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By Tim Tushla
IOWA CITY, IOWA — Team USA powered through the first day of the 2018 United World Wrestling Freestyle World Cup with dominating wins over India and Japan from its veterans and solid performances from the newcomers taking the stage April 7 in Iowa City.
The U.S. takes on Georgia in Session III on Sunday morning at 10 (CDT). A victory guarantees the Americans a spot in the gold medal bout, which begins at 4 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The United States finished second in the 2017 World Cup. Other 2018 medal matches begin at 12 noon on Sunday.
In the opposite pool, Azerbaijan was the only country to go undefeated with wins over Cuba and Kazahkstan … and will meet Mongolia Sunday morning.
Session I featured a match up with late entrant India and the U.S. swept all ten matches. The visitors, who with Mongolia replaced Iran and Russian teams, arrived in Iowa City just last night, had four teenagers in the lineup and immediately fell behind as hometown wrestler Thomas Gilman received a forfeit to start the dual.
Iowa native and reserve Joe Colon fell behind early but tied the 61 kg match in the second period with a takedown and turn. Trailing by criteria late, 2016 Olympian Sandeep Tomar’s offense turned into two points for Colon in his 6-4 win.
The Americans would put the dual away with five consecutive tech falls by Logan Stieber, James Green, Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake and David Taylor and added two more by Kyle Snyder and Dom Bradley.
Sandwiched in middle of that run was a 7-0 win by Hayden Zillmer at 92 kg. Zillmer, a graduate of North Dakota State, is a World Team member in both freestyle and Greco.
Dake, whose 11-0 win featured a five-point throw, commented on the atmosphere in Carver Hawkeye Arena that drew nearly 7,000 fans.
“This is the best atmosphere in the world, hands down. These fans are insane. They love the sport of wrestling and I just tried to put on a show for them,” said Dake.
The afternoon match-up with Japan kept that crowd at bay for the first three matches. In a rematch of the 2017 57-kilogram World championship match, Yuki Takahashi again defeated Gilman, this time by a 4-1 margin. At 61 kilos, Team USA’s Kendric Maple appeared to complete a victorious takedown as time expired but a video review showed otherwise as Kazuya Koyanagi won on criteria. Then Japanese youngster Takuto Otaguro scored takedowns early and often in upsetting 2016 World Champ Stieber, 10-5.
But after that, the veterans took over and scored technical falls in the final five bouts.
Ignited by solid wins from former Nebraska stars Green and Burroughs, Team USA won the last seven matches for the dual win.
“It’s insane here with the Hawkeye fans and I love it. The atmosphere is amazing. It is the Mecca of wrestling. It has been an amazing week here so far for us,” Burroughs said.
Dake totally frustrated 2014 World silver medalist Sohsuke Takatani with a five-point and then a four-point throw seconds apart and, after Japan lost its challenge and another point, the match was suddenly over, 10-0. Taylor was tied early but a takedown, turn and another takedown made it 8-2 before a four-point takedown ended things.
From there. J’den Cox at 92 kg, Snyder and last year’s World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski held their opponents scoreless for the team victory.
UWW FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
At Iowa City, Iowa, April 7
Pool A records (after Day 1)
United States 2-0
USA 7, Japan 3
57 kg/125.5 lbs. –Yuki Takahashi (Japan) dec. Thomas Gilman (USA), 4-1
61 kg/134 lbs. –Kazuya Koyanagi (Japan) dec. Kendric Maple (USA), 2-2
65 kg/143 lbs. – Takuto Otoguro (Japan) dec. Logan Stieber (USA), 10-5
70 kg/154 lbs. – James Green (USA) dec. Kirin Kinoshita (Japan), 8-5
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) dec. Yuhi Fujinami (Japan), 7-1
79 kg/174 lbs. – Kyle Dake (USA) tech. fall Sohsuke Takatani (Japan), 10-0
86 kg/189 lbs. – David Taylor (USA) tech. fall Masao Matsusaka (Japan), 12-2
92 kg/202.5 lbs. – J’den Cox (USA) tech. fall Takashi Ishiguro (Japan), 11-0
97 kg/213 lbs. – Kyle Snyder (USA) tech. fall Taira Sonoda (Japan), 10-0
125 kg/275 lbs. – Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) tech. fall Nobuyoshi Arakida (Japan), 10-0
Classification Points – USA 29, Japan 12
USA 10, India 0
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Thomas Gilman (USA) won by forfeit
61 kg/134 lbs. – Joe Colon (USA) dec. Sandeep Tomar (India), 6-4
65 kg/143 lbs. – Logan Stieber (USA) tech. fall Sharvan (India), 12-2
70 kg/154 lbs. – James Green (USA) tech. fall Arun Kumar (India), 10-0
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs (USA) tech. fall Vinod Kumar Omprakash (India), 11-1
79 kg/174 lbs. – Kyle Dake (USA) tech. fall Sachin Giri (India), 11-0
86 kg/189 lbs. – David Taylor (USA) tech, fall Pawan Kumar (India), 10-0
92 kg/202.5 lbs. – Hayden Zillmer (USA) dec. Deepak Punia (India), 7-0
97 kg/213 lbs. – Kyle Snyder (USA) tech. fall Viky (India), 10-0
125 kg/275 lbs. – Dom Bradley (USA) tech. fall Pushpender Singh (India), 10-0
Classification points: USA 39, India 3
Other Pool A Results
Georgia 8, India 2
Japan 7, Georgia 3
Pool B records
Pool B Results
Cuba 8, Mongolia 2
Azerbaijan 9, Kazakhstan 1
Mongolia 6. Kazakhstan 4
Azerbaijan 8, Cuba 2