Former Cal Poly wrestler Boris Novachkov, competing for his native Bulgaria, split his two matches in his first appearance in the Olympic Games on Sunday to finish eighth at Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro.
Novachkov, Cal Poly’s first three-time NCAA Division I All-American and third-place finisher in the 2012 NCAA national championships at 141 pounds, opened his bid for the 65-kilogram (143-pound) freestyle title with a 10-7 triumph over Meysam Nasiri of Iran.
He then fell 7-4 to Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico in the Round of 16. Novachkov trailed 1-0 after the first period but scored two takedowns in the second period for a 4-1 lead. Gomez, however, rallied late with six unanswered points — a takedown, turn and double — for the victory.
Gomez, who like Novachkov has dual citizenship and was an NCAA national champion at Michigan State, lost in the quarterfinal round, eliminating Novachkov from competition.
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Sosian Ramonov of Russia defeated Toghrui Asgarov of Azerbaijan for the gold medal.
Novachkov is the second Mustang in Cal Poly's seven-decade wrestling program history to qualify for the Olympics.
Novachkov earned a spot in the Summer Games by capturing the gold medal in May at the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier at the Bagcilar Sports Complex in Istanbul, Turkey.
He was a bronze medallist at the 2014 European Championships and was ranked No. 11 at 65kg following his victory at Istanbul.