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Three U.S. wrestlers fall short of medal round in Greco at World Championships

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Sept. 13, 2014, 5:35 a.m. (ET)

Robby Smith competes in his second World Championships on Saturday. Robbert Wijtman photo.

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – American Greco-Roman wrestlers Robby Smith, Bryce Saddoris and Joe Rau fell short of the medal round at the World Championships on Saturday at the Gymnastics Palace.

Smith used his lethal front headlock to down Korea’s Jon Won Hwang 8-2 in his first bout at 130 kg/286 lbs.

Smith then lost by a 9-0 technical fall to World No. 7 Lyubomir Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the quarterfinals. Smith was put down in par terre for passivity and Dmitrov used a succession of turns to go up 7-0 at the break.

Smith, fifth at the 2013 Worlds, was eliminated when Dimitrov lost to World champion Riza Kayaalp of Turkey in the semifinals.

“I didn’t wrestle my best at all,” Smith said. “I felt sluggish. It’s all on me – I lost. I got caught in a gut wrench and I couldn’t stop him. I wasn’t on my game today.”

Saddoris, competing in his first World Championships, opened with a quick first-period fall over Loiqi Amirkhanzode of Tajikistan at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Saddoris dropped a 1-0 decision to 2012 Olympic silver medalist Revaz Lashkhi of Georgia in the second round. Lashkhi was awarded a point after a passivity call on Saddoris in the match’s final minute.

Saddoris was eliminated when Lashki failed to advance to the finals.

“I would have loved to have that call,” Saddoris said of the match with Georgia. “I put it in my mindset that I was not going to get any calls. It boils down to you have to be able to score. To medal at the Senior level, you have to score points when you need them, especially in the last 30 seconds.”

Rau, competing in his first World Championships, lost by fall to Switzerland’s Jonas Bossert in the first round at 80 kg/176 lbs. Rau led 5-2 early in the second period before being caught in a throw by Bossert.

Rau was eliminated when Bossert lost his next match.

“I felt like I wrestled great – except for that one big mistake,” Rau said. “I was taking it to him and I was thinking tech. The coaches said I got overexcited and got in bad position. Lesson learned. It’s crushing and disappointing. I really felt like I should have had that win.”

The U.S. finished a combined 2-3 on Saturday.

“It’s a tough tournament,” U.S. coach Matt Lindland said. “The guys are wrestling the best in the World. Each guy, you have to talk about individually. Everybody made a couple of mistakes and you can’t many any here at the World level. You have to be on your game the day of the tournament.”

Champions crowned on Saturday included Serbia’s Davor Stefanek at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Hungary’s Peter Bacsi at 80 kg/176 lbs. and Cuba’s Mijain Lopez at 130 kg/286 lbs.

Lopez, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, captured his fifth World title.

The final day of the seven-day event is set for Sunday in Tashkent. Two-time World bronze medalist Justin Lester, two-time Olympian Spenser Mango and two-time World Team member Caylor Williams are set to compete in Greco for the U.S.

2014 World Championships
Sept. 8-14
Gymnastics Palace, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold – Davor Stefanek (Serbia)
Silver – Omid Noroozi (Iran)
Bronze – Tamas Lorincz (Hungary)
Bronze – Edgaras Venckaitis (Lithuania)

80 kg/176 lbs.
Gold – Peter Bacsi (Hungary)
Silver – Evgeni Saleev (Russia)
Bronze – Selcub Cebi (Turkey)
Bronze – Jim Pettersson (Sweden)

130 kg/286 lbs.
Gold – Mijain Lopez (Cuba)
Silver – Riza Kayaalp (Turkey)
Bronze – Heiki Nabi (Estonia)
Bronze – Beylal Makhov (Russia)

Greco-Roman finals results

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Davor Stefanek (Serbia) dec. Omid Noroozi (Iran), 7-3

80 kg/176 lbs.
Peter Bacsi (Hungary) dec. Evgeni Saleev (Russia), 2-1

130 kg/286 lbs.
Mijain Lopez (Cuba) dec. Riza Kayaalp (Turkey), 2-0

U.S. Greco-Roman results

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Bryce Saddoris, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marines)
WIN Loiqi Amirkhanzode (Tajikistan), 1:26
LOSS Revaz Lashkhi (Georgia), 0-1

80 kg/176 lbs. – Joe Rau, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Jonas Bossert (Switzerland), fall 4:11

130 kg/286 lbs. – Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
WIN Jon Won Hwang (Korea), 8-2
LOSS Lyubomir Dimitrov (Bulgaria), 0-9