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Bisek captures second straight bronze on Day 1 of Worlds
By Mike Finn
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Andy Bisek didn’t care that he beat two World champions to claim his second straight bronze medal at the 2015 United World Wrestling World Championships.
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“I don’t know if it matters,” said Bisek about beating Iran’s Saeid Abdvali, the 2011 World champ, 3-0, in one of the two bronze-medal matches at 165 pounds in Orleans Arena Monday night … after Bisek also defeated Bulgaria’s Yavor Yanakiev, the 2007 World champion, in a repechage bout earlier in the day. “Anybody can beat a World champ any day. It’s beating whomever you have to beat on any given day.
The native of Chaska, Minn., who became the first American Greco-Roman wrestler to win two straight World bronze medals since Justin Harry Lester in 2006 and ’07, was just happy he had something else he lacked earlier in the day.
“I don’t feel like I opened up and didn’t wrestle to my ability and was disappointed,” said Bisek about his earlier loss. Bisek’s lone loss in five matches on Monday was to Denmark’s Mark Madsen. “I was able to regroup and come back.”
“Andy knows who he is,” said U.S. national team coach Matt Lindland. “He’s a grounded individual. He’s a solid human being who has a lot of character. It comes from being grounded and having a wife and kid. Being a World medalist is not who he is. He knows who he is and that makes him capable of doing this.”
The deciding points against the Iranian came in the second period when Abdvali was penalized for blocking a Bisek par-terre move with his legs.
“I was ready to dive down and get another lock,” said Bisek, who earlier defended a par-terre lift by the Iranian. “It wasn’t until he kind of fell off that I knew they were trying to call the cautions.”
Both Bisek and Lindland believe this victory will inspire the rest of the Greco-Roman team that competes over the next two days.
“The pressure is off now,” said Lindland, whose first three wrestlers were a combined 7-4 on the first day of the Worlds and will send out four more wrestles on Tuesday. “The rest of the guys can go out there and relax and have fun. They love Andy, who is an incredible leader. He’s a quiet and humble leader and all the guys look up to him. They are going to follow his lead and stay motivated.”
Bisek’s victory also took away some of the sting felt by the Greco team after seeing Nevada native Bryce Saddoris suffer a head injury earlier in the day when the 145.5 pounder lost a repechage bout to Algeria’s Terak Benaissa, 5-4. This came after Saddoris built a 4-0 lead in a repechage, but gave up four points in the final 30 seconds.
One reason for Saddoris’ late collapse was that he suffered a head injury during the bout and was taken to the hospital for tests after he was eliminated.
“Bryce has a big fracture (in his left orbital) and he’s going into surgery right now,” said Lindland during the medal-round matches. “It could be very serious and he’s in my prayers and I hope there’s a lot of American fans out there praying for him.”
Lindland believes the injury, caused by a head butt from Benaissa in the first period, led to the loss.
“Obviously, (Bryce) was not the same wrestler after the head injury as he was before that,” said Lindland. “He put four points on the board and was starting to get things rolling and the guy came over with a big head butt and continued to do it. The officials have to be willing to make the right calls. (The official) should have the guts to make the call, Caution and 2, and really enforce it.”
Before such setbacks, the first three American Greco-Roman wrestlers combined to start the day 5-0, including two straight wins by Bisek and Saddoris, who rallied to beat Konstatin Stas (Bulgaria), 6-1 by scoring the final six points.
“(Stas) was tired. All the coaches said, ‘We’re going to win the second period.’ They said keep the pace and it will happen,” said Saddoris, the native of Spring Creek, Nev., who had plenty of fans in the stand in the Orleans Arena. “I could hear the fans (cheering USA) and it was great. It boosts everything up, makes everything a little greater and feel less pain.”
Meanwhile Caylor Williams of Palm, Bay, Fla., went 1-1 on the day at 216 pounds. His victory was a pin against Davi Albino of Brazil. Williams’ third World Championships ended with a criteria loss to Bulgaria’s Elis Guri. Williams said he was taking “baby steps” at this World tournament.
“This was the first time I got my (gut) lift internationally and the first time I got a win at the Worlds so I’m pretty happy,” said Williams, a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program. “I’m just happy to be out here wrestling and fairly positive that when you grow, you grow in big jumps, that I will go from winning one match at the Worlds to winning the whole thing.”
Williams’ loss also was the star of four straight setbacks by the Americans, including quarterfinal losses by Saddoris and Bisek before Bisek closed out the early session with a 1-0 victory over Bulgaria’s Yanak Yanakiev to earn a second straight bronze medal bout.
“I think we have some tough guys and some great wrestlers,” said Lindland. “It’s unfortunate that the head injury happened to Bryce, but we had someone reach the bronze medal match. We are making progress and moving forward.”
United States Results from Day 1 of 2015 World Championships
66k/145.5 pounds — Bryce Saddoris (U.S. Marines/Spring Creek, Nev.)
1st round — def. Hugo Da Silva (Portugal), 3-0
Saddoris clinched the victory when he countered a takedown attempt by Da Silva with 37 seconds left for a 3-0 margin. Saddoris picked up first point when Da Silva was penalized for passivity one minute into the second period.
2nd round — def. Konstatin Stas (Bulgaria), 6-1
Trailing 1-0 after getting hit with a passivity call early in the second period, Saddoris responded with six straight points; first with a takedown at the 4:32 mark, then he used the par-terre advantage to score a pair of guts and take a 6-1 lead with 1:10 left.
Quarterfinal — lost to Frank Staebler (Germany), 5-0
The fifth-ranked German was leading 1-0 — off a first-period pushout — when he took advantage of Saddoris’ passivity and scored four points off a gut with 1:30 left in the match. Saddoris earned a repechage bout when Staebler defeated the world’s No. 1-ranked Davor Stefanek (Serbia), 5-1, in the semifinals.
Repechage — lost to Terak Benaissa (Algeria), 5-4
Saddoris actually jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead when he used a front headlock to take the Algerian to his back. Unfortunately, Saddoris was hit in the head, which forced him to first step out; giving Benaissa his first point. The Algerian eventually scored the final four points off a pair of guts in the closing 30 seconds after Saddoris was placed down in par terre.
Gold Medal — Frank Staebler (Germany) def. Hansu Ryu (Korea), 4-1
Bronze Medal — Davor Stefanek (Serbia) def. Tarek Aziz Benaissa (Algeria), 4-0
Bronze Medal — Artem Surkov (Russia) def. Migran Arutyunyan (Armenia), 6-2
75k/165 pounds — Andy Bisek (Minnesota Storm / Chaska, MInn.)
1st round — def. Luis Avendano Rojas (Venezuela) 5-2
Trailing 2-0, Bisek earned his first point when Rojas was called for passivity at the 3:38 mark, then used the par-terre advantage to score a pair of guts to lead 5-2 at the 3:53 mark. Rojas scored his two points at the 2:21 mark when Bisek was put down for passivity and the Venezuelan scored on a two-point gut.
2nd round — def. Singh Gurpreet (India), 6-4
Bisek scored his first four points on a pair of guts off a par-terre advantage at the 2:10 mark. After Gurpreet cut the margin to 4-2 on a duck-under in the final five seconds of the first period, Bisek bulled over the Indian for a takedown and a 6-2 lead at the 3:31 mark. Gurpreet scored the final two points on another duck-under with one minute left.
Quarterfinal — lost by TF to Mark Madsen (Denmark), 9-0
Madsen, the three-time silver medalist, used a pair of four-point moves — the first at the 1:30 mark and then with one minute into the second period when he lifted Bisek with a gut and took him back to the mat — for the technical fall. Bisek earned a repechage bout when Madsen defeated Iran’s Saeid Abdvali on criteria in the semifinals.
Repechage — def. Yavor Yanakiev (Bulgaria), 1-0
The only point of the match came in the second period when Yanakiev was called for passivity a second time. It appeared that Bisek had scored at least two points when he fought off a par-terre disadvantage and jumped on top of the Bulgarian, who slipped when he attempted a move.
Bronze-medal match — def. Saeid Abdvali (Iran), 2-0
The winning points came when Abdvali was penalized for blocking a Bisek lift with his leg in the second period. Earlier, Besik avoided any points when he successfully defended a par-terre advantage by the 2011 World champion.
Gold medal match — Roman Vlasov (Russia) def. Mark Madsen (Denmark), 6-0
Bronze medal match — Doszhan Kartikov (Kazakhstan) def. Elvin Mursaliyev (Azerbaijan), 3-0
98k/216 pounds — Caylor Williams (U.S. Army WCAP/Palm Bay, Fla.)
1st round — pinned Davi Albino (Brazil), 4:35
Trailing 5-2, Williams earned a passivity point at the 4:14 mark, then used the par-terre advantage to pick up Albino with a gut then took the Brazilian to his back for the fall. In the first period, Williams led 2-0 on a takedown, then also earned a par-terre advantage, but got sloppy and allowed Albino to score a reversal then added a four-point throw against Williams. This marked Williams’ first World Championships win in three years.
2nd round — lost to Elis Guri (Bulgaria), 4-4 criteria
Guri, the 2011 World champion, won the match based on a takedown and two-point exposure move, which gave him a 4-1 lead at the four-minute mark, then held off Williams who rallied with a one-point reversal and two-point gut. Williams got one last chance to score with 30 seconds left when Guri was put down in par terre, but did not allow Williams to score. Williams led 1-0 at intermission when he stepped over a gut by Guri at the 2:07 mark. Williams was eliminated when Guri was defeated 3-0 by Ghasem Rezaei (Iran) in the semifinals.
Gold Medal — Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia) vs. Ghasem Rezaei (Iran), 3-0
Bronze Medal — Dimitriy Timchenko (Ukraine) def. Alin Alexuc Ciurariu (Romania), 4-2
Bronze Medal — Islam Magomedov (Russia) def. Elis Guri (Bulgaria), 6-2