U.S. takes down Cuba, Russia for gold

McIlravy pulls out thriller as Americans win Cup

February 07, 2000|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

FAIRFAX, Va. -- American 152-pounder Lincoln McIlravy says he lives for last-second victories.

As a freshman at the University of Iowa, McIlravy overcame a 5-0 third-period deficit -- including takedowns with 20 and four seconds remaining -- to win his first of three NCAA titles in four championship appearances. As a senior, McIlravy won his final crown in overtime.

Yesterday, down 3-0 with 1: 01 left against Cuba's Yosmany Sanchez, the former five-time South Dakota state champ scored four points on three takedowns to pull out a 4-3 decision for the United States before 3,512 at the 28th annual Freestyle World Cup at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

McIlravy's effort helped boost the U.S. to five wins in eight matches in a 19-10 victory over Cuba en route to winning the five-team round-robin event, which also featured teams from Russia, Iran and Ukraine.

The Americans later won six of eight bouts in a 22-9 rout of defending world champ Russia to finish 4-0 and secure their eighth crown in the last 11 World Cups. Iran won the silver medal and Russia was third.

America's dominance ranked second only to that of the 1997 team, which won all eight matches in that year's finals.

McIlravy said he thrives on late-in-the-match pressure.

"That situation, where I have to score points, you know, I live there. The way my body feels, you know, when I'm hurt and I'm tired, I like it, because I know my opponent's dying from my beating on him during the match," said McIlravy, who is 4-0 against Sanchez.

"This is the fourth time I've wrestled him and every time it's closer."

For the tournament, McIlravy -- who scored an 11-1 technical fall against Russia's Zaour Kazbekov -- and Pennsylvania native and two-time NCAA champ Cary Kolat (138.75) each went 4-0 for their third World Cup titles.

New York native and two-time NCAA champ Kerry McCoy (286) won his second World Cup, and three-time NCAA champ Joe Williams (167.5), a four-time Illinois state champ, captured his first.

Les Gutches' 3-0 overtime decision against Russia's Sajid Sajidov earned the silver medal at 187.75. America's Eric Guerrero (127.75) also won a silver medal.

Kolat tech-falled Russia's Zelimkhan Akhmedov, 10-0, with 56 seconds left in the first period, giving Kolat a pin, two technical falls and a forfeit for the weekend despite describing himself as rusty since separating a shoulder during October's World Championships.

McCoy and Russia's Oleg Khorpiahov were tied at 10 points each in their bids for gold medals, which McCoy won with a 4-0 decision. The shorter, quicker McCoy led 1-0 when his three-point takedown with 1: 55 remaining blew the match open.

"I knew he'd get tired, so I just worked at staying in position to score, and when the opportunity presented itself, I took it," McCoy said.

Williams trailed Russia's Chamiel Aliev, 10-9, in points toward earning the title before his referee's criteria victory clinched the gold. Their bout ended in a 2-all tie, but a passivity call against Aliev with 32 seconds left in overtime was the difference.

"I kept my position, put him in situations he didn't want to be in so he couldn't take certain shots," Williams said.

In the Cuba-U.S. match earlier in the day, Yoel Romero (187.75) dethroned American rival Gutches, 3-1, outscoring him 2-0 in the second period to improve his series lead to 3-1 over Gutches and clinch the gold medal.

Romero pounded his chest and blew kisses toward the Cuban fans after beating Gutches, whom he came back to hug after his display of machismo.

"He [Gutches] is my friend, but that doesn't mean I can't show the passion I feel for being the best in the world," Romero said. "After I took the lead, I felt like I knew, and he knew, I was going to win.

"Gutches is good. He put more pressure on me than in the past. But he knows I'm like a wild dog when I'm on top."

Iran's Ali Reza Dabir (127.75) went 4-0 for his third straight World Cup title while Ali Reza Heidari (213.75) went 4-0 for his second crown. Behnam Tayebi (119) was 3-0 and won his first World Cup title.

One of the hosts of the tournament was the Washington-Baltimore 2012 Coalition. The coalition is planning a bid to serve as host of the 2012 Olympics.

Event director Alan Gebhart, head wrestling coach of Archbishop Curley High, received an award of recognition from USA Wrestling president Bruce Baumgartner for helping to bring the event to the East Coast.

Curley graduate Paul Boettcher, a 19-year-old graphic artist, was honored for designing the tournament's brochures, tickets and sponsor banners.

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