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Matches to Set U.S. Wrestling Team

June 24, 2001

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CINCINNATI (AP) _ Stephen Neal, the 1999 world wrestling champion at 286 pounds, and two women’s world champions advanced to the finals of the World Team Trials on Saturday.

Winners in Sunday’s finals qualify for the U.S. team that will compete in the world championships in September.

Neal, of Bakersfield, Calif., beat Tolly Thompson of Lincoln, Neb., 7-0 to advance to a best-of-three series Sunday against the 2001 U.S. champion Kerry McCoy of Bethlehem, Pa.

In the women’s division, 2000 world champion Kristie Marano of Albany, N.Y., beat Katie Downing of Pendleton, Ind., 6-1, at 149.75 pounds, and 1999 world champion Sandra Bacher of San Jose, Calif., pinned Melani Macari of Fremont, Calif., in 1:21 at 165.25 pounds.

Marano will face Toccara Montgomery of Cleveland. Montgomery, a high school senior, upset Marano in the U.S. Nationals.

Bacher has moved up one weight class from 149.75 pounds, where she won her world title and three world medals. She will face two-time U.S. champion Iris Smith of Colorado Springs, Colo.

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