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US Tops Iran in Wrestling World Cup

April 4, 1999

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ Kerry McCoy pinned Iran’s Ebrahim Mehraban in the final heavyweight match of the 27th World Cup of Wrestling to lead the United States to the team title on Saturday night.

McCoy, of State College, Pa., pinned Mehraban after 1:03 to cap the United States’ 4-0 finish in the two-day, round-robin event.

Iran, which finished 3-1, took second. Cuba (2-2) was third, with Germany (1-3) and Canada (0-4) taking the final two spots.

In the championship match, Iran took an early lead by winning the two lowest weight categories. Gholam Reza Mohammadi won by technical fall over Sammie Henson of Norman, Okla., in the 119-pound class, and Ali Rezar Dabier won by decision over Tony Purler of Clarion, Pa., in the 127 3/4-pound event.

The United States captured the next four events with victories by Cary Kolat of Bellefonte, Pa. (138 3/4 pounds); Lincoln McIlravy of Iowa City, Iowa (152 pounds); Steve Marianetti of Urbana, Ill. (167 1/2 pounds); and Les Gutches of Corvallis, Ore. (187 1/4 pounds).

In the 213 3/4-pound event, Iran’s Ali Reza Heidari won by decision over J.J. McGrew of Stillwater, Okla.

In the match for third place, Cuba beat Germany 19-11.

Cuba opened with four wins in the four lowest weight categories. German wrestlers took two of the four highest weight classes, with Cuba’s Alexis Rodriguez winning a decision over Sven Theile in the 286-pounds-and-over heavyweight class.

Canada failed to advance to the final session after losing to the United States and Germany earlier in the day.

Under the tournament format, the five teams competed in a series of dual meets over two days. The teams were chosen based on the performance of their wrestlers at the World Championships last September in Iran.

Six teams were supposed to compete, but the defending champion Russian team did not arrive. The conflict in Kosovo led to the closure of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, and the wrestlers’ visas were inside the embassy and could not be retrieved.

The United States has dominated the World Cup in the 1990s, winning seven of nine team titles, including Saturday’s victory.

An international event, the World Cup is a step below world championship or Olympic competitions, but some team members are likely to compete for Olympic berths.

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