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CADET WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS Pico captures title By Gary Abbott

ZRENJANIN, Serbia - Aaron Pico of California won a gold medal in men’s freestyle at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. with a spec- tacular performance on the final day of competition at the Cadet World Championships.

The U.S. won six medals overall during the tournament, which was held from Aug. 20-25.

Pico defeated Yuhi Fujinami of Japan in the championship match, 8-6. Pico was effective with his takedown attacks and was able to score at key points of the match. He led 4-2 at the break, and kept up the pressure, as Fujinami battled back and forth with Pico in the deciding second period.

“Nothing really changed in the final. I met with my coach and stuck with my game plan, which was to attack and get the guy tired. He was a good opponent and he didn’t get tired. I was able to score during some situations and that was the difference in the match. There is a big difference wrestling internationally and wrestling in the United States. Fortunately, I got the win. I am super happy, and overall, I think I did good,” said Pico.

Pico became the only American in any Olympic style to win a gold medal at this year’s Cadet World Championships. Pico won four matches to qualify for the finals. He opened with an impressive offensive display from his feet in his first match, a 7-0 technical fall victory over Adilbek Osmonaliev of Kyrgyzstan. His second match was a very close battle with Teymur Mammadov of Azerbaijan, a 2-1 victory for Pico. Mammadov scored the only point in the first period on a pushout. In the second, Pico scored a two-point takedown, and was able to avoid any dangerous situa- tions the rest of the period for a hard- fought one-point victory.

In the quarterfinals, Pico dismantled Maxim Carabadjac of Moldova 10-2. He was able to score multiple takedowns on him. Carabadjac’s only points came when Pico attempted a high amplitude throw from a double leg and exposed himself in the attempt.

In the semifinals, Pico fell behind Vikas Vikas of India, 4-0 at the half. However, in

Aaron Pico earned a gold medal in freestyle and Regina Doi cap- tured a silver medal in women’s freestyle at the FILA Cadet World Championships in Serbia.

Tim Foley photos

the second period, Pico turned on the offense, scoring four straight two-point takedowns for an 8-4 victory. “Aaron wrestled hard. He has a pretty aggressive style. He did a great job today. He came out and pushed the pace. Early in the tournament, he wasn’t able to get his offense going. The match with Azerbaijan was low scoring. He hit his stride after that and figured out how to move guys, open things up, not only scoring go behinds but getting to people’s legs to score,” said Assistant National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick.

Pico won three freestyle national titles this year, including the FILA Cadet Nationals, the FILA Junior Nationals and the Junior Nationals.

Regina Doi of California won a silver medal at 40 kg/88 lbs. in women’s freestyle.

Doi was defeated by Svetlana Ankicheva of Kazakstan in the gold medal finals bya 4-0 score. Ankicheva was a 2012 Cadet World sil- ver medalist and a 2011 Cadet World bronze medalist, finishing her career with a Cadet World medal of every kind. Doi had three impressive wins to reach

the finals. She started with a big win, defeating 2013 European Cadet champi- on Veronkia Gurskaya, 6-4. Doi came out early with two takedowns for the lead, and added another in the second period. Her next match was an 8-0 technical fall win over Maria Chia of Romania, 2:18 where she was able to display a variety of offensive attacks.

Her semifinal win over Dinura Sulaimanova of Kyrgyzstan was much closer. Doi scored a pair of one-point counter takedowns in the first period. Sulaimanova was able to get a one-point counter takedown of her own in the sec- ond period, but could not score again, as Doi won, 2-1.

“There was a lot of mental preparation involved. I knew what to expect at the World Championships. In my training, I improved a lot in my technique and it has definitely showed,” said Doi The USA had four bronze medalists, Greco-Roman wrestlers Cade Olivas of California at 42 kg/92.5 lbs. and Jon Jay Chavez of Idaho at 69 kg/152 lbs. plus women’s freestyle wrestlers Marina Doi of California at 38 kg/83.75 lbs. and Teshya Alo of Hawaii at 56 kg/123.25 lbs.

19 USA Wrestler

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