UPDATE: McKenna wins silver, Snyder gets bronze in freestyle at FILA Junior Worlds in Croatia

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Aug. 09, 2014, 3:11 p.m. (ET)
Joey McKenna of the United States during the 60 kg gold medal freestyle match at the 2014 FILA Junior World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia. T.R. Foley photo

ZAGREB, Croatia – The United States won a pair of medals on the first day of men’s freestyle at the FILA Junior World Championships in Saturday.

Claiming a silver medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. was Joseph McKenna, Towaco, N.J. (Lehigh Valley AC), with a bronze medal from Kyle Snyder (Woodbine, Md./Sunkist Kids) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

In the finals, McKenna fell to Iman Sadeghikoukandeh of Iran, 0-8, but the match was way closer than that. The Iranian took a lead in the first period, and added to it in the second, leading 4-0 until the final seconds when McKenna attempted a throw and was countered for four points. McKenna had difficulty getting his shots through the Iranian’s defense.

“The Iranian was pretty tough. He was strong and stayed in good position. He closed the gap real quick. I like a little bit of space. I didn’t have the space for my offense. I had to try to move him and get angles. The few shots I could get, I couldn’t get my hands on and slipped off. He wrestled real well,” said McKenna.

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 scored a 10-0 technical fall over Giorgi Bregadze of Georgia an in the semifinals, McKenna pinned Dzianis Maksimau of Belarus in 1:49

“This was the big goal for the year, to be Junior World champion. I was real nervous when I woke up. I had to get the first match out of the way. I had a pretty good Azerbaijan guy. Once I got through that match, my confidence went up. I know I’d be in the ballpark to be a Junior World champion. A silver medal stings a little bit, but it makes me hungry for next year,” said McKenna.

Snyder was in control throughout his bronze-medal match, keeping Pedram Jamshidi oif Iran, 7-1. It was Snyder’s second career FILA Junior World medal, after winning a gold medal in 2013 as a 17-year-old at the same weight class. Snyder lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Gergii Gogaev of Russia, but came back with two strong wins to get his bronze.

“The Russian was a tough kid. I think I respected him a little too much, respected his offense a little too much. The next time I wrestle him, I plan on wrestling him differently. Wrestling back, it’s still wrestling and I love wrestling and definitely love winning. Everytime I come onto the mat, I want to win. I’m pretty happy I could come back and take bronze,” said Snyder

Placing fifth after dropping a bronze-medal match was Jabari Moody (Country Club Hills, Ill./Harvey Twisters) at 50 kg/110 lbs. Moody was unable to get untracked in the bronze-medal match against Saber Sharestani of Iran, who scored eight quick points on a takedown and turns, and finished off the technical fall in the first period, 10-0 at 1:39. He finished the day with a 2-2 record.

Placing ninth at 74 kg/163 lbs. with a 2-1 record was Anthony Valencia (Pico Rivera, Calif./Sunkist Kids). He earned a pair of technical fall wins, before being pinned by Murat Erturk of Turkey. When Erturk did not reach the finals, Valencia was not eligible for repechage.

The United States is in a tie for third place in the team standings with Turkey at 25 points. Iran leads the standings with 32 points, with Russia in second with 28 points.

“We wanted to come into this tournament today and bring home four gold medals. When that was not going to happen, we had to have some courage and character and come back in these medal rounds and finish strong. Kyle is a great example of that. He wanted to defend his title, but he came back with a great attitude. We took a loss with Joey in the finals, but we are proud of Joey for taking second in the world. To come back here this year and get a medal this time, I am really proud of his effort today,” said U.S. coach Brandon Slay.

At Zagreb, Croatia, August 9

Men’s freestyle results

50 kg/110 lbs.
Gold –Khasankhuseyn Badrudinov (Russia)
Silver – Makhudjon Shavkatov (Uzbekistan)
Bronze – Emre Demircan (Turkey)
Bronze – Saber Sharestani (Iran)
5th – Park Changjun (Korea)
5th – Jabari Moody (USA)
7th – Zhyrgalbek Abdikarim (Kyrgyzstan)
8th – Yamato Hirakawa (Japan)
9th – Arif Huseyinov (Azerbaijan)
10th – Tsedev Mandalsuren (Mongolia)

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold - Iman Sadeghikoukandeh (Iran)
Silver – Joseph McKenna (USA)
Bronze –Vurghun Aliyev (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Gadzhimurad Rashidov (Russia)
5th – Dzianis Maksimau (Belarus)
5th – Ivan Bileichuk (Turkey)
7th – Giorgi Bregadze (Georgia)
8th – Amit Amit (India)
9th – Yu Chizhang (China)
10th – Ravkhat Asanov (Kyrgyzstan)
Gold – Sadeghikoukandeh dec. McKenna, 8-0
Bronze – Aliyev dec. Maksimau, 8-3
Bronze – Rashidov tech fall Bileichuk, 10-0

74 kg/163 lbs. –
Gold – Zelimkhan Khadjiev (France)
Silver – Mahammadhaji Mukhutov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Reza Mozaffarijouybari (Iran)
Bronze – Murat Erturk (Turkey)
5th – Andrei Karpach (Belarus)
5th – Alexandr Goltsman (Kazakhstan)
7th – Noe Szabo (Hungary)
8th – Stefan Reichmuth (Switzerland)
9th – Anthony Valencia (USA)
10th – Gheorghe Bodisteanu (Romania)
Gold – Khadjiev dec Mukhutov, 4-1
Bronze - Reza Mozaffarijouybari tech. fall Karpach, 13-3
Bronze – Erturk dec. Goltsman, 13-11

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold – Gergii Gogaev (Russia)
Silver – Yusuf Can Zeybek (Turkey)
Bronze – Kyle Snyder (USA)
Bronze – Vasile Caras (Romania)
5th – Pedram Jamshidi (Iran)
5th – Murazi Mchedlidze (Ukraine)
7th – Viktor Kazishvili (Armenia)
8th – Erik Thiele (Germany)
9th – Yusuke Yoshikawa (Japan)
10th – Said Gamidov (Azerbaijan)
Gold – Gogaev dec. Zeybek, 6-1
Bronze – Snyder dec. Jamshidi, 7-1
Bronze – Caras dec. Mchedlidze, 6-3

U.S. men’s Freestyle performances on Saturday

50 kg/110 lbs. – Jabari Moody, Country Club Hills, Ill. (Harvey Twisters), 5th
WIN Azamat Toibek (Kazakhstan), 16-12
WIN Tsedev Mandalsuren (Mongolia), pin 1:47
LOSS Maghudjon Shavkatov (Uzbekistan), tech. fall 8-19, 4:26
LOSS Saber Sharestani (Iran), 0-10, 1:39

60 kg/132 lbs. – Joseph McKenna, Towaco, N.J. (Lehigh Valley AC), 2nd
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
LOSS Iman Sadeghikoukandeh (Iran), 0-8

74 kg/163 lbs. – Anthony Valencia, Pico Rivera, Calif. (Sunkist Kids), 9th
WIN Tarzan Maisuradze (Georgia), tech fall 10-0
WIN Lawrence 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), 3rd
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
WIN Pedram Jamshidi (Iran), 7-1