USA Greco

5PM GRECO-ROMAN RANKINGS — September ’20

usa greco-roman rankings - 9_2020
Ildar Hafizov, #1 at 60 kg -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

The first-ever edition of the Five Point Move United States Greco-Roman rankings keeps with an expected pattern: all of the Olympic weight representatives from the 2019 World Team hold #1 spots; and because points may influence ranking order, those who have observed consistent rates of activity and achievement are appropriately rewarded.

Rankings were determined according to several key factors:

  • Points associated with tournament/event placings.
  • Demonstrated viability in Senior competition.
  • Recent performance results.
  • “Relevant head-to-head” records.
  • 2020ne Olympic Trials qualifiers.

5PM’s rankings take into account placings beginning with the Tokyo Olympic cycle (2016-17 season). Head-to-head results, while often useful, were not considered from the opening year of the quadrennium. Instead, the term we apply is “relevant head-to-head” — i.e., results between athletes which have been recorded within a reasonable time-frame, and under what we deemed acceptable competitive circumstances (such as if the sample size is too small, a wrestler made one appearance up a weight category and finished poorly, etc.).

Members of 5PM’s Athlete of the Year committee were tasked with uncovering various degrees of criteria in an effort to decipher ranking order. Point values served as a guide, and in most weight categories that is rendered effectively. There are, however, several examples of athletes who hold higher point totals than those ranked above them. This was unavoidable, and also where subjectivity had no choice but to play a role. Discussions among committee members held in high esteem each wrestler’s individual results, talents, and career paths on a case-by-case basis when the numerical data simply wasn’t enough to arrive to a fair and accurate conclusion.

One goal prior to the release of this fall edition was to rank each weight category from #1 to #15. Unfortunately, that was not plausible, particularly for both 97 and 130 kilograms. Moreover, there are a number of wrestlers who are inactive displayed in several weight classes. The rule agreed upon by the committee is/was an easy one: unless they have publicly declared retirement or an intent to do so, they are to be included.

The Five Point Move Greco-Roman rankings will be updated following the 2020 US Nationals next month in Coralville, Iowa, and after each subsequent event. The rankings will also start over at the conclusion of the 2020ne US Olympic Trials.

five point move greco-roman rankings

Tier 1 International Tournaments

Hungarian Grand Prix (HUN)
Grand Prix Zagreb Open (CRO)
Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Memorial Cup (POL)
Nikola Petrov Memorial (BUL)
CISM World Military Games/Championships
Tbilisi Grand Prix (GEO)
Grand Prix of Germany (GER)
Golden Grand Prix (AZE)
Matteo Pellicone (2019 and ‘20, ITA)
Thor Masters (DEN)
Pan-American Championships
Pan-American Games
Pan-American Olympic Qualifier

Tier 2 International Tournaments

Bill Farrell Memorial (USA)
Dave Schultz Memorial (USA)
Grand Prix of Spain (ESP)
Grand Prix of Paris (FRA)
Haparanda Cup (SWE)
Haavisto Cup (FIN)
Klippan Cup (SWE)
Kristijan Palusalu (EST)
Malar Cupen (SWE)
SA Lavrikov Memorial (RUS)
Sassari City International (2018)
Vantaa Cup (FIN)

USA Greco-Roman Rankings: 9/2020

*2020ne US Olympic Trials Qualified

60 kg

  1. *Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) — 215.05 pts
  2. *Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP) — 273.06 pts
  3. *Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) — 345.52 pts
  4. *Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP) — 134.54
  5. *Sammy Jones (NYAC/Utah RTC) — 175.4 pts
  6. *Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP) — 90.14 pts
  7. *Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) — 210.1 pts
  8. *Taylor LaMont (Sunkist/Utah RTC) — 133.28 pts
  9. Travis Rice (NYAC/IRTC) — 95.64 pts
  10. Randon Miranda (CYC) — 210.26
  11. Matt Schmitt (WV) — 14 pts
  12. Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC) — 42 pts

Also receiving points and/or consideration

David Stepanian (NYAC/NTS) — 0 pts
LilShawn Greedy (Army/WCAP) — 11.76 pts
Dalton Duffield (All-Army) — 83.52 pts
*Joey Palmer (Cyclone RTC, 4th at ’19 US Nationals) — 12 pts
Dylan Gregerson (Utah RTC) — 12 pts

You were warned recently regarding the potency and depth of the  “Ninja Squad”, as Army’s lightweight faction is responsible for 50% of the top-12.  Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) — a two-time World Team member this quad and one of only two athletes to appear in each US Trials final series dating back to ’16 Iowa City — is the rightful, undisputed kingpin of the weight category heading into ’21. Hafizov closed out last season by coming up clutch in Ottawa and securing 60 for the US in Tokyo; plus, all of his points have been earned at 59/60 kilograms, a distinction only shared by three others on the list.

Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP) is in at #2 despite spending most of the previous three seasons at non-Olympic 63. However, the last two events in which Mango appeared were at 60. He won the first (Bill Farrell, albeit via toss-up) and then bowed out of the December Nationals due to injury after going virtually untouched in two bouts.

Max Nowry (Army/WCAP, world #3) owns the most points at 60 kg according to our system but is slotted in at #3 due to one key reason: 13 of the 17 tournament placings Nowry acquired entering the season came at 55. Mango’s numerical profile similar but he is given preference over Nowry based on those final two events of ’19. The last of the “Ninja Squad” reps to pop up in our top-5 is Mike Fuenffinger, who happens to be the two-time reigning and defending National champ in this very weight class. Points played a role. Both Mango and Nowry have won two Open titles in a row, as well; but — both Nowry and Mango were on the ’19 World Team, and both have accumulated a lot more points in the process.

’16 Olympian/two-time World Teamer Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP) hasn’t competed since the winter of ’19, and he also has not touched down below 63 in over three-and-a-half years. In addition, Thielke is only credited with 90.14 points, far less than fellow ’18 World Team member Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP), Taylor LaMont (Sunkist/Utah RTC), and Randon Miranda (CYC). But such is the Wisconsinite’s reputation as a competitor. The sheer fact that Thielke is thought to enter this weight class automatically elevates him above half the field without having even stepped on a scale.

67 kg

  1. *Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP) — 192.39 pts
  2. *Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) — 342.52 pts
  3. *Ray Bunker (Marines) — 188.24 pts
  4. *Jamel Johnson (Marines) — 171.94 pts
  5. Hayden Tuma (UA) — 152.54 pts
  6. *Xavier Johnson (Marines) — 144.48 pts
  7. *Nolan Baker (NYAC) — 54 pts
  8. *Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Storm) — 28 pts
  9. *Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP) — 46 pts
  10. Austin Morrow (NYAC/NTS) — 85.78 pts
  11. Jessy Williams (NYAC/Spartan RTC) — 81.57 pts
  12. Nick Tarpley (NYAC) — 63.29 pts

Also receiving points and/or consideration

Anthonie Linares (NYAC/LOG) — 60.12
Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC) — 20 pts
*Alston Nutter (Sunkist/NTS) — 20 pts
*Peyton Omania (CYC/MSU) — 20 pts
Morgan Flaharty (NYAC) — 19.64 pts

67 should not offer too much in the way of surprises. Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP) is the clear #1 thanks to his three consecutive World Team appearances (and three straight Open crowns), while Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) follows closely behind. Throughout the quad, Sancho has been a points monster and decidedly much more active than Coleman. Moreover, the native Miamian was one of the four Ottawa heroes from March, and on a tear leading up to that event.

Ray Bunker (Marines) is a comfortable pick for #3. A World Teamer in ’19, Bunker devoted his entire 2018-19 campaign to non-Olympic 72 and put together a breakout season. He has not made this weight in two years but the assumption is that won’t pose an issue. All-Marine teammate Jamel Johnson, Coleman’s Final X runner-up in ’19, would have also fit nicely at #3, but again, World Team spots are beholden to a high value, even when earned in different weight categories (and considering head-to-head concerns, which Johnson does hold over Bunker from ’18).

ellis coleman, 2019 final x

Flanked by coaches Spenser Mango (left) and Bruce Robinson (right), Ellis Coleman appeared on all three US World Teams this quad, and also collected three more US Open titles for a career total of five. (Photo: Richard Immel)

Past the top-4, 67 kilos is the best kind of mess. Hayden Tuma (UA) made the National Team here in both ’18 and ’19, was a Trials runner-up in ’17, and when healthy, is recognized as one of the program’s most explosive athletes. “X-Man” Johnson (Marines), on a steep uphill climb it would seem, was considered for Tuma’s #5 spot, but Tuma’s overall body of work along with a head-to-head tech over Johnson from Armed Forces ’19 served as the clincher in that toss-up (though that occurred at 63).

Coming off of a sparkling runner-up performance at the December Nationals is Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Storm), who is all the way down at #8, right below headlock machine Nolan Baker (NYAC). Baker owns the head-to-head (’19 Bill Farrell third-place match) and nearly double the points.

77 kg

  1. *Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) — 353.67 pts
  2. *Kamal Bey (Sunkist) — 387.15 pts
  3. *Ben Provisor (NYAC/BVRTC) — 233.27 pts
  4. *RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) — 241.20 pts
  5. *John Stefanowicz (Marines)  — 215.26 pts
  6. *Mason Manville (NLWC) — 108.15 pts
  7. *Jake Fisher (Curby 3-Style) — 35.68 pts
  8. *Peyton Walsh (Marines) — 90.6 pts
  9. *Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP — 72 pts
  10. *Corey Hope (NYAC) — 57.02 pts
  11. *Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) — 167.63 pts
  12. Kendrick Sanders (NYAC/NTS) — 73.04 pts

Also receiving points and/or consideration

Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/Spartan RTC) — 29.48 pts
*Jon Jay Chavez (NYAC) — 98.72 pts
Alex Mossing (Air Force/WCAP) — 29.93
Brandon Mueller (Air Force/WCAP) — 33.12 pts
Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) — 27.14 pts
Jesse Porter (NYAC/NTS) — 117.2 pts
Colin Schubert (NYAC/NTS) — 15.58

Two-time World Team member Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) gets the nod over Kamal Bey (Sunkist) based on head-to-head (the series is actually tied, but Smith’s two wins won him the World Team spot). That, plus all of Smith’s points are from Senior competition, whereas Bey’s haul includes his dazzling ’17 Junior World title and fifth from the same tournament a year later. Without those values (28.95 and 15.68, respectively), Bey trails Smith by 11 in the point standings.

The committee quickly decided on where two-time Olympian Ben Provisor (NYAC/BVRTC) belonged. Although yet to endure a same-day weigh-in, the consensus was that Provisor’s resume is simply too strong to fall outside of the top-3. The first legitimate quandary arrived with the presumed addition of ’19 World Teamer John Stefanowicz (Marines), who does hold top-5 points, but as with Provisor, precisely zero of them had been earned at 77. Meanwhile, RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) has piled up some points at 77, just not as many as he has at 72.  Perkins also leads Smith 2-1 with regard to relevant head-to-head concerns.

Thus, two questions were raised: ‘What relevant head-to-head victories does Stefanowicz himself have over others?’, and ‘Whom among the list of eligible athletes can you picture defeating him?’ The first answer is two — Jake Fisher (Curby 3-Style, ’18 WTT) and Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets, ’17 WTT semifinal; ’19 WTT semifinal). The second answer was, ‘Maybe no one, definitely not many.’ In the end, Perkins’ activity rate, semi-recent wins over Smith, and longstanding viability gave him the slight edge over Stefanowicz for the #4 spot.

All but one athlete in the top-12 is currently qualified for April’s Trials (Kendrick Sanders), and only one is yet to advance to a US Open final (Corey Hope). Olympic Trials candidacy was a heavy marker in discussions, and it is why Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) made the cut. Speiller is said to require what would be a second ACL surgery, and if he’s not done competing altogether, he is at the very least a severe longshot to return this coming season. Nevertheless, his scroll of achievements combined with obvious talent were too much to ignore, or ultimately justify leaving him out of the top-12. Sanders, who had recaptured some of the magic that made him a star attraction over half a decade ago by winning the ’19 Open (at 82 kg), is seen in a similar light, sans potentially career-altering injury. Though certainly not the most consistent, Sanders is to be taken quite seriously and brings to the table enough of a history to warrant inclusion.

The hardest athlete to deduct was three-time U23 World Team member Jesse Porter (NYAC/NTS), who has the point values to be considered for the top-12, but late-season losses to Hope, U23 rival Fritz Schierl (UA), and ’18 Junior World silver Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/Spartan RTC) resulted in his winding up just outside of the main group. Another points-eligible wrestler not in the mix this time around is ’18 World Team Trials champ Jon Jay Chavez (NYAC), who last competed at the ’19 Open — and whose competitive status is now discussed more often than his unmistakable talent.

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87 kg

  1. *Joe Rau (TMWC/IRTC) — 228.06 pts
  2. *Patrick Martinez (NYAC) — 205.12 pts
  3. *Jon Anderson (Army/WCAP) — 101.62 pts
  4. Alan Vera (NYAC) — 75.36 pts
  5. *Carter Nielsen (Minnesota Storm) — 65.44 pts
  6. *Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm/NTS) — 101.46 pts
  7. *Chandler Rogers (TMWC) — 34 pts
  8. *Cheney Haight (NYAC) — 163.77 pts
  9. *Rich Carlson (Minnesota Storm) — 45.2 pts
  10. *Terrence Zaleski (Marines) — 21.68 pts
  11. JD Souza (Army/WCAP) — 23.34
  12. Dillon Cowan (All-Army) — 38.6 pts

Also receiving points and/or consideration

Vaughn Monreal-Berner (Marines) — 12 pts
Tommy Brackett (UA) — 31.42
Marcus Finau (NYAC) — 0 pts
Dan Olsen (UA) — 13.64
George Sikes (NMU/NTS) — 2 pts

The top-3 did not require analytical discussion, hypothetical gymnastics, or digging into head-to-head results. The best part is that the points also did their job. Joe Rau (TMWC/IRTC) — reigning World Team member, qualified the weight class — has the most points; Patrick Martinez (NYAC) is right there with him,; and even despite appearing in only three tournaments since the autumn of ’17, multi-time National Teamer Jon Anderson (Army/WCAP) is right where he should be until further notice. #4 through #8 is a different story. Carter Nielsen (Minnesota Storm) was chosen for the #4 spot due mostly to optics. His run to third in the December tournament and near-miss on a medal at the ’20 Thor Masters steered the tide in his favor.

Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm/NTS) is at #6 mainly due to his pair of losses to Nielsen last fall, and Chandler Rogers (TMWC), who might be a question mark for April, does not have the points to sway that part of the order. Popular two-time World Teamer Cheney Haight (NYAC), one more in a seemingly long line of ‘What’s going on with him?’ competitors, is involved thanks to his record against those beneath him in the standings more so than his point total. The majority of Haight’s appearances throughout the quad were at 82 kilos, although he managed to place third at 87 in the ’18 Open.

joe rau, 2020 pan am qualifier

Joe Rau is in the midst of the best stretch of his career. In 2019, he won his second National crown and made his second World Team. Earlier this year, Rau dominated en-route to gold at the Pan-American Championships before becoming one of four Americans to qualify his weight category on behalf of the country for the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

Subjectivity over objectivity is why Terrence Zaleski  was given #9. The Marine officer underwent knee surgery last year, bulked up just a touch, and re-asserted himself at the ’20 Armed Forces exhibiting more explosiveness, speed, and decisiveness than every upper-weight athlete in the event. He has the positional tools, too, and everyone forgets that he’s actually quite experienced in Senior competition, just the victim of a couple of stops and starts.

The two-ton elephant not in the room is one Mr. Alan Vera (NYAC). We introduced this topic in the grand exploration into 87 kilos last month. Vera is not yet cleared to compete in a United States National or Trials event. When that changes, which word suggests could be soon, he (and his meager allotment of points) may immediately skyrocket into the top-4.

UPDATE (10/3/20): Vera has been cleared to participate in United States team selection events and is registered to compete in the US Nationals from October 9-11. As mentioned above, his ranking hinged on eligbility. Now that is settled, Vera — who in ’19 won Dave Schultz, placed third in the Ukranian International Tournament, and won Bill Farrell — makes his official debut ranked #4. 

97 kg

  1. *G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist) — 564.99 pts
  2. *Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP) — 195.08 pts
  3. *Daniel Miller (Marines) — 189.12 pts
  4. *Eric Twohey (Minnesota Storm) — 75.5 pts
  5. *Khymba Johnson (NYAC) — 79.82 pts
  6. *Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) — 39.2 pts
  7. Blake Smith (UA) — 17.76 pts
  8. Orry Elor (NYAC) — 13 pts
  9. Chad Porter (UA) — 4 pts
  10. Roy Nash (NMU/NTS) — 11.6 pts

Also receiving points and/or consideration

Easton Hargrave (UA) — 11.64

The heaviest two weight categories are more about quality than they are quantity. The US program wants both but will have to settle for the former over the latter. G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist), the biggest no-brainer among the six weights, saunters in with a hilarious total of 564.99 points. Then again, maybe it’s no laughing matter. Hancock, especially over the past year-and-a-half, has not only been the nation’s most active athlete, he has been the most successful — here and overseas. In ’19 alone, Hancock competed in 14 events. He earned a medal in all but one of them, the World Championships. Along the way, he collected five titles and advanced to ten finals. It is an absurdity on paper. When you dial it back all the way to October of ’16, what you find are 24 events in which he collected hardware.

With that said, the most interesting dynamic exists between Luke Sheridan (Army/WCAP) and Daniel Miller (Marines). Everything about this duo is almost too close to call. Almost. Miller has the two National crowns but Sheridan owns head-to-head by a single match. The Marine Captain also has the most recent win in the series. So, you look at the points, and Sheridan clips him by just over six.

Eric Twohey (Minnesota Storm) is still considered a newbie, first coming onto the scene at the ’18 Open, where he finished fifth. Now a medical school graduate in residency, juggling training and doctoring can’t be an easy endeavor. Somehow, Twohey has made it work. Every subsequent tournament has revealed improvement, and the thoroughbred closed out ’19 by placing third at the Nationals/Trials Qualifier. In addition, Twohey claims wins against most everyone on the list outside of the top-3.

Blake Smith (UA), a US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center athlete until essentially being forced to step away due to not having the funding or support necessary, still makes the top-12. In terms of Senior-only events, Smith has hung in there with most of the elite, and owns credible wins at the expense of everyone else. “Big” Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) enjoyed his best Senior performance to date at the ’19 December Nationals and should be an interesting watch as he continues to develop.

130 kg

  1. *Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) — 236 pts
  2. *Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) — 138.69
  3. *Robby Smith (NYAC) — 181.75 pts
  4. *Jacob Mitchell (Army/WCAP) — 157.88
  5. *Toby Erickson (Army/WCAP) — 141.08 pts
  6. Tate Orndorff (NYAC) — 61.16 pts
  7. *West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC) — 32 pts
  8. *Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm) — 41.16 pts
  9. Trent Osnes (Marines) — 50.52 pts
  10. Haydn Maley (California RTC) — 12 pts
  11. Tommy Helton (Southern Illinois RTC) — 10 pts

’18 World silver Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) keeps trucking along and will, of course, remain beholden to the top seed at the Olympic Team Trials. Coon finished the abbreviated season in bittersweet fashion. He made the Pan-Am Championships final by flattening Moises Hellburg (VEN), which was encouraging since Hellburg had decisioned Coon back in the winter. A week hence, ’17 World bronze Yasmany Acosta Fernandez (CHI) downed Coon in the opening round of the Olympic Qualifier, dashing the US program’s hopes of securing the weight class prior to the Trials. Coon did rebound for third as he gutted poor Leo Santana Heredia‘s (DOM) ribs so hard they snapped.

It feels to some that the momentum at heavyweight in the US belongs to Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist). They might be onto something. Not only did the soon-to-be 20-year-old snag his first Senior Open title in December, he also pushed European Championships gold Alin Alexuc-Ciurarriu (ROU) to the brink en-route to fifth at Thor Masters. ’16 Olympian/four-time World Team member Robby Smith (NYAC) healed up from a major shoulder surgery just in time to get one tournament in, Cuba’s Granma Cup, prior to the coronavirus shutdown. Smith earned bronze and felt encouraged moving into March, but like everyone else, quickly became accustomed to the holding pattern that is now over six months in the making.

#4 and #5 are academic. Jacob Mitchell (Army/WCAP) pulled through with his first US Open title in the April ’19 Open before finishing second to Coon at the Farrell, and to Schultz in December. Those results provided the points necessary to leapfrog stablemate Toby Erickson (Army/WCAP). ’18 National Team member/’19 Open runner-up David Tate Orndorff (NYAC) was rumored to be leaving in favor of freestyle, but then he showed up and won the ’19 U23 Trials. He has been MIA in Greco-land ever since, but it’s an Olympic Year, and he has the points and ability to deserve inclusion.

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