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College Wrestling

AU's Abdurakhmanov Set to Make His Mark

Thursday, March 17, 2005; Page D02

American University junior Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov will take a first step toward ending a 35-year title drought for Washington area wrestlers when he begins competition at the NCAA Division I championships today in St. Louis.

The 157-pound fourth seed will try to become the area's first NCAA champion since the University of Maryland's Gobel Kline won the 152-pound title in 1969. According to NCAA records, Kline and Maryland's Bob Kopinsky (1965) are the only area wrestlers to win Division I titles.

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Abdurakhmanov (27-1), who won American's first Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championship on March 5, will have to navigate perhaps the tournament's toughest weight class -- Ryan Bertin of Michigan and Matt Gentry of Stanford have won the past two 157-pound titles.

Abdurakhmanov, a native of Uzbekistan, won consecutive junior college national titles at Colby Community College in Kansas before transferring to American in the fall.

-- Josh Leventhal

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