|Larkin named menís freestyle Outstanding Wrestler at Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open|
By John Fuller USA Wrestling
Tempe, Ariz. -
Five Americans won gold medals on Saturday evening in men's freestyle competition at the 21st Annual Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open at Wells Fargo Arena. Local favorite Eric Larkin (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids), who attended high school near Tempe and won an NCAA title while at Arizona State Univ., was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Larkin defeated Cliff Moore (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye TC), 2-1, 6-3 in the gold-medal bout at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. The four points scored by Moore in the finals were the first points Larkin gave up in the entire tournament as he outscored his five opponents 52-4.
Two wrestlers competing for the New York Athletic Club won titles, leading the historic wrestling club to the team title.
Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) and Pat Cummins (Evanston, Ill./New York AC) both won titles for the top club in this tournament. Hrovat steamrolled through a deep weight class, downing University World Team member Chris Pendleton (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) in the semifinals, 4-2, 6-3 at 84 kg/185 lbs. In the finals, Hrovat downed another local favorite, Aaron Simpson (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids), 7-1, 5-2. Simpson has won the title at this event twice before.
It was the second gold medal at an international event for Hrovat, who only lost one period in five bouts.
Cummins defeated former Arizona State All-American Kellan Fluckiger (Morgantown, W.Va./Sunkist Kids) in the finals at 120 kg/264.5 lbs., 1-0, 2-0 in a rematch of a college rivalry that saw these two wrestlers meet numerous times.
At 74 kg/163 lbs., Tyrone Lewis (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) downed former U.S. Nationals runner-up Joe Heskett (Grover Beach, Calif./Gator WC), 1-1, 4-0, 1-0.
In the first period, Heskett forced Lewis out of bounds with only five seconds remaining to win the period. Lewis dominated the second period, before being awarded one point for Heskett going out of bounds in the leg clinch after a scoreless third period.
Officials reviewed the last point scored by Lewis for nearly seven minutes before concluding that Heskett stepped out before initiating an offensive scoring action, which can negate the out of bounds rule.
Sean Stender (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Panther WC) defeated current Arizona State wrestler Patrick Pitsch (Spanaway, Wash./Sunkist Kids), 2-0, 6-0 in the finals at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Two foreign competitors came home with gold medals as well. Japan's Taoka Hidenori captured the title at 55 kg/121 lbs. with a 3-0, 3-1 victory over Luke Eustice (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye TC) in the finals. Saeed Azarbayjani of Canada won gold at 60 kg/132 lbs. after defeating two-time NCAA champion Travis Lee (Ithaca, N.Y./New York AC), 9-3, 5-3 in the finals.
Winning bronze medals were Matt Azevedo (Arroyo Grande, Calif./Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg, Shinya Odate of Japan at 60 kg, JaMarr Billman (Ithaca, N.Y./New York AC) at 66 kg, Scott Owen (DeKalb, Ill./New York AC) at 74 kg, Pendleton at 84 kg, Joel Flaggert (Underdog WC) at 96 kg and Orville Palmer (Norman, Okla./Underdog WC) at 120 kg.