The fan vote for 5PM’s 2020 Athlete of the Year concluded earlier today, leaving five finalists whom the voting committee will now consider.
In weight class order, they are:
Benji Peak (67 kg, Sunkist/NTS, 5PM #11)
US National Champion, ’20 5PM Outstanding Individual Performance winner
Alex Sancho (67 kg, Army/WCAP, world #19, 5PM #2)
Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier silver, Pan-American Championships bronze
John Stefanowicz (82 kg, Marines, world #3, 5PM #5 at 77 kg)
Pan-American Championships gold
Joe Rau (87 kg, TMWC/IRC, world #7, 5PM #2)
Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier gold, Pan-American Championships gold
G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, world #7, 5PM #1)
Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier silver, Pan-American Championships gold, Matteo Pellicone bronze
All members of this year’s AOTY voting committee will receive updated biographical information on each athlete along with other pertinent details and results. They will then make their selections and send them via email in time for the official announcement, which is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 6. As is custom, a release will be made available followed by a brief Q&A with the award recipient either on January 6 or shortly thereafter.
As had been reported on this platform via the latest Coach Lindland’s Report, an expansive delegation of Senior Greco-Roman athletes comprised mostly of Marines will indeed be making their way to France next week in advance of the annual Henri Deglane GP. The roster, which does at this time include two-time World Team member Patrick Smith (77 kg, Minnesota Storm, 5PM #1), is set at 12 wrestlers. Because Smith is numbered among the Marines, half of the list are current US National Teamers.
2021 Henri Delgane Grand Prix
January 17 — Nice, FRA
TEAM USA ROSTER (as of 1/4)
* — US National Team member
** — Olympic Trials qualified
60 kg: Thomas Hicks (Marines)
**63 kg: Colton Rasche (Marines)
63 kg: Devin Hester (Marines)
*/**67 kg: Jamel Johnson (Marines, 5PM #4)
’19 World Team Trials Challenge Tournament Champion, ’19 Final X runner-up, ’12 University World bronze
*/**67 kg: Raymond Bunker (Marines, 5PM #3)
’19 World Team, ’19 US National Champion, ’17 University National Champion
*/**77 kg: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #1)
2X World Team, ’19 Pan-American Games gold, ’16 US National Champion, 3X Pan-American Championships gold, ’14 University World silver
*/**77 kg: Peyton Walsh (Marines, 5PM #9)
2X US National Team
*/**82 kg: John Stefanowicz (Marines, 5PM #5 at 77 kg)
’19 World Team, ’20 Pan-American Championships gold, 3X US National Team
**87 kg: Terrence Zaleski (Marines, 5PM #10)
87 kg: Vaughn Monreal-Berner (Marines)
87 kg: Joel Nivar (Marines)
*/**97 kg: Daniel Miller (Marines, 5PM #3)
2X US National Champion, ’19 World Team Trials Challenge Tournament runner-up, ’18 World Team Trials runner-up
Additional notes: the above roster lists Bunker at 67 but that might be jumping the gun a little bit. Reached this evening, the 26-year-old was non-committal as to which weight category he would choose in France, though he leaned towards the heavier one. “I’ll probably just go 72 but I’ll see how my weight is next week,” Bunker said. “I’m just trying to compete. If my weight is fine then I might try (67); but if it’s not, then I’ll just show up at my natural weight and wrestle.”
It is worth mentioning that not one All-Marine Wrestling athlete has been able to participate in a match dating back to the Pan-American Championships on March 6 in Ottawa due to various COVID-related guidelines and travel restrictions.
Good news: more Marine action upcoming — look forward to an all-new First to Fight with Marines head coach Jason Loukides prior to the trip, as well as Volume II of Diary of an Athlete Leader: The Stefanowicz Chronicles.
Rau in Sweden
The continuing story of Rau overseas has the Olympic Trials finalist in Sweden this week. Rau arrived on Saturday and will be in-country for the proceeding week-and-a-half. It is still not confirmed if he will be participating in the Grand Prix Zagreb Open in Croatia (January 16-17) — but he is in fact expected to make his way to the Balkan nation next. A multi-national training camp follows that event.
Rau sent a couple of photos as a greeting to the audience.
Russia’s Top Matches of 2020
The Russian Federation (via official outlet WrestRus) released their list of top matches for the past year. Of the 15 bouts included, the majority are, surprisingly, freestyle. However, the #1 match was not — ’18 World Champion Stepan Maryanyan‘s (60 kg, world #2 at 63 kg) criteria win over fellow ’18 titlist Sergey Emelin (60 kg, world #2) from October’s Russian Cup.