By Gary Abbott
ZAGREB, Croatia – It was a day full of success and challenges for the U.S. Junior World Freestyle Team, which entered the day tied in third in the team standings with two medals.
With four talented and motivated wrestlers on the mat Sunday, the USA had its share of ups and downs, but came out of the day with four more medalists, bringing their total to six medals out of eight weight classes. In the final team standings, the United States took second place, behind only the champions from Iran. The team had a 16-4 record for the day.
Claiming a silver medal at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. was Aaron Pico (Whittier, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., who dropped his finals bout to Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran, 2-9.
The match was close most of the way, with two key points that went the Iranian’s way. Late in the first period, Pico got behind Yazdanicharati and tried to score a takedown but stepped out instead, giving the Iranian a 3-2-lead. Early in the second period with the score still 3-2, the Iranian was put on the 30-second shot clock. Right off the whistle, Yazdanicharati shot in on Pico and ultimately converted the shot for a score. Had Pico emerged in those situations, the result may have been different.
All three U.S. wrestlers who had bronze-medal matches won, finishing their tournament with a win and a medal. They were Thomas Gilman (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. Gabe Dean (Lowell, Mich. (Titan Mercury WC/FLWC) at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Cliff Keen WC) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Read the full story at TheMat.com: UPDATE: Pico gets silver, Gilman, Dean & Coon bronzes and USA second place at FILA Junior Worlds in Croatia