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Team USA 27, Russia 12

April 7, 1996

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) _ The United States won five straight matches and cruised to a 27-12 victory over the Russian World Cup Team Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Team USA, coached by Iowa’s Dan Gable and featuring four former Hawkeye wrestlers, won eight of the 10 matches.

``Any time you win 80 percent of the matches, I think that shows your dominance,″ Gable said. ``I don’t think we were dominant in the individual matches because we had to win some close matches.

``We had to win five one-point matches, and that’s tough.″

Zeke Jones, a 1992 Olympic silver medalist, got things started with a one-point victory at 114.5 pounds. Jones used a two-point turn with nine seconds left to edge Russia’s Dougar Geamsouev 5-4 after trailing 3-1 early in the match.

``It’s good to see I can win when I don’t wrestle my best,″ Jones said.

Tom Brands, a former Iowa two-time NCAA champion, followed with an 11-0 technical fall over Zalimkhan Akhmadov at 125.5 pounds. Brands went the first two minutes without scoring, then had three takedowns and a three-point exposure in a scoring flurry.

``I started out a little slow maybe, but I kept the pressure on the guy,″ said Brands, who won the 1995 World Cup and U.S. National competitions. ``I remember hitting a single-leg (takedown), and it was my first one. I was a little sluggish.″

Team USA wrestlers Townsend Saunders and Lincoln McIlravy each won at 149.5 pounds.

McIlravy, a two-time NCAA champion for the Hawkeyes who redshirted this season to try to make the Olympic team, rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat Russia’s Igor Koupeer 5-4 on a takedown 21 seconds into the sudden-death overtime period. Saunders beat Ramis Ramazanov 8-2.

McIlravy was wrestling in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the first time since losing the 1995 NCAA title bout there at 150 pounds.

``He came out and got behind 4-0 and the guy was kind of pushing him around,″ Gable said. ``He worked his way back and kept his composure.″

Pat Smith, a former four-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State, beat Russia’s Nasyr Gadzhikanov 5-3 at 163 pounds. Smith, who completed his collegiate career in 1994, is ranked No. 1 nationally after a second-place finish at the 1995 U.S. Nationals.

Two former Iowa wrestlers competed in matches at 180.5 pounds.

Royce Alger, ranked No. 2 in the United States, nipped Cary Modossia 4-3. Bart Chelesvig, ranked fourth in the United States, lost an 8-0 decision to Rustem Kelehsaev.

At 198 pounds, former Iowa State NCAA champion Mike Van Arsdale used a three-point move with just over one minute remaining to top Kuramagomed Kuramagomedov, 4-3.

Tom Erikson put a quick end to the duel with a pin over Russia’s Andrei Shumilin in 1:40.

Team USA wrestlers Terry Brands (125.5 pounds) and Kurt Angle (220 pounds) didn’t compete because the Russian team did not bring wrestlers at their weight classes.

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