McKenna in finals, Snyder and Moody go for bronze in freestyle at FILA Junior Worlds in Croatia

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Aug. 09, 2014, 9:05 a.m. (ET)
Joey McKenna of the USA plants Dzianis Maksimau of Belarus for a pin in the semifinals at 60 kg at the FILA Junior Worlds in Croatia. T.R. Foley photo.

ZAGREB, Croatia – The United States has placed three wrestlers in medal matches on Saturday night at the FILA Junior World Championships in men’s freestyle

Going for a gold medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. is Joseph McKenna (Towaco, N.J./Lehigh Valley AC), who ripped off four impressive wins to reach the finals, where he will face Iman Sadeghikoukandeh of Iran.

McKenna opened with a pair of decisions, stopping Burghum Aliyev of Azerbaijan, 10-2 and Yo Nakata of Japan, 6-2. In the quarterfinals, he opened up his offense with a 10-0 technical fall over Giorgi Bregadze of Georgia. In the semifinals, McKenna was impressive, pinning Dzianis Maksimau of Belarus in 1:49

Two U.S. wrestlers have also qualified for bronze medal bouts, 2013 FILA Junior World champion Kyle Snyder (Woodbine, Md./Sunkist Kids) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs., as well as Jabari Moody (Country Club Hills, Ill./Harvey Twisters) at 50 kg/110 lbs.

Snyder, who will be a freshman at Ohio State this fall, opened with a pair of wins, scoring a technical fall voer Alexios Kaousilidis of Cyprus, 12-1 and a solid 9-2 decision over Said Gamidov of Azerbaijan, 9-2.

In the quarterfinals, Snyder fell to Gergii Gogaev of Russia, 1-8. Gogaev was a 2012 Cadet World champion, fifth in the 2013 Junior World Championships and a champion at the Senior-level Dave Schultz Memorial this year.

When Gogaev reached the finals, Snyder was pulled back into repechage, where he scored a quick 10-0 technical fall over Angel Gochev of Bulgaria. He will now face Pedram Jamshidi of Iran in the bronze-medal round.

Moody, competing in his first Junior World Championships, won two wild high-scoring matches. He won a crazy 16-12 bout over Azamat Toibek of Kazakhstan, 16-12 in the opener, then pinned Tsedev Mandalsuren of Mongolia in 1:47 in a bout where both athletes were scoring points.

In the semifinals, in another active match, Moody lost to Maghudjon Shavkatov of Uzbekistan by technical fall, 8-19. He has drawn Saber Sharestani of Iran in his bronze-medal bout.

Anthony Valencia (Pico Rivera, Calif./Sunkist Kids) went 2-1 at 74 kg/163 lbs. but is not eligible for the medal rounds.

He opened with a pair of technical fall wins, knocking off Tarzan Maisuradze of Georgia, 10-0 and Lawrence Jayden of Australia, 10-0. In the third round, he was leading Murat Erturk of Turkey in the first period, when Erturk hit a lateral drop and pinned Valencia in 1:33. When Erturk was beaten in the semifinals, Valencia was knocked out of the tournament.

At Zagreb, Croatia, August 5-10

U.S. Men’s Freestyle performances on Saturday

50 kg/110 lbs. – Jabari Moody, Country Club Hills, Ill. (Harvey Twisters)
WIN Azamat Toibek (Kazakhstan), 16-12
WIN Tsedev Mandalsuren (Mongolia), pin 1:47
LOSS Maghudjon Shavkatov (Uzbekistan), tech. fall 8-19, 4:26
Bronze medal match – Vs. Saber Sharestani (Iran)

60 kg/132 lbs. – Joseph McKenna, Towaco, N.J. (Lehigh Valley AC)
WIN Burghum Aliyev (Azerbaijan), 10-2
WIN Yo Nakata (Japan), 6-2
WIN Giorgi Bregadze (Georgia), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Dzianis Maksimau (Belarus), pin 1:49
Gold Medal match vs. Iman Sadeghikoukandeh of Iran.

74 kg/163 lbs. – Anthony Valencia, Pico Rivera, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Tarzan Maisuradze (Georgia), tech fall 10-0
WIN Larwrence Jayden (Australia), tech. fall 10-0, 1:43
LOSS Murat Erturk (Turkey), pin 1:33

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Kyle Snyder, Woodbine, Md. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Alexios Kaousilidis (Cyprus), 12-1 4:42
WIN Said Gamidov (Azerbaijan), 9-2
LOSS Gergii Gogaev (Russia), 1-8
WIN Angel Gochev (Bulgaria), tech fall 10-0
Bronze medal match – vs. Pedram Jamshidi (Iran)

Gold medal matches

50 kg/110 lbs. –Khasankhuseyn Badrudinov (Russia) vs. Makhudjon Shavkatov (Uzbekistan)

60 kg/132 lbs. – Joseph McKenna (USA) vs. Iman Sadeghikoukandeh (Iran)

74 kg/163 lbs. – Mohammadhaji Mukhutov (Azerbaijan) vs. Zelimkhan Khadjiev (France)

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Yusuf Can Zeybek (Turkey) vs. Gergii Gogaev (Russia)