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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Americans go 3-for-3 in Gold Medal Matches on Sunday

    Day two for the US Men’s freestyle team at the 2023 World Championships had a bit of a rocky start but ended with a bang. Of the four weights that began competition on Sunday, only Kyle Dake at 74 kg made the World finals. Of the remaining three wrestlers, only Zahid Valencia is still alive in repechage. He’ll have to win two bouts tomorrow morning to secure a bronze medal at 92 kg. Zane Richards (57 kg) and Chance Marsteller (79 kg) were eliminated. Richards lost his only bout of the day, while Marsteller picked up a win before he was beaten. 

    Sunday marked the first set of medals that were awarded and the Americans went four-for-four in those medal-round matches, including three with gold medals on the line. 

    Vito Arujau got the medal madness started as he took on Abasgadzhii Magomedov (AIN - Russia), a 2021 world champion. Arujau got on the board first as he got in on a single leg and pushed Magomedov out of bounds for a point. Later in the first period, Magomedov got in on a low-leg attack and was chest-wrapped by Arujau. The two engaged in an extended scramble, one that saw each wrestler get exposed. The sequence was challenged by the Russian corner and Arujau was given three sets of exposure points, while Magomedov was given two sets. 

    Leading 7-4 in the second period, the two were in another flurry on the edge of the mat. It was initially ruled that Magomedov got two points for exposure, however, Frank Perrelli hit the challenge buzzer on Arujau’s behalf. Although, it looked like the correct call to challenge, after a review, the initial call was upheld. That lost challenge knotted the bout at seven points; however, Magomedov held criteria. The Cornell national champion wasn’t worried and earned a takedown off of a snap down to lead 9-7. Arujau would add to his lead with a step out. 

    During the waning seconds of the match, Arujau stepped out and was called for a caution and one, in addition to the step out. That only impacted the final score as Arujau fended off any further attacks from Magomedov to win 10-9. 

    For the second consecutive year, Cornell has a wrestler with eligibility remaining who has captured a world medal. Yianni Diakomihalis was a world silver medalist in 2022. 

    After a pair of bronze medal matches at 70 kg, Zain Retherford took the mat in search of his first world title. Retherford was a silver medal recipient in 2022. While Retherford broke the ice on the scoring front, his opponent, Amirmohammad Yazdani (Iran) locked up the first takedown to lead, 2-1. From that point, it was all Retherford, as he countered with a takedown of his own to go into the break, 3-2. Retherford added two more in the final stanza, along with a step out and got his hand raised in an 8-5 victory. 

    Fellow Penn State great David Taylor was up next against another Yazdani, Hassan, a frequent opponent. The key sequence in the bout came late in the second period as Taylor got in on a double leg and as Yazdani was falling he locked up a chest wrap and flipped Taylor. The call on the mat was four points for Yazdani and a point for Taylor for a reversal. After Casey Cunningham and Taylor challenged, the call was overturned and Taylor was awarded four points and a point for the reversal, while Yazdani got two for exposure. 

    Taylor extended his lead to 7-3 with another low double leg. There was no controversy this time as Taylor slowly built up for the finish. Late in the second period, Taylor continued to attack and got in on a swing single. Yazdani looked for the chest wrap again, but was not in position to finish and found himself on his back. Taylor took advantage and not only got the takedown, but also a fall in the waning seconds of the match. 

    Taylor’s win puts him into rarified air with USA Wrestling. Taylor is now a four-time World/Olympic champion. 

    The afternoon was capped off for the American team with a bronze medal-winning performance from heavyweight Mason Parris. Though he was a late replacement, Parris nearly knocked off three-time world champion Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) in the semifinals. In his bronze medal match, Parris wasted no time blitzing Abdulla Kurbanov (AIN - Russia) and rolling to a 12-2 tech. The 2023 Hodge Trophy winner blew the match open nearly midway through the first period when he tripped Kurbanov straight to his back for four points at the edge. 

    Taylor and Parris, along with Kyle Dake who made the 74 kg finals, all have qualified the United States at the respective weights for the 2024 Olympics. 

    Parris’ Michigan teammates Myles Amine (San Marino) and Stevan Micic (Serbia) both locked up medals and berths for their nation’s at the Olympics. Amine won a bronze medal match at 86 kg, while Micic upset 3x World/Olympic champion Zavur Uguev (AIN - Russia) in the semifinals. 

    One of the highlights of tomorrow’s slate includes Dake against three-time World/Olympic champion Zaurbek Sidakov (AIN - Russia). The final two men’s freestyle team members (Nick Lee - 65 kg and Kyle Snyder - 97 kg) will also start their tournaments. Also, women’s freestyle will get underway with 55 kg (Jacarra Winchester) and 59 kg (Jennifer Page) hitting the mat. 


    Final Results

    61 kg

    Gold Medal Match - Vito Arujau (USA) over Abasgadzhi Magomedov (AIN - Russia) 10-9

    Bronze Medal Match - Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan) over Kodai Ogawa (Japan) 2-1

    Bronze Medal Match - Shota Phartenadze (Georgia) over Valentyn Bliasetskyi (Ukraine) 5-5


    70 kg

    Gold Medal Match - Zain Retherford (USA) over Amirmohammad Yazdani (Iran) 8-5

    Bronze Medal Match - Ramazan Ramazanov (Bulgaria) over Ernazar Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan) 8-6

    Bronze Medal Match - Arman Andreasyan (Armenia) over Abhimanyou (UWW - India) 12-1


    86 kg

    Gold Medal Match - David Taylor (USA) over Hassan Yazdani (Iran) 5:57

    Bronze Medal Match - Myles Amine (San Marino) over Javrail Shapiev (Uzbekistan) 8-5

    Bronze Medal Match - Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakhstan) over Magomed Sharipov (Bahrain) 5-3

    Olympic Quota Qualifying - Javrail Shapiev (Uzbekistan) over Magomed Sharipov (Bahrain) 3-1


    125 kg

    Gold Medal Match - Amir Zare (Iran) over Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) 11-0

    Bronze Medal Match - Taha Akgul (Turkey) over Daniel Ligeti (Hungary) 5-0

    Bronze Medal Match - Mason Parris (USA) over Abdulla Kurbanov (AIN - Russia) 12-2

    Olympic Quota Qualifying - Abdulla Kurbanov (AIN - Russia) over Daniel Ligeti (Hungary) 8-3


    American Results

    57 kg Qualification: Aliabas Rzazade (Azerbaijan) over Zane Richards (USA) 3-2


    61 kg Gold Medal Match: Vito Arujau (USA) over Abasgadzhi Magomedov (AIN - Russia) 10-9


    70 kg Gold Medal Match: Zain Retherford (USA) over Amirmohammad Yazdani (Iran) 8-5


    74 kg Qualification: Kyle Dake (USA) over Magomet Evloev (Tajikistan) 12-2

    74 kg Round of 16: Kyle Dake (USA) over Nurkozha Kaipanov (Kazakhstan) 9-4

    74 kg Quarterfinals: Kyle Dake (USA) over Daichi Takatani (Japan) 6-4

    74 kg Semifinals: Kyle Dake (USA) over Georgios Kougioumtsidis (Greece) 4-1


    79 kg Round of 16: Chance Marsteller (USA) over Chems Fetairia (Algeria) 7-2

    79 kg Quarterfinals: Orkhan Abasov (Azerbaijan) over Chance Marsteller (USA) 9-3


    92 kg Round of 16: Zahid Valencia (USA) over Amirali Azarpira (Iran) 12-9

    92 kg Quarterfinals: Osman Nurmagomedov (Azerbaijan) over Zahid Valencia 5-1


    125 kg Bronze Medal Match: Mason Parris (USA) over Abdulla Kurbanov (AIN - Russia) 12-2

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