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Nickal reaches finals at U23 World Championships

Bo Nickal after beating Iran's Hossein Shahbazigazvar (Photo/Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling)

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Bo Nickal made it look easy on Tuesday.

The 23-year Nickal reached the finals of the U23 World Championships at 92 kilograms in dominant fashion.

After getting a technical superiority in his first match, Nickal followed it up with a fall in the quarterfinals before dominating the returning U23 world champion in the semifinals.

Nickal trailed 1-0 early in his semifinal match against returning U23 world champion Shamil Zubairov of Azerbaijan after giving up a step out. But the former Penn State star dominated the rest of the way. He took the lead with a takedown and added another point off a caution and one to lead 3-1 in the break. Nickal continued to pour it on in the second period, getting three more takedowns to win 9-1 and punch his ticket to the finals.

Nickal opened his day by earning a 12-2 technical superiority over Hossein Shahbazigazvar of Iran. He then used a cradle in his quarterfinal match to earn a first-period fall over Takumi Tanizaki of Japan.

He will face Russia's Batyrbek Tcakulov in the gold-medal match at 92 kilograms on Wednesday.

Greg Kerkvliet, the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019, reached the semifinals at 125 kilograms before losing to Russia's Vitali Goloev by technical superiority, 10-0. Goloev raced out to a 6-0 lead after a takedown and two exposures. He then ended the match early with another takedown and exposure.

Kerkvliet, a true freshman at Ohio State, had been dominant prior to his semifinal loss, getting a 10-0 technical superiority in his first match before winning by fall in the quarterfinals over Salim Ercan of Turkey. He will wrestle for bronze on Wednesday.

Brady Berge, an NCAA qualifier for Penn State, will get an opportunity to wrestle back for a bronze medal at 74 kilograms despite losing his first match of the tournament. Berge was blanked 5-1 by Russia's Razambek Zhamalov. The Russian would go on advance to the finals, giving Berge a spot in repechage.

Cornell wrestlers Chas Tucker and Max Dean were both defeated in their first match and eliminated in the opening session. Tucker fell to Iran's Mohammadbagher Yakhkeshi at 61 kilograms. Dean, a returning NCAA runner-up, was defeated by Japan's Hayato Ishiguro, 12-2, at 86 kilograms.

Muhamed McBryde, a former Buffalo wrestler, finished in fifth place at 79 kilograms. He fell in the bronze-medal match to Turkey's Ramazan Sari, 8-3.

The women's wrestling competition begins Wednesday at the U23 World Championships. Emily Shilson (50 kilograms), Dominique Parrish (55 kilograms), Abby Nette (59 kilograms), Macey Kilty (68 kilograms) and Precious Bell (76 kilograms) will compete for the United States. Wrestling begins at 10:30 a.m. local time (4:30 a.m. ET) on Wednesday.

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