U S freestyle team places third at the Takhti Cup in Tehran Iran Keck places third

By John Fuller | May 23, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
All three wrestlers on the U.S. men's freestyle team at the Takhti Cup in Tehran, Iran placed in the top five and all three were awarded medals. Brian Keck (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) was the highest placing American with a third-place showing at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./Cliff Keen WC) placed fourth at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Dean Morrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) placed fifth at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Keck defeated N. Rasekhi of Iran 3-1 in the third-place match. He was awarded the silver medal. After winning his pool, Hrovat lost in the semifinals to Reza Ramezanzadeh of Iran by a 4-1 score. He then lost to Jalal Latifi of Iran in the third-place match 10-0. Hrovat was awarded the silver medal. Morrison lost a close quarterfinal match to Hamid Seifi of Iran. Saifi defeated Morrison 4-3 in overtime. Morrison was awarded the bronze medal. Hrovat and Morrison were awarded medals as the highest-placing foreign competitors. The U.S. team placed third behind first-place Syria and second-place Iran. "Overall I was pleased with our performance as a team," stated U.S. coach Dan Russell. "The guys fought hard and competed hard against some very good competition over here. We are going home with three medals, so we have to feel good about the things we did out here." Coaching the U.S. team was 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, served 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. Seventy-five freestyle wrestlers competed in seven weight categories of the Takhti Cup. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Syria, the United States and Iran were all be represented. Photos of the event can be viewed at search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?ei=UTF-8&p=Iran%20wrestling&c=news_photos. 2003 TAKHTI CUP at Sanandaj, Iran, May 22-23 U.S. Results 74 kg/163 lbs. - Andy Hrovat, Ann Arbor, Mich., Cliff Keen WC - 4th (silver) WIN S. Vagozari (Iran), 11-7 WIN M. Mansouri (Iran), 4-2 LOSS Reza Ramezanzadeh (Iran), 4-1 LOSS Jalal Latifi (Iran), 10-0 96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Dean Morrison, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC - 5th (bronze) LOSS Alireza Heidari (Iran), 10-1 WIN A. Mardahi (Iran), 3-0 WIN T. Kafaee (Iran), 3-0 LOSS Hamid Seifi (Iran), 4-3, ot 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Brian Keck, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC - 3rd (silver) WIN Hadzri Fadi (Syria), 3-0 LOSS Alireza Rezaei (Iran), 3-0 WIN M. Rasekhi (Iran), 3-1