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Smith wins gold, Downing bronze leading U.S. women to third place finish

Travis Shives USA Wrestling

Smith wins gold, Downing bronze and USA places third as team at World Championships in women's wrestling; Durlacher eliminated in Greco-Roman

Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) turned in monumental performance in winning her first World Championship gold medal at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 30.

She defeated five-time World Champion Kyoko Hamaguchi of Japan, 3-1, 1-1, 1-0 in the finals at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Smith's performance, along with a bronze medal by Katie Downing (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs., led the United States to a third-place finish in the team race. Japan won the team title, and China finished second.

Smith scored a decisive three-point takedown midway through the first period using a two-on-one that finished with a scramble and exposure. Hamaguchi was able to score her lone point of the period with a late takedown off of another scramble.

In the second period, Smith again got on the board using a two-on-one and driving Hamaguchi out-of-bounds. Hamaguchi forced a third period with a one-point double leg to even the score at 1-1 and win the period.

Smith gained the match-winning point 50 seconds into the third period when both wrestlers scrambled out-of-bounds. After a video review, the referee awarded Smith the point that decided the match. For the next minute, Smith kept the pressure on as Hamaguchi wasn't able to create any offense.

Smith advanced to the gold medal match with a strong performance in a semifinal win over Anita Schaetzle of Germany, 3-1, 2-0.

Schaetzle jumped out to an early one-point lead when she scored 29 seconds into the match as the wrestlers scrambled for position. Smith next scored two consecutive points, driving the German off the mat with a series of double leg attacks. Smith sealed the period with a late one point go-behind.

In the second period, Smith controlled the center of the mat and earned two points countering Schaetzle's leg attacks. The two points were enough to send Smith to the gold medal championship, securing her first ever world medal.

In the quarterfinals, Smith shut out Agnieszka Wieszczek of Poland, 2-0, 6-0. Smith scored both of her points midway through the first period with back-to-back takedowns.

In the second period, Smith scored a three point takedown at the halfway point and then followed up with a go-behind for one point at the 1:44 mark. She finished off the period with a two-point counter exposure at the final whistle.

Smith was competing in her second World Championships, winning her first medal. She is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).

Downing defeated Ashlea McManus of Great Britain for a 6-0, 7-0 victory in her bronze-medal match. The bronze was Downing's first World Championship medal, as she was competing in her first World meet.

There was no scoring through nearly two minutes of the first period, until Downing put six points on the board in the last 17 seconds. At 1:43, Downing scored on a reverse headlock trip for three points and a hold for one point. She then closed out the period with a two point power half.

Downing quickly got on the board in the second period with a one-point double leg followed up by two exposure points. She closed out the period and the match on a three point head lock and a hold for one, nearly earning a fall.

Downing was defeated earlier in the day when she lost a tight match to Martine Dugrenier of Canada, 1-0, 1-0 in the quarterfinals. Dugrenier scored both of her points on single leg attacks; driving Downing out of bounds in the first period and finishing the takedown in the second. In both periods, Downing was unable to create an offensive attack.

When Dugrenier advanced to the gold medal finals, Downing was sent to the repechage (wrestlebacks) and a chance for the bronze medal. In her repechage match, Downing battled to a tight 0-2, 1-0, 3-1 win over Eri Sakamoto of Japan.

Downing lost the first period when Sakamoto scored two exposure points off of a scramble from the clinch. After a short video review of the move, the points were awarded to Sakamoto.

Downing scored the lone point of the second period when the referee called a caution against Sakamoto for inactivity. Downing fended off the Japanese to force a third and decisive period.

In the third period, Downing scored one point on a go-behind at the midway point and added a two point gut wrench to secure the victory. Sakamoto's only score came on a late reversal for one.

The men's Greco-Roman competition started with competition in one weight class, the 55 kg/121 lbs. division.

In the evening session, Lindsey Durlacher (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) was eliminated from the competition when his second round opponent, Istvan Majoros of Hungary failed to reach the gold medal finals. Durlacher won his first match of the morning session, but then lost to Majoros in the second round.
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