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FLASH: Sanders wins silver, Sponseller takes bronze in freestyle at University Worlds in Finland

KOURTANE, Finland – The United States claimed two medals in men’s freestyle on the opening day of the University World Championships on Tuesday.

Capturing a silver medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. was Zach Sanders (Lauderdale, Minn./Minnesota Storm), and winning a bronze medal at 74 kg/163 lbs. was Colton Sponseller (Glenmont, Ohio/New York AC).

Sanders won his first three matches to earn a spot in the gold medal finals, where he was edged by Russia’s K. Donduk-ool, 0-1, 2-6.

He opened with a victory over Artem Kolomiiets of Ukraine), 2-0, 2-0, then came from behind to beat Steven Takahashi of Canada, 1-2, 2-1, 4-1. In the semifinals, he needed three periods to defeat Batbold Sodnomdash of Mongolia), 1-5, 1-1, 3-0.

Sanders was eighth in 2008 Junior World Championships. He was a four-time All-American for the Univ. of Minnesota.

Sponseller opened with a victory over Vasyl Surzhenko of Ukraine, 3-0, 3-0, but was then defeated in round two by Kohei Kitamura of Japan, 1-1, 3-0, 1-1. When Kitamura reached the championship finals, Sponseller was pulled back into the repechage.

He defeated Daniel Olver of Canada, 4-0, 1-0 in his first repechage match. In his bronze-medal bout, Sponseller stopped Roman Dermenji of Moldova, 0-6, 2-0, 2-1

Sponseller was fourth in the 2011 NCAA Championships for Ohio State.

"Colt had a very solid day,” said Assistant National Freestyle Coach Brandon Slay. “He was inches away from beating Japan, who got the silver, in the quarters – losing 1-1 in the last 15 seconds of the third period. He regained his composure with a convincing win over Canada in the repechage, and had a barn burning run through the wall performance to earn the bronze against Moldova. He lost 7-1 in the first, picked up the pace with solid attacks in the second period, and broke Moldovan in the third. He got third in the World because he attacked and was very coachable, making key adjustments at the right time."

Placing seventh with a 1-1 record at 60 kg/132 lbs. was Jimmy Kennedy (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC). He pinned James Mancini of Canada in the second period of his opening bout. In the second round, he fell to Andrei Perpelita of Moldova, 0-1, 1-0, 2-3. Perpelita did not reach the finals, knocking Kennedy out of the meet.

Kennedy, who trains now with the Cliff Keen WC at Michigan, was a three-time NCAA All-American for Illinois.

Two-time Junior World team member Jason Chamberlain (Springville, Utah/Bronco WC) dropped his only match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs to Russian Roland Ondar, 0-2, 1-0, 0-1. Chamberlain attends Boise State and was third at the 2011 NCAA Championships.

Five U.S. wrestlers weighed in and received draws for Wednesday’s action, with three in men’s freestyle and two in women’s freestyle.

All three of the men’s freestylers competing Wednesday are past NCAA champions : Jon Reader (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 84 kg/185 lbs.. Dustin Kilgore (Berea, Ohio/Sunkist Kids) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and Tony Nelson (Cambridge, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Reader won his NCAA title for Iowa State, Kilgore for Kent State and Nelson for Minnesota.

Reader opens with 2010 Asian bronze medalist Feng Zhang of China. Reader was Reader is in his second University World Championships, after placing eighth in 2010.

Kilgore opens with Abbas Tahan of Iran, winner at the 2011 and 2012 Takhti Cup in Iran. Kilgore took an Olympic redshirt last year, and was a 2012 Pan American Championships gold medalist.

Nelson will battle 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist Sunny Dhinsa of Canada. Dhinsa was a 2011 Commonwealth Championships gold medalist.

Both of the women wrestlers on Wednesday have veteran Senior-level opponents in the opening draw.

Two-time Junior World champion Victoria Anthony (Huntington Beach, Calif./New York AC) starts with Sarianne Savola of Finland at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Savola competed in three Senior World Championships for Finland.

At 51 kg/112.25 lbs, Logan Rich (Hope, Maine/OKCU Gator Women’s RTC) drew Natalia Budu of Moldova, who was fifth in 2009 Senior World Championships and seventh in 2008 Senior World Championships

At Kourtane, Finland, October 2

Men’s freestyle results

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - K. Donduk-ool (Russia)
Silver - Zach Sanders (USA)
Bronze - Mude Qi (China)
Bronze - Batbold Sodnomdash (Mongolia)
5th - Octavian Erhan (Romania)
5th - Steven Takahashi (Canada)
7th - Anatolii Buruian (Romania)
8th - Artem Kolomiiets (Ukraine)
9th - Mamoru Handa (Japan)
10th - Vedat Bulduk (Turkey)

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold - Vasyl Shuptar (Ukraine)
Silver - Antoine Massidda (France)
Bronze - Stefan Ivanov (Bulgaria)
Bronze - Munir Recep Aktas (Turkey)
5th - Zsolt Katona (Romania)
5th - Andrei Perpelita (Moldova)
7th - Jimmy Kennedy (USA)
8th - Renrui Zhang (China)
9th - Yasuhiro Suzuki (Japan)
10th - Egor Ponomarev (Russia)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold - Mustafa Kaya (Turkey)
Silver - Semen Radulov (Ukraine)
Bronze - Ilya Abelev (Canada)
Bronze - Vladimir Gotisan (Moldova)
5th - Takuma Koishihara (Japan)
5th - Arkadiusz Szeja (Poland)
7th - Roland Ondar (Russia)
8th - Gabor Farkas (Hungary)
9th - B. Batchuluun (Mongolia)
9th - Petteri Martikainen (Finland)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold - Reza Afzalipaemami (Iran)
Silver - Kohei Kitamura (Japan)
Bronze - Colton Sponseller (USA)
Bronze - Kamal Malikov (Russia)
5th - Roman Dermenji (Moldova)
5th - Remus Sebastian Uta (Romania)
7th - Somirsho Vokhidov (Tajikistan)
8th - Saner Demirtas (Turkey)
9th - Christophe Clavier (France)
10th - S. Jezierzanski (Poland)

U.S. men’s freestyle performances

55 kg/121 lbs. – Zach Sanders, Lauderdale, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 2nd
WIN Artem Kolomiiets (Ukraine), 2-0, 2-0
WIN Steven Takahashi (Canada), 1-2, 2-1, 4-1
WIN Batbold Sodnomdash (Mongolia), 1-5, 1-1 3-0
LOSS K. Donduk-ool (Russia), 0-1, 2-6,

60 kg/132 lbs. – Jimmy Kennedy, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC), 7th
WIN James Mancini (Canada), 3-0, pin
LOSS Andrei Perpelita (Moldova), 0-1, 1-0, 2-3

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Jason Chamberlain, Springville, Utah (Bronco WC), dnp/11th
LOSS Roland Ondar (Russia), 0-2, 1-0, 0-1

74 kg/163 lbs. – Colt Sponseller, Glenmont, Ohio (New York AC), 3rd
WIN Vasyl Surzhenko (Ukraine), 3-0, 3-0
LOSS Kohei Kitamura (Japan), 1-1, 3-0, 1-1
WIN Daniel Olver (Canada), 4-0, 1-0
WIN Roman Dermenji (Moldova) 0-6, 2-0, 2-1

U.S. men’s freestyle draws for Wednesday

84 kg/185 lbs. – Jon Reader, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Feng Zhang (China)

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Dustin Kilgore, Berea, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Abbas Tahan (Iran)

120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tony Nelson, Cambridge, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
Vs. Sunny Dhinsa (Canada)

U.S. women’s freestyle draws for Wednesday

48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Victoria Anthony, Huntington Beach, Calif. (New York AC)
Vs. Sarianne Savola (Finland)

51 kg/112.25 lbs. – Logan Rich, Hope, Maine (OKCU Gator Women’s RTC)
Vs. Natalia Budu (Romania)

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