FLASH: Pico goes for gold, Nickal goes for bronze in freestyle at Cadet Worlds in SerbiaZRENJANIN, Serbia -- Aaron Pico of California has reached the gold-medal finals at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. in men's freestyle on the final day of competition at the Cadet World Championships.
He won four straight matches to secure a spot in the finals against Yuhi Fujinami of Japan. Fujinami was on the 2012 Japanese Cadet World Team, but did not place last year.
The finals begin at 4:00 p.m. Serbia time, which is six hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone. FILA is running a webcast of the action on its Facebook page.
Pico opened with an impressive offensive display from his feet in his first match, a 7-0 technical fall victory over Adilbek Osmonaliev of Kyrgyzstan in 1:41.
His second match was a very close battle with Teymur Mammadov of Azerbaijan, a 2-1 victory for Pico. Mammadov scored the only point in the first period on a pushout. In the second, Pico scored a two-point takedown, and was able to avoid any dangerous situations the rest of the period for a hard-fought one-point victory.
In the quarterfinals, Pico dismantled Maxim Carabadjac of Moldova by technical fall, 10-2 in 1:45. He was able to score multiple takedowns on him. Carabadjac's only points came when Pico attempted a high amplitude throw from a double leg and exposed himself in the attempt.
In the semifinals, Pico fell behind Vikas Vikas of India, 4-0 at the half. However, in the second period, Pico turned on the offense, scoring four straight two-point takedowns for an 8-4 victory.
Bo Nickal of Texas has secured a spot in the bronze medal round at 76 kg/167.5 lbs. with a 3-1 record so far. He will face Ali Mojerloo of Iran in a bronze-medal match.
Nickal came out strong in a first-round win over Takashi Ishiguro of Japan, 6-3. Nickal scored all of his six points in the first period with both takedowns and a turn. Ishiguro was more effective in the second period, but could not score late in the match.
Nickal drew Batyrbek Tcakulov of Russia and scored the first point of the period. Tchakulov led 3-1 at the break, and added four more points on a scramble late in the second period for a 7-1 victory over Nickal.
Nickal was pulled back into repechage when Tcakulov won a challenge on the final few seconds of his semifinal match to get two points against Iranian Ali Mojeroo and advance into the finals.
In the repechage, Nickal dispatched two opponents with first period technical falls. In the first repechage bout, Nickal had a quick takedown and three ankle lace turns for a technical fall in less than a minute over Simone Iannattone of Italy. In the second repechage match, Nickal was also active with takedowns and turns for a technical fall over Sargis Hovsepyan of Armenia, 8-0 in 1:40.
The other three U.S. athletes competing on Sunday lost matches, and were not eligible for the repechage.
At 100 kg/220 lbs., Cadet National double champion Lance Benick of Minnesota was defeated by 2013 European Cadet champion Eren Dursun Turan of Turkey, 0-5. A Benick attack was countered by Turan, with the officials giving Turan two points. The U.S. challenged the call, which was denied, giving Turan a 3-0 lead at half. Turan was defensive in the second period, and scored another two points late in the period for the win. Benick was eliminated when Turan lost his next match.
Stevan Micic opened his competition at 54 kg/119 lbs. with a loss to Nematdin Rahmanov of Azerbaijan, 4-10. Micic was able to score two takedowns, but Rahmanov was successful in scoring successfully in both periods. Rahmanov lead 6-2 at half, and added four more points in the second period. Micic did not advance to repechage when Rahmanov lost his next match
At 46 kg/104.25 lbs., Devin Brown of Pennsylvania trailed early to Balasz Egyed of Hungary, and could not come from behind in a 5-7 loss. Brown was eliminated when Egyed lost in the next round.
CADET WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Zrenjanin, Serbia, August 25
U.S. men's freestyle performances so far
46 kg/104.25 lbs. - Devin Brown, Saegertown, Pa.
LOSS Balasz Egyed (Hungary), 5-7
54 kg/119 lbs. - Stevan Micic, Cedar Lake, Ind.,
LOSS Nematdin Rahmanov (Azerbaijan), 4-10
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Aaron Pico, Whittier, Calif.
WIN Adilbek Osmonaliev (Kyrgyzstan), tech. fall 7-0, (1:41)
WIN Teymur Mammadov (Azerbaijan), 2-1
WIN Maxim Carabadjac (Moldova), tech. fall 10-2 (1:45)
WIN Vikas Vikas (India), 8-4
Gold medal match - Vs. Yuhi Fujinami (Japan)
76 kg/167.5 lbs. - Bo Nickal, Allen, Texas
WIN Takashi Ishiguro (Japan), 6-3
LOSS Batyrbek Tcakulov (Russia), 1-7
WIN Simone Iannattone (Italy), tech. fall, 7-0 (first period)
WIN Sargis Hovsepyan (Armenia), tech. fall, 8-0 (1:40)
Bronze medal match - Vs. Ali Mojerloo (Iran)
100 kg/220 lbs. - Lance Benick, Scandia, Minn.
LOSS Eren Dursun Turan (Turkey), 0-5