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Iris Smith leads parade of Americans into women's freestyle finals at Dave Schultz Memorial International



Iris Smith holds off China's Yan Hong in the semifinals. Photo by Larry Slater.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Iris Smith is determined to regain the form she displayed when she won a World title in 2005.

She appears to be well on her way to doing that.

Smith came up big in her semifinal match, rallying to beat 2008 World silver medalist Yan Hong of China on Saturday afternoon at the Dave Schultz Memorial International.

Smith advances to face China's Dan Li in the finals, set for 2:30 p.m. at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Smith is seeking her third Schultz title, but first since she won back-to-back titles in this event in 2000 and 2001.

Smith has made three U.S. World Teams, but none since 2005 when she struck gold at the Worlds.

"Not making two Olympic Teams ticked me off," Smith said after falling short in 2004 and 2008. "I need to give it my all or stop wrestling. I am healthy now, and I've been putting in the hard work and training."

Past World Team members Helen Maroulis, Deanna Rix, Elena Pirozhkova and Adeline Gray also landed spots in the final round.

Rix, Pirozhkova and Gray are looking to repeat as Schultz champions.

2008 Olympic gold medalist Carol Huynh of Canada reached the finals at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Huynh is seeking her fourth Schultz title.

GOLD-MEDAL PAIRINGS

WOMEN'S FREESTYLE

48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Carol Huynh (Canada) vs. Shasha Zhao (China)

51 kg/112.25 lbs.
Alexandra Engelhardt (Germany) vs. Hui Li (China)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Brittanee Laverdure (Canada) vs. Helen Maroulis (New York AC)

59 kg/130 lbs.
Fengming Liu (China) vs. Deanna Rix (Sunkist Kids)

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Justine Bouchard (Canada) vs. Elena Pirozhkova (Gator WC)

67 kg/147.5 lbs.
Adeline Gray (New York AC) vs. Yuanyuan Jiao (China)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Iris Smith (U.S. Army) vs. Dan Li (China)
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