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|WEEKEND UPDATE: Americans win three bronze medals in final Golden Grand Prix event|
By Craig Sesker and Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
It wasn't exactly the type of performance the United States men's freestyle team was looking for.
But the good news is that the American team still has another three months to train and prepare for the World Championships on Sept. 26-Oct. 2 in Guangzhou, China.
Three U.S. wrestlers won bronze medals at the Golden Grand Prix final event in Baku, Azerbaijan, June 25. It was the first competition for many of the Americans since the U.S. World Team Trials a month ago in Sioux City, Iowa.
Winning bronze medals in Baku were Sammie Henson (Flintstone, Ga./Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs., Bill Zadick (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 84 kg/185 lbs.
"Our guys looked sluggish," said National Freestyle Coach Kevin Jackson. "That said, we made several mistakes to lose matches we should have won."
Henson won his first match against Namig Sevdimov of Azerbaijan, 6-0, 2-0, but was defeated in his next bout by 2005 World silver medalist Radoslav Velikov of Bulgaria, 3-1, 0-2, 0-6. Henson received a bye in the next round to capture the bronze.
Henson was a 1998 World champion and a 2000 Olympic silver medalist.
Zadick competed in a four-athlete round-robin, and finished with a 1-2 record to place third. He opened with a 1-1, 2-1, 4-5 loss to 2005 World champion Alan Dudaev of Russia. His second match was a victory over Askerov of Azerbaijan, 1-1, 2-0, 3-0. He dropped his final match to eventual champion Andrey Sementzov of Russia by scores of 0-1, 1-4.
Zadick was seventh in the 2001 World Championships and has qualified for the 2006 U.S. World Team.
Lawal was defeated in his opening match, losing to eventual champion Reza Yazdani of Iran, 1-0, 0-2, 0-1. Lawal won by forfeit in the wrestlebacks, which allowed him to receive a bronze medal. Lawal was seventh at the 2005 World Championships.
Two Americans placed fifth - Donny Pritzlaff (Northport, N.Y./New York AC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and 2005 World bronze medalist Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Both finished with 0-2 records.
The other U.S. wrestler in the field, 2006 World Team Trials champion Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) did not place. He lost his only bout at 84 kg/185 lbs.
According to FILA, champions in each weight class in Azerbaijan earned $5,000 apiece with $3,000 awarded to each silver medalist and $1,000 apiece going to the two bronze medalists in each division.
Pennsylvania teams sweep titles at Cadet Duals
Powerful Pennsylvania proved it is still one of the nation's premier wrestling states when it swept the titles at the Cadet Dual National Championships on June 22-26 in Kansas City, Mo.
The Pennsylvania freestyle team edged Missouri 37-33 in the finals before the Pennsylvania Greco-Roman team followed suit by beating Missouri 41-30 in the championship dual.
Junior Duals are underway in Oklahoma City
The Junior Dual National Championships for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling are underway in Oklahoma City, Okla. The event moves to Oklahoma City after previously being held in Enid, Okla.
The Junior Duals started on Tuesday, June 27, and are set to conclude on Sunday, July 2.
Coming Up: U.S. World Team Trials for women's freestyle
The countdown continues for the U.S. World Team Trials for women. The final qualifier for the World Championships is set for June 30 at the Colorado Springs Christian High School.
The top finisher in each of the seven weight classes will earn a trip to the World meet on Sept. 26-Oct. 2 in Guangzhou, China.
The seven champions from April's U.S. Nationals - Clarissa Chun (105.5), Patricia Miranda (112), Sharon Jacobson (121), Sally Roberts (130), Sara McMann (138.75), Katie Downing (147.5) and Kristie Marano (158.5) - each receive byes into the best-of-3 finals at the World Team Trials. Chun, Miranda, McMann and Downing each compete for the Sunkist Kids. Jacobson and Roberts are with the Gator Wrestling Club and Marano is with the New York Athletic Club.
Chun will compete at a later date in the best-of-3 finals since she is still recovering from minor knee surgery. As the champion at the U.S. Nationals, Chun reserves the right to compete later on in a special wrestle-off if she is injured.
The women's event is being held separately for the men this year because of a conflict with the World Cup. The women competed in the World Cup in Japan shortly before the World Team Trials for men's freestyle and Greco-Roman were held last month in Sioux City, Iowa.