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Four Americans can still win bronze medals at Takhti Cup in Iran

BANDAR ABBAS, Iran - Four American wrestlers still have opportunities for medals in the second day of the Takhti Cup on Friday at Fodger Sports Hall.

With four weight classes contested, Americans Zach Roberson, Andy Hrovat, Ramico Blackmon, and Lee Fullhart each have the opportunity to wrestle back for bronze medals after being beaten in the morning session.

At 60 kg/132 lbs., Roberson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) defeated Mehdi Rahimi of Iran 2-0, 0-1, 1-1 before falling to Iran's Saeed Ahmadi 1-0, 1-0 in the next round.

In his first match, Roberson earned two takedowns in the first period while Rahimi managed the only takedown of the second period. In the final period, both wrestlers tied up before going out of bounds. Roberson's foot landed first, and it cost him a point. In the final seconds, Roberson had control at the 12-second mark, and took almost every second left before forcing Rahimi out of bounds to win the match..

"I knew there was only 12 seconds left," Roberson said. "I couldn't finish and it took me until the last second to get him out of bounds."

In Roberson's second match, Ahmadi pushed Roberson out of bounds and won the deciding point, and the match. As Ahmadi advanced to the Gold medal match, Roberson will now have the opportunity to wrestle for third in the evening session.

At 74 kg/163 lbs., Blackmon (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) dec. Iran's Habib Razani 1-0, 1-0 in the first round before he fell 1-0, 1-0 to Hadi Habibi.

In Blackmon's first match, neither wrestler was able to score during regulation and Blackmon won the toss at the end of each period to determine who would execute the clinch. Blackmon made the most of the two leg clinches to seal the victory.

In Blackmon's second match, Habibi scored a takedown in the first period and forced Blackmon out of bounds for the only point of the second period. It was a case of neither wrestler being able to mount an attack during the contest.

"I didn't get my offense going and that's why I ended up in a clinch," Blackmon said. "I wasn't able to change levels as I should have been doing."

At 84 kg/185 lbs., Tony Gansen fell to Iran's M.B. Aali 4-0, 2-2, 8-1 in the first round.

Gansen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) fell behind on two leg attacks by Aali, the last for three points in the first period. Aali managed to trip Gansen for the first point of the second period, before Gansen countered a double leg with a front headlock for two points. Aali picked up a takedown with one second remaining, but the two-point move gave the bout to Gansen in spite of the tie. The third period was a different story as Aali took Gansen to his back and threw in a gut wrench that provided the margin of victory. Gansen was able to push Aali out of bounds, but was taken to his back in the closing seconds.

Also at 84 kg, Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) defeated Iran's J. Mirzaee 0-2, 2-0, 1-0 in the first round before beating Iran's Vagozari 3-1, 6-1. He then fell 1-0, 1-0 to Iran's Mishdi Mansouri 1-0, 1-0 in the semifinals

In Hrovat's first match, Mirzaee attacked at the whistle for a takedown, and later pushed Hrovat out of bounds. In the second period, Hrovat recovered and countered with a front body lock that gave him two points for the win. After a scoreless third period, Hrovat won the toss and the match.

After the match, Hrovat said, "I have got to change my game plan and force them to shoot. When I got the front head lock I needed to score."

In his second match, Hrovat took Vagozari to the mat with a front headlock, and gave a point back when he stepped out of bounds near the end of the first period. In the second period, Hrovat shot a double leg on Vagozari and drove him to the mat before locking him in with a gut wrench. Hrovat wrestled in control throughout the match.

In the semifinals, both periods ended without a score as neither wrestler was able to force the action. Hrovat lost the toss for the clinch each time.

Also at 84 kg, Fullhart fell to Iran's Amiri Tatari 1-0, 1-0. After losing the first period in the clinch against Tatari, Fullhart (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) was taken down in the second period with a leg attack from Tatari at the mid-point of the period.

At 120 kg/264.5 lbs., Michael Irving defeated Hamed Zareian of Iran 0-1, 4-0, 3-1 before falling 3-1, 2-2 to Iran's Seyed Mohammad Azarshakib.

In his first match, Irving (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) stepped out of bounds in the first period, but started the second period with a takedown and a counter off of a single leg attack, forcing Zareian to his back. In the third period, Irving built a three-point lead off of two takedowns before stepping out of bounds near the end of the period.

In Irving's second match, Azarshakib countered Irving and scored a takedown and a gut wrench for the first-period win. In the second period, Azarshakib scored first with a spin behind, while Irving's duck under tied the match. Irving was pushed out of bounds in the final seconds to lose the contest.

Coach Terry Brands summed up the morning for the USA. "We need to open up and not wrestle at the pace of our opponents by taking multiple chances and learning to go get the points."

The U.S. won two medals on the event's first day on Thursday. Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) won a gold medal at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. while Henry Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) won a silver medal at 55 kg/121 lbs.

World Silver Medalist Mike Zadick (Solon, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) did not compete at 60 kg/132 lbs. because of a hand injury.

At Bandar Abbas, Iran, Jan. 19

U.S. performances

60 kg/132 lbs. - Mike Zadick, Solon, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
Did not enter due to injury

60 kg/132 lbs. - Zach Roberson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
WIN M. Rahimi (Iran), 2-0, 0-1, 1-1
LOSS Saeed Ahmadi (Iran), 1-0, 1-0

74 kg/163 lbs. - Ramico Blackmon, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
WIN H. Razani (Iran), 1-0, 1-0
LOSS Hadi Habibi (Iran), 1-0, 1-0

84 kg/185 lbs. - Andy Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
WIN J. Mirzaee (Iran), 0-2, 2-0, 1-0
WIN Saeed Vagozari (Iran), 3-1, 6-1
LOSS Mishdi Mmansouri, 1-0, 1-0

84 kg/185 lbs. - Lee Fullhart, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
LOSS Amiri Tatari (Iran), 1-0, 1-0

84 kg/185 lbs. - Tony Gansen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS M.B. Aali (Iran), 4-0, 2-2, 8-1

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Michael Irving, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
WIN Hamed Zareian (Iran), 0-1, 4-0, 3-1
LOSS Seyed Mohammad Azarshakib, 3-1, 2-1
Untitled Document
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