All three U S wrestlers on track for medals at the Takhti Cup in Tehran Iran

By John Fuller | May 22, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
The U.S. wrestlers have completed their first day of competition at the Takhti Cup in Tehran, Iran. The three wrestlers, Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./Cliff Keen WC), Dean Morrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) and Brian Keck (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) will all wrestle matches tomorrow. "We're wrestling well right now. Brian is in the medal round for third and Andy is one match from the semifinals. We are hoping for three medals," stated U.S. coach Dan Russell. Hrovat has one more pool match after winning his only match of the first two sessions. Hrovat defeated Vagozari of Iran, 11-7 to advance. Morrison, the recent U.S. Nationals runner-up, went 1-1 at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. He lost to six-time World medalist and two-time World Champion Alireza Heydari of Iran, 10-1 before defeating Mardahi of Iran, 3-0 in pool competition. Morrison will compete in a wrestle-off to advance out of his pool. Keck will wrestle for the bronze medal tomorrow after also posting a 1-1 record in pool competition. He defeated Hadzri Fadi of Syria 3-1 before dropping a 3-0 decision to Alireza Rezaei of Iran. Coaching the U.S. team is Russell of Gresham, Ore., a top Greco-Roman wrestler as an athlete who has become one of the nation's best volunteer coaches. Amir Bashiri of Atlanta, Ga., an Iranian-American who is an active volunteer within USA Wrestling, is serving as the team leader. This is the fourth time that USA Wrestling has participated in the Takhti Cup, with U.S. teams also participating in 1998, 2000 and 2001. The United States wrestling team was the first U.S. sports team to compete in Iran after the Iranian revolution when the team competed in the 1998 Takhti Cup. The U.S. also competed in the 1998 World Freestyle Championships held in Iran. Eighty-one freestyle wrestlers are competing in seven weight categories of the Takhti Cup. Azerbaijan, Syria, the United States, Bulgaria and Iran will all be represented. Some matches can be seen live on the internet via streaming video at Photos of the event can be viewed at 2003 TAKHTI CUP at Sanandaj, Iran, May 22-23 74 kg/163 lbs. - Andy Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich., Cliff Keen WC WIN S. Vagozari (Iran), 11-7 96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Dean Morrison, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC LOSS Alireza Heydari (Iran), 10-1 WIN A. Mardahi (Iran), 3-0 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Brian Keck, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC WIN Hadzri Fadi (Syria), 3-0 LOSS Alireza Rezaei (Iran), 3-0