Obe Blanc (in red) battles Japan's Yasuhiro Inaba. Larry Slater photo.
MOSCOW, Russia - American Obe Blanc was on a roll.
Blanc won his first two matches and was on the verge of winning his third before disaster struck at the World Championships on Friday afternoon at the Olympiysky Sports Complex.
Blanc won the first period 2-0 and led 2-0 in the second period of his freestyle quarterfinal bout against Japan's Yasuhiro Inaba. He was then taken down and turned to his back. Inaba recorded the fall with nine seconds left in the period at 55 kg/121 lbs.
Blanc was eliminated when Inaba dropped his semifinal match in the final 10 seconds of the third period to Azerbaijan's Toghrui Asgarov.
In the final individual standings, Blanc placed ninth.
"Obe Blanc wrestled great, just not great enough to get a medal for America. The international style of wrestling and the rules are unforgiving" said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones. "You can't even make one mistake. That mistake was a game ender for Obe. It was unfortunate for him. His future is bright. He dominated up to that point."
American women Kristie Davis and Stephany Lee also fell short of winning medals on Friday.
Davis, formerly Kristie Marano, fell to Ukraine's Alla Cherkasova 3-1, 1-0 in the first round. Davis, 31, is a nine-time World medalist and two-time World champion. She was competing in her first Worlds since 2007. Cherkasova lost in the semifinals, eliminating Davis. It was the first time in 10 trips to the Worlds that Davis did not medal.
"It was good to be back. I'm disappointed in my wrestling. I am glad to be back in the mix of things. I just need to improve. I need to evaluate it again, get some more matches and basically start over" said Davis.
Lee lost by fall to Sweden's Anna Fransson in 36 seconds in the quarterfinals. Lee was eliminated when Fransson lost in the semifinals to World champion Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria. Lee was competing in her second World Championships.
In the final individual standings, Lee placed eighth.
"It opened my eyes to what I need to be doing and not doing" said Lee. "I need to pull it together. I'll go home and make some decisions."
The U.S. women finished the event with two medalists, silver medalist Elena Pirozhkova at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and bronze medalist Tatiana Padilla at 55 kg/121 lbs. It was Padilla's second career World bronze medal, while Pirozhkova medalled for the first time at the World level.
Japan won the team title with 61 points, followed by Russia with 39 points and Canada with 36 points. The top three nations win a trophy. Placing fourth was Sweden with 30 points and the United States was fifth with 28 points.
"We have made a lot of progress," said National Women's Coach Terry Steiner. "We have to continue progressing, getting better and doing the right things. We have a lot of room for improvement. It is a step in the right direction. Next year, we will focus more on results, where we are in the team standings and in the individual standings. We need to get back and get to work. I am proud of this team, this staff and those who support this program."
Day 6 of the seven-day event is set for Saturday in Moscow. Americans Mike Zadick (Solon, Iowa/Gator WC), Jake Herbert (Evanston, Ill./New York AC) and J.D. Bergman (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC) are scheduled to compete.
Zadick competes at 60 kg/132 lbs. He won a silver medal in this event in 2006. Herbert competes at 84 kg/185 lbs. He won a World silver medal in 2009. Bergman is competing in his first World Championships.U.S. RESULTS FROM FRIDAY'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPSWomen's freestyle67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Kristie Davis, Oklahoma City, Okla. (New York AC, dnp/12th
LOSS Alla Cherkasova (Ukraine), 1-3, 0-172 kg/158.5 lbs. - Stephany Lee, Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 8th
WIN Roxana Iancolovich (Romania), fall 1:59
LOSS Anna Fransson (Sweden), fall 0:36Freestyle55 kg/121 lbs. - Obe Blanc, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
WIN Sezar Akgul (Turkey), 2-0, 1-0
WIN Urs Wild (Switzerland), 1-0, 3-0
LOSS Yasuhiro Inaba (Japan), 2-0, fall 1:51Women's freestyle results on Friday67 kg/147.5 lbs.
Gold - Martine Dugrenier (Canada)
Silver - Elena Shalygina (Kazakhstan)
Bronze -Ifeoma Iheanacho (Nigeria)
Bronze -Alla Cherkosova (Ukraine)
5th - Mami Shinkai (Japan)
5th - Nadya Sementsova (Azerbaijan)
7th - Burcu Orskaya (Turkey)
8th - Maria Selmaier (Germany)
9th - Ying Chen (China)
10th - Yanira Morales (Cuba)72 kg/158 lbs.
Gold - Stanka Zlateva (Bulgaria)
Silver - Ohenewa Akuffo (Canada)
Bronze -Ekatarina Bukina (Russia)
Bronze -Kyoko Hamaguchi (Japan)
5th - Jenny Fransson (Sweden)
5th - Maider Unda (Spain)
7th - Dan Li (China)
8th - Stephany Lee (United States)
9th - Burmaa Ochirbat (Mongolia)
10th - Maria Muller (Germany)Men's freestyle results on Friday55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - Victor Lebedev (Russia)
Silver - Toghrul Asgarov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze -Frank Chamizo (Cuba)
Bronze -Yasuhiro Inaba (Japan)
5th - Hyo-Sub Kim (Korea)
5th - Naranbaatar Bayaraa (Mongolia)
7th - Radoslav Velikov (Bulgaria)
8th - Rizvan Gadzhiev (Belarus)
9th - Obe Blanc (USA)
10th - Hassan Rahimi (Iran)