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U.S. sweeps five matches to open Olympic freestyle wrestling competition



The United States won all five of its matches in the opening session of men's freestyle wrestling, at the Ano Liossia Olympic Hall in Athens, Greece, Friday, August 27. 2003 World silver medalist Kerry McCoy (Bethlehem, Pa., New York AC) opened the competition with a 7-0 win over Francesco Miano-Petta of Italy at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. After Miano-Petta was hit for passivity, McCoy scored three different turn from the top for a 5-0 lead, all gut wrenches. In the second period, again on top, McCoy scored two more points on an ankle lace. 2003 World silver medalist Cael Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) followed with a 4-2 win over Magomed Kurguliev of Kazakhstan at 84 kg/185 lbs. Sanderson scored his first takedown almost two minutes into the match for a 1-0 lead, then added a second point on a hand-to-hand ankle lace turn shortly after for a 2-0 lead at the break. In the second period, Sanderson got in on a leg attack and scored another takedown. Officials went to the video review and ruled that Kurguliev scored a two-point counter exposure during the action before the Sanderson takedown for a 3-2 score. Sanderson added a takedown on the edge with 12 seconds left for the 4-2 win. McCoy wrestled a second match in the session, as he has been placed in a four-athlete pool, rather than a three-athlete pool. He defeated Yuriy Mildzihov of Krygyzstan, 4-0. McCoy had a strong first period, jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first period. He added a takedown in the second period for the four-point win. Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif. /Sunkist Kids) opened with a strong victory at 55 kg/121 lbs., defeating 2003 World silver medalist Ghenadie Tulbea of Moldova, 6-1. It was a bit of revenge for Abas, who dropped a 10-8 match to Tulbea at the 2003 World Championships in New York City. Abas took command in the match immediately, scoring a three-point takedown, then turning Tulbea for two more exposure points, taking a 5-0 lead in the first 32 seconds. Abas scored the next point as well, a low single takedown in the second period. Tulbea's only point came on a fleeing the mat penalty and caution against Abas with one minute left in the match. The final match of the entire session featured U.S athlete Jamill Kelly (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., who defeated Ruslan Bodisteaunu of Moldova, 3-0 in overtime in 6:06. There were no points scored in the first period. At the start of the second period, Kelly attempted to lock up into the required clinch, but Bodisteanu was uncooperative. Officials penalized Bodisteanu with a caution for refusing to clinch and awarded two points to Kelly. Regulation ended at 2-0, so there was another clinch to start overtime. Kelly quickly threw by Bodisteanu for a takedown and the winning point. All four U.S. wrestlers have matches during the 5:30 p.m. session to complete their pool competition. There is a possibility that the U.S. athletes may also compete in a quarterfinal match during the evening session. U.S. match results from Friday, August 27 during 9:30 a.m. session 55 kg/121 lbs. Stephen Abas (USA) dec. Ghenadie Tulbea (Moldova), 6-1 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Jamill Kelly (USA) dec. Ruslan Bodisteanu (Moldova), 3-0, ot, 6:06 84 kg/185 lbs. Cael Sanderson (USA) dec. Magomed Kurguliev (Kazakhstan), 4-2 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Kerry McCoy (USA) dec. Francesco Miano-Petta (Italy), 7-0 Kerry McCoy (USA) dec. Yuri Mildzihov (Krygyzstan), 4-0 U.S. match pairing for Friday, August 27 at 5:30 p.m. session 55 kg/121 lbs. Stephen Abas (USA) vs. Roberto Montero (Cuba) 66 kg/145.5 lbs Jamill Kelly (USA) vs. Elman Asgarov (Azerbaijan) 84 kg/185 lbs. Cael Sanderson (USA) vs. Serhei Borchanka (Ukraine) 120 kg/264.5 lbs Kerry McCoy (USA) vs. Marid Mutalimov (Kazakhstan) Three other U.S. wrestlers weigh in on Friday afternoon: 60 kg/132 lbs. - Eric Guerrero, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) 74 kg/163 lbs. - Joe Williams, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) 96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC)
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