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UPDATE: No U.S. medalists on first day of Ramzan Kadyrov Cup in Russia

GROZNY, Russia – U.S. wrestlers fell short of the medal rounds on the opening day of men’s freestyle action at the Ramzan Kadyrov Cup on Saturday.

The athlete who had the longest run was Angel Escobedo (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) at 55 kg/121 lbs., who finished with a 2-2 record and was one match shy of a bronze-medal bout.

Escobedo won his first two matches, stopping Andrey Komar of Belarus and Galib Aliev of Azerbaijan. In the quarterfinals, he was defeated by Artas Sanaa of Russia. Sanaa won bronze medals at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia and the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals in Azerbaijan earlier this year. After Sanaa reached the finals, Escobedo was drawn back into the repechage.

In his first repechage match, Escobedo fell to Kamran Fatkulaev of Russia. Had he won, he would have been in a bronze-medal bout.

Winning his first match at 84 kg/185 lbs. was Max Askren (Somers, N.Y. /New York AC), who opened with a victory over Vladislav Valiev of Russia. He was defeated in the next round by Ilya Khamikoev of Azerbaijan, and when Khamikoev didn’t reach the finals, Askren was eliminated from the event.

Seven U.S. wrestlers dropped their first match and were eliminated when their opponents failed to reach the finals.

Russia won three of the four gold medals, including victories by 2011 World bronze medalist Albert Saritov at 84 kg/185 lbs. and 2008 Junior World champion Nariman Israpilov at 55 kg/121 lbs.

"It pains me deep inside to say the Russians got the better of Team USA today. The Russians competed like they were wrestling for $20,000 - for money to send home to feed their family. As a whole, Team USA competed too tight, too cautious, too straightforward, and too sloppy during crucial times. You can't compete that way if you desire to medal in Grozny. This tournament is ultra gritty, intense, and packed full of scrappy Russians. Besides the Yarygin tournament in Krasnoyarsk at the end of January, this is the toughest tournament in the world beside the World and Olympic Games. Therefore, to do well here today, we needed to bring our very best, and we didn't. However, we have all the video and key areas of concentration with lessons that each guy needs to work on heading into NYAC International and France to finish 2012 and build into 2013," said Assistant National Coach Brandon Slay.

Three more weight classes will be contested on Sunday.

"Tomorrow we have two past World Team members in Reece Humphrey and Les Sigman competing as well 2012 University World Team members Jimmy Kennedy and Colt Sponseller. Colt won a bronze there," said Slay. "I believe our group of four men tomorrow will compete to a much higher 'dog fight' level. They need to wrestle like they are competing for money to feed their immediate AND extended family!"

At Grozny, Russia, Oct. 13

Men’s freestyle results

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - Nariman Israpilov (Russia)
Silver - Artas Sanaa (Russia)
Bronze - Artem Gebek (Russia)
Bronze - Ismail Musukaev (Russia)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold - Rasul Dzhukaev (Russia)
Silver - Exiled Ramonov (Russia)
Bronze - Ildus Giniyatullin (Russia)
Bronze - Rustam Maskhadov (Russia)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Gold - Albert Saritov (Russia)
Silver - Habib Abdullayev (Russia)
Bronze - Ilyas Hamikoev (Azerbaijan)
Bronze - Bekhan Kurkiev (Russia)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Gold - Alan Dzebisov (Azerbaijan)
Silver - Felix Tsarikaev (Russia)
Bronze - Alexander Kusrayev (Russia)
Bronze - Khizir Durgaev (Russia)

U.S. men’s freestyle performances

55 kg/121 lbs. – Frank Perrelli, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC)
LOSS Azamat Tuskaev (Russia)

55 kg/121 lbs. – Zach Sanders, Lauderdale, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Gabib Aliev (Azerbaijan)

55 kg/121 lbs. – Sam Hazewinkel, Norman, Okla. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Yashar Aliev (Azerbajain)

55 kg/121 lbs. – Angel Escobedo, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC)
WIN Andrey Komar (Belarus)
WIN Galib Aliev (Azerbaijan)
LOSS Artas Sanaa (Russia)
LOSS Kamran Fatkulaev (Russia)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Kevin LeValley, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Amir Berukov (Russia)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Adam Hall, New York, N.Y. (New York AC)
LOSS Rustam Maskhavo (Russia)

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Chase Pami, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Rislan Debirgadzhiev (Azerbaijan)

84 kg/185 lbs. – Tyrel Todd, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
LOSS Peter Tavgazov (Russia)

84 kg/185 lbs. – Max Askren, Somers, N.Y. (New York AC)
WIN Vladislav Valiev (Russia)
LOSS Ilya Khamikoev (Azerbaijan)

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