Northern Michigan

Morrow & Johnson Lead Northern’s Medal Haul at Campbell Cup

nmu greco-roman, 2017 eduardo campbell cup
Photo: Austin Morrow

Austin Morrow (66 kg, NYAC/OTS) and Khymba Johnson (85 kg, NYAC/OTS) returned to competition with a dominant flair while three other Greco-Roman athletes from Northern Michigan also found the podium. The action took place yesterday at the 2017 Eduardo Campbell Cup in Santiago De Veraguas, Panamá.

Morrow, who turns 24 three weeks from today and had won this event twice before, endured an arduous summer filled with rehabilitation due to injuries he suffered to both shoulders earlier last year. After spending significant time off the mat, he eventually inched his way back to competitive shape over the last two months in hopes of starting the new season strong. It would seem he can consider that mission accomplished. Morrow got in six matches en-route to gold on Saturday, outscoring the field 44-1 in five of those bouts along with picking up another win via fall. Two of Morrow’s opponents — Aaron Kliamovich and Chris Rodgers, are NMU wrestlers, as well, with the latter earning a bronze for his first medal at the tournament.

The last time we saw Johnson he was up a weight class at the University Nationals, but the California native came back down to 85 kilograms for the Campbell Cup. Similar to Morrow, Johnson went virtually untouched. He started the ball rolling with a quick 8-0 tech over Aristedes Sanchez (PAN), received a forfeit in the next round, then turned back NMU’s George Sikes before closing out his run to the title by shutting out 2008 Pan Am Championships bronze medalist Elton Brown (PAN) 4-0.

Corey Fitzgerald (75 kg, NMU/OTS) had himself a very solid tournament in earning his second-consecutive Campbell Cup silver. In the round-robin format, Fitzgerald went 3-2, with all three wins coming via 8-0 tech’s. His two losses were to the same wrestler — Alvis Almendra (PAN) — who NMU assistant coach Andy Bisek defeated in the finals of the 2015 Pan Am Games. Fitzgerald, 23, has begun to accrue meaningful overseas experience in his still-young career and could turn into a stout domestic competitor if the trend continues.

Rodgers was another NMU entrant who came on strong Saturday, bursting right out of the gate with back-to-back technical fall victories. He fell in the next round to Morrow and in the proceeding bout, was on the wrong side of an 8-0 tech to Doriel Dominguez (PAN). Rodgers was unable to wrestle his last match of the afternoon due to an apparent injury, resulting in his third-place finish. As for 19-year-old neuroscience major Sikes, he opened up with a pin over Ricardo Chavaria (PAN) in his first bout and then hung in there as best he could against Brown. He wrapped up his first Campbell Cup with the loss to Johnson, but overall, not too shabby considering his age and lack of experience coming in. 

“The Panama tour works great for our program,” NMU head coach Rob Hermann said afterwards. “It’s the first tournament that we participate in each year. The wrestlers get a lot of matches and it shows them where they are and where they need to get to for the rest of the year.”

Next on the docket for Kliamovich, Fitzgerald, Colby Baker (75 kg, NMU/OTS) and Sikes will be next weekend’s U23 World Team Trials in Rochester, Minnesota. Morrow, Rodgers, and Johnson are not U23 eligible, but they won’t have to wait too long for more matches, as the Dave Schultz Memorial International takes place early next month in Colorado Springs.

Notes:

  • NMU wrestlers picked up 11 wins via technical fall on Saturday, not counting matches competed against one another. Of the 11 tech’s, eight were of the 8-0 shutout variety.
  • Morrow, Baker, and Sikes recorded one fall apiece at the tournament.

2017 Eduardo Campbell Cup — Santiago De Veraguas, Panamá

USA RESULTS

66 kg

Austin Morrow (NYAC/OTS) — gold
WON Aaron Kliamovich (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
WON Darnel Jimenez (PAN) via fall
WON Doriel Dominguez (PAN) 8-0, TF
WON Chris Rodgers (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
WON Camilo Galindo (VEN) 9-1, TF
WON Edwin Moreno (PAN) 11-0, TF

Chris Rodgers (NMU/OTS) — bronze
WON Darnel Jimenez (PAN) 8-0, TF
WON Aaron Kliamovich (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
LOSS Austin Morrow (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
LOSS Doriel Dominguez (PAN) 8-0, TF
LOSS Edwin Moreno (PAN) via forfeit

Aaron Kliamovich (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Austin Morrow (NYAC/OTS) 8-0, TF
WON Doriel Dominguez (PAN) 8-0, TF
LOSS 
Chris Rodgers (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
WON Darnel Jimenez (PAN) via forfeit

75 kg

Corey Fitzgerald (NMU/OTS) — silver
WON Colby Baker (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
WON Isaias Diaz (PAN) 8-0, TF
LOSS Alvis Almendra (PAN) 8-0, TF
WON Omar Rodriguez (PAN) 8-0, TF
LOSS Alvis Almendra (PAN) 8-0, TF

Colby Baker (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Corey Fitzgerald (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
LOSS Alvis Almendra (PAN) 8-0, TF
WON Isaias Diaz (PAN) via fall

85 kg

Khymba Johnson (NYAC/OTS) — gold
WON Aristedes Sanchez (PAN) 8-0, TF
WON  Luis Martinez (PAN) via forfeit
WON George Sikes (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
WON Elton Brown (PAN) 4-0

George Sikes (NMU/OTS) — bronze
WON Ricardo Chavaria (PAN) via fall
LOSS Elton Brown (PAN) 10-4
LOSS Khymba Johnson (NYAC/OTS) 8-0, TF

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