost revenue. A change in plans by the Broncos would weaken the Big East before it enters negotiations for a new long-term television deal — a deal that’ll likely be in place when Navy joins in 2015.
5. Soccer showdown. Army-Navy football will take place in Philadelphia this December, but another sport will have already staked its territorial claim: The Black Knights and Mids men’s soccer teams will face off Sept. 30 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., home of the MLS’ Philadelphia Union, according to a Navy release. The 2-year-old stadium will also host the 2013 game.
6. Carrier comedy. You’ve already seen our take on the recent minor-league home run derby held aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier Yorktown. To sum it up, it’s difficult to dislike anything that features baseball, Bill Murray, charity efforts for veterans and the Miller High Life delivery guy. John Oliver, best known by adults as a correspondent for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and by kids as the movie voice of this guy, gives his take about 1:15 into his weekly podcast, “The Bugle,” here. To sum it up … is impossible, but it does end with a rewritten version of the national anthem. It lasts until the four-minute mark and is pretty much safe for work; listen to the rest of the podcast at your own risk.