USA Greco

Berreyesa Earns Silver to Cap First-Ever World Championships Appearance

andrew berreyesa, silver at 2018 junior world championships
Photo: Nate Engel

Andrew Berreyesa‘s (82 kg, NYAC/FLWC) quest for a Junior World title came to an end this afternoon with a defeat at the hands of one of Greco’s biggest young stars. But in the process, Berreyesa fully announced himself as a pretty big star himself.

The Day 3 medal rounds of the 2018 Junior World Championships took place earlier this afternoon in Trnava, Slovakia and were broadcast live in the US on Trackwrestling.

Two-time Cadet/2017 Junior World Champion Aleksander Komarov (RUS) was expected to represent a steep uphill climb for Berreyesa and pretty much anyone else he faced this week, though Iran’s Hosein Ghojehbeiglou gave him a nice scare in Tuesday’s quarterfinal. But, details. Komarov, a wide-legged upright who does most of his damage from par terre top, was to be seen as someone who owned every edge in every phase of competition compared to American Berreyesa. And from a technical standpoint, that might still be the case.

But certainly not when it comes to toughness.

Berreyesa strolled out onto Mat B for the 82-kilogram final exuding the kind of confidence that could only come from understanding that he was where he belonged. The Cornell student didn’t get one gift on Tuesday. Everything was taken, everything was earned. But more work was still to be done.

They clashed from the whistle, with Berreyesa digging into Komarov’s clutches with the requisite amount of vigor. If one thing was obvious right away, it was Komarov’s ability to remain in position throughout the in-fighting. Berreyesa tried ramming his way to better tie-ups and Komarov kept circling without actually taking full telegraphed steps. Such is his schooling.

But as the period wore on, Berreyesa began to move the Russian around just a little more. Attempts were hard to come by — for both. Thanks to Berreyesa’s terrific par terre defense yesterday, passivity didn’t hang in the air as the same ominous threat it’s often made out to be. Berreyesa, you can bank on it, knew it was coming, anyway. Observant, astute, and fanatical about this sport, he surely anticipated that if there were no points or impactful attempts by midway through the first, it was he who would be commanded to lay prone.

That’s how it played out. Komarov received his point, Berreyesa went to his stomach — and after an adjustment — Komarov gutted Berreyesa over twice in a row.

The restart saw Berreyesa up the intensity, doing whatever he could to create an opening. A cut on his chin formed from all the hard contact, resulting in a brief stop in the action. Another reset and the battle was reaching its end-of-period impasse. There had already been more than enough head-banging for one day, let alone one match. Aside from Komarov trying to walk Berreyesa to the line, the last :20 of the first resembled most of the 2:40 before it.

Down 5-0 entering the second, Berreyesa needed to score, and quickly. A breakthrough opportunity from top par terre seemed plausible. Although the rule states that it doesn’t have to be both wrestlers with passive/par terre chances from top (or even one wrestler, for that matter), the script usually dictates each guy gets a shot. It was also reasonable to expect Komarov to take his foot off the pedal holding a comfy 5-0 lead, thus widening the odds of Berreyesa receiving said par terre chance in the first place. But this was all in the realm of hypotheticals.

Komarov didn’t take his foot off of any pedal. In fact, he floored it.

Berreyesa came out chippy for the second, flinging his right wrist out of Komarov’s grasp and looking to re-engage with a two-on-one. But as he pressured into Komarov’s left side, Berreyesa’s own left was made vulnerable. Komarov jumped at the chance to urge Berreyesa further forward before getting around back. From there, he was in textbook position to lift Berreyesa up and over. The sequence yielded four, and at 9-0, the match — along with Berreyesa’s magical run to gold — was over.

US Junior World Team coach Nate Engel did call for a challenge, feeling that Komarov’s takedown included interference with Berreyesa’s left leg. There was definitely contact, but whether or not the officials reviewed the right part of the scoring sequence is still currently up in the air. What isn’t, is that the challenge was ultimately denied, giving Komarov one more point and an official 10-0 gold-medal-winning victory.

“I think in the final we were ready to go,” Engel said afterwards. “He believed in himself as did we as a coaching staff. Obviously, he didn’t get the result he wanted, but it’s something to build off of for next year. I mean, that guy (Komarov) is now a four-time World Champion, so I am extremely proud of Andrew. He has believed in himself ever since he was a little kid that he would be a World medalist, and it showed yesterday and today. He is going to keep his head high, build from it, come back next year and win a World Championship, and keep getting better. There is nothing to be ashamed of and I am just excited for the future of Greco-Roman wrestling.”

2018 Junior World Championships Notes:

  • Team USA finished tenth in the standings with 45 points. The top-three in order: Iran (136 pts), Russia (131 pts), and Armenia (83 pts). Turkey (79 pts) and India (73 pts) round out the top-five.
  • The Team USA Juniors leave Slovakia with a combined record of 10-12. Of the 10 wins, only one came via tech fall. There were four pins, four decisions, and one criteria decision.
  • Muhutdin Saricicek (TUR), Berreyesa’s semifinal opponent, defeated Simone Fidelbo (ITA), Berreyesa’s first opponent, via tech fall in the bronze medal round.

2018 Junior Greco-Roman World Championships

Trnava, Slovakia — September 17-19

TEAM USA FULL RESULTS

55 kg — Brady Koontz (UA-tOSU)
LOSS Florin Tita (ROU) 7-6

60 kg — Taylor LaMont (Sunkist)
WIN Galym Kabdunassarov (KAZ) 5-1
LOSS Ararat Manucharyan (ARM) 7-3

63 kg — Alston Nutter (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Erbol Barikov (KGZ) 10-0, TF
LOSS Hrachya Poghosyan (ARM) 8-0, TF

67 kg — Peyton Omania (CYC)
LOSS Mohamed Elsayed (EGY) 10-0, TF

72 kg — Tyler Dow (WRTC)
LOSS Gergely Bak (HUN) 9-2

77 kg — Kamal Bey (Sunkist) — 5th
WIN Beka Guruli (GEO) 9-1, TF
WIN Konstantinos Valchas (GRE) via fall
WIN Zahari Zashev (BUL) via fall
LOSS Islam Opiev (RUS) 7-1
LOSS Azkhol Makhmudov (KGZ) 8-1

82 kg — Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC)silver
WIN Simone Fidelbo (ITA) 5-1
WIN Abubakr Alimov (UZB) 3-0
WIN Muhutdin Saricicek (TUR) 2-2 (criteria)
LOSS Aleksandr Komarov (RUS) 10-0, TF

87 kg — Barrett Hughes (CRTC)
LOSS Kumar Sunil (IND) 9-0, TF

97 kg — Chad Porter (Sunkist)
LOSS Ilya Laurynovich (BLR) 11-0, TF

130 kg — Cohlton Schultz (NYAC) — bronze
WIN Lingzhe Meng (CHN) via fall
WIN Oleg Agankhav (RUS) via fall
LOSS David Ovasapyan (ARM) 2-1
WIN Ante Milkovic (CRO) 5-1

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