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Oh Brother! Bill Zadick makes freestyle finals at World Championships; Donny Pritzlaff still alive

GUANGZHOU, China - Another day, another Zadick in the finals at the World Championships.

Just 24 hours after little brother Mike Zadick won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling, big brother Billy followed suit by winning four straight matches to reach the finals on
Thursday at the Tianhe Sports Center.

Bill Zadick rallied to beat Albert Batryov of Belarus 0-1, 1-0, 2-1 in the 66 kg/145.5 pound semifinals early Thursday afternoon. Zadick will go for the gold against 2005 World bronze medalist Otari Tushishvili of Georgia in the finals on Thursday night.

The 33-year-old Zadick (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) survived an early scare before knocking off World bronze medalist Geandry Garzon of Cuba 4-0, 1-4, 3-1 in the second round. Zadick placed seventh in the 2001 World Championships.

"I'm trying to go out and wrestle how we trained and prepared ourselves, to win some gold medals," Zadick said. "I feel good with the results. There are things I would have done better, though.

"I am more prepared, and having the experience of being here makes a difference. You can't take things for granted. You have to seize your opportunities when they come."

American Donny Pritzlaff (Madison, Wis./New York AC) beat World bronze medalist Ryslan Kokaev of Armenia in the second round before falling to Ali Asgharbazrei of Iran in the quarterfinals by scores of 2-0 and 1-1. Pritzlaff, competing in his first World meet, will wrestle back late Thursday afternoon at 74 kg/163 pounds after Asgharbazrei advanced to the finals. Pritzlaff stands two wins from a bronze medal.

"I let that one get away from me a little bit," Pritzlaff said his quarterfinal loss. "I didn't open up. I was a little tentative. I didn't train to be tentative. I was in a groove coming in. He had a style that was difficult. Hopefully, he carries me through."

American Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC) dropped his first match 2-2, 5-3 to Armenia's Vadim Laliev. Hrovat, competing in his first World meet, was eliminated when Laliev failed to reach the finals at 84 kg/185 pounds.

"For me, every match is the same," Hrovat said. "You go out there and do what you are best at. That is what I tried. I wasn't good enough to beat him. This isn't different than any other tournament. You can't put it on a pedestal."

In the semifinals, Zadick started slowly after Baytrov snapped him down for a takedown midway though the first period. But the former Iowa Hawkeye standout barreled in on double-leg shot in the second period and finished for takedown with 37 seconds left. Zadick shot in for two third-period takedowns on leg attacks to put it away.

Pritzlaff dropped a tough quarterfinal bout to Asgharbazrei, who scored on a single-leg takedown and pushout in the first period. Pritzlaff charged out strong in the second period, driving in on a single-leg takedown to lead 1-0 at 1:11. The Iranian then scored on a pushout at 1:21 and held off Pritzlaff. Asgharbazrei won the period by virtue of scoring last.

Hrovat used a pair of reverse body locks and turns to take leads in both periods of his first-round setback. He led 3-1 in the second period before Laliev hit back-to-back takedowns on leg attacks to tie it 3-3. Laliev then used a two-point gut-wrench in the closing seconds to clinch the win.

"We are excited for Bill Zadick to have this opportunity, after all of the hard work and sacrifice he has done," USA National Coach Kevin Jackson said. "He moved to Colorado Springs and the Olympic Training Center for a full-time effort to pursue his dreams. He now has to take the next step. He has to become the World champion, to make all of that hard work and sacrifice pay off."

"We are extremely disappointed with the 74 kg and 84 kg results. If you lose, lose your best match. That did not happen at those weights. Hopefully, Donny will wrestle back. It was the first time at the World Championships for Donny Pritzlaff and Andy Hrovat. It was a great opportunity they had. They will realize that they missed out. From that, they will learn and they will get better. It is all about consistency, in your training environment and in your preparation. Look at Bill Zadick. Bill trained fulltime for this moment. He trained consistently at a high level. That training environment is the key reason for the results."

The United States and Russia are tied for the team lead with 17 points apiece. Iran is third with 13 points. In the combined medal race in all styles, Russia leads with six medals (4 in Greco-Roman two in freestyle) with the U.S. second with five medals (three in Greco-Roman and two in freestyle). Turkey has four medals (all in Greco-Roman) and Iran three.

Canada's Matt Gentry, an NCAA champion for Stanford, dropped his first match in freestyle Thursday at 74 kg/163 pounds. Turkey's Ahmet Gulhan beat Gentry 1-1, 3-0, 3-0. Gentry has dual citizenship between Canada and the U.S.

Day 5 of the seven-day tournament is set for Thursday with the men's freestyle competition finishing and the women's freestyle competition beginning.

The U.S. will send three more wrestlers to the mat. They include Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) at 96 kg/211.5 pounds and Tolly Thompson (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 120 kg/264.5 pounds in men's freestyle, and Mary Kelly (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 48 kg/105.5 pounds in women's freestyle.

Cormier was fifth in this event in 2003 and Thompson was a World bronze medalist in 2005. Kelly is competing in her first World Championship.
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