All Andrew Berreyesa (82 kg, NYAC/FLWC) has been wanting these past few years is a chance on the World stage. Now that he’s there, he is making the most of it.
Berreyesa outmaneuvered Italy’s Simone Fidelbo in the round-of-16 and then out-hustled Abubakr Alimov (UZB) in the quarterfinal to advance within one victory from becoming a finalist in his first-Worlds appearance. The Nevadan’s performance wasn’t the only bright spot for Team USA throughout the first session on Day 2, but it was certainly the brightest.
Wrestling began at 9:30 am local time (3:30 am EST) and was broadcast live in the US on Trackwrestling.
Berreyesa exhibited a lot of energy at the whistle, as if he was trying to set the tone nice and early. Fidelbo met Berreyesa’s urgency with some forward pressure but had little to offer in the pummel, other than creasing his arms and elbows. A poke to the eye halted the action briefly and Fidelbo required a bandage around his head. Lost in the injury time-out was the fact that Berreyesa had earned the bout’s first passivity point, though he couldn’t follow up with damage from par terre top. That’s okay, more was coming. Berreyesa, charging all match long, bodied Fidelbo off the edge for another point and a 2-0 first-period lead.
Although Fidelbo didn’t exactly fade, it wasn’t as if the tide was about to turn all of the sudden. Berreyesa coaxed his opposition to the line once more, locking and throwing. It was good for a correct hold but not before Italy challenged the sequence. Berreyesa held firm the rest of the way, putting his first World victory in the books with a 4-1 decision.
Against Alimov in the quarters, Berreyesa was even more bullish. A slick yet hard-fought go-behind takedown provided the American with his first pair of points. And then — for basically the entirety of the first period, if not the bout altogether — Alimov began bailing. Berreyesa, forced to weave his hands in or fling off Alimov’s fingers at the wrist, pressured more than intermittently while Alimov was content to push off or back up. Berreyesa didn’t stop coming, and seized on an opportunity late in the first to grab a step-out point off of the only obvious show of offense by Alimov, which was a loose throw attempt.
The sum of the second period saw Berreyesa repeatedly backing Alimov up and off his spot. The other most curious development from this bout is that not one passivity call was made, despite Berreyesa’s obvious aggression throughout. Nonetheless, it was still a big 3-0 shutdown of an experienced, capable opponent to escort Berreyesa into the semis, where he will face returning Junior World competitor Muhutdin Saricicek (TUR).
LaMont Sharp Early But Comes Up Short
2016 Junior World bronze medalist Taylor LaMont (60 kg, Sunkist) entered action in Trnava as one of the US’ biggest medal candidates. And he competed like one on Tuesday, although the result won’t reflect the effort.
’18 Junior Asian Championships winner Galym Kabdunassarov (KAZ), widely seen as a favorite in this weight class along with reigning champ Kerim Kamal (TUR) and Ali Reza Nejati (IRI), provided a tough test for LaMont right ou of the gate.
A prowling LaMont started off by feeling for the tie-ups from a distance. Kabdunassaro’s stance was not all that dissimilar, they were both scanning with their heads down. LaMont received the first passive point but was unable to net a turn from top. After the reset, LaMont held fast on over/unders before the pair broke away and resumed the hand-fight.
Kabdunassaro came out for the second period taking it up a notch, bulling forward and furiously switching off into different tie-ups. As such, he was rewarded with a passivity point and a subsequent chance from top. LaMont defended the initial attempts well, staying attached to the floor rather easily. Plan B for Kabdunassaro was a lift attempt. As he hoisted up his lock, LaMont adjusted to face him and then stepped over to catch Kabdunassaro on his back in a reversal of position. The scoreboard read 3-1 but two more were tacked on shortly thereafter when LaMont converted on a beautiful go-behind with just over a minute left to go.
This is what LaMont can do. His ability to dogfight mixed with incredibly smooth technique and athleticism — combined with a vast gas tank — will always win him matches like this one. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it two in a row.
Ararat Manucharyan (ARM) represented LaMont’s quarterfinal counterpart and got the ball rolling in his direction with a zippy arm throw for two. Just as LaMont was beginning to later up towards the end of the first, he was banged for passivity. From par terre top, Manucharyan executed a game-changing lift that put the score at 7-0 heading into the second. In the latter stages of the match, LaMont earned his passive point and capitalized by going with a high gut. Down 7-3, he valiantly tried creating opportunity after opportunity, but Manucharyan managed to sustain position to the end.
The aforementioned Kamal defeated Manucharyan in the quarterfinals, ending LaMont’s bid for a second Junior World medal.
Peyton Omania (67 kg, CYC) was only down 1-0 to Mohamed Elsayed (EGY) after the first period their qualification-round match-up but the floodgates opened up big-time in the second, as Elsayed poured it on en-route to a 9-1 victory. However — Elsayed is in the semis this afternoon. Should he emerge victorious, Omania will be pulled back in for tomorrow’s repechage round(s). The same can be said for Chad Porter (97 kg, Sunkist), who fell to Ilya Laurynovich (BLR). If Laurynovich advances to the final, Porter will receive a second life in the repechage tomorrow morning.
We will have FULL recaps and notes following the semifinals and bronze medal matches — with US headliners Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist) and Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, NYAC). For the second straight year, Bey and Akzhol Makhmudov (KGZ) are battling it out with a World medal on the line.
2018 JUNIOR GRECO-ROMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Trnava, Slovakia — September 17th-19th
TEAM USA DAY 2 MATCH-UPS
82 kg — Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC)
vs. Muhutdin Saricicek (TUR)
BRONZE MEDAL MATCHES
77 kg — Kamal Bey (Sunkist)
vs. Azkhol Makhmudov (KGZ)
130 kg — Cohlton Schultz (NYAC)
vs. Ante Milkovic (CRO)
TEAM USA DAY 2 RESULTS
60 kg — Taylor LaMont (Sunkist)
WIN Galym Kabdunassarov (KAZ) 5-1
LOSS Ararat Manucharyan (ARM) 7-3
67 kg — Peyton Omania (CYC)
LOSS Mohamed Elsayed (EGY) 10-0, TF
72 kg — Tyler Dow (WRTC)
LOSS Gergely Bak (HUN) 9-2
82 kg — Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC)
WIN Simone Fidelbo (ITA) 5-1
WIN Abubakr Alimov (UZB) 3-0
97 kg — Chad Porter (Sunkist)
LOSS Ilya Laurynovich (BLR) 11-0, TF
2018 Junior Worlds Schedule
Wednesday, September 19th
10:30 am-1:30 pm — Repechage round(s) — 60 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg, 82 kg, & 97 kg
6:00 pm-8:30 pm — Finals — 60 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg, 82 kg, & 97 kg