USA Wrestling Stieber scores two l...

Stieber scores two last-second wins to reach finals at World Championships in Budapest

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Dec. 10, 2016, 9 a.m. (ET)

Logan Stieber after a win at 61 kg at the Non-Olympic Weight Class World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday. Photo by Kadir Caliskan.

BUDAPEST, Hungary – He sure didn’t plan it that way, but Logan Stieber needed last-second takedowns in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals to earn his place in the gold-medal finals at 61 kg/134 lbs. at the World Championships on Saturday.

Stieber scored a last-second takedown in the semifinals to beat 2012 Junior World champion Behnam Ehsanpoor of Iran.

Stieber trailed 6-2 at the break, but got things going in the second period. A takedown and turn tied it at 6-6, but Ehsanpoor scored a late takedown to take an 8-6 lead into the closing seconds. Stieber got behind Ehsanpoor right before the whistle to tie it at 8-8, and he had criteria. The Iranians challenged the takedown which was denied and Stieber won 9-8.

He will face Beka Lomtadze of Georgia in the finals, after Lomtadze scored his own last second takedown on Akhmednabi Gvarzatilov of Azerbaijan, 12-11 in the other semfinals.

“It is just focus. I don’t really think. I am just out there trying to score. I have confidence in my sprint and my short time offense. I didn’t draw it up this way,” said Stieber.

Stieber’s quarterfinals win over three-time Yarygin Grand Prix medalist Akhmed Chakaev of Russia was also exciting and scary. The lead went back and forth throughout the bout. Stieber trailed 9-6 in the second period, but came back with a takedown and a turn to get a 10-9 lead. However, Chakaev counter a Stieber shot for exposure to take an 11-10 lead with nine seconds on the clock.

As time ran down, Stieber got behind Chakaev for a takedown with five seconds left for a 12-11 lead. The Russians challenged the takedown, but event officials could not call up the video for review. After several minutes with the Russian coaches complaining, the head referee called over both USA coach Bill Zadick and the head Russian coach. The challenge was denied, and Stieber was awarded another point, for a 13-11 final.

“Maybe they relaxed, but it was also me wearing and wearing on them. I have been close a lot, and I just happened to score with one second left,” Stieber said of his buzzer-beating heroics.

In his first match, Stieber quickly rolled up 2015 World bronze medalist Vasyl Shuptar with a 10-0 technical fall. Stieber scored a takedown and three turns for an 8-0 lead, then added one more takedown to close out the victory in the first period.

“The kid has an amazing heart. He has been a winner his whole life. He has been an elite performer and he just showed you why. Really close matches, great competitors, three World-medalist caliber athletes. I am really excited for him so far. One more to go. We are focused on that match,” said National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick.

After going 1-1 at 71 kg/156 lbs. in his first World Championships, Christopher Gonzalez (Bolingbrook, Ill./U.S. Army WCAP) was not eligible for the repechage rounds.

Gonzalez got off to a strong start with an 8-0 technical fall over Filip Dubsky of the Czech Republic. Gonzalez led 1-0 at the break after a point from Dubsky’s passivity, but opened it up in the second with a pair of takedowns and a gut wrench turn for the eight point margin.

In his second match, Gonzalez was edged in a 2-2 criteria decision against Ilie Cojocari of Romania. Gonzalez led at the break with a pushout and a point from a passivity call. In the second period, Gonzalez was hit for a passivity call for the lead to shrink to 2-1, and then was pushed out by Cojocari to tie it at 2-2. Gonzalez could not score late and lost because Cojocari scored last.

Cojocari won his quarterfinal bout, but was beaten in the semifinals by Hungary’s Balint Korpasi, which meant that Gonzalez was not drawn back into repechage.

“There are a lot of lessons to be learned here. My first international experience, I had an all right tournament. I am not proud of my performance overall. 1-1 is never OK. As an American, I expect to get a medal. That was the plan here. I came up short of that. I had a real close match in my second match with the Romanian. The kid was tough. He pummeled really well. I was up 2-0 and had a good lead. I gave up a pushout late in the match and that was the difference. When you are trying to chase that medal, you can’t give up late points,” said Gonzalez.

Eliminated after losing both of her matches was Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. in her first Senior World Championships.

Hildebrandt drew 2016 Junior World champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan in the first round. Mukaida led 5-0 after the first period on two takedowns and a stepout. In the second period, Hildebrandt scored a takedown midway to make it 7-2, but Mukaida closed it down with a takedown and turns for a 13-2 technical fall.

Hildebrandt was pulled back into repechage when Mukaida made the finals. She faced local hero Ramona Galambos of Hungary, and jumped to a 4-0 lead on a nice four-point takedown. Galambos closed it to 4-2 at the break. In the second period, Hildebrandt surrendered a point on the shot clock, but still led 4-3. A takedown by Galambos with 38 seconds left put Galambos up 5-4. With Hildebrandt trying to shoot, Galambos spun behind for a last second takedown and the 7-4 victory.

“I started out with the Japanese girl who reached the finals. I knew it was going to be a tough match. I am not necessarily super disappointed in how I wrestling in that match. I saw the changes I needed to make, and I was pretty positive going into my wrestleback. I just didn’t get the job done. I think I really put these girls on a pedestal. I have just recently gotten very confident domestically, and my next step is to know I belong internationally,” said Hildebrandt.

The Greco-Roman bronze pairings will be updated when matches set. All other medal match pairings are below.

The finals are set for 6:00 p.m. in Budapest, which is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time. Stieber is in the sixth match. The finals will be on one mat, with the three women’s freestyle going first, then the three men’s freestyle, with the Greco-Roman three bouts last.

United World Wrestling is doing a live webcast and results page 

At Budapest, Hungary

U.S. World Team results for Saturday

Women’s freestyle
55 kg/121 lbs. – Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC)
LOSS Mayu Mukaida (Japan), tech. fall 13-2
LOSS Ramona Galambos (Hungary), 7-4

Men’s freestyle
61 kg/134 lbs. - Logan Stieber (Columbus, Ohio/Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)
WIN Vasyl Shuptar (Ukraine), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Akhmed Chakaev (Russia), 13-11
WIN Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran), 9-8
Gold-Medal Finals – Vs. Beka Lomtadze (Georgia)

71 kg/156 lbs. – Christopher Gonzalez, Bolingbrook, Ill. (U.S. Army WCAP)
WIN Filip Dubsky (Czech Republic), tech. fall 8-0
LOSS Ilie Cojocari (Romania), 2-2

Medal Match Finals

Women’s freestyle at 55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Mayu Mukaida (Japan) vs. Irina Olgonova (Russia)
Bronze – Otgontsetseg Davaasukh (Mongolia) vs. Katsiaryna Hanchar Yanushkevich (Belarus)
Bronze – Ramona Galambos (Hungary) vs. Aiym Abdildina (Kazakhstan)

Men’s freestyle at 61 kg/134 lbs.
Gold – Logan Stieber (USA) vs. Beka Lomtadze (Georgia)
Bronze – Akhmednabi Gvarzatilov (Azerbaijan) vs. Iurii Siemakin (France)
Bronze – Akhmed Chakaev (Russia) vs. Behnam Ehsanpoor (Iran)

Greco-Roman at 71 kg/156 lbs.
Gold – Daniel Cataraga (Moldova) vs. Balint Korpasi (Hungary)
Bronze – Ilie Cojocari (Romania) vs. Aleksandar Maksimovic (Serbia)
Bronze – Hasan Aliyev (Azerbaijan) vs. Adam Kurak (Russia)