Molinaro, Green and Snyder go undefeated as U.S. finishes fourth at Freestyle World Cup
| 2015 World champion Kyle Snyder (USA) posts 4-0 record at Freestyle
World Cup. Photo: Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – It was a hard fought performance from the U.S. Sunday night at The Forum, but the American freestyle squad found themselves on the wrong side of a tiebreaker for the second time at the Freestyle World Cup and finished in fourth place.
The U.S. battled a powerful Georgia lineup that featured two wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the World by United World Wrestling and an Olympic bronze medalist to boot. Both sides won four matches in a thrilling third place dual. Ultimately, Georgia snagged the criteria edge, 17-16.
“First off good job Georgia, right. They came to wrestle,” said Bruce Burnett, U.S. freestyle head coach. “This is the kind of competition we have to have to get ready for Rio. I felt like we didn’t have the same power and same pop as we had yesterday. We’ve got to get better.”
Americans on the winning side against Georgia included 2016 Olympian Frank Molinaro, 2015 World bronze medalist James Green, three-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer and 2015 World champion Kyle Snyder.
Both Molinaro and Snyder picked up late takedowns to secure comeback bids and win on criteria against top ten opponents. Molinaro downed World No. 9 Zurab Iakobishvili, 4-4, at 65 kg. Snyder picked up the win over World No. 5 Elizbar Odikadze (Georgia), 3-3, at 97 kg.
“Been there a couple times this year. It kind of stinks being in that position, but I’m getting more used to it wrestling tough guys,” Snyder said. “I feel like all the guys I wrestled did a pretty good job of scouting me. They did some things they wouldn’t have normally done unless somebody told them to. That’s alright. It makes it harder for me and I like that challenge.”
Green’s assault on the 70 kg weight class in Los Angeles culminated with a 10-0 technical fall over World No. 6 David Tlashadze, his third 10-0 win at the World Cup. On the weekend, World No. 5 Green outscored his opponents 35-2 as he reintroduced himself to the international stage.
“I want to go out there and get on the mat and off the mat as fast as possible. I definitely wanted to end the tournament on a good note and get takedowns, you know, 10-0, get turns. It was awesome,” said Green.
Molinaro, Green and Snyder all posted perfect 4-0 records for the U.S. at the Freestyle World Cup to take home individual gold.
After 2012 Olympic champion and three-time World champion Jordan Burroughs pulled his name from World Cup competition Dieringer became the guy at 74 kg for the U.S. He went 2-2 on the weekend and finished his tournament strong with a 10-1 win over World No. 14 Yakob Makarashvili.
Olympian J’den Cox dropped his first match against international competition in the third place dual against 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Dato Marsigashvili. Cox gave up three takedowns and a challenge point to trail 7-0 midway through the second period. He attacked furiously late, picking up two takedowns, but the comeback stopped there, 7-4.
No matter the loss, Cox posted a banner weekend that included a 3-1 record with wins over World No. 3 Alexander Gostiev of Azerbaijan and World No. 5 Alireza Karimimachiani of Iran.
The Iowa one-two lightweight punch of Dan Dennis and Tony Ramos endured a tough day at the World Cup. Both men dropped their match against Georgia, Dennis losing by fall to 2015 World champion Vladimer Khinchegashvili and Ramos losing a heartbreaker to World No. 16 Beka Lomtadze, 8-5. Both men finished with 2-2 records in Los Angeles.
2015 World Team member Zach Rey saw action for the first time this weekend against World No. 1 Geno Petriashvili with World Cup bronze hanging in the balance. Petriashvili proved too much as he topped Rey, 6-2.
Outside of the eight U.S. starters against Georgia, Jake Varner was the only other American to see action on the weekend. Normally a 97 kg competitor, the 2012 Olympic champion wrestled 125 kg for the team and went 2-1 overall.
In the gold medal match Iran topped Russia five matches to three. Iran has now won the last five Freestyle World Cup competitions.
The 2017 Freestyle World Cup is set for Tehran, Iran next year.
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