USA Wrestling Diakomihalis, Steves...

Diakomihalis, Steveson go back-to-back, Wittlake wins bronze on final day of Cadet Worlds

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | Sept. 18, 2016, 3:22 p.m. (ET)

 The U.S. Cadet World Team finishes in second place
overall in men's freestyle at the 2016 Cadet Worlds.
VIDEO: 2016 Cadet World Championships Interviews

TBILISI, Georgia – History was made on the final day of the 2016 Cadet World Championships with Yianni Diakomihalis and Gable Steveson becoming the first two Americans to ever win two Cadet World gold medals, and Travis Wittlake grasping bronze to give the U.S. seven total medals in men’s freestyle.

Diakomihalis was the first American up on Sunday evening at New Sports Palace in Tbilisi, Georgia, and he stayed true to his championship form. In the 63 kg/138.75 lbs. gold medal match, Diakomihalis was dominant in all phases to secure an 8-0 win over two-time Cadet European medalist Stefan Tonu of Moldova.

“That was probably the best match I wrestled all day,” an energetic Diakomihalis said after winning gold. “So, like, it’s good that I won, but it’s good that I finished off wrestling well. Overall I was completely wrestling from setup to finish. It was good.”

Diakomihalis won a five matches on his road to Cadet World gold No. 2, with three wins coming by technical fall and his closest margin of victory standing at six points. He outscored his opponents by a combined 52-6 tally.

In the 100 kg/220 lbs. finals, Steveson won a physical 5-1 battle over Russian foe Adam Beterbiev. Early in the first Beterbiev ran Steveson off the mat and raised finals platform to take a 1-0 lead. However, it was all Steveson from then on as he scored a takedown, turn and step out to win the gold.

“I’ve been working every day, all summer for this, no breaks, and I told you all back in June that I was going to win it, and I stuck with my word,” Steveson said following his win. “No one else has done this. It’s just me and Yianni. This is it.”

In the morning session Steveson pitched shutout technical fall wins over Ashot Rushanyan of Armenia and Samed Kurban of Turkey prior to topping Cadet Asian bronze medalist Viky Viky of India in the semifinals, 5-1.

Neither Diakomihalis nor Steveson surrendered a takedown throughout the tournament.

Wittlake came back strong after suffering a second round loss to win the bronze medal at 76 kg/167.5 lbs. with a 5-4 win over Shutaro Yamada of Japan. Wittlake opened a 4-0 lead in the first period, but Yamada rallied in the second to tie it, 4-4. The American emerged victorious 5-4 after a failed challenge by the Japanese corner at the end of the bout.

“It was a good match. He’s a tough kid, hard to wrestle with,” Wittlake said. “It was a good tournament. Coming into this I was prepared to win a World title. I was really excited. I believed I could do it, and I still believe I should be a World champ right now. To come back from something like that is a great reward.”

Malik Heinselman and Roman Bravo-Young both dropped early matches in the opening session for the U.S. squad and were not pulled into the repechage. However, Bravo-Young netted the U.S. a team point by finishing in 10th place at 54 kg/119 lbs.

The U.S. wound up in second place in the team standings with 67 team points, two behind first-place Russia. Azerbaijan and Georgia both finished with 47 team points, but Azerbaijan took home the third place trophy due to criteria.

“The last time I checked there’s only one planet with people living on it and this group got second on that planet as a group of young men…I’m really, really proud of their overall effort as a team,” said U.S. coach Brandon Slay.

In addition to today’s medalists, Kurt McHenry won gold, Vitali Arujau took silver and David Carr and Jacob Warner picked up bronze medals for the U.S. in men’s freestyle. The talented American squad captured three gold medals , one silver medal and three bronze medals in Tbilisi this week.

Complete brackets and match-by-match results from the 2016 Cadet World Championships are available at Archived matches and additional coverage from Georgia can be viewed on

Sept. 13-18 at Tbilisi, Georgia

Team Standings
1. Russia 69
2. United States 67
3. Azerbaijan 47
3. Georgia 47
5. Japan 42
6. Armenia 39
6. Armenia 39
8. Iran 37
8.Turkey 37
10. Ukraine 33

Final Results
46 kg/104.4 lbs.

Gold – Zagir Shakhiev (Russia)
Silver – Swapnil Shelar (India)
Bronze – Marcell Budai Kovacs (Hungary)
Bronze – Dogan Kara (Turkey)
5th – Hirai Tanaka (Japan)
5th – Akbar Kenzhebek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)
7th – Rustambek Juraev (Uzbekistan)
8th – Nurymbet Atabekuly (Kazakhstan)
9th – Amirhossein Khodabakhshiparijan (Iran)
10th – Vladimeri Gamkrelidze (Georgia)

Gold – Zagir Shakhiev (Russia) tech. fall Swapnil Shelar (India), 10-0
Bronze – Marcell Budai Kovacs (Hungary) inj. def. Hirai Tanaka (Japan), 0:00
Bronze – Dogan Kara (Turkey) dec. Akbar Kenzhebek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan), 9-7

54 kg/119 lbs.

Gold – Andrii Dzhelep (Ukraine)
Silver – Georgios Pilidis (Greece)
Bronze – Ravinder Ravinder (India)
Bronze – Abzal Okenov (Kazakhstan)
5th – Amiran Vakhtangashvili (Georgia)
5th – Arsen Harutyunyan (Armenia)
7th – Hyuga Taniguchi (Japan)
8th – Firuz Yokubov (Uzbekistan)
9th – Ikromzhon Khadzhimurodov (Kyrgyzstan)
10th – Roman Bravo-Young (United States)

Gold – Andrii Dzhelep (Ukraine) dec. Georgios Pilidis (Greece), 3-2
Bronze – Ravinder Ravinder (India) dec. Amiran Vakhtangashvili (Georgia), 11-0
Bronze – Abzal Okenov (Kazakhstan) dec. Arsen Harutyunyan (Armenia), 6-3

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Gold – Yianni Diakomihalis (United States)
Silver – Stefan Tonu (Moldova)
Bronze – Jintaro Motoyama (Japan)
Bronze – Inal Dzhopua (Azerbaijan)
5th – Ulan Tolegen (Kazakhstan)
5th – Turgay Fevzi (Bulgaria)
7th – Muslim Saidulaev (Russia)
8th – Daniel Markarashvili (Georgia)
9th – Daniel Coles (Canada)
10th – Arman Andreasyan (Armenia)

Gold – Yianni Diakomihalis (United States) dec. Stefan Tonu (Moldova), 8-0
Bronze – Jintaro Motoyama (Japan) dec. Ulan Tolegen (Kazakhstan), 9-2
Bronze – Inal Dzhopua (Azerbaijan) dec. Turgay Fevzi (Bulgaria), 8-0

76 kg/167.5 lbs.
Gold – Miriani Maisuradze (Georgia)
Silver – Kamil Abdulzhamalov (Russia)
Bronze – Travis Wittlake (United States)
Bronze – Andrii Gyka (Ukraine)
5th – Shutaro Yamada (Japan)
5th – Arman Avagyan (Armenia)
7th – Rashad Yusifli (Azerbaijan)
8th – Johannes (Germany)
9th – Naveen Naveen (India)
10th – Mert Cikmaz (Turkey)

Gold – Miriani Maisuradze (Georgia) dec. Kamil Abdulzhamalov (Russia), 11-9
Bronze – Travis Wittlake (United States) dec. Shutaro Yamada (Japan), 5-4
Bronze – Andrii Gyka (Ukraine) dec. Arman Avagyan (Armenia), 7-7

100 kg/220 lbs.
Gold – Gable Steveson (United States)
Silver – Adam Beterbiev (Russia)
Bronze – Ashkab Hamzatov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Viky Viky (India)
5th – Alisher Yergali (Kazakhstan)
5th – Ashot Rushanyan (Armenia)
7th – Lior Altshuler (Israel)
8th – Samed Kurban (Turkey)
9th – Roman Dovhaliuk (Ukraine)
10th – Elguja Balanchivadze (Georgia)

Gold – Gable Steveson (United States) dec. Adam Beterbiev (Russia), 5-1
Bronze – Ashkab Hamzatov (Azerbaijan) dec. Alisher Yergali (Kazakhstan), 5-0
Bronze – Viky Viky (India) dec. Ashot Rushanyan (Armenia), 3-0

U.S. men’s freestyle results
46 kg/104.4 lbs. - Malik Heinselman, Castle Rock, Colo., 12th
LOSS Rustambek Juraev (Uzbekistan), 11-2

54 kg/119 lbs. - Roman Bravo-Young, Tucson, Ariz., 10th
WIN Stefan Coman (Romania), 10-0
LOSS Arsen Harutyunyan (Armenia), 8-7

63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Yianni Diakomihalis, Rochester, N.Y., Gold
WIN Tobias Portmann (Switzerland), 15-3
WIN Daniel Markarashvili (Georgia), 10-0
WIN Ulan Tolegen (Kazakhstan), 10-0
WIN Jintaro Motoyama (Japan), 9-3
WIN Stefan Tonu (Moldova), 8-0

76 kg/167.5 lbs. - Travis Wittlake, Myrtle Point, Ore., Bronze
WIN Ali Shakouri (Iran), 8-1
LOSS Kamil Abdulzhamalov (Russia), Fall 1:55
WIN Grigori Carastoian (Moldova), 10-0
WIN Rashad Yusifli (Azerbaijan), 6-5
WIN Shutaro Yamada (Japan), 5-4

100 kg/220 lbs. - Gable Steveson, Apple Valley, Minn., Gold
WIN Ashot Rushanyan (Armenia), 10-0
WIN Samed Kurban (Turkey), 12-0
WIN Viky Viky (India), 5-1
WIN Adam Beterbiev (Russia), 5-1