LONDON – A late rally carried Jake Herbert to a first-round victory in the Olympic 185-pound freestyle wrestling class Saturday at the ExCel arena.
Herbert lost the first round and trailed Cuba’s Humberto Arencibia by a point with 11 seconds left in the third round when he scored the decisive takedown to advance.
With his friends and family waving yellow “terrible towels” in homage to their Pittsburgh area roots, Herbert lost the first round 4-1, then took the second 8-0, nearly pinning Arencibia twice. Although the third round ended in a tie, Herbert advanced by having scored last.
Herbert, 2009 world silver medalist, had beaten Arencibia for the gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games.
Herbert, a four-time All-American at Northwestern, meets reigning world champion Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan in the second round.
Herbert came into the match with a 2-0 record against Sharifov, although they did not meet in 2011. The Azerbaijani beat U.S. wrestling great Carl Sanderson in the second round of the 2011 worlds.