USA edges Russia in final dual to take World Cup title World Select team places second

By Gary Abbott | April 06, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
USA EDGES RUSSIA, 17-11, TO WIN WORLD CUP TITLE WITH 4-0 RECORD In a wild finish between two major world powers, the United States defeated Russia, 17-11, in the final dual of the World Cup Championships, giving the team title to the host United States team with a 4-0 record. The match included three victories by each team, plus a forfeit win for the United States. It was a fitting dual meet between these two international wrestling rivals, as has been the tradition in previous World Cup finals. Russia had its best performance all weekend against the USA, and the loss finished a disappointing weekend. With a 1-3 record, Russia placed fourth, and did not win one of the team trophies for the first time in memory. The USA jumped to a quick early lead when Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif./Sunkist Kids) stepped over a failed gutwrench attempt by Alexander Kontoev and scored a pin at 1:19 at 125 pounds. Eric Guerrero (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) claimed a close 5-3 win at 132 pounds over Zelimkhan Gousseinov at 132 pounds. Guerrero broke a 3-3 tie in the second period with a two point takedown. When Chris Bono (Gilbert, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) received a forfeit at 145.5 pounds, it seemed the USA would roll to victory. The Russian team had other plans, however. At 163 pounds, the match between Inal Dzagorouv of Russia and Joe Williams (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) went the entire nine minutes including a full overtime, with Dzagorouv winning 2-1. There were two controversial clinch positions in the bout, both won by Dzagorouv. Williams scored a late takedown to close the lead, but was unable to get another point to knot the match. The 185 pound match between young superstars Cael Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) and Khadsimurad Gatsalov of Russia lived up to its billing. Both entered the match without a loss. In one of the most bizarre endings in World Cup history, Gatsalov emerged with an 8-7 overtime win. With Sanderson winning 7-6 with only nine seconds to go, Gatsalov attacked Sanderson's legs. At first, the mat official awarded Gatsalov two points, which would have given him the win. Officials reviewed the tape and gave both athletes two points, which would have given Sanderson a one-point victory. On two occasions, the mat official raised Sanderson's hand, the second time by himself in the middle of the mat. However, FILA continued its review of the bout, and ruled that the final score was actually a 7-7 tie. They pulled Sanderson off the U.S. sideline back onto the mat, quickly blew the whistle for overtime. Gatsalov made a quick shot on Sanderson's legs, and scored the winning takedown in just 14 seconds. The U.S. team victory was clinched at 211.5 pounds, when Tim Hartung (Minneapolis, Minn,./Minnesota Storm) edged Oleg Kallagov, 4-3. The evening ended with a Russian victory, as 1997 World Champion Kouramagomed Kouramagomedov defeated Kerry McCoy (Bethlehem, Pa./New York AC), 3-1 at 264.5 pounds. The Final Team Standings went like this: 1. United States, 4-0 record, 8 pts. 2. World Select Team, 3-1 record, 6 pts. 3. Ukraine, 1-2-1 record, 3 pts. 4. Russia, 1-3 record, 2 pts. 5. Germany, 0-3-1 record, 1 pt. U.S. QUOTES 55 kg - Stephen Abas - "We expect the best of ourselves in events like this. I came out with the same attitude this match. I had a slow start. That happens sometimes." (about the stepover and the pin) "In that situation, it's reaction and instinct. When he loosened up a little bit, I reacted and was able to take advantage." (about winning) "It is great. I won last year and entered as defending champion. It is good to win again." 60 kg - Eric Guerrero - "It is good to win. I have bigger things in mind. This is a stepping stone for me. It is good to have this victory behind me." (about the match with Goussienov) "That's their national champion. I don't feel he really scored on me. Those three points he got were a gift. These are all tough competitors here. Being out there and winning the title is good, especially after having the flu all week. I only worked out two times, and those were light workouts. I feel confident I can come out and perform, in spite of the challenges." 97 kg - Tim Hartung - "I would like to attack more than I did this weekend. I hate to talk about my neck, but I was cautious about getting beneath guys. I got in a wild scramble this match, and that is not good basic wrestling. The three points he got on me I was not happy with. It was a successful weekend. It will be good to work from here heading to the nationals. I have many areas to work on." (about the controversial losses by Williams and Sanderson) "It got my blood pumping. It was good to get that way, with Cael and Joe, the way their matches ended. It helped me more than hindered me." Dan Gable, head coach - "This match saves them (Russia) a little face. They are the dominant wrestling nation in the world. They did not look good in the other matches. They came out ready to wrestle us, and showed that they are noteworthy in wrestling. In their offense, when they take a lead, they take that stance that is hard to beat. It is difficult to penetrate on them." (the U.S. team) "This team is outstanding athletes. They are keeping their game faces every day, working hard with coach Jackson. They will continue to improve. We need more of this kind of experience with the Europeans." "I knew this was our toughest round. We showed some weaknesses in our stance positions. All of our losses were in stance positions. We also lost in some par terre defense, like McCoy. Joe Williams lost in the clinch. Everytime we lost, it was in those three essential positions. Those guys who beat us had to have unbelievable matches to beat us, though." WORLD SELECT BEATS GERMANY, 18-7, TO PLACE SECOND IN TEAM STANDINGS With an 18-7 victory over Germany, the World Select team clinched a second place team finish in the World Cup Championships in Boise, Idaho, April 6. The World Select Team won the first six bouts of the meet. The team was formed on Thursday, when Cuba notified USA Wrestling that it would not attend the World Cup due to travel problems. Most of the members of the World Select team are from the United States, but athletes from Germany and Russia also participated. Teague Moore (Norman, Okla./Gator WC) captured the 121-pound match with a solid 4-1 victory over Vassili Zeiher. Moore ended the tournament with a 3-0 record individually in the event. Jesus Wilson (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) kept up the pressure with a strong 6-0 victory at 132 pounds over Mario Koch. Like Moore, Wilson won all three of his bouts during the World Cup competition. The World Select team run continued at 145.5 pounds, as Bill Zadick (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) added a 3-1 victory over Ergin Urun. Local fans were excited when past Boise State NCAA champion Kirk White (Boise, Idaho/Dave Schultz WC) scored a 6-0 decision over Dominik Zeh. The key move that iced the win was a three-point double leg takedown to exposure in the second period by White. 2000 Olympian Charles Burton (Lincoln, Neb./New York AC), also a Boise State All-American when he was in college, won a contentious battle with David Bichinashvili, 3-2 at 185 pounds. Burton jumped to a 3-1 lead, and Bichinashivili scored in the second period to close the margin to one point. In an exchange going out of bounds, the mat official attempted to penalize Burton for another point, which would have tied the score, but the other two officials would not confirm the call. For the third straight match, a past Boise State All-American won a bout for the World Select Team, as Rusty Cook (Boise, Idaho/Bronco WC) stopped Cengiz Cakici at 211.25 pounds, 4-3 in overtime at 6:13. Cook, leading 3-0 in the second period, was unable to stop at cut on his lips, which could have caused his disqualification. Cook asked trainers to tape across his mouth to stem the bleeding, and he wrestled almost three minutes in that condition. With less than 20 seconds to go, Cakici hit a three-point takedown to tie the bout. In overtime, Cook quickly shot on Ca