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Kyle Snyder closes out gold medal performance for Team USA at United World Wrestling Men’s Freestyle World Cup
Zahid Valencia, Nate Jackson, Snyder win three straight bouts to clinch 6-4 win over Iran
CORALVILLE - Kyle Snyder lives for these moments.
With a history of winning big matches for Team USA, he proved yet again he was capable of delivering a title.
The Olympic and World champion faced off against Iran’s three-time World champion Kamran Ghasempour and recorded a 5-0 decision to clinch the gold medal in men’s freestyle for USA Wrestling at United World Wrestling World Cup on Sunday night at Xtream Arena in Coralville.
The U.S. beat Iran, 6-4, in the 10-match dual.
“I love it,” said Snyder, who has been referred to as “Captain America” by wrestling fans. “My No. 1 option is 10-zip USA, but then my No. 2 option is let me be the closer.
“I wanted to be the closer. Sandman. Enter in. Put them to sleep.”
Ghasempour moved up from 92 kg for the gold-medal dual. Snyder turned him away, pulling away with two pushouts and a takedown in the second period.
“I always want to wrestle good wrestlers,” Snyder said. “It felt good.”
Snyder’s opportunity was set up by consecutive wins from Zahid Valencia at 86 kg and Nate Jackson at 92. Valencia used two first-period takedowns for a 5-3 victory over Alireza Karimi. Jackson scored a big four-point move early and a late takedown en route to an 8-4 decision over Amirhossein Firouzpour.
“It happened because I tried to start that match, going through that wall,” Jackson said about the four-point move. “Fighting against all my emotions and all that fear, I get that (stuff) out of the way as soon as the match starts.
“Whether I hit that wall and somebody stops me or I hit that wall and I get four, I start every match the same because I need that for myself. That’s why I did it there. I’ve been doing that since 6 years old.”
Team USA demonstrated its depth, presenting options for a winning lineup without some World medalists this weekend.
“We are deep,” Jackson said. “So many good guys that keep us honest. So many good practice rooms around the country.”
Zane Richards sparked USA with an opening win at 57 kilograms. He used two takedowns and a crucial crotchlift for two back exposure points for a 6-2 decision.
Former Iowa wrestler and current Wisconsin assistant Seth Gross followed with a dominant in at 61 kg. Gross got on the board with a takedown against Ebrahim Elahichouran and never lost control, producing four straight turns for a 10-0 technical superiority victory.
Alec Pantaleo gave Team USA a third victory. A challenge to erase a late turn over exposure points was successful, helping Pantaleo hold on for a 4-3 decision over Amiromohammad Yazdani.
In a rematch of a Worlds final, Iran’s Rahman Amouzadkhali faced Yianni Diakomihalis at 65 kg. The result was tighter, but Amouzadkhali used a late push out for a point and 5-4 win over the three-time NCAA champion from Cornell University.
Iran delivered another tough blow to the U.S. at 79 kg. Ali Savadkouhi used two takedowns with a turn to erase a four-point deficit to Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs. Despite Burroughs late points on a push out and penalty point to tie it, Savadkouhi won on criteria (higher scoring moves: 2-2-2 to 2-2-1-1), tying the dual at three matches apiece with four remaining.