HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – After dropping the first bout, the United States stormed back to win the next six bouts and defeat Russia, 6-1, in a men’s freestyle dual meet at the Mack Center at Hofstra University. Thousands of fans attended and cheered Team USA to victory.
The U.S. team featured seven wrestlers who have been past members of U.S. World Teams, while the Russian lineup featured numerous young stars with considerable international experience.
Russia opened with a victory, as 2010 Junior World bronze medalist Rasul Mashezov of Russia stopped 2010 U.S. World Team member Obe Blanc (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC), 1-0, 1-1. Mashezov won the first period on a clinch, then scored the last point to take the second period.
At 60 kg/132 lbs., 2008 U.S. World Team member Shawn Bunch (Columbus, Ohio/Gator WC) defeated Petr Sivtcev of Russia, 5-1, 6-5. Bunch dominated the first period, but fell behind in the second period when Sivtcev stepped over on him and put Bunch to his back. Bunch rebounded with two late takedowns, followed by a gutwrench with 10 seconds on the clock for the win
2010 U.S. World Team member Brent Metcalf (Iowa City, Iowa/New York AC), swept his match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. over Rasul Murtazaliev of Russia, 1-1, 3-0. Metcalf won the first period with a takedown in the last 20 seconds of the period, then took the second period with a takedown and two ankle laces.
In an exciting three period bout at 74 kg/163 lbs., 2009 U.S. World Team member Trent Paulson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) defeated 2010 European silver medalist Magomedmurad Gadziev of Russia, 2-1, 2-3, 5-3. The wrestlers split the first two periods, and Paulson fell behind 3-2 in the deciding third period. With just 10 seconds left, Paulson hit a three-point bodylock on the edge for the exciting win.
The next two matches were both decided in the clinch, as neither U.S. or Russian athlete were able to score a takedown.
At 84 kg/185 lbs., 2009 World silver medalist Jake Herbert (Evanston, Ill./New York AC) stopped 2009 Junior World champion Koloy Kortoev of Russia, 0-1, 2-0, 1-0. Herbert lost the clinch in the first period, but came back to score from the offensive position in the clinch in the second and third period.
At 96 kg/211.5 lbs., 2010 U.S. World Team member J.D. Bergman (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) won clinches after both periods to defeat Marat Ibragimov of Russia, 1-0, 1-0.
Closing out the evening with another American win was 2009 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) who stopped talented young Kirill Gotovtsev of Russia, 1-0, 2-1. Dlagnev scored a late pushout to win the first period, then hit a clutch two-point takedown in the second period for the win.
“It was a combination of things, one being the will of the American people,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones. “Our guys wanted to win. They know we can beat the Russians. They were more determined than ever. We had a lot of the best Americans here and they wanted to get out of here with a win.”
Jones praised the young Russian squad who came out and wrestled hard.
“Every one of them are on their national team. Make no mistake about it, that was a good team. Those guys know how to wrestle. It was a good win for our team,” said Jones.
Jones was also pleased with the strong support from the U.S. fans in attendance.
“It felt like there was 100,000 people out there. They were stomping and cheering. The New York people came out to support America’s team tonight. It made a difference,” said Jones.