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Three U.S. freestyle wrestlers defeated in morning session at World Wrestling Championships in Hunga

All three U.S. freestyle wrestlers who competed on the opening day of the World Wrestling Championships were defeated in the morning session at the Laszlo Papp Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 26.

1998 World Champion Sammie Henson (Flintstone, Ga./Sunkist Kids) won his first match of the day, but was defeated in his second round match at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Losing in their opening matches of the day were Michael Lightner (Norman, Okla./Sunkist Kids) at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Chris Bono (Gilbert, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs.

Henson opened the first match with a 2-3, 2-0, 4-0 victory over Vytas Cumakov of Lithuania. Henson was ahead 2-0 in the first period, but lost that period when Cumakov scored a takedown and a leg lace turn for three points. Henson dominated the next two periods, shutting out Cumakov 2-0 and 4-0 to win the match.

In the next round, Henson was defeated by a young talent, Zalimkhan Kutseev of Russia, 1-1, 0-7. Henson scored the first point in the opening period on a takedown, but Kutseev scored a takedown with 12 seconds remaining to tie the match. The Russian won the period by scoring the last point in the period which is in the tiebreaking rules.

In the second period, Kutseev scored a takedown and then turned Henson three times to his back to score seven points, winning the period by technical superiority. Under the new rules, if an athlete is six or more points ahead in any period, it ends the period by technical superiority.

Lightner was defeated in a tight three-period match to 2004 Olympian Tevfik Odabasi of Turkey, 2-0, 0-1, 0-4. It was Lightner's first appearance in a World Championships.

Lightner won the first period 2-0, with a takedown and a step out point. In the second period, Odabasi scored the only point when Lightner stepped out of bounds. The final period went to Odabasi, who scored a two-point crotch lift on a counter to a Lightner shot, then scored two more takedowns when Lightner tried to press his offense.

Bono was defeated by Evan MacDonald of Canada, 1-1, 1-1. In both periods, Bono scored the first point of the match on a takedown. In the first period, MacDonald scored a point when Bono went out of bounds with four seconds left. In the second period, Bono stepped out with just one second remaining, giving the point to MacDonald. In the new rules, the athlete who scored the final point wins a 1-1 tie.

Bono was competing in the World Championships for the second time in his career. MacDonald was eighth at the 2003 World Championships, and competed in the 2004 Olympic Games. Bono beat MacDonald at the Sunkist Kids International Open earlier this season.

As of the end of the morning session, Henson and Bono still have the opportunity to wrestle back for third place, because the athletes they lost to are still alive in the competition. However, both of their opponents must advance to the gold-medal finals for Henson and Bono to qualify for the wrestle-back rounds.

Lightner was eliminated from the competition when Odabasi was defeated in the second round by 2004 Olympic champion Yandro Quintana of Cuba.

"The bottom line is we were in scoring position and didn't finish the holds," said U.S. coach Mike Duroe. "That happened in Michael's match, and in Bono's match. Bono was ahead in both periods. A one-point lead is never enough. If you try to hold a lead, you are taking a chance. When you are in a position to win, you have to finish it clean. We are capable of doing that."
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