Nielsen places fifth in Greco Roman at University World Championships in Italy

By Gary Abbott | Nov. 01, 2010, 12:21 p.m. (ET)
TORINO, Italy - Zac Nielsen (Zimmerman, Minn./Minnesota Storm) placed fifth at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. in Greco-Roman on the final day of the 2010 FISU University World Championships, held at the Pala Ruffini arena on Saturday.

He lost to Marcin Olejniczac of Poland in the bronze-medal match, 0-1, 0-2.

He opened with a win over Tomislav Lavric from Croatia, 1-0, 3-0, then was defeated in the quarterfinals by Diagoro Timoncini of Italy, 0-1, 0-1. When Timoncini reached the finals, Nielsen was pulled back into the repechage. Nielsen defeated J. Svetislav from Serbia, 2-0, 2-0 to qualify for the bronze-medal bout.

"Zac wrestled really well" said National Greco-Roman Developmental Coach Ike Anderson. "The two guys he lost to were bigger than him. He still has to grow into this weight class a bit. He is a good fighter. He can compete at this level. He wrestled the best on the team, and it showed."

Nielsen is a member of the U.S. Olympic Education Program at Northern Michigan Univ. He had the highest placement in the tournament for the U.S. Greco-Roman team. He was a member of the 2008 U.S. Junior World Team.

Joe Kemmerer (Mountain Top, Pa./Virginia Gold) placed eighth at 60 kg/132 lbs. He opened with a victory over Jakub Szczepaniak of Poland, 0-1, 5-0, 1-0. In the quarterfinals, he lost to Takumi Yokohama of Japan, 3-4, 0-4. When Yokohama was beaten in the semifinals, Kemmerer was not eligible for the repechage rounds.

Aaron Briggs (Tucson, Ariz./New York AC) dropped his only match at 74 kg/163 lbs. and did not place in the top 10.

Kemmerer was a two-time Div. II national champion for Kutztown Univ., while Briggs was a member of the USOEC program at Northern Michigan.

The United States placed 12th in a very competitive event, scoring 14 points. Iran won the team title with 64 points, followed by Turkey with 57 points and Russia with 40 points. A number of Senior-level stars were entered in the event in Greco-Roman.

During the week, the United States won a total of five medals. Claiming gold medals were women's freestyle wrestlers Elena Pirozhkova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. and Ali Bernard (New Ulm, Minn./Gator WC) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs
Winning bronze medals were women's freestyle wrestlers Gabrielle Henry (Columbus, Ohio/Univ. of the Cumberlands) at 51 kg/112.25 lbs. and Trinity Plessinger (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), plus men's freestyle wrestler Reece Humphrey (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) at 60 kg/132 lbs.

At Torino, Italy, Oct. 30

Greco-Roman results

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold - Orkhan Pashayev (Azerbaijan)
Silver - Ivan Blattsev (Russia)
Bronze - Abdussamet Ugurli (Turkey)
Bronze - Takumi Yokoyama (Japan)
5th - Alexandar Alexsandrov (Bulgaria)
5th - Donior Islamov (Moldova)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold - Adel Baeitabar (Iran)
Silver - Mykola Daragan (Ukraine)
Bronze - Seref Tufenk (Turkey)
Bronze - M. Magomedaliev (Russia)
5th - Valery Palenski (Belarus)
5th - Martin Szabo (Hungary)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold - Moammadreza Akbari (Iran)
Silver - Daigoro Timoncini (Italy)
Bronze - Ahmet Tacyildiz (Turkey)
Bronze - Marcin Olejniczac (Poland)
5th - Zac Nielsen (USA)
5th - Volodymir Teslenko (Ukraine)

U.S. Greco-Roman performances

60 kg/132 lbs. - Joe Kemmerer (Mountain Top, Pa./Virginia Gold), 8th
WIN Jakub Szczepaniak (Poland), 0-1, 5-0, 1-0
LOSS Takumi Yokohama (Japan), 3-4, 0-4

74 kg/163 lbs. - Aaron Briggs (Tucson, Ariz./New York AC), dnp/12th
LOSS Ciro Russo (Italy), 1-1, 0-2

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Zac Nielsen (Zimmerman, Minn./Minnesota Storm), 5th
WIN Tomislav Lavric (Croatia), 1-0, 3-0
LOSS Diagoro Timoncini (Italy), 0-1, 0-1
WIN J. Svetislav (Serbia), 2-0, 2-0
LOSS Marcin Olejniczac (Poland), 0-1, 0-2

Team Standings
1 Iran, 64
2 Turkey, 57
3 Russia, 40
4 Poland, 37
5 Azerbaijan, 29
6 Ukraine, 26
7 Japan, 22
8 Hungary, 19
9 Belarus, 16
10 Italy, 15
11 Bulgaria, 15
12 USA, 14
13 Estonia, 12
14 Moldova, 9
15 Finland, 7
16 Croatia, 4
17 Norway, 4
18 Sweden, 4
19 Spain, 3
20 Greece, 1