Six U S athletes win gold medals on the first day of the Dave Schultz Memorial International in Colorado Springs Colo

By Gary Abbott | Feb. 06, 2006, 1:32 p.m. (ET)
The U.S. had six individual champions out of eight weight classes contested at the 8th Annual Dave Schultz Memorial International held at Sports Center I at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., Feb. 3.

Top international wrestlers from across the world are competing in this annual tournament named in honor of the late Olympic and World champion Dave Schultz. It was 10 years ago last week since Schultz died and left a lasting legacy within the sport.

All four men's freestyle divisions contested today were won by U.S. athletes, while two of the four men's Greco-Roman weight classes went to American wrestlers. Of the six U.S. champions, five were members of the 2005 U.S. World Team and hold No. 1 rankings in the nation.

Winning gold medals in men's freestyle were:
- Chris Bono (Ringgold, Ga./Sunkist Kids) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
- Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs.
- Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 84 kg/185 lbs.
- Nick Preston (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Of these champions, Bono, Williams and Lawal were members of the 2005 U.S. World team.

In a very competitive match with high skills, Bono defeated Eric Larkin (Tucson, Ariz./Sunkist Kids), 3-0, 5-6, 4-0. Bono was able to score his leg attacks to win the third and final period to take the victory.

In the semifinals, Bono avenged a loss to Canada's Evan McDonald, who had beaten Bono at the 2005 World Championships. Bono won the match 2-0, 1-0.

In a battle of both 2005 World bronze medalists in this division, Williams defeated Nikolay Paslar of Bulgaria, 1-0, 0-1, 2-0 in the finals. Williams was able to score takedowns in the deciding third period for the victory. Paslar was a 2001 World champion, while Williams is a two-time World bronze medalist.

Lawal defeated Eveney Kolomets of Russia, 2-0, 5-3 for the gold medal. Lawal was seventh at the 2005 World Championships for the United States.

Preston needed three periods to edge Sean Stender (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 0-2, 1-1 in the gold medal round.

In Greco-Roman, the two 2005 U.S. World Team members who captured titles were Harry Lester (Akron, Ohio/USOEC/Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5. lbs. and T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. Both were on the 2005 U.S. World Team and hold No. 1 rankings in the USA.

Lester won his finals match by injury default over Tae Kyung-Jun of Korea in the second period. Lester won the first period, 6-0, then Tae could not finish when injured defending a move in the second period.

Dantzler won both of his periods by technical falls in the finals, stopping Cheney Haight (Orem, Utah/USOEC/New York AC), 6-0, 6-0.

Two of the six U.S. champions were also winners of the Dave Schultz Memorial International last year, Williams in freestyle and Lester in Greco-Roman.

The two international wrestlers to win Greco-Roman gold medals were Denis Zdorikov of Uzbekistan at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Jimmy Lidberg of Sweden at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

The competition concludes on Saturday, with all seven women's freestyle weight classes contested, as well as three more divisions in both men's freestyle and men's Greco-Roman.

QUOTES FROM THE U.S. CHAMPIONS ON FRIDAY

Men's freestyle

66 kg - Chris Bono (Ringgold, Ga./Sunkist Kids)
"Every day I believe I train harder than anybody. If I wrestle six hard minutes, I can win. I train harder. I sacrifice too much to lose."

(about beating McDonald in the semis) "I didn't give it everything I had at the World Championships. I thought I did, but I didn't. I was going through some changes then. Today, I was wrestling with a free mind, a clear conscious. I knew I would win when I went out there."

"This tournament is part of Coach Jackson's plan for the World Team. If you want to be World champion. If you want to be a World Champion, this is part of the plan. This is a stepping stone for me."

74 kg - Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids
It was real good competition. Any time you can wrestle a World bronze medalist, you know the match will be tough. When you win those, it shows where you are at and where you need to go. He was real short and stays in good position. Much of the stuff that Terry Brands and Kevin Jackson have worked on with me showed here. I am working to be the best in the world, to win the gold at the World Championships this year. Every match I wrestle I look to that. It's a big year for me."

84 kg - Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC)
"I wrestled terrible. I won, but if Coach Brands would rank me, it would be a D. I didn't dominate. I was complacent. I beat him, but I want to win each time 6-0. This is the Training Center. This is my home. I can't lose in my house. That's like someone coming to your house and disrespecting your mama. I learned here that I have to put the hammer down. I need to get more 6-0, 7-0 periods, more tech falls. I didn't let the Training Center down, but performance wise, I let myself down."

96 kg - Nick Preston (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids)
"I'm not real happy with my performance. I am happy I got the win. That is the biggest thing. I have a lot of work to do. Coming to the Olympic Training Center and having this tournament is quite an experience. My goal is to make the World Team, then to win a medal for the United States. I have seen this tournament develop over the last few years. There is a lot of international competition, more than there used to be. It is one of the best tournaments you can find in the USA. You don't an atmosphere like this anywhere else competing in the U.S.

Men's Greco-Roman

66 kg - Harry Lester (Akron, Ohio/USOEC/Gator WC)
I went for a headlock. I'm not sure he posted right. He did something to his hand or wrist. I beat him 5-0 in the first period. I felt really good out there. I am not at 100% yet, but I feel I am doing as well as I need at this point."

74 kg - T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC)
"I want to thank almighty FILA for changing these rules. I couldn't have done it without them. All praise to FILA. I love these rules."

"I have three major tournaments in the next three weeks. I feel I am on target to do what I need to do to represent my abilities. At the World Championships last year, I opened against the Olympic champion and it was hard to get on a roll. I want to be prepared for whatever I face this year. Everything I do now is to prepare for the World Championships. I want to eat Chinese food in China at the World Championships this year."

Dave Schultz Memorial International medal matches

Men's Freestyle

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold medal - Chris Bono (Ringgold, Ga./Sunkist Kids) dec. Eric Larkin (Tucson, Ariz./Sunkist Kids), 3-0, 5-6, 4-0
Bronze medal - Jared Frayer, Cambridge, Mass. (Gator WC) dec. Arsen Shakhrutdinob (Russia), 7-0, 6-0

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold medal - Joe Williams (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) dec. Nikolay Paslar (Bulgaria), 1-0, 0-1, 2-0
Bronze medal - Denis Tsargush (Russia) dec. Ramico Blackmon (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), 1-1, 3-2

84 kg/185 lbs.
Gold medal - Mo Lawal (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) dec. Eveney Kolomets (Russia), 2-0, 5-3
Bronze medal - Greg Parker (New York, N.Y./New York AC) pin Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC), 1:44

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold medal - Nick Preston (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) dec. Sean Stender (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 0-2, 1-1
Bronze medal - Nik Fekete (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) dec. Vincent Aka Akesse (France), 1-0, 6-0

Men's Greco-Roman

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold medal - Harry Lester (Akron, Ohio/USOEC/Gator WC) inj dft over Tae Kyung-Jun (Korea), 6-0, inj.
Bronze medal - Marcel Cooper (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) dec. Tomas Sobecky (Czech Republic), 1-5, 3-0, 5-0

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold medal - T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) dec. Cheney Haight (Orem, Utah/USOEC/New York AC), 6-0, 6-0
Bronze medal - Jess Hargrave (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) dec. Yavor Yankiev (Bulgaria), 1-1, 3-0

84 kg/185 lbs.
Gold medal - Denis Zdorikov (Uzbekistan) dec. Aaron Sieracki (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army), 4-1, 4-1
Bronze medal - Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) dec. Hristo Marinov (Bulgaria), 4-1, 4-0

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold medal - Jimmy Lidberg (Sweden) won by disq. over Kaloyan Dinchev (Bulgaria), 1-1, 1-2, disq.
Bronze medal - Mohammed Abdel Fattah (Egypt) dec. Adam Wheeler (Lancaster, Calif./USOEC/Gator WC), 6-0, 2-1


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