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Abas, Williams, Cormier and McCoy claim gold medals at the Pan American Games

8/9/2003 John Fuller/USA Wrestling

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - The U.S. men’s freestyle team claimed four gold medals on Friday evening at the Pan American Games. All seven wrestlers on the U.S. squad won medals.

Stephen Abas (Fresno, Calif./Sunkist Kids), Joe Williams (Coralville, Iowa/Sunkist Kids), Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) and Kerry McCoy (Bethlehem, Pa./New York AC) all won gold for the U.S.

Abas exercised an old demon, defeating reigning World Champion Rene Montero of Cuba in overtime. Abas had lost to Montero at the Titan Games in February.

Both wrestlers showed supreme quickness in the match, providing an offensive display of shots and counters for an enthusiastic crowd. Leading 2-1 in overtime, Abas was able to force Montero to break his lock in the clinch first, giving him the 3-1 win.

“He’s a returning World Champion,” Abas said after his revengeful win. “I was thinking about our first match a little bit. The first time we wrestled, I wasn’t quite ready for his style. But with me, it takes one time and I am ready for someone.”

Williams, a 2001 World bronze medalist, had one eye shut for his entire gold-medal match at 74 kg/163 lbs due to a a cut he suffered above his left eye in the semifinals. In the finals against Daniel Gonzalez of Cuba, he gained a cut just above his right eye. Both will most likely need stitches.

In the match, both competitors wrestled a slow-paced, defensive match. Williams took a 1-0 lead with a hand-to-hand gut wrench. A takedown in the second period extended his lead to 2-0.

Gonzalez cut the lead to 2-1 after forcing Williams to break his lock in an overtime clinch, but neither wrestler was able to score after that, giving Williams his second consecutive Pan American Games gold medal.

Cormier once again dominated his opponent, this time defeating Antoine Jaoude of Brazil by a 10-0 technical superiority at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. In four matches in the tournament, Cormier recorded two pins and outscored his other two opponents 18-0.

“It felt good to dominate. I got done a lot of stuff in this tournament that I wanted to work on, especially my conditioning and par terre,” stated Cormier, who has suffered two injuries and the loss of his three-month old daughter in the past six weeks.

“I’m still not where I want to be. I want to be a World Champion,” he added.

McCoy was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler after recording an 11-0 technical superiority win over Edgar Becerra of Venezuela at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

“It’s never easy,” McCoy said, speaking of his dominated in the finals. “I didn’t want to take any risks or chances. I wrestled him in 2000 and I think I teched him in the same amount of time then too. You never know if someone adds a new wrinkle to their game.”

Jamill Kelly (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) dropped his gold-medal match at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. to Serguei Rondon of Cuba in overtime. Leading 2-0 going into the clinch in overtime, Rondon was able to put Kelly to his back for three points and the win.

Rondon had also defeated Kelly in pool competition.

Winning bronze medals for the U.S. were Eric Guerrero (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Cael Sanderson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Guerrero, a 1999 Pan American Games silver medalist, defeated Luis Ortiz of Puerto Rico by a 10-0 technical superiority. Sanderson won by medical forfeit over Luis Felipe Vivenes of Venezuela.

The U.S. also captured the team title. Cuba placed second, followed by Canada.

The men’s freestyle team will now prepare to host the World Championships in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The tournament will take place September 12-14.

Pan American Games

at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

August 7-8, 2003

U.S. Men’s Freestyle Individual Results

55 kg/121 lbs. - Stephen Abas, Fresno, Calif. (Sunkist Kids) - 1st

dec. Mischa Japaridze (Canada), 9-2; tech. fall Oscar Ruano (Guatemala), 10-0, 2:31; tech. fall Antonio Gonzalez (Panama), 10-0, 3:34; dec. Rene Montero (Cuba), 3-1, ot, 6:13

60 kg/132 lbs. - Eric Guerrero, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) - 3rd

dec. Geovanny Mora (Mexico), 9-2; tech. fall Nelson Rene Crisanto (Honduras), 10-0, 1:55; lost dec. Giuvu Sissarouri (Canada), 5-3; tech. fall Luis Ortiz (Puerto Rico), 10-0, 1:29

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Jamill Kelly, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) - 2nd

lost dec. Serguei Rondon (Cuba), 7-6, ot, 6:56; tech. fall Eddy Agramonte (Dominican Republic), 11-0, 2:38; dec. Evan MacDonald (Canada), 5-4; tech. fall Lucas Garraldo (Argentina), 11-1, 3:12; dec. David Cubas (Peru), 4-0; dec. Jhonny Jose Cedeno (Venezuela), 8-0; lost dec. Serguei Rondon (Cuba), 5-0, ot, 6:09

74 kg/163 lbs. - Joe Williams, Coralville, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) - 1st

tech. fall Esteban Vera (Puerto Rico), 11-0, 5:47; tech. fall Andy Cubas (Peru), 10-0, 3:41; dec. Zoltan Hunyady (Canada), 3-0; dec. Daniel Gonzalez (Cuba), 2-1, ot, 9:00

84 kg/185 lbs. - Cael Sanderson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) - 3rd

tech. fall Dario Garcia (Dominican Republic), 10-0, 2:46; tech. fall Daniel Iglesia (Argentina), 10-0, 3:00; lost dec. Yoel Romero (Cuba), 3-2, ot, 7:22; med. forfeit over Luis Felipe Vivenes (Venezuela)

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Daniel Cormier, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) - 1st

pin Matthew White (Puerto Rico), 1:57; pin Randeep Sodhi (Canada), 2:28; dec. Wilfredo Morales (Cuba), 8-0; tech. fall Antoine Jaoude (Brazil), 10-0, 2:21

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Kerry McCoy, Bethlehem, Pa. (New York AC) - 1st

pin Marcos Vinicius Oliveira (Brazil), 0:19; dec. Colbie Bell (Canada), 9-0; pin Alexis Rodriguez (Cuba), 5:59; tech. fall Edgar Becerra (Venezuela), 11-0, 0:56

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