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U.S. freestyle wrestling team to compete in Takhti Cup in Iran, Jan. 18-19



A team of U.S. men's freestyle wrestlers will compete at the 2006 Takhti Cup in Bandar Abbas, Iran, January 18-19

Included on the 14-athlete U.S. roster is 2006 World silver medalist Mike Zadick (Solon, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) at 60 kg/132 lbs.

Also on the U.S. team is 2006 U.S. World Team member Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) at 84 kg/185 lbs., as well as 2005 U.S. World Team member Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Lawal placed seventh at the 2005 World Championships competing at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Three 2006 U.S. Nationals freestyle champions will be on the tour: Lawal, plus Henry Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Zach Roberson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 60 kg/132 lbs. Cejudo made history in 2006 by becoming the first high school wrestler to win a freestyle national title since USA Wrestling became the national governing body.

Other past U.S. Nationals champions on the team are Ramico Blackmon (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Lee Fullhart, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) at 84 kg/185 lbs. Fullhart was also a 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials runner-up.

Coaching the U.S. team will be USA Wrestling's National Freestyle Resident Coach Terry Brands, a two-time World champion and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, along with veteran coach Ed Giese of Woodale, Ill.

Among those on the delegation, athletes Blackmon, Hrovat and Fullhart have competed at previous Takhti Cup competitions in Iran.

USA Wrestling sponsored the first American sports team to compete in Iran after an absence of over 20 years, when a U.S. freestyle wrestling team competed in the 1998 Takhti Cup.

This will be the sixth time a U.S. team has competed in the Takhti Cup (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007). The U.S. also competed at the 1998 World Championships held in Tehran, Iran.

Iran has competed in wrestling in the United States a number of times. This included the 1995 World Championships in Atlanta, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1998 Junior World Championships in Primm, Nev., the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York City and the 2003 World Championships in New York City. In addition, the Iranian team competed in the World Cup held in the United States a number of times (1995 in Chattanooga, 1998 in Stillwater, 1999 in Spokane, 2000 in Fairfax, Va. and 2001 in Baltimore).

Updates from the Takhti Cup will be posted on TheMat.com.

U.S. LINEUP FOR TAKHTI CUP
55 kg/121 lbs. - Henry Cejudo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Matt Azevedo, Arroyo Grande, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Mike Zadick, Solon, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Zach Roberson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Jared Frayer, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Eric Larkin, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Ramico Blackmon, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Andy Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Lee Fullhart, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Tony Gansen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Mo Lawal, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Nik Fekete, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Kyle Cerminara, Lewiston, N.Y. (New York AC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Michael Irving, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
Coaches - Terry Brands, Colorado Springs, Colo. and Ed Giese, Woodale, Ill.
Trainer - Dr. Nick Accardo, Franklin, La.
Official - Roy Scott, Farmingville, N.Y.
Delegation - Rich Bender, Colorado Springs, Colo., Van Stokes, Clarksville, Tenn., Amir Bashiri, Atlanta, Ga.

TAKHTI CUP EVENT SCHEDULE
At Bandar Abbas, Iran, January 17-19

Wednesday, January 17
5:00 p.m. - Medical Examination for 55 kg, 66 kg, 96 kg
6:00 p.m. - Weigh-ins for 55 kg, 66 kg, 96 kg

Thursday, January 18
9:00 a.m. - Preliminary competition for 55 kg, 66 kg, 96 kg
2:00 p.m. - Medical Examination for 60 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
3:00 p.m. - Weigh-ins for 60 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
4:00 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
5:00 p.m. - Finals and award ceremonies for 55 kg, 66 kg, 96 kg

Friday, January 19
9:00 a.m. - Preliminary competition for 60 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
5:00 p.m. - Finals and award ceremonies for 60 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg
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