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Trio of Greco wrestlers go medal-less at Worlds
For the first time in the seven-day 2014 World Championships, the United States left the Gymnastics Palace in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Day 6 without a medal as three Greco-Roman wrestlers — Bryce Saddoris, Joe Rau and Robby Smith — failed to place in the top three of their weight classes on Saturday.
Saddoris, who earned a spot in this year’s Worlds — hosted by United World Wrestling (formerly FILA) — when RaVaughn Perkins tested positive for a diuretic following the World Team Trials in June, split a pair of bouts at 145.5 pounds.
In the opening round, Saddoris — a graduate from the Naval Academy who now represents the U.S. Marines — trailed Loiqi Amirkhanzode of Tajikistan 2-0 before Saddoris caught his foe in a bear hug and scored a fall in 1:26.
Unfortunately, Saddoris lost 1-0 in round two to Revaz Lashkhi of Georgia as the only point came when Saddoris was called for passivity with 45 seconds left in the bout. The native of Sneeds Ferry, N.C., was eliminated from his first Worlds when Lashkhi lost in the quarterfinals.
“I would have loved to have that (passivity) call,” Saddoris told TheMat.com. “I put in my mindset that I was not going to get any calls. It boils down to you have to be able to score. To medal at the Senior level, you have to score points when you need them, especially in the last 30 seconds.”
Rau, a native of Chicago, and also competing in his first Worlds, lost by fall to Jonas Bossert of Switzerland after leading the 176-pound first-round bout, 4-2. A loss by the Swiss wrestler in Round 2 also ended Rau’s day.
“I felt like I wrestled great – except for that one big mistake,” Rau told TheMat.com. “I was taking it to him and I was thinking tech. The coaches said I got overexcited and got in bad position. Lesson learned. It’s crushing and disappointing. I really felt like I should have had that win.”
Smith, who placed fifth in the 2013 Worlds, also split two bouts at 286 pounds. After defeating Jon Won Hwang of South Korea, 8-2, the native of San Ramon, Calif., lost by a 9-0 technical fall in the quarterfinals to Bulgaria’s Lyubomir Dimitrov, who scored seven points off five gut wrenches when the American was placed in par terre. Smith was eliminated when Dimitrov was pinned by Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp in the semifinals.
“I didn’t wrestle my best at all,” Smith told TheMat.com. “I felt sluggish. It’s all on me – I lost. I got caught in a gut wrench and I couldn’t stop him. I wasn’t on my game today.”
“It’s a tough tournament,” U.S. coach Matt Lindland said. “The guys are wrestling the best in the world. Each guy, you have to talk about individually. Everybody made a couple of mistakes and you can’t make any here at the World level. You have to be on your game the day of the tournament.”
The 2014 Worlds will wrap up on Sunday with three more Greco-Roman weight classes. Spenser Mango, a two-time Olympian who is competing in his fourth Worlds, will wrestle at 130 pounds. Justin Lester, a two-time World bronze medalist, is wrestling at 156 pounds. And Caylor Williams is entered in his second straight Worlds at 216 pounds.
Overall, the United States has claimed six medals in the 2014 Worlds: two in men’s freestyle (bronze medals by Jordan Burroughs and Tervel Dlagnev), three in women’s freestyle (gold by Adeline Gray, silver by Elena Pirozhkova and bronze by Helen Maroulis) and a bronze medal by Andy Bisek in Greco.
Note: Cuba’s heavyweight Mijian Lopez captured his fifth World championship and defeated a pair of former World champs in the process. First the Cuban beat Russia’s Beylal Makhov, 1-0, in the semifinals. The Russian had won three World titles in men’s freestyle before switching to Greco and eventually claimed a bronze medal. Lopez then defeated Turkey’s Riza Kayaalp, 2-0, in the gold-medal bout. Kayaalp had defeated Lopez for the World championship in 2011.
2014 World Championships
Day 6 • Greco-Roman • Sept. 13
Gymnastics Palace, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Greco-Roman Medal Matches on Sept. 13
66 kg/145.5 pounds
Gold Medal — Davor Stefanek (Serbia) dec. Omid Noroozi (Iran), 7-3
Bronze Medals — Tamas Lorincz (Hungary) pinned Frank Staebler (Germany)
Edgaras Venckaitis (Lithuania) pinned Hasan Aliyev (Azerbaijan)
80 kg/176 pounds
Gold Medal — Peter Bacsi (Hungary) dec. Evgeni Saleev (Russia), 2-1
Bronze Medals — Selcuk Cebi (Turkey) dec. Bozo Starcevic (Croatia), 1-0
Jim Pettersson (Sweden) dec. Tadeusz Michalik (Poland), 4-0
130 kg/286 pounds
Gold Medal — Mijain Lopez (Cuba) dec. Riza Kayaalp (Turkey), 2-0
Bronze Medals — Heiki Nabi (Estonia) dec. Lyubomir Dimitrov (Bulgaria), 1-0
Bilial Makhov (Russia) won by TF over Eduard Popp (Germany), 9-0
U.S. Greco-Roman results on Sept. 13
66 kg/145.5 pounds – Bryce Saddoris, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines), dnp
Pinned Loiqi Amirkhanzode (Tajikistan), 1:26
Lost to Revaz Lashkhi (Georgia), 1-0
80 kg/176 pounds – Joe Rau, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), dnp
Lost by fall to Jonas Bossert (Switzerland), fall 4:11
130 kg/286 pounds – Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), dnp
Defeated Jon Won Hwang (Korea), 8-2
Lost by TF to Lyubomir Dimitrov (Bulgaria), 9-0