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UPDATED: Escobedo wins gold medal at Ziolkowski International in Poland

Angel Escobedo of the New York AC is shown in action at the 2010 World Team Trials in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Larry Slater photo

SPALA, Poland – Angel Escobedo (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) claimed a gold medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. in men’s freestyle on the first day of the Ziolkowski International on Saturday.

Escobedo defeated Mikhail Zakharov of Kyrgyzstan in the gold-medal finals, 3-0, 1-0. Zakharov was a 2008 University World silver medalist.

He won three bouts on the way to the title. Escobedo opened with a 0-3, 1-1, 5-2 win over three-time African champion Diatta Abama of Senegal in the quarterfinals, then stopped Yerkebala Turginbayev of Kazakhstan, 1-0, 1-0 in the semifinals.

Escobedo is currently ranked No. 2 in the USA at his division. He was second at both the 2010 U.S. Open and the 2010 World Team Trials. He is a former NCAA champion at Indiana University.

"I'm proud of the way Angel's progressing and improving everyday. Although he went to too many clinches in the finals, he just got his first major tournament championship. For just coming out of college, that shows he's coming along as planned," said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones.

Jones is impressed with his enthusiasm and commitment.

"He just tried to enter in the 60 kg bracket tomorrow, but the tournament wouldn't let him wrestle. I guess its some FILA rule. The bottom line is the guy likes to compete and takes the challenge everyday we put in front of them. This will be good preparation for the University Worlds," said Jones.

Escobedo is the only U.S. athlete who competed on Saturday.

Two other Americans will wrestle on Sunday, Trent Paulson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Tommy Rowlands (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Both have weighed in and received their first-round draws, which is posted below.

At Spala, Poland, August 7

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Angel Escobedo (USA)
Silver - Mikhail Zakharov (Kyrgyzstan)
Bronze – Mikhail Ivanov (Russia)
Bronze –Adama Diatta (Senegal)
5th – Francisco Sanchez (Spain)
5th – Yerkebala Turginbayev (Kazakhstan)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold – Innokenti Innokentev (Kyrgyzstan)
Silver – Mostafa Hosseinkhani (Iran)
Bronze – Albert Batyrov (Belarus)
Bronze – Akzhurek Tantatov (Kazakhstan)
5th – Rostyslav Pervachuk (Ukraine)
5th – Andrzej Sokolski (Poland)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold – Taimuraz Tigiev (Kazakhstan)
Silver – Daulet Shabanbay (Kazakhstan)
Bronze – Przemyslaw Maczak (Poland)
Bronze – Khadzhimurat Gatsalov (Russia)
5th – Reza Yazdani (Iran)
5th – Radoslaw Dublinowski (Poland)

U.S. freestyle performances on Saturday

55 kg/121 lbs. – Angel Escobedo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 1st
WIN Adama Diatta (Senegal), 0-3, 1-1, 5-2
WIN Yerkebala Turginbayev (Kazakhstan), 1-0, 1-0
WIN Mikhail Zakharov (Kyrgyzstan), 3-0, 1-0

U.S. first round draws on Sunday

74 kg/163 lbs. – Trent Paulson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
vs. Dan Palinkas (Slovakia)

120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tommy Rowlands, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
vs. Vadym Tasoev (Ukraine)

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