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|Four U.S. wrestlers win gold medals at Henri Deglane Challenge in France|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
NICE, FRANCE - Four U.S. wrestlers won individual gold medals at the Henri Deglane Challenge on Nov. 23-25.
Claiming gold medals in men's freestyle were Jared Lawrence (Roseville, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 145.5 pounds and Joe Heskett (Columbus, Ohio/Gator WC) at 163 pounds. Winning gold medals in women's freestyle were Chelynne Pringle (Hugo, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Randi Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.
The United States won team titles in the men's freestyle and the women's freestyle divisions, and placed fourth as a team in men's Greco-Roman.
The tournament offers a unique format with five weight classes for men's freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, and three weight classes offered for women's freestyle. There are seven weight classes in each style in most international events.
Lawrence won four matches in the tournament, all against foreign opponents. In the semifinals, he stopped Dykun Myroslav of Great Britain and in the gold-medal match, he defeated Zhirair Houhannisyan of Armenia.
It was the second straight week that Lawrence has won a gold medal at an international event, after also capturing a title at the American Airlines/New York AC Holiday International in New York City, Nov. 18-19.
Heskett won all three of his matches, including a victory over 2000 Olympic silver medalist Arsen Gitinov of Russia in the gold-medal finals. He also stopped Carsevan Vardanyan of Armenia in the semifinals. Heskett has won a number of medals at this event in the past, but this was his first Henri Deglane Challenge title.
"Both of the U.S. men's freestyle champions looked very solid," said Izzy Izboinikov, USA Wrestling's National Women's Resident Coach who was with the U.S. delegation. "In both finals matches, they were very dominant. They executed their game plans very well. For Joe Heskett, who has won a medal three other times, the goal was to win. The fourth time was a charm, and he got the job done. Jared Lawrence was very sharp, and aggressive with his leg attacks. His family was there with him, and it was inspiring for him."
Pringle won four matches in a five-athlete roundrobin, pinning all of her opponents. Included were victories over runner-up Nadine Tokar of Switzerland and bronze medalist Isabelle Ladeveze of the REU Club.
Miller won three matches in a four-athlete roundrobin, including a victory over U.S. teammate Elena Prizokhov, who won a silver medal. It was a change from the finals at the Sunkist Kids International earlier this year, when Pirozkhov beat Miller. It was Miller's second international title of the fall season, to go along with a victory at the Clansman International in Canada.
"From the first day there, Chelynne was very confident," said Izboinkov. "She came here straight from the New York AC Tournament. She handled herself very well. She had four pins, but none of them came easily. It was her best performance yet."
"Randi wrestled well. It was her second straight international win. She is on a roll. She has found her niche and is determined. She comes to win and it shows in her wrestling," said Izboinikov.
Silver medals were captured by Pirozkhov and Vanessa Oswalt (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 63 kg/138.75 pounds in women's freestyle, plus men's freestyle wrestlers Clint Wattenberg (Ithaca, N.Y./New York AC at 84 kg/185 pounds and Nik Fekete (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 96 kg/211.5 pounds and men's Greco-Roman wrestler R.C. Johnson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 96 kg/211.5 pounds.
Winning bronze medals were men's freestyle wrestler Nate Gallick (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 60 kg/132 pounds and men's Greco-Roman wrestler John Wechter (East Lansing, Mich./Sunkist Kids) at 84 kg/185 pounds.
In men's freestyle, the USA won the team title, scoring 46 points, ahead of runner-up Russia with 39 points and third-place Armenia with 33 points. In women's freestyle, the USA placed first with 29 points, ahead of runner-up France with 24 points and third place Switzerland with 15 points.
The U.S. was fourth in the men's Greco-Roman standings with 27 points. Russia won the team title, followed by Armenia and France.
Women's freestyle results
Men's freestyle results
Men's Greco-Roman results