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|U.S. places third in freestyle at World Wrestling Championships|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
GUANGZHOU, CHINA - The United States placed third in the team race and received the third-place trophy at the conclusion of the freestyle wrestling competition at the World Wrestling Championships on Friday.
Russia won the team title with 51 points, followed by Iran with 44 points and the United States in third with 35 points. Ukraine was fourth with 33 points, and tied in fifth with 32 points were Uzbekistan and Georgia.
Russia has five medalists, including two individual champions. Iran had one champion and four medalists.
The United States had one champion, Bill Zadick at 66 kg, a silver medalist in Mike Zadick at 60 kg, and a pair of bronze medalists in Sammie Henson at 55 kg and Donny Pritzlaff at 74 kg.
The U.S. team entered the competition on Friday in first place in the standings, but Russia and Iran passed them on the final day of wrestling.
The United States placed eighth at the 2005 World Championships in freestyle, held in Budapest, Hungary.
"It is an improvement from last year, but well short of the goal as a coaching staff and a team," said U.S. World Team coach Mike Duroe. "We had our sights on winning a World title. I think we made progress, but still have a long way to go. The national coaching staff, including Kevin Jackson, Terry Brands and Dave Bennett, are doing a great job and it is showing."
"I would agree with our national coaching staff. We were in a position to win a World Team title. That's what they wanted," said 2006 World champion Bill Zadick. "That is just like each competitor, who wanted to win a gold medal. Everybody on the team wants to get to the top of the podium and show the rest of the World we are a great wrestling nation,"
"I think it is a letdown. We wanted to get first," said 2006 World bronze medalist Sammie Henson. "This is one of the best teams I have been on. We care about each other. I love these guys. Third place is still on the podium."
The United States also placed third as a team in the Greco-Roman competition, which ended on Wednesday. The women's competition began today.
TOP TEN FREESTYLE TEAMS
1. Russia, 51
2. Iran, 44
3. United States, 35
4. Ukraine, 33
5. Uzbekistan, 32
5. Georgia, 32
7. Belarus, 23
9. Cuba, 18
10. Azerbaijan, 16