First three U.S. men’s freestylers weigh in and receive draws at World Championships in Hungary

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Gary Abbott (USA Wrestling)

Brent Metcalf has a high single leg during the 2013 World Team Trials. Metcalf competes on Monday at the World Championships. John Sachs/ photo

BUDAPEST, Hungary – The first three U.S. men’s freestyle wrestlers have weighed in and received their draws for the first day of the World Wrestling Championships, which begin on Monday.

Two U.S. athletes, competing in their second World Championships will be in action on Monday, Brent Metcalf (Iowa City, Iowa/New York AC/Titan Mercury WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and J.D. Bergman (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC/Ohio RTC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.  Both previously competed on the 2010 U.S. World Teams.

Metcalf will face Iran’s two-time World champion Mehdi Taghavi in the first round. Metcalf dropped a match to Taghavi at the 2013 World Cup in Iran in February, 0-5, 0-2.

“He’s focused right now. Brent’s here for one reason, to get the gold medal. His preparation is excellent. He’s probably had the best season of anyone all year long in terms of training minutes, competition minutes and results. When all of these things come together, you do well. He is ready,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones.

Jones expects Metcalf to compete well right off the bat against Taghavi.

“He wrestled Taghavi in the World Cup in Iran, where Taghavi beat him. It was two executions, a double leg by Taghavi and Brent not finishing a high crotch. He needs to finish his leg attacks on Taghavi. He needs to set the pace hard and early because Taghavi cuts a lot of weight. Brent needs to press the pace right away,” said Jones.

Metcalf was a two-time NCAA champion for Iowa in college. He comes into the tournament with a No. 12 ranking in the most recent FILA World Freestyle rankings.

Bergman will face 2005 World bronze medalist Alexey Krupnyakov of Kyrgyzstan in the opening round. 

Bergman was an NCAA runner-up for Ohio State in college. He won a bronze medal at the 2013 Ziolkowski International in Poland. Bergman was ninth in the 2010 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

“He’s hungry. J.D. came to the 2010 World Championships and was a little star struck. Now, it’s really the bottom line to take care of business. He wants to come away with a medal, and the gold medal is what he is looking at. He is in a good spot right now,” said Jones.

Competing in his first Senior World Championships is Angel Escobedo (Columbus, Ohio/New York AC/Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC) at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Escobedo drew Andre Dukov of Romania in his first match. Dukov has not won a medal at either the European Championships or World Championships in his career. Dukov won the 2013 Ion Corneanu International in Romania this year. 

Escobedo was an NCAA champion for Indiana in college. He recently won a silver medal at the 2013 Stepan Sarkissian International in Armenia.

“He is very excited, with the opportunity to wrestle in the World Championships when he originally didn’t think he was going to. His weight control was very good, which is a key to his performance, feeling good tomorrow. He’s wrestled this guy before that he has in the first round. He feels real confident,” said Escobedo.

Jones said that the U.S. team is prepared and heads into the tournament with confidence.

“The team had 10 days in Belarus, where we trained with them and Armenia. We have had good acclimation time, and have wrestled foreign opponents. We have done the things we need to do. Now is time to get the job done,” said Jones.

At Budapest, Hungary

Men’s Freestyle draws for Monday

55 kg/121 lbs. – Angel Escobedo, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC/Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)
Vs. Andrei Dukov (Romania), 2013 Ion Corneanu International champion

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC/Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. Mehdi Taghavi (Iran), two-time World champion

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – J.D. Bergman, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC/Ohio RTC)
Vs. Alexei Krupnyakov (Kyrgyzstan), 2005 World  bronze medalist