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U.S. splits duals in Russia, losing 7-0 to national team and beating local all-stars 4-3

NALCHEK, RUSSIA - A team of U.S. freestyle wrestlers split a pair of dual meets against Russian opponents on January 30.

The Russian National Team stopped Team USA, 7-0, in the first dual meet, then the United States defeated the Regional All-Stars, 4-3.

The team competed in these matches two days after wrestling in the Ivan Yarygin International in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Jan. 27-28.

Russia's National Team, featuring the athletes who are considered No. 1 in their nation, swept all seven matches over the U.S. wrestlers, although a number of bouts were very close.

World and Olympic champion Khadjimurad Gatsalov of Russia edged Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC), 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

"He had him on the ropes," said National Freestyle Coach Kevin Jackson of Lawal's effort. "Mo had a chance to win it in the third period, but didn't close the deal."

At 55 kg/121 lbs., 2006 World silver medalist Besik Kudukhov stopped Henry Cejudo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), 4-0, 4-3.

"Henry had a 3-1 lead with 40 seconds left, and lost it on two ankle laces at the end of the second period," said Jackson.

The other winners for Russia were all past World or Olympic champions:- Mavlet Batirov at 60 kg/132 lbs., Irbek Farniev at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Makhach Murtazaliev at 74 kg/163 lbs., Sajid Sajidov at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Kuramagomed Kuramagomedov at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

In the dual meet against the regional all-star team, four U.S. wrestlers claimed victories.

Cejudo, a 2006 Junior World silver medalist, stopped Timur, 3-5, 2-0, 5-0.

At 60 kg/132 lbs., 2005 World Team member Michael Lightner (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) beat Mulet, 1-2, 2-2, 4-0.

Zack Esposito (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) beat 2005 World champion Alan Dudaev, 1-0, 2-0 at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

"He looked very good for his first major international tour," said Jackson about Esposito.

At 84 kg/185 lbs., 2006 World Team member Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) beat Aushayev, 2-3, 1-0, 2-0.

"The National Coaches were really disappointed with the effort we got from the guys in Krasnoyarsk. The competitive edge and the competitive toughness were not there. Today, however, they showed the American spirit. They fought hard and tried to win every match. We have some areas we need to address when we get back from here to get to where we need to be. But the guys competed hard under these conditions today," said Jackson.

55 kg/121 lbs. - Besik Kudukhov (Russia) dec. Henry Cejudo (USA), 4-0, 4-3
60 kg/132 lbs. - Mavlet Batirov (Russia) dec. Nate Gallick (USA), 3-0, 2-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Irbek Farniev (Russia) dec. Jared Frayer (USA), 4-1, 1-3, 3-2
74 kg/163 lbs. - Makhach Murtazaliev (Russia) dec. Donny Pritzlaff (USA), 3-0, 3-0
84 kg/185 lbs. - Sajid Sajidov (Russia) dec. Tyrone Lewis (USA), 3-0, 2-0
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Khadjimurad Gatsalov (Russia) dec. Mo Lawal (USA), 1-0, 1-1, 2-1
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Kuramagomed Kuramagomedov (Russia) dec. Tommy Rowlands (USA), 2-0, 5-0

55 kg/121 lbs. - Henry Cejudo (USA) dec. Timur (Nalchek), 3-5, 2-0, 5-0
60 kg/132 lbs. - Michael Lightner (USA) dec. Mulet (Nalchek), 1-2, 2-2, 4-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Zack Esposito (USA) dec. Alan Dudaev (Nalchek), 1-0, 2-0
74 kg/163 lbs. - Denis Tsargush (Nalchek) dec. Joe Heskett (USA), 2-0, 0-1, 1-0
84 kg/185 lbs. - Andy Hrovat (USA) dec. Aushayev (Nalchek), 2-3, 1-0, 2-0
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Shirvani Muradov (Nalchek) dec. Mo Lawal (USA), 1-0, 2-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Bilyal Makhov (Nalchek) dec. Mike Faust (USA), 1-1. 1-0

Exhibition - Exhibition - Artur Taymazov (Uzbekistan/Nalchek) dec. Tommy Rowlands (USA), 3-0, 7-0
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