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|Randi Miller notches upset to cap run to title at Dave Schultz Memorial International|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Randi Miller darted across the mat and jumped into her coach's arms.
She couldn't hide her excitement.
And why not?
She had just pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the two-day Dave Schultz Memorial International after pulling off a stunning finals win over Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann on Saturday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The 23-year-old Miller, a resident-athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, has dropped down a weight class and it paid off when she beat McMann 0-7, 1-0, 2-0 in the women's freestyle finals at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Miller previously wrestled at 67 kg/147.5 lbs, where she placed second at the U.S. Nationals in 2006.
The wrestlers were involved in a scramble and Miller used a front headlock to catch McMann for two exposure points with just under a minute left in the decisive third period. After the win, an excited Miller hugged Coach Vladislav "Izzy" Izboinikov in the corner. Miller was named Outstanding Wrestler in women's freestyle.
"It meant a lot to me," Miller, who competes for the Gator Wrestling Club, said of her win. "I can't believe it myself. I want to keep doing this and stay consistent with my performances. I am still in shock.
"I changed my ideology about wrestling after watching Iris (Smith) win the World Championships. I started believing in myself, and good things started to happen. Before they took me to the Worlds to be Iris' training partner, I never thought I'd beat someone like Sara McMann. But Iris wasn't supposed to win, and she did, and so can I."
It was a night of uncertainty and surprises as American Joe Warren was among a large number of World champions who lost matches on Saturday.
And it also was a night that included a mild surprise as Daniel Cormier bumped up a weight class and beat 2006 U.S. World Team Trials runner-up Steve Mocco 0-1, 4-3, 1-0 in the freestyle finals at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Cormier is a three-time World Team member and 2004 Olympian at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Cormier knocked off National Team member Tommy Rowlands in the semifinals.
"It's good to get a win," Cormier said. "It has been a while. I haven't had many matches lately. This is good, even if it is at heavyweight. I'm not staying at heavyweight. I'm a 96 kg wrestler and that is the weight class where I can do my best. In this tournament, I was able to get some offense going and build some confidence."
Warren, competing for the first since he won a World gold medal at 60 kg/132 pounds last September, advanced to the finals before he fell to past Junior World champion Nurbakyt Tengibayev of Kazakhstan in the title bout. Tengibayev won 1-1, 3-0.
Tengibayev hit a two-point gut-wrench with 10 seconds left to clinch the win over Warren. Tengibayev capped a superb day when he upset three-time Greco-Roman World champion and two-time Olympic champion Armen Nazarian of Bulgaria in the semifinals. Tengibayev beat Nazarian 7-0, 1-1.
2002 World champion Dremiel Byers downed Russ Davie 6-0, 1-1 in the Greco-Roman finals at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Byers was named Outstanding Wrestler in Greco-Roman. Jared Lawrence, who knocked off World champion Alan Dudaev of Russia in the 66 kg/145.5 pound finals on Friday night, was named Outstanding Wrestler in freestyle.
"I didn't try to do too much. I worked things I have been working on lately," Byers said. "My lungs were good. I pushed hard. I tried to score on my feet. It was fresh in my mind that I lost in this tournament last year. The truth be told, a couple of guys we expected in this tournament didn't wrestle. They didn't show. My mind set was for them too. I have to look ahead now. I wish my team did better. We have to press on to the next tournament. Bigger and better things are coming up."
Veteran Lindsey Durlacher proved he is not ready to relinquish his reign as the top dog in the U.S. at 55 kg/121 pounds after earning a 3-2, 4-0 finals win over rising star Spenser Mango. Durlacher was a World Greco-Roman bronze medalist in 2006 while Mango was a World University champion and Junior World bronze medalist.
"This is a solid tournament here," Durlacher said. "If you walk out with a win, you are doing a good job. The weight classes are stacked. It shows what I have been doing is working and I am making strides."
Travis Lee made a dazzling and triumphant statement by winning a tough freestyle bracket at 60 kg/132 pounds that included 1996 Olympic champion Kendall Cross. Lee downed Sahit Prizreni of the New York Athletic Club 1-1, 6-0 in the finals. The slick, athletic Lee twice caught Prizreni on his back in the second period to put the match away.
"It was a very strong weight class," Lee said. "I did not try to think of the guys in the weight class that were good. I took it one match at a time and worked slowly through the tournament. I felt good the whole time. I felt my conditioning could be a bit better. This was a good tournament for me. I am usually a slow starter in matches."
Cross, who was caught and pinned by Angel Cejudo in the first period of the quarterfinals, came back to beat Cejudo 7-0, 2-2 in the third-place match. Cross is making a comeback after a 10-year layoff.
Past World silver medalist Stephanie Murata of the U.S. dropped the first period in the finals at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. before coming back to down World bronze medalist Carol Huynh of Canada 0-6, 2-0, 2-1.
"Every tournament, every day is a new day," Murata said. "Just because you had success in the past, you can't sit on your laurels. That is the beauty of the sport. You have to improve and get better or you lose."
American Marcie Van Dusen showed plenty of grit and moxie in pulling out a hard-fought, three-period win over Russia's Natalia Karamchakova in the women's freestyle finals at 55 kg/121 lbs. Karamchakova is a past World silver medalist.
With the match scoreless in the third period, Van Dusen shot in on a leg attack and finished with just under a minute left to lead 1-0. Van Dusen then countered a late shot attempt and followed by turning the Russian to her back en route to winning the period 5-0.
"I had a chance to change my strategy," Van Dusen said. "I came out too strong. I had to see what she had and wrestle my own match. I'd say I was in better shape, but I definitely wanted it more. I was attacking too much early on and she was capitalizing on my mistakes. In the second period, I had to set her up more and get off my shots. Coach Izzy (Izboinikov) refocused me in the corner."
Olympic and World medalist Patricia Miranda added to her gold-medal collection with a 1-1, 2-0 win over past World bronze medalist Jenny Wong in the finals at 51 kg/112.25 lbs. American Katie Downing went 4-0 in a round-robin format to win the women's freestyle title at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. Downing is a past World bronze medalist.
Past World champion Alena Kartashova of Russia was upset by American Randi Miller in the semifinals at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Miller won 0-1, 2-0, 2-0.
World champion Stanka Hristova of Bulgaria fell to Russia's Daria Nazarova in the women's freestyle semis at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Nazarova, a past Junior World silver medalist, prevailed 4-0, 6-0.
In Greco-Roman, the New York AC took home the team title with 32 points. China came second with 24 points. The New York AC also took home team honors in men's freestyle with 40 points, followed by Russia with 22. The Russia women's team was first with 37 points, and the Sunkist Kids were second with 34 points.
Women's freestyle 48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Stephanie Murata, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Carol Huynh (Canada), 0-6, 2-0, 2-1
Women's freestyle 59 kg/130 lbs.
Tonya Verbeek (Canada) dec. Larisa Kanaeva (Russia), 2-1, 2-0
Women's freestyle 72 kg /158.5 lbs.
Daria Nazarova (Russia) dec. Elena Perepelkina (Russia), 0-3, 1-0, 1-0
Greco-Roman 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Dremiel Byers, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Russ Davie, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 6-0, 1-1
Greco-Roman 55 kg/121 lbs.
Lindsey Durlacher, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Spenser Mango, Flourissant, Mo. (Gator WC/USOEC), 3-2, 4-0
Greco-Roman 60 kg /132 lbs.
Nurbakyt Tengibayev (Kazakhstan) dec. Joe Warren, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 1-1, 3-0
Women's freestyle 51 kg/112.25 lbs.
Patricia Miranda, New Haven, Conn. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jenny Wong, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 1-1, 2-0
Freestyle 55 kg/121 lbs.
Hyo-Sub Kim (Korea) dec. Asset Serikbayev (Kazakhstan), 4-2, 7-0
Freestyle 60 kg/132 lbs.
Travis Lee, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC) dec. Sahit Prizreni, New York, N.Y. (New York AC), 1-1, 6-0
Women's Freestyle 55 kg/121 lbs.
Marcie Van Dusen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Natalia Karamchakova (Russia), 1-5, 1-1, 5-0
Women's freestyle 63 kg/138.5 lbs.
Randi Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) dec. Sara McMann, Iowa City, Iowa (Sunkist Kids), 0-7, 1-0, 2-0
Freestyle 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) dec. Steve Mocco, Stillwater, Okla. (New York AC), 0-1, 4-3, 1-0
Women's freestyle 67 kg/147.5 lbs.
1st - Katie Downing, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2nd - Maria Mueller (Germany)
Downing went 4-0 in round-robin matches.
Greco-Roman team standings - 1. NYAC - 32 pts.; 2. China - 24 pts.; 3. Kazakhstan - 20 pts.; 4. Army - 18 pts.; 5. Bulgaria - 17 pts.; 6. Korea - 15 pts.; 7. Gator Wrestling Club - 10 pts.; 8. AF - 5 pts.; 9. Japan - 4 pts.; 10. Estonia - 3 pts.; 11. Finland - 2 pts.; 12. USOCE - 2 pts.
Men's freestyle team standings - 1. NYAC - 40 pts.; 2. Russia - 22 pts.; 3. Gator Wrestling Club - 20 pts.; 4. Sunkist Kids - 19 pts.; 5. Kazakhstan - 10 pts.; 6. Korea - 10 pts.; 7. China - 7 pts.; 8. Bulgaria - 6 pts.; 9. Minnesota Storm - 6 pts.; 10. Japan - 4 pts.; 11. Canada - 2 pts.; 12. Hawkeye Wrestling Club - 2 pts.
Women's freestyle team standings - 1. Russia - 37 pts.; 2. Sunkist Kids - 34 pts.; 3. Canada - 30 pts.; 4. Gator Wrestling Club - 12 pts.; 5. Army - 6 pts.; 6. Germany - 6 pts.; 7. Colombia - 4 pts.; 8. Sweden - 4 pts.; 9. NYAC - 3 pts.; 10. Bulgaria - 2 pts.; 11. Puerto Rico - 2 pts.; 12. Spain - 2 pts.