He wasn’t a gold digger, but Angel Escobedo still came up with a medal.
Thanks to a 3-1 weekend in the 2014 World Cup in Los Angeles, the Griffith grad and four-time state champion finished third with USA Wrestling and earned a bronze medal for his efforts.
The 125-pounder’s only blemish over the grueling weekend was an 8-0 loss to the Iran’s Hassan Rahimi, the 2013 World Cup champion.
“It was great to wrestle last year’s world champ and see where I was,” Escobedo said. “I have work to get done, but that’s what I love about this sport. I can always get better.
“I love representing my country and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Escobedo helped Team USA bounce back after a loss to Iran with a great win over Ukraine in the bronze medal match. He started the team out with a win and it went on to beat Ukraine 7-1 in the World Cup third-place match at The Forum. Escobedo delivered an early spark by dominating Ukraine’s Sergiy Ratushny with an 11-0 technical fall.
“I think Team USA showed a lot of resilience coming back and dominating for the bronze,” Escobedo said. “After my loss and our team loss I felt the need to get things started for us. We feed off each other so it’s really important to start the match off with momentum.”
Iran went on to beat Russia 6-2 in the gold medal match for its third straight title.
The U.S. placed third for the third straight year. The top 10 freestyle wrestling countries in the world gathered in the dual-meet format for the World Cup, which was held in the U.S. for the first time in 10 years.
Escobedo, a national champion at Indiana University, helped the U.S. beat Turkey 8-0. The squad didn’t allow a point in the first four matches on the way to the win.
Escobedo said he was overwhelmed by text messages and shout-outs via social media while he was competing. He was humbled by the fact his mother, brother Josh, grandpa, uncle Dave Escobedo and cousins Andrae Hernandez and Daniel Bedoy, and his fiancée Pauli Mayfield came to support him.
Next up for Escobedo is the Open Nationals April 18-19 in Las Vegas, so he doesn’t have much time to rest.