Spencer Lee reaches freestyle finals at UWW Junior Worlds in Brazil

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 15, 2015, 1:46 p.m. (ET)
Spencer Lee hits a leg attack against Bhart Datil of India in the 50 kg semifinals at the UWW World Championships in Brazil.

SALVADOR, Brazil – 2014 UWW Cadet World champion Spencer Lee (Murraysville, Pa./Young Guns) will be wrestling for a gold medal tonight at 50 kg/110 lbs. on the first day of men’s freestyle at the UWW Junior World Championships.

He powered through four opponents on Saturday morning, winning all four by technical fall. He has drawn 2014 Cadet World champion Ali Reza Goodarzi of Iran in the finals. At last year’s Cadet Worlds, Goodarzi won the gold at 46 kg, while Lee won the gold at 50 kg.

“I have to prepare for a World champion,” said Lee after his win in the semifinals. “The Iranian was a Cadet World champion last year with me. He beat everybody real good there.”

The championship finals will be held at 6:00 p.m. Brazil time, which is 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern time. The finals will be streamed by United World Wrestling on its website at www.UnitedWorldWrestling.org

In his opener, Lee quickly dispatched Roman Gutsalyak of Ukraine in his opening match with a first-period 10-0 technical fall. A takedown was followed by an ankle lace. Back on his feet, Lee had another takedown, a gutwrench and a final ankle lace to end it.

Lee dominated 2013 Cadet World champion Darkhan Kalkenov of Kazakhstan for a 12-2 technical fall in his next match. Lee opened with a go behind to exposure for four points. After a scramble, when Kalkenov scored two points, Lee reversed and turned him for an 8-2 lead. A takedown and ankle lace ended it at 12-2.

His next vicitim was European Junior bronze medalist Roberti Dingashvili of Georgia, who Lee dispatched 10-0. He jumped to a 6-0 lead with a takedown and two ankle laces, then closed it out with a takedown and another ankle lace.

In the semifinals he met Bhart Datil of India, emerging with a 12-2 technical fall in the second period. Leading 6-0, Lee allowed a takedown by Datil to make it 6-2 at break. He later stopped and arm spin for a takedown, making it 8-2, then closed it out with another takedown and ankle lace.

“I feel like I was a little slow. I didn’t wrestle as well as I could have. He took me down and never should have gotten there. He’s a good opponent, props to him. He’s a good kid. I teched everybody. The Cadet World champion (from Kazakhstan) scored on me in a scramble. I got four and he got two. I just have to stay in position and do what I am doing,” said Lee.

2014 UWW Cadet World champion Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn./Minnesota Storm) was eliminated at 74 kg/163 lbs. with a 2-1 record.

Hall opened with a 6-2 win over 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion Yayuro Yamasaki of Japan in the first round. The key move was a four-point counter takedown in the second period. Hall led at the break, 2-0, on a pushout and a point from the shot clock against Yamasaki. He gave up a reversal and a stepout. In last year’s Cadet Worlds, Hall beat Yamasaki in the semifinals, 7-4, and Yamasaki won a bronze medal.

Hall next defeated European Junior bronze medalist Murad Suleymanov of Azerbaijan with a pin in 5:34. Suleymanov scored first, but Hall tied it at 2-2 at the break on a late takedown. After a low single takedown by Hall and a pushout by Suleymanov, Hall led 4-3. When Suleymanov went with an aggressive upperboy attack, Hall hit a slick inside trip to put Suleymanov on his back and then secured the pin.

Hall drew Peter Nagy of Hungary in the quarterfinals. Nagy had lived in Iowa and Florida, wrestling the USA circuit, including getting a gold medal at the Cadet Nationals in Greco-Roman. At the break, Hall led 1-0 after Nagy was put on the shot clock. A pushout for Nagy made it 1-1. Hall got another point on a shot clock against Nagy to make it 2-1. But with just one second left, Nagy scored a spin behind takedown. The U.S. protested to no avail, and the match went to Nagy 4-2. When Nagy was defeated in the semifinals by Reza Mozaffarijouybari of Iran, Hall was eliminated.

Also competing on Saturday was Penn State wrestler Anthony Cassar (Bridgewater, N.J./Nittany Lion WC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. He opened with a 10-0 technical fall over Kristoff Wittmann of Hungary. Leading 2-0 at the break, Cassar added three more takedowns in the second period, including a four-pointer on a high single leg.

In his second round match against Roubel Singh of India, Cassar scored a four-pointer for an early 4-0 lead. Singh came back with a takedown and put Cassar right to his back. The match was stopped for a pin, with Cassar clearly injured. When Singh lost his next match, Cassar was not eligible for repechage.

“We had an OK performance as a team,” said U.S. coach Mike Duroe. “We got a really good start. We won the first four or five matches. Then a couple of things did not go our way. It was unfortunate for Mark Hall to give up that takedown with less than a second left. He is usually really hard to finish on. The thing we stress as a nation and in camp is that we have to finish out matches. In a couple of cases, we did not do that. As far as Spencer Lee’s performance, you couldn’t ask for more.

At Salvador, Brazil

Men’s Freestyle performance

50 kg/110 lbs. – Spencer Lee, Murraysville, Pa. (Young Guns)
WIN Roman Gutsalyak (Ukraine), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Darkhan Kalkenov (Kazakhstan), tech. fall 12-2
WIN Roberti Dingashvili (Georgia), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Bhart Datil (India), tech. fall 12-2
Gold medal finals – Vs. Ali Reza Goodarzi (Iran)

74 kg163 lbs. – Mark Hall, Apple Valley, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
WIN Yayuro Yamasaki (Japan), 6-2
WIN Murad Suleymanov (Azerbaijan), pin 5:34
LOSS Peter Nagy (Hungary), 4-2

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Anthony Cassar, Bridgewater, N.J. (Nittany Lion WC)
WIN Kristoff Wittmann (Hungary), tech. fall 10-0
LOSS Roubel Singh (India), pin 1:33