It has been quite the season thus far for Payton Jacobson (60 kg, Topper WC).
Jacobson was one of three gold medalists for Team USA at the Austrian Open in Götzis, Austria on Saturday. He was joined by Benji Peak (Sunkist/NMU), who competed at 63 kilograms, and Northern Michigan newcomer Jakob Murillo (67 kg). One more Northern athlete, Alec McDoulett (72 kg) also put together a strong showing, winning three matches en-route to a fourth-place finish. The US took second in the team race, behind Turkey, and ahead of Switzerland (third) and Israel (fourth).
Jacobson — who trains full-time as a student at Central Catholic High in Burlington, WI — actually lost his first bout of the day (to Bekir Ates of Turkey). But after rattling off three consecutive wins, two of which came via tech, Jacobson received another crack at Ates. The result of their second encounter was markedly different, as the Wisconsinite gritted his teeth to come away victorious 3-1. The gold for Jacobson is his third this season from an overseas Greco-Roman event and fourth overall medal.
Known as “Mr. Fantastic“, Peak had moved up to 67 kilograms last year, and it is that weight category in which he competed earlier this season. But a change was made for Austria, and Peak dropped to 63 kilograms. He was hardly challenged. Peak dominated the field with a pin and three superiors, including in the final opposite Rasul Isralipov (SUI). An Austrian Open gold is not new territory for the soon-to-be 20-year-old. Peak won the tournament in ’18. He also was named Outstanding Wrestler at an international event for the second time this year. Last month, Peak stomped through the Sundsvall Open in Sweden and received the same distinction.
Another athlete people are going to start watching a little more closely after today is Murillo. Like Jacobson, Murillo fell in his first bout only to wind up defeating his vanquisher with a gold medal on the line. Shon Nadojin (ISR) had tech’ed Murillo 10-1 in the opening round. In between, the NMU student got past teammate Brody Olson and ran over Devid Loher (SUI). Those two wins provided Murillo with a second chance against Nadojin and he completely flipped the script by delivering a 10-2 beatdown. The Austrian tournament title is Murillo’s first as a full-time athlete.
McDoulett dominated in his first two bouts of the morning before earning a decision over Askim Ulku (TUR). In the semifinals, Oliver Olah (SVK) edged McDoulett 4-1. For bronze, it was one more situation where a US athlete faced an opponent for a second time. McDoulett had downed Michael Portmann (SUI) via tech in the first round, but Portmann got him back for third by grabbing a tight 3-2 decision.
Now the US athletes will stay put in Götzis and participate in the annual training camp that goes on through the week. We will have insights from Lucas Steldt, the coach of the tour, as well as a couple of the athletes on the horizon, so please stay tuned.
2020 AUSTRIAN OPEN
February 29 — Götzis, Austria
TEAM USA RESULTS
Payton Jacobson (Topper WC) — gold
LOSS Bekir Ates (TUR) 8-0, TF
WON Jonas Muller (SUI) 9-0, TF
WON Mucahit Tiryaki (TUR) 16-10
WON Bekir Ates (TUR) 3-1
Benji Peak (Sunkist/NMU) — gold
WON Lezgin Ceki (TUR) 8-0, TF
WON Abere Fetene (ISR) via fall
WON Andrea Setti (ITA) 8-0, TF
WON Rasul Isralipov (SUI) 9-0, TF
Logan Hatch (EAP/OTPC) — 7th
LOSS Abere Fetene (ISR) 17-8, TF
LOSS Lezgin Ceki (TUR) 8-0, TF
Jakob Murillo (NMU) — gold
LOSS Shon Nadojin (ISR) 10-1, TF
WON Brody Olson (NMU) 11-2, TF
WON Devid Loher (SUI) 8-0, TF
WON Shon Nadojin (ISR) 10-2, TF
Brody Olson (NMU) — 6th
LOSS Shon Nadojin (ISR) 14-7
LOSS Jakob Murillo (NMU) 11-2, TF
Alec McDoulett (NMU) — 4th
WON Michael Portmann (SUI) 8-0, TF
WON Matyas Szeiler (SVK) 9-0, TF
WON Askim Ulku (TUR) 5-3
LOSS Oliver Olah (SVK) 4-1
LOSS Michael Portmann (SUI) 3-2
DM Hallett (NMU) — 5th
LOSS David Zhitomirskiy (ISR) 9-0, TF
LOSS Mustafa Olgun (TUR) 8-0, TF