Kyle Snyder's Victory Seals Team USA's First Men's Freestyle World Cup Since 2003; Snyder and Logan Stieber Finish 7-1

By Andy Vance on April 8, 2018 at 8:16 pm
Kyle Snyder

The U.S. Men's Freestyle Team won its first World Championship in 22 years last summer in Paris.

The team added to its momentum with its first World Cup in 15 years on Sunday.

Ohio State alumni Logan Stieber and Kyle Snyder looked every bit the world champions they are, going 7-1 on the weekend with six tech falls between them.

Team USA defeated Azerbaijan in the gold medal match on Sunday, 6-4, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. The Americans advanced to the championship match after steamrolling Georgia, 8-2, Sunday morning.

Stieber and Snyder by and large handled their business all weekend long. Snyder was flawless, racking up four consecutive wins by technical superiority; Stieber's only stumble was a lopsided decision to Japan's Takuto Otoguro after a headshot that caused Stieber to get five stitches after the match.

"He shot right away and I head-blocked; I thought he was cut, and then I started to see the blood," Stieber said. "Five stitches. It was hard ... I don't like blood."

Stieber said he "lost control" of the match after that, but he was in complete control Sunday. He put together the 10-0 tech over Magomed Saidovi of Georgia in the final round of pool competition before outwrestling three-time world champion Haji Aliyev in the gold-medal round.

"I've been pretty lucky, I've wrestled a lot of the world's best," Stieber said after the tournament. "I was very happy to wrestle him. For the team, it's pretty simple: beat your man, that's your job."

Stieber won the 2016 World Championship, and with his performance at the World Cup – particularly how he handled Aliyev – he reminded everyone that he's a force to be reckoned with at 65 kg.

Captain America, meanwhile, did what Captain America does: tech'd everyone in front of him. After three-consecutive 10-0 victories, Roman Bakirov of Azerbaijan managed to score some points on the three-time world champ.

After trading push-outs early for a 2-1 Snyder lead, things got wild. Snyder cinched a takedown and a series of two-point tilts for what appeared to be the 12-1 tech fall, but as Snyder completed his final tilt of the sequence, Bakirov managed a reversal as the first period ended, and the points counted.

It was merely delaying the inevitable, however, as Snyder notched the go-ahead takedown just moments into the second period, and that was the ballgame.

Snyder’s 14-3 victory by technical superiority clinched the dual for Team USA, giving the United States its first World Cup title since 2003, its eighth overall.

"It felt good," Snyder said after the victory. "He's pretty good, so it was nice to tech fall him. I would always pick myself to go out there and wrestle in those circumstances."

The U.S. was 4-0 in the two-day international dual meet championship, earning wins over Azerbaijan, Japan, Georgia, and India. Team USA won 31 of 40 individual matches, and outscored its opponents 300 to 78 in total match points.

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