FLASH: Pico goes for gold, Gilman, Dean and Coon in bronze bouts at FILA Junior Worlds in CroatiaAaron Pico of the USA in action at 66 kg at the FILA Junior World Championships. Pico goes for a gold medal tonight in Zagreb, Croatia. T.R. Foley photo
ZAGREB, Croatia – All four U.S. wrestlers competing on the final day of the FILA Junior World Championships in freestyle will be competing in medal matches at the 6:00 p.m. session.
Earning a spot in the gold-medal finals is Aaron Pico, Whittier, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. It is his second straight year in a World Championships finals, after taking a gold medal in 2013 at the FILA Cadet World Championships.
Pico’s first match was his most challenging, a 7-5 win over Deichi Takatani of Japan, who competed for Japan on the senior level. With that victory in hand, Pico tore through the rest of his half-bracket, getting three straight technical falls. He stopped Kyrillos Binembaoum of Greece, 10-0,SurkoRashitkhanov of Belarus, 10-0 in the quarterfinals and Mihail Georgie of Bulgaria, 11-0 in the semifinals.
Three Americans reached the semifinals, with Pico the only one who advanced to the finals. Dropping heartbreaking semifinal battles, which qualified them for bronze medal bouts were Thomas Gilman (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Cliff Keen WC) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Gilman is a University of Iowa star who placed eighth in last year’s Junior World Championships. He opened up with a pair of technical falls over Abdelhak Kherbache of Algeria, 10-0 and Methodli Chadli of Tunisia,10-0. Although he trailed early, Gilman scored an exciting 4-4 criteria decision over Reza Atri of Iran. In the semifinals, Gilman was unable to get his offense untracked in a 2-5 loss to Michalan Hasan-Zada of Azerbaijan.
Coon, the University of Michigan star who won a FILA Junior Greco-Roman bronze medal earlier in the week, was dominant in his first three bouts, with technical falls over Qiang Tao of China and Rangi Roubaljeet of India and a pin of Oyan Nazaryani of Azerbaijan.
In the semifinals, Coon faced Canada’s Amar Dhesi, an Oregon State wrestler who Coon has faced in both freestyle and folkstyle wrestling in the past. Dhesi led early, but Coon battled back to take a 6-5 lead late in the match on an exchange that was protested by the Canadians. With just five seconds left, Dhesi scored a takedown to earn a stunning 7-6 win.
Getting through to a bronze medal bout through the repechage rounds is Cornell All-American Gabe Dean (Lowell, Mich./Titan Mercury WC/FLWC) at 84 kg/185 lbs. Dean won his first two bouts by technical fall over Selimmuhamet Muhadeyyev of Turkmenistan and Adris Ruhle of Latvia.
In the quarterfinals, Dean had a see-saw match against Azamat Dauletbekov of Kazakhstan, dropping a tight 6-7 decision. When Dauletbekov reached the finals, Dean was pulled back into repechage, and hammered Pavlos Sotiriadis of Greece in the repechage round by technical fall, 14-3.
Team USA entered Sunday in a tie for third place, and has put itself in position to win a world team title. Going into the finals, the USA has a guaranteed 52 points, while Iran has a guarantee of 56 points. The USA is going for three bronzes and a gold tonigh. Iran is seeking two golds and a bronze tonight.
FILA JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Zagreb, Croatia
U.S. Men’s Freestyle performances so far on Sunday
55 kg/121 lbs. – Thomas Gilman, Council Bluffs, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
WIN Abdelhak Kherbache (Algeria), tech fall, 10-0, 2:29
WIN Methodli Chadli (Tunisia), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Reza Atri (Iran), 4-4
LOSS Michalan Hasan-Zada (Azerbaijan), 2-5
Bronze Medal bout vs. Vladimir Kurdin (Kazakhstan)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Aaron Pico, Whittier, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Deichi Takatani (Japan), 7-5
WIN Kyrillos Binembaoum (Greece), 10-0, 2:25
WIN SurkoRashitkhanov (Belarus), tech. fall 10-0, 3:42
WIN Mihail Georgie (Bulgaria), tech. fall 11-0, 5:52
Gold Medal bout vs. Hassan Yazdanicharati (Iran)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Gabe Dean, Lowell, Mich. (Titan Mercury WC/FLWC)
WIN Selimmuhamet Muhadeyyev (Turkmenistan), tech. fall, 10-0, 1:16
WIN Adris Ruhle (Latvia), tech. fall 12-2, 4:08
LOSS Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakhstan), 6-7
WIN Pavlos Sotiriadis(Greece), tech. fall 14-3, 3:33
Bronze Medal bout vs. Nuramagomed Gadzhiyev (Azerbaijan)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Adam Coon, Fowlerville, Mich. (Cliff Keen WC)
WIN Qiang Tao (China), tech fall 10-0, 1:17
WIN Rangi Roubaljeet (India), tech. fall 10-0, 2:48
WIN Oyan Nazaryani (Azerbaijan), pin
LOSS Amar Dhesi (Canada), 6-7
Bronze medal bout vs. Yusuf Emre Dede (Turkey)
Gold medal finals
55 kg/121 lbs. – Azmat Tuskaev (Russia) vs. Mihcalan Hasa-Zada (Azerbaijan)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Aaron Pico (USA) vs. Hasan YazdaniCharati (Iran)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Areza Karmimachiani (Iran) vs. Azamat Dauletbekov (Kazakshtan)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Geno Petriashvili (Georgia) vs. Amar Dhesi (Canada)