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By Gary Abbott SOFIA, Bulgaria – Kyle Snyder captured a gold medal to lead

the U.S. at the Junior World Championships. Snyder struck gold in freestyle at 96 kg/211.5 pounds, during

the tournament which was held from Aug. 13-18. The U.S. finished with five medals overall in the event. Snyder won a wild gold-medal final over Viktor Kazishvili of Armenia, falling behind early and almost getting pinned, but bat- tling back for an impressive 11-4 technical fall in 4:04. Kazishvili, who was third in the 2013 European Junior Championships, went upper body with Snyder and threw him to his back, almost getting the fall, but the tough American got free, but was trailing 4-1. He started a barrage of takedowns, as well as a turn, to take an 8-4 lead at the break. In the second period, a two-point takedown and a one-point pushout put him at 11-4 for the technical fall victory. “I’m not a big upper-body guy. I like leg attacks. He was chal-

lenging me upperbody and he threw me to my back. I had to fight a little from there. After that, I had to buckle down in my positioning, get some attacks done and tire him down as quickly as I could,” said Snyder. Snyder continued his impressive composure in the semifinals

with an 8-0 second period technical fall over Robin Ferdinand of Germany in 3:42. Snyder scored four two-point takedowns for the victory, while maintaining a strong defense which has served him well all day. Ferdinand was fifth in the 2012 Junior World Championships. In the morning session, Snyder won two matches with skill

and composure. He opened with a 9-2 technical fall over Radu Balaur of Moldova in 2:20. In the quarterfinals, he controlled Yusup Malachmagomedov of Russia in a 3-1 victory. “It was exciting. I have been thinking about this tournament

for awhile and I was excited to compete in it. I am happy with my performance,” said Snyder. Snyder was recently named the 2013 ASICS High School

Wrestler of the Year after his junior year for Good Council High School in Maryland. Snyder will be training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center during his senior year in high school concentrat- ing on freestyle wrestling. Snyder has given a verbal commitment to attend Ohio State University. American Alex Dieringer earned a silver medal in freestyle.

He was defeated in his gold medal finals by Alan Zaseev of Russia in a technical fall. In the second round, Dieringer emerged from a high-scoring shootout with 2013 European Junior silver medalist Bakhtiyar Israfilli of Azerbaijan, 12-11. “I came out strong. I wrestled a good first four matches. In the

finals match, he’s real good defensively. He scored off a lot of my shots. I just have to work on my finishes,” said Dieringer. “This is a great experience, going overseas and competing against the best in the world.” Erin Golston won a silver medal on the first day of women’s freestyle. Golston jumped to an early lead, but was defeated in the finals at 44 kg/97 lbs. by Emilia Budeanu of Moldova, 10-7.

18 USA Wrestler

Kyle Snyder (in red) takes charge en route to winning a Junior World freestyle title. Martin Gabor photo.

Golston won Junior World bronze medals in 2011 and 2012. “I’m going to learn from this experience. Overall, I had a pretty

OK tournament. I didn’t get scored on until the last match, so I am happy about that. I know I need to learn to close out match- es better. I’ll be better next time,” said Golston. Jennifer Page won a bronze medal at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. on

the final day of women’s freestyle. Page defeated Nyamgerel Burneebaatar of Mongolia 6-3 in

the bronze-medal match. “It started pretty good. My first three matches leading to the semifinals, I teched all those girls. I lost in the semis in a close match. I didn’t close well. I pulled off a win for the medal, so it ended alright. I’m not happy at all. At the end, I got my arm raised, so I am happy about that,” said Page. Sam Stoll stormed back after a semifinal loss to win a bronze

medal at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. in Greco-Roman. Stoll threw and pinned Behnam Shajaeiaghadam of Iran in the

first period of their bronze-medal bout. “It was kind of how it has been all tournament. In the first two rounds, I was losing and I came back to win. I lost in the semis, but pulled through with the bronze-medal match,” said Stoll.

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