Im sure most of you following this blog have been checking the results from last night. If not Sunny Dinsa was defeated by Tervel Dlagnev of the USA in the finals at 120kg. Sunny had a great tournament making the finals, yet I think a bit of nerves and lack of exposure to high calabre matches was apparent. Dlagnev ,this years bronze medalist at worlds, controled Sunny and pick his spots to capitalize. This type of match is big for Sunny to experience. Getting to wrestle a poised and precise top senior opponent will help his growth as a wrestler. He is a great kid, fun to work with loads of ability to develop.
Jeff Adamson dropped the first round to Brazil in his bronze final yet regrouped to win the following two rounds. For Jeff he seemed to build momentum throughout the match and allowed his fitness and toughness to break the Brazillian athlete in round three. jeff scored two take downs and two turns to seal the deciding round. It was a great testament to jeffs growing mental state on the mat.
Today our men (Ryley Walker, Matt Gentry and Khetag Pliev) found ourselves in a dual meet with the powerful Cuban team members. Walker lost to an extremely explosive Cuban. Ryley took the lead 1-1 late in the first round and almost trap arm gut wrenched the cuban athlete. With time expiring the Cuban powered through Ryley on a double and scored an out of bounds point with one second left. The second round Ryley got caught in a firemans carry by a tremendously explosive athlete. The Cuban unfortunately lost to Puerto Rico in the semis and Ryley's tournament ended.
Matt Gentry opened the tournament with a victory over the athlete from Peru. He then dropped a tough three round decision to Blanco of Cuba in the semi finals. This is the second three round decision Blanco has taken from Gentry this year. Blanco is definately a talented athlete with great ability to scramble. I think Matt can be more effective against him but he needs to work with his hands a little more to create more openings. Gentry scored late in the second round to come from behind and win the round but was unable to break through Blanco's positioning in the third period. Blanco will face USA's fenom Jordan Burroughs in the tournament finals.
Pliev started the tournament with an exciting victory over former World Bronze medalist Batista of Cuba. This was an extremely back and forth battle and the onmat official struggled at time to keep up with the action. The first round went to Batista via a clinch, the second to Pliev on a late take down that went to video review. In the third and deciding round Pliev was awarded the clinch position, yet Batista got his leg back and brought Khetag down to the matt undeneath him and seemed to be in great position to stall out the round for the victory. Pliev did an outstanding job of regaining his body position up of of the mat and ended up scoring the match winning point after about 20 seconds of hard wrestling in the clinch position. The Cubans wanted to protest, yet had used their challenge earlier in the match. For me it was one of the best victories I have witnessed Khetag have. Unfortunetly he drew Varner on the USA 15 minutes after this incredibly tough three round battle. Varner (current world Bronze medalist) took no time putting the pressure on the Pliev. He actually shot on the whistle in both rounds. Pliev battled gamely but ultimately was lacking gas to battle such a physical competitor. he dropped a two round decsion to Varner.
The final session both Matt and Khetag will face the MEXICAN athlete for a bronze medal. At 60kg Mexico is also in the finals. The venue has been amazing this week, and tonight should be by far the craziest. I am excited thinking about it. It will be very important for our men to wrestle tough and aggressively (and cleanly). We all know there is often pressure and advantages given to the home town athletes. Thus far much of the officiating has not been strong. I believe both athletes can finish the tournament with podium placements. Similar to Adamson last night they need to let their ability's shine through, no matter how difficult it gets!
Sorry if this entry is a little rushed... Limited time to write.
Wish us luck,