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Mike Zadick reaches the finals of the World Championships; U.S. Greco-Roman team title hopes dashed



GUANGZHOU, China - First-time World Team member Mike Zadick made a swift and stunning run through his first four matches Wednesday morning to reach the finals of the World Championships.

Zadick knocked off Olympic champion Mavlet Batirov of Russia 1-0, 1-0 in the freestyle semifinals. Zadick will meet 2005 World bronze medalist Seyed M. Mohammadi of Iran in the gold-medal match at 60 kg/132 pounds on Wednesday night at the Tianhe Sports Center.

American Sammie Henson fell 4-0, 7-1 in the semifinals to past World silver medalist Radoslav Velikov at at 55 kg/121 pounds. Henson, a 1998 World Champion, is still alive to win a bronze medal.

The United States saw its two-day lead in the Greco-Roman team race come to an end Wednesday morning. Russia now leads the U.S. 33-32 after Russian heavyweight Khasan Baroev advanced to the finals and U.S. heavyweight Dremiel Byers lost in the second round to Turkey's Ismael Guzel at 120 kg/264.5 pounds. Byers was eliminated when Guzel lost in the quarterfinals.

Turkey is third with 31 points, but can overtake the U.S. and Russia later Wednesday since its heavyweight is wrestling back in the Repechage.

Zadick (Solon, Iowa/Hawkeye WC) pulled out his win by winning the leg clinch in the first period as the defensive wrestler and by shooting in on a double-leg takedown in the second period. Batirov had Zadick's leg in the air to start the leg clinch, but couldn't finish a takedown as Zadick scrambled and spun away to win the 30-second period.

"The leg clinch is so new," Zadick said. "I feel confident with people on my legs. The main focus came from the World Team coaches, who have been drilling me in the position. They tell me to wait on the leg, and it paid off. Like anything, if you work hard enough, it will pay off. That was my confidence from my coaches. I felt good there. I have been beaten overseas in that position. The coaches said I could do what I was doing would work against Americans, but not against the world's best. They showed me what to do. It paid off in the match for me. It worked, and I stayed focused."

Byers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) won the first period 3-0 over Guzel, hitting a reverse body lock and turn for two points. Just a few seconds into the second period, Byers was penalized for catching Guzel in the head while pummeling for position. That controversial point turned out to be the difference in the match as neither wrestler could turn the other. Guzel won the coin flip in the final period and Byers nearly turned him in the closing seconds, but couldn't quite finish.

"I was just wrestling," Byers said. "I was snapping him down and he worked into a position and got caught. I didn't throw punches, or anything. There wasn't a warning. They just jumped to giving him a point. I didn't like that call. But I should have used it in my favor."

Henson (Flintstone, Ga./Sunkist Kids) is one win away from earning his third World-level medal. He also won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics.

"I made some big mistakes," Henson said. "You can't do that in a high-level match. You can't do that against a high-level opponent. I just have to get it back now. I have to get the bronze medal. It makes the whole year worth it if I win."
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