photo courtesy of Andy Hamilton; TrackWrestling.com
The momentum from the performance of the men’s freestyle team on Tuesday carried over to the medal rounds on Wednesday. All five of the wrestlers in action came away with medals bringing the total for the team to six in 2019. That total exceeds the 2018 output by one medal. Two of the three finalists were able to drape the American flag around their shoulders and circle the mat after capturing a world title. Both wrestlers in bronze medal matches were victorious and earned the next best thing.
After running an impressive gauntlet on Tuesday that included wins over Russian, Iranian, and Azeri (defending world champion) opponents, David Carr would not be denied and capped his tournament with the gold medal at 74 kg. Carr’s challenger, Jintaro Motoyama (Japan), got on the scoreboard first with a step-out point early in the first period. David responded with a takedown after a low leg attack and then added a second takedown in the second period after he bull-rushed a lackadaisical Motoyama at the edge of the mat. During the closing seconds of the match, Motoyama earned two points for a takedown followed by another point for a step-out. Though the bout was tied at four points, Carr held criteria. The Japanese bench challenge that it was a takedown, which was denied. The lost challenge added another point for Carr who officially won 5-4. Carr’s victory makes it four straight years with an American champion at 74 kg (Mekhi Lewis – 2018, Mark Hall 2016/17).
The second American that struck gold on Wednesday was Mason Parris at 125 kg. Parris had a formidable challenger in Amir Abbas Zare (Iran), the 2019 Asian Junior Champion and 2018 Cadet World Champion. The match started with both big men exchanging step-out points as they battled for position. Mason then used the momentum generated by the large Iranian to hit his trademark fireman’s carry to a dump. The maneuver took Zare straight to his back where he would resist a pin, until Parris was able to sink in a tight half nelson. Shortly thereafter, a fall was called by the referee and Mason had become a world champion. The win by Parris also clinched a second-place finish for the United States over Iran. The winner of the bout would have locked up the runner-up finish for their country.
Lucas Davison at 92 kg was the only finalist that fell on Wednesday, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Locked in a 1-1 match in the second period against Russia’s Alan Bagaev, Davison and the Russian exchanged points in a frenzy that left the Bagaev up by a 5-4 score with under 15 seconds left in the match. Davison continued to push and look for ways to attack, but he was stymied and came up just shy of a gold medal.
The medal round was kicked off by Gabe Tagg at 61 kg who pulled off a stunning comeback against Goderdzi Dzebisashvili (Georgia). Dzebisahvili got out to an early 4-0 lead and appeared to be in control of the match. The incoming freshman for North Carolina, Tagg, was unflappable and got the scoring started with a push-out point. He added a pair of takedowns to head into the break, up 5-4. After another takedown early in the second, Gabe reeled off three straight leg laces to blow open the match 13-4. One more takedown made the score 15-4 and Tagg had clinched a bronze medal.
The second US wrestler to win a bronze medal on the day was Trent Hidlay at 86 kg. The result was never in doubt as Hidlay started the scoring with an early first-period takedown. More of the same in the same period resulted in a 9-0 win and a gold medal for the redshirt freshman for NC State.
Today also marked the beginning of the women’s freestyle tournament. The team got off to an inauspicious start losing their first three matches of the competition. At 50 kgs, Alleida Martinez was handled by Ecuador’s Lucia Yepez Guzman, 6-0. Next up was Alex Hedrick at 55 kg who couldn’t muster must offense against Germany’s Anastasia Blayvas as she was defeated, 10-2. Michaela Beck got out to an earlier 2-0 lead at 59 kg, but was thrown to her back for a fall by Anne Nuernberger (Germany). All three wrestlers that had defeated these American women lost themselves before the finals which dashed any hopes for repechage.
The first American woman to earn a win was Korinahe Bullock at 76 kg. Bullock was able to roll up 10 unanswered points on Soeun Kim (South Korea) to win on technical superiority, 10-0. Korinahe was pinned by her next opponent, China’s Qian Jiang. Jiang dropped her next bout which eliminated Bullock.
At 68 kgs, Jayden Laurent was the only American women to advance to the semifinal round which she did by shutting out Gulsezim Bukhayeva (Kazakhstan) 9-0 and pinning Thamires Martins Machado (Brazil). Laurent’s fortunes would change in the semifinals as she was teched by Meerim Zhumanazarova (Kyrgyzstan), 11-1. There will need to be two rounds of repechage action to determine Laurent’s opponent for the bronze medal tomorrow.
Draws for the second day of women’s action
53 kg – Gracie Figueroa vs. Rahime Ari (Turkey)
57 kg – Cameron Guerin vs. Ana Pereira Franca (Brazil)
62 kg – Alara Boyd vs. Irina Kuznetsova (Kazakhstan)
65 kg – Macey Kilty vs. Nerea Pampin Blanco (Spain)
72 kg – Alyvia Fiske vs. winner of Johanna Meier (Germany) and Zsuzsanna Molnar (Slovakia)