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Six 2005 U.S. World Team members advance to semifinals at Dave Schultz Memorial International on Friday morning



Semifinal pairings were determined after the morning session at the 8th Annual Dave Schultz Memorial International held at Sports Center I at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 3.

Top international wrestlers from across the world are competing in this annual tournament named in honor of the late Olympic and World champion Dave Schultz. It was 10 years ago last week since Schultz died and left a lasting legacy within the sport.

Eight weight classes are being held on Friday, four in men's freestyle and four in men's Greco-Roman. A total of 16 different countries were represented in the weight classes contested today.

In seven of the eight weight classes, the No. 1 ranked U.S. wrestlers who competed at the 2005 World Championships were in competition. Six of the seven who were 2005 U.S. World Team members qualified for the semifinal rounds, three in Greco-Roman and three in freestyle.

In Greco-Roman, Harry Lester (Akron, Ohio/USOEC/Gator WC) won three matches at 66 kg/145.5. lbs. to advance to the semifinals. He defeated Fabio Cabral Nieves of Brazil, 6-0, 7-0, then John Dabala (Marquette, Mich./USOEC), 6-0, 7-1. In the quarterfinals, he pinned Christian Nova Roca of Bolivia in 1:30 Lester will face 2001 U.S. World Team member Marcel Cooper (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in the semifinals.

T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) also advanced to the semifinals at 74 kg/163 lbs. in Greco-Roman. His first match was a victory over Yavor Yankiev of Bulgaria, 6-0, 7-0, then he scored a second period pin over Phillip Padilla (Team Arizona), 6-0, 1:15. Dantzler will battle Brandon McNab (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in the semifinals.

Justin Ruiz (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) advanced at 84 kg/185 lbs. in Greco-Roman with two wins. He defeated Ruiji Yamaguchi of Japan, 6-0, 5-0, then stopped Robert Smith (Marquette, Mich./USOEC) in the quarterfinals, 5-0, 6-0. Ruiz will face Jimmy Lidberg of Sweden in the semifinals, a 2005 European silver medalist.

In freestyle, 2005 World Team member Chris Bono (Ringgold, Ga./Sunkist Kids) won his two bouts at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. He defeated Ron Groves (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOTC), 1-0, 7-0, then stopped Dimitar Georgiev (Bulgaria), 1-1, 8-0

Bono will face Evan McDonald of Canada in the semifinals. McDonald defeated Bono in the 2005 World Championships in Budapest, Canada, which knocked Bono out of the tournament.

Two-time World bronze medalist Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) advanced at 74 kg/163 lbs. He opened with an injury default win over Oscar Corolony of Colombia, then beat Giorgi Gobejishvili of Georgia, 4-1, 5-0. Williams will face Denis Targush of Russia in the semifinals.

Top ranked Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) won his only bout at 84 kg/185 lbs. to make the semifinals. He defeated Bryce Hasseman (Bloomsburg, Pa./New York AC), 6-0, 3-0 in the quarterfinals. Lawal will wrestle Greg Parker (New York, N.Y./New York AC) in the semfinal round.

The only 2005 U.S. World Team member to lose during the morning session was Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 84 kg/185 lbs. in Greco-Roman. Vering opened with a victory over Hristo Marinov of Bulgaria, 3-0, 3-0. However, in the quarterfinals, Vering was hit with a third caution and was disqualified, losing to Denis Zdorikov of Uzbekistan.

An upset occurred in the first round at the 66 kg/145.5 lbs. division in Greco-Roman, when James Shillow (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marines) stopped 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Akaki Chachua of Georgia, when Chachua was disqualified with a third caution. Shillow advanced to the semifinal round.

Another early first round upset occurred in the 96 kg/211.5 lbs division in Greco-Roman, when Phil Johnston (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) upset Mukhran Vakhtangadaze of Georgia, the 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, 4-4, 5-0, 1-1. Johnston was defeated in the next round, losing to Sweden's Jimmy Lidberg.

Also in the first round, 2004 Olympic champion Alexandr Dokturishivili, competing at 84 kg/185 lbs., stopped 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials runner-up Jacob Clark (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marines), 0-3, 5-0, 1-1. Dokturishvili moved on to qualify for the semifinals.

At 74 kg/163 lbs., 2001 World champion Nikolay Paslar of Bulgaria won his first two matches, beating Jim Stanec (Charlottesville, Va./Charlottesville WC), 4-0 4-0 and Tyrone Lewis (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC), 1-1, 5-2. He will also compete in the semifinal round.

2002 World bronze medalist Mohammed Abdel Fattah of Egypt won two matches to advance to the semifinals at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in Greco-Roman.

Dave Schultz Memorial International Semifinal pairings
Men's Freestyle

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Chris Bono (Ringgold, Ga./Sunkist Kids) vs. Evan McDonald (Canada)
Eric Larkin (Tucson, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) vs. Tsukasa Sato (Japan)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) vs. Denis Targush (Russia)
Nikolay Paslar (Bulgaria) vs. Matt Gentry (Stanford, Calif./Sunkist Kids)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Eveney Kolomets (Russia) vs. Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC)
Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) vs. Greg Parker (New York, N.Y./New York AC)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Nik Fekete (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) vs. Sean Stender (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids)
Nick Preston (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) vs. Vincent Aka Akesse (France)

Men's Greco-Roman

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Harry Lester (Akron, Ohio/USOEC/Gator WC) vs. Marcel Cooper (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)
James Shillow (Quantico, Va./U.S. Marines) vs. Tae Kyung-Jun (Korea)

74 kg/163 lbs.
T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) vs. Brandon McNab (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)
Cheney Haight (Marquette, Mich./USOEC/New York AC) vs. Jess Hargrave (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Denis Zdorikov (Uzbekistan) vs. John Wechter (E. Lansing, Mich./Sunkist Kids)
Aaron Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) vs. Alexandr Doktorishvili (Uzbekistan)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Justin Ruiz (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) vs. Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden)
Kaloyan Dinchev (Bulgaria) vs. Mohammed Abdel Fattah (Egypt)

Semifinals are set for 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time, followed by the completion of the tournament later in the session.
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