Photo: Will Lewan will wrestle for Cadet World gold on Saturday night. Photo by Richard Immel.
ATHENS, Greece – U.S. men’s freestyle wrestler Will Lewan advanced to the 69 kg/152 lbs. finals of the 2017 Cadet World Championships in Athens, Greece, on Friday night.
“I feel like the hard work I’ve put in is paying off,” Lewan said. “I deserve to be here because I’ve spent endless hours in the room, training every day. I feel like it’s time that I’m on a stage this big. I’m ready to compete.”
Lewan, the USA’s only semifinalist for the day, recorded a decisive 6-2 win against 2017 Cadet European bronze medalist Umur Aybey of Turkey in the semis.
The American blasted through a double on the edge early in the match for a 2-0 lead, but took a four-point advantage into the break with a takedown to close out the first period. To start the second, Lewan caught Aybey off balance for a third takedown, his final points of the night. Aybey was able to get two on the board, but it was Lewan whose hand was raised in victory.
To get to the semis, he notched wins 2017 Cadet Asian bronze medalist Vishal Kaliramana of India, Alinur Takirov of Kyrgyzstan and Soslanbek Budaev of Russia in the morning session.
In tomorrow night’s finals, Lewan will face Azerbaijan’s Daud Ibragimov, who took fifth at this year’s Cadet European Championships.
After the first day of men’s freestyle action, the USA sends four of five wrestlers to tomorrow’s competition.
Cole Skinner, Julian Tagg and Gavin Hoffman were pulled back into the repechage on Friday night.
In his first round at 42 kg/92 lbs., Skinner lost an 11-0 match to Alihassan Amirli of Azerbaijan, who cruised to the finals with two more technical falls on the day, including an 11-1 semifinals win over Japan.
Skinner will face Kudaiberge Murat of Kazakhstan tomorrow morning.
Tagg will return to the mat at 50 kg/110 lbs., after Mahir Mammadzada from Azerbaijan claimed a 6-2 win of Germany’s Niklas Stechele in the semis. Tagg went 1-1 in the morning session, picking up a 10-3 win over Danila Shyrokan of Belarus before falling to Mammadzada, 9-8, in the second round.
Tagg’s got two-time Cadet African champion Mohamed Al Lakel of Algeria in the repechage.
Hoffman remains alive at 85 kg/187 lbs. as Abbas Ali Foroutanrami of Iran made it to the gold-medal match after a 12-3 win over Sandeep Mann of India in the semis. Hoffman won his first match of the day, taking out David Losonczi of Hungary with an impressive 10-2 decision before coming up short against the Iranian, 9-3.
Hoffman will square off against Brayan Ortiz Valderrama of Colombia first thing tomorrow.
Jordan Decatur was unable to qualify for the medal rounds, after two-time Cadet World silver medalist and two-time Cadet European champion Giorgios Pilidis of Greece was unable to reach the finals at 58 kg/128 lbs. Decatur lost a controversial 8-6 match to Pilidis in the first round.
Saturday’s competition begins with repechage at 10:30 a.m. local time (1:30 a.m. ET), with the finals scheduled for 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET). The final five American men’s freestyle athletes will also begin their World championships tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Fans can watch live and find brackets on Trackwrestling.com.
2017 CADET WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Athens, Greece, Sept. 4-10
U.S. men’s freestyle draws
42 kg/92 lbs. – Cole Skinner, Middleton, Ohio (G2 World WA)
LOSS Alihasan Amirli (Azerbaijan), 11-0
50 kg/110 lbs. – Julian Tagg, Broadview Heights, Ohio (Seasons WC)
WIN Danila Shyrokan (Belarus), 10-3
LOSS Mahir Mammadzada (Azerbaijan), 9-8
58 kg/128 lbs. – Jordan Decatur, Akron, Ohio (Seasons WC)
LOSS Georgios Pilidis (Greece), 8-6
69 kg/152 lbs. – Will Lewan, Chicago, Ill. (Izzy Style)
WIN Vishal Kaliramana (India), 6-0
WIN Alinur Takirov (Kyrgyzstan), 6-0
WIN Soslanbek Budaev (Russia), 10-4
WIN Umur Aybey (Turkey), 6-2
85 kg/187 lbs. – Gavin Hoffman, Cogan Station, Pa. (Bison Legend WC)
WIN David Losonczi (Hungary), 10-2
LOSS Abbas Ali Foroutanrami (Iran), 9-3