Team USA Crowns Six Champs at Yasar Dogu in Istanbul
At the season's final UWW rankings event, Team USA crowned 6 champions in men's and women's freestyle at the Yasar Dogu, including world champions Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder, and J'Den Cox. These strong gold medal performances were buoyed by a silver medal performance by heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski, and a second-place team trophy (only behind host country Turkey). In an event that saw multiple world champions and medalists vying for world seeding points, Team USA continues to enjoy international success at one of its hottest streaks ever.
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In Women's Freestyle, with a truncated team, Forrest Molinari brought home a gold medal after another very gritty and passionate performance. The Hawkeye WC representative beat the Russian representative in the finals at 65kg, 5-2, and is now the 2-seed at this year's worlds after a fifth-place finish last year. Forrest has emerged as a real international World Championship threat over the last year, with her classical Iowa style paying huge dividends with aggression and activity.
In Men's Freestyle, Team USA looked dominant with their team of eight wrestlers getting six medals. The emotional highlight of the tournament came from Yianni Diakomihalis, who won gold at 65-kilograms despite not being our official representative this year (though that still remains in official protest). In a continuation of their rivalry, Yianni met Zain Retherford in the very first round and won 9-5 in another exciting, back-and-forth contest. Zain was unable to wrestle in repechage after an injury that his camp says should take only a few weeks to recover from.
Yianni didn't disappoint in further rounds, teching the next opponent before a very dramatic semifinal against the Hungarian rep Musukaev. Musukaev used physicality and a big 4-pointer to pick up a 9-0 lead before Yianni began storming back, eventually causing Musukaev to gas out and give up 9 straight points and 3 straight cautions, causing a DQ and moving Yianni to the finals. The finals were far less dramatic, though, with Diakomihalis winning by medical forfeit. The match between Yianni and Zain doesn't have any official weight on the outcome of the official Final X protest filed by Yianni, it does add to the fire of this summer's best American wrestling rivalry.
At 74kg, Jordan Burroughs put together yet another gold performance in one of America's best wrestling careers ever. JB did what he does best and put up both points in bunches and closed out tight matches in exciting fashion, with a tech fall over Yakup Gor of Turkey (two-time world medalist) and a nip-and-tuck 6-4 win over the U23 World Champ Salkazanov of Slovakia. Burroughs was set for another huge matchup with Chamizo of Italy in the finals but Chamizo decided to forfeit the bout after securing the 1-seed at Worlds. Burroughs, with the win, locks up the 2-seed.
J'den Cox, Kyle Snyder, and Alex Dieringer were all dominant, rolling to gold medals at 92, 97, and 79 kilograms respectively. Cox scored takedowns almost at will, with the weekend point differential being 42-0 as Cox secures the 1-seed at Worlds at a weight he is beginning to truly take over. Snyder continued his winning ways, and with his win sits as the number one seed at worlds with his rival Sadulaev as the two. Dieringer, even though his wrestle off with Dake approaches, continues his climb up and horsed around world class contenders in now-typical fashion in America's most dominant weight class.