Past World medalist Cary Kolat makes statement by winning title at Sunkist Kids International Open
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Cary Kolat is back on the mat for the same reason a lot of wrestlers in their 30s will be over the next several months.
"It's the Olympic year," Kolat said. "I wanted another shot."
Kolat - a past World silver and bronze medalist, and 2000 Olympian in freestyle � may just have a shot at making another Olympic team in 2008 if his performance Sunday provided any indication.
The burly, powerful Kolat looked strong in notching a 3-2, 1-0 win over Eric Larkin in the finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. at the Sunkist Kids International Open on Sunday at the Rawhide Arena
Kolat executed a three-point throw to capture the first period and then won the second period from the defensive position in the leg clinch. Larkin started with Kolat�s leg, but the strong defense of Kolat was evident when he quickly kicked his leg free to break loose en route to winning the period.
The big move in the match came in the first period for the 34-year-old Kolat, who retired after the 2000 Olympics. Kolat came back briefly in 2003 before returning to the mat last April to place fourth at the 2007 U.S. Nationals. Larkin placed third at the 2007 U.S. World Team Trials.
�I caught him with a hip toss in the first period,� Kolat said. �He wrestled a solid match. It feels good to be back and hopefully I can just keep improving on what I did today. That�s really all I want to say right now.�
Also winning freestyle titles on Sunday were Danny Felix of the Sunkist Kids at 55 kg/121 lbs., Dugarsuren Lkhagvadorj of Mongolia at 60 kg/132 lbs., Tyrone Lewis of the Gator Wrestling Club at 74 kg/163 lbs., Chris Pendleton of the Gator Wrestling Club at 84 kg/185 lbs., Kurt Backes of the Sunkist Kids at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and Tervel Dlagnev of the Loper Wrestling Club at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
The Sunkist Kids won the team title with 57 points, the Gator Wrestling Club was second with 22 points and the New York AC was third with 17 points.
Felix halted Sam Hazewinkel�s bid to become a double champion this weekend in the freestyle finals at 55 kilos. The third period came down to a coin flip. Hazewinkel won the flip, but was unable to finish in the leg clinch and Felix won the match 4-2, 0-2, 1-0. Hazewinkel won the Greco-Roman title at 55 kilos on Saturday.
Felix was named Outstanding Wrestler.
Lkhagvadorj came from behind in both periods to down past World Team member Michael Lightner of the Sunkist Kids 3-1, 3-2 in the finals. Lkhagvadorj caught Lightner in a near-side cradle in the first period before scoring a second-period takedown and following with two leg laces to win the match. Lkhagvadorj won a World University title in 2006.
Pendleton pulled out a wild finals win over a determined Jake Herbert of the New York Athletic Club. Herbert, a 2007 NCAA champion for Northwestern, upset 2006 World Team member Andy Hrovat in the semifinals.
Herbert closed the gap to 5-4 late in his match with Pendleton and tried to turn him. Pendleton countered effectively and caught Herbert on his back for a pin late in the third period.
Dlagnev earned his first career victory over past college rival Les Sigman of the Sunkist Kids. Dlagnev trailed 1-0 late in the third and deciding period before shooting in on a leg attack to score the winning takedown in the closing seconds.
Sigman had knocked off 2007 U.S. Nationals runner-up Cole Konrad in the semifinal round.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS
55 kg/121 lbs. - Danny Felix (Sunkist Kids) dec. Sam Hazewinkel (Gator WC) 4-2, 0-2, 1-0
60 kg/132 lbs. - Dugarsuren Lkhagvadorj (Mongolia) dec. Michael Lightner (Sunkist Kids) 3-1, 3-2
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Cary Kolat (Sunkist Kids) dec. Eric Larkin (Sunkist Kids) 3-2, 1-0
74 kg/163 lbs. - Tyrone Lewis (Gator WC) dec. Travis Paulson (Sunkist Kids) 1-0, 1-0
84 kg/185 lbs. - Chris Pendleton (Gator WC) pinned Jake Herbert (New York AC) 3-0, 1-3, 1:55
96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Kurt Backes (Sunkist Kids) pinned Israel Silva (Sunkist Kids) 3-0, 1:48
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Tervel Dlagnev (Loper WC) dec. Les Sigman (Sunkist Kids) 0-1, 1-1, 1-1