By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Jake Varner receives his Olympic gold medal in London, England. John Sachs photo
The 2013 Freestyle World Cup will be held Thursday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 22 in Tehran, Iran, where top nations in the world will compete. The World Cup is the annual international dual meet championships, and one of the most important wrestling events each year.
Qualified countries for this year’s Freestyle World Cup are Russia, Iran, the United States, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Belarus, Bulgaria and Turkey. These 10 countries, which were the top teams at the 2012 London Olympic Games, will compete in two pools of five nations on Thursday. The pairings for the pools have not yet been announced. On Saturday, the medal matches will be held, to determine the top 10 teams in the world.
The United States is bringing a large group of athletes to Iran, and will select the competitors for the World Cup matches from this group.
Included on the U.S. roster at the Freestyle World Cup will be Olympic gold medalists Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Jake Varner at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Burroughs was a 2011 World champion and NCAA champion for Nebraska in 2009 and 2001. Varner took third place at the 2011 World Championships, was a two-time NCAA champion in 2009 and 2010 for Iowa State and a 2009 World Team member.
Also on the roster are 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott at 60 kg/132 lbs. and 2009 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Scott was a 2008 NCAA champion at Oklahoma State and Dlagnev was a 2012 Olympic Team member. Dlagnev also won a gold at the 2008 World University Championships and was a two-time NCAA champion at Nebraska-Kearney.
Other past NCAA champions competing at the World Cup are two-time NCAA champion from Iowa Brent Metcalf at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., 2010 NCAA champion from Missouri Max Askren at 84 kg/185 lbs. and 2011 NCAA champion Zach Rey of Lehigh at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
2010 World Team members on the roster include Obe Blanc at 55 kg/121 lbs. and J.D. Bergman at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
The Greco-Roman World Cup is also scheduled for Tehran, Iran, February 19-20. The United States is not one of the nations in the field in Greco-Roman.
Wrestling is a national sport in Iran, and huge sellout crowds are expected to fill the Azadi Sports Complex all week long.
USA Wrestling has a close relationship with the Iranian Wrestling Federation, and U.S. teams have competed in Iran numerous times since 1998, when a U.S. freestyle wrestling team was the first U.S. sports team to compete in Iran after the Iranian Revolution.
MEN’S FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
At Tehran, Iran, Feb. 20-22
Thursday, Feb. 21
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Pool competition (Session 1 and 2)
2:30-3 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
3:30-7:30 p.m. – Pool competition (Session 3, 4 and 5)
Friday, Feb. 22
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Final matches: 9th/10th, 7th/8th and 5th/6th place matches
2-5 p.m. – Final matches: 3rd/4th and 1st/2nd place matches
U.S. World Cup tentative lineup
55 kg/121 lbs. – Obe Blanc, Stillwater, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Zach Sanders, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Jimmy Kennedy, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Coleman Scott, Stillwater, Okla. (Unnattached)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Chase Pami, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Nick Marable, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Max Askren, Somers, N.Y. (New York AC)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Phil Keddy, Iowa City, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – J.D. Bergman, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Jake Varner, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Zach Rey, Hopatcong, N.J. (Lehigh Valley AC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids)
Coaches – National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Assistant National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Andy Hrovat of Ann Arbor, Mich.
Medical – Dave Grossman, Bloomington, Ind.
Official – Kevin Maxwell, Utica, N.Y.