Pihl Marano win gold medals at Vehbi Emre Golden Grand Prix in Turkey on Sunday

By Gary Abbott | Feb. 28, 2006, 11:33 a.m. (ET)
Two U.S. women wrestlers claimed gold medals on the final day of competition at the Vehbi Emre Golden Grand Prix in Izmir, Turkey, Feb. 26.

Capturing gold medals for the United States were Tina Pihl (Colorado Springs, Colo./Team Dream) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and two-time World champion Kristie Marano (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.

This tournament is one of the new FILA Golden Grand Prix events, which provides prize money to athletes based upon their placement. Competition is being held in men's Greco-Roman wrestling and women's freestyle wrestling.

Pihl, who is ranked No. 4 on Women's Team USA, won three matches during the day, all against opponents from Turkey. In the gold-medal finals, Pihl defeated Leyla Metin of Turkey, 3-2, 4-3.

Marano competed in a round-robin format at her weight class, and won all four of her matches during the day. Among her victories was a 3-0, 1-0 win over Yana Panova of Kyrgyzstan, the eventual silver medalist.

Marano won World gold medals in 2000 and 2003, and has won seven World medals, the most of any U.S. women's wrestler.

The other U.S. women's wrestler who competed on Sunday, Chelynne Pringle (Hugo, Minn./Minnesota Storm), captured a bronze medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. Pringle is ranked No. 3 on Women's Team USA.

In total, the U.S. won four gold medals in the women's division during the tournament, as Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Sally Roberts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 59 kg/130 lbs. won titles on Friday.

The United States placed second in the team standings, behind host Turkey. Bulgaria was third in the women's standings.

Two U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers were defeated on Sunday and did not medal: Mark Rial, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) at : 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and R.C. Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Johnson had a 1-1 record in the tournament, and finished in eighth place. Rial lost his only bout of the competition. Neither were able to enter the wrestleback rounds, because the opponent that beat them did not qualify for the gold-medal match.

At Izmir, Turkey, Feb 26

Women's freestyle medals

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - Tina Pihl (USA)
Silver - Leyla Metin (Turkey)
Bronze - Chelynne Pringle (USA)
Bronze - Gul Simsek (Turkey)

67 kg/158.5 lbs.
Gold - Kristie Marano (USA)
Silver - Yana Panova (Kyrgyzstan)
Bronze - Simge Yilaz (Turkey)

U.S. women's performances

55 kg/121 lbs. - Tina Pihl, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Team Dream), 1st
WIN Gul Simsek (Turkey), 3-0, 2-0
WIN Elif Cerlik (Turkey), 1-1, 2-0
WIN Leyla Metin (Turkey), 3-2, 4-3

55 kg/121 lbs. - Chelynne Pringle, Hugo, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 3rd
LOSS Leyla Metin (Turkey), 2-5, pin 1:26

67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Kristie Marano, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 1st
WIN Simge Ylimaz (Turkey), 1-0, 1-0
WIN Yana Panova (Kyrgyzstan), 3-0, 1-0
WIN Aysel Kan (Turkey), 7-0, 7-0
WIN Ozden Kan (Turkey), 6-0, 7-0

U.S. Men's Greco-Roman performances

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Mark Rial, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC), dnp
LOSS Yusif Zadehabib (Azerbaijan), 1-3, 0-4

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - R.C. Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 8th
WIN Berdik (Belarus), 4-0, 7-0
LOSS Han Tae-Young (Korea), 0-4, 0-4