When you think of October, what comes to mind first?
Crisper air? Amber foliage?
An assortment of coffees, teas, and snacks claiming to be “pumpkin-spiced”?
Or a bunch of American Greco maniacs piling on planes to Scandinavia?
You’re in good company if it’s the last of the four options, as once again, a delegation of United States Greco-Roman athletes are preparing for what has become an annual trip to Sweden in advance of two tournaments and a training camp (aka around these parts, “the prescription”).
The first event on the docket will be the Klippan Cup (held in Klippan, Senior division), and the second (and final) tournament of the tour will be the Malar Cupen (held in Västerås, Senior and age-group). In between, the US athletes will train with Team Skåne Brottning. A dual featuring members of the US group versus TSB is expected to take place during the camp.
Wrestlers from Northern Michigan, as always, highlight the roster with 2019 US National runner-up Spencer Woods leading the charge. Woods, who put together an impressive run at 82 kilograms last season, is now gearing up for the Olympic Year at 77. An athletic marvel who is beginning to blossom from a technical standpoint, Alaska-native Woods remains an interesting prospect to keep an eye on.
Also on board for NMU are Duncan Nelson (77 kg) and Tommy Brackett (82 kg). Nelson got his start as a full-timer at Williams Baptist University before heading to Marquette in time to crack open this season. A very tough and driven competitor, Nelson burst onto the scene with a bronze from the 2018 Bill Farrell Memorial, but spent most of last year on the shelf after recovering from a knee injury. Most in the wrestling community are familiar with Brackett by now. The former Fargo champ and Junior World Team Trials runner-up keeps tacking on valuable experience and saw an uptick in activity a season ago. Brackett has also been on this tour before, so he knows exactly what to expect.
A pair of two more former Williams Baptist Greco wrestlers who have just started to increase their international reach are involved, as well. Sean Sesnan (55 kg) earned his first-ever foreign medal (silver) at the ’18 version of the Klippan Cup, while teammate Timothy Eubanks (87 kg) picked up his first two pieces of overseas hardware in Spain this past April.
The Malar Cupen, an expansive event that includes competition for Cadets/Juniors as well as Seniors, will mark the official competitive debut of the Topper Wrestling Club. Topper (or TWC, for short) is hosted at Burlington Catholic Central High School in Wisconsin, making it the first Greco program in the United States to become available at a high school. The team is coached by Bill Kahle, whose son Cael Kahle (55 kg) — along with fellow young standout Payton Jacobson (55 kg) — will be competing in Västerås.
Two-time Cadet World Team coach/Combat Wrestling Club founder Lucas Steldt is set to preside over the tour with assistance from Kahle. This is the first US trip to Sweden in recent years that will not include Rob Hermann, who stepped down as head coach of Northern Michigan University’s program in June.
- The US will be looking to win its third-straight team title at the Klippan Cup.
- In 2017, Team USA won both the Youth and Senior divisions at the Malar Cupen. Last year, they finished second and third, respectively.
2019 US Tour of Sweden
October 26 — Klippan, Sweden
November 2-3 — Västerås, Sweden
TEAM USA ROSTER
*Subject to change
Sean Sesnan (WBU)
Logan Hatch (EAP/OPTC)
Nick Leonetti (ID)
Brody Olson (NMU/OTS)
Nate Grimes (NMU/OTS)
Aaron Kliamovich (NMU/OTS)
Duncan Nelson (NMU/OTS)
Spencer Woods (NMU/OTS)
Tommy Brackett (NMU/OTS)
Tommy Dantzler (Front Range Twisters)
Timothy Eubanks (WBU)
Cael Kahle (TWC)
Payton Jacobson (TWC)
Avery Steldt (Combat)
Kyle Rule (Combat)