Day 2 of the 2018 Junior Greco-Roman World Championships in Trnava, Slovakia arrived with a tense but promising atmosphere. Team USA entered the proceedings already boasting three potential bronze medalists and five athletes jumping into action for their first go-round at the tournament. Whom out of the “new” five would emerge to make their own run at the top prize? Even more importantly, what would a day at a World Championships look like for the US with multiple medals earned and another going for gold 24 hours later? What would that feel like, if only because it’s been a while?
While it wasn’t a sweep for the second session participants, the US went 2 for 3 with tomorrow bringing new possibilities.
Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, NYAC) scored bronze for his second consecutive World medal — and Andrew Berreyesa (82 kg, NYAC/FLWC) delivered the biggest win of his Greco career to date with an inspirational shutdown of a high-quality opponent. Meanwhile, young superstar Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist) saw his goal to make the podium halted by a familiar face (and other external forces).
The second session for Day 2 began at 5:45 pm local time (11:45 am EST) and was broadcast live in the US on Trackwrestling.
Schultz Grabs Second World Medal, Berreyesa Makes Final
Schultz earned his bronze in the manner most are accustomed to — by taking advantage of every opportunity. Working against Ante Milkovic (CRO), the Coloradan teen furiously entered the pummel doing what he could to crack open underhooks. The squat Milkovic had an advantage in terms of closing up space with his arms and elbows but he was a willing enough participant to scuffle back inside with Schultz. The playback was about equal, with both athletes testing one another’s position.
Milkovic latched onto a throw attempt with his back towards the edge. As he went back, Schultz intended to follow in effort to adjust. The end result was a curious sequence in which Milkovic was awarded one for a Schultz step-out, and that was that. The US side briefly considered challenging but thought twice about it. When action resumed so did Schultz’s busy work. Eventually, this led to a passivity on Milkovic. From top par terre, Schultz got his lock and gutted Milkovic over for a pair of points — and then followed up with another rotation that was not scored. Either way, it was a 3-1 lead for Schultz at the end of the first that US fans had to feel good about.
The same approach that defined the first period followed Schultz into the second. The in-fighting was still his — if only because Milkovic couldn’t get a handle on any one position. The prospect of a passive call did loom and that had to be respected. But Schultz was, especially for his age, masterful in how he conducted the tempo. He knew when to pressure in and chase a scoring window and Milkovic never stopped being a step behind.
The dagger presented itself with just over a minute remaining. After securing a front headlock that required finagling his fingers to thwart Milkovic’s peel, Schultz converted what amounted to a snap-and-spin takedown (not terribly unlike how he won the Cadet Worlds in 2017). Milkovic didn’t have an answer for that, nor anything else until the last whistle, leaving Cohlton Schultz as the first back-to-back World medalist for the US since Andy Bisek accomplished the feat on the Senior level (2014-15).
Berreyesa stunningly effective
Coming on the heels of two impressive victories this morning was Berreyesa, whose desire to compete in this event has been well-documented. Standing between the Cornell student and a spot in the finals — as well as a guaranteed medal around his neck — was Muhutdin Saricicek (TUR), a savvy, compact, and grinding type of worker who appeared at the Junior Worlds a year ago.
But when it came to the grind it was Berreyesa who was willing to do most of the work — even if his positioning remained stout enough in the beginning so as not to expend as much energy as his opponent. Saricicek tried to plow inside, being greeted by heavy return pummeling and tries at underhooks by Berreyesa. On more than one occasion, Berreyesa locked high around the head-and-arm, which resulted in the Turkish wrestler left to settle for looks around the waist. Neither avenue paid dividends offensively, but Berreyesa’s calmness and pace were hard to miss. That didn’t stop him from being called for passive, of course, but at least the first gesture was white-paddled at the table.
Another look at a high head-arm tie-up for Berreyesa later in the first period is when the match was ultimately decided as far as the scoreboard was concerned. As Berreyesa wrung his arms up, Saricicek went to the body and attempted to throw. It didn’t work. Berreyesa clamped down on his hold, essentially owning the action, and landed on top off the edge for two.
But the most critical phase of the contest for Berreyesa revealed itself in par terre. Called for passive with under a minute to go in the first period, Berreyesa buckled down and was every bit the immovable object he needed to be. Saricicek just couldn’t budge him, and back up to the feet they were with the US holding a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
Whatever apprehension that existed in the first period for American fans was cranked into overdrive in the second. Berreyesa continued to sustain his base, for the most part. Here and there he was forced to scuttle away from the line so as not to give up a step-out. But you just couldn’t tell if Saricicek was going to be able to pop open a score, or worse, get handed one by the refs. Not that there wasn’t another passive on Berreyesa. There sure was. But even with that, Saricicek wasn’t a bundle of offensive attempts in his own right. Nevertheless, back down into par terre Berreyesa went, as Saricicek clasped and gritted to wrench a pair of potentially winning points. And again, static. Berreyesa hardly moved, thus earning a reprieve back to standing.
With the score at 2-2 and Berreyesa holding criteria — and time on the American’s side — it wasn’t a matter of dodging scores, if only because that’s the exact kind of approach usually penalized in clutch moments. Instead, Berreyesa sauntered back into the fight. A warning on him for fingers elicited a brief alarm and served as a reminder that it could all be snatched away. But it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. Saricicek didn’t stop engaging, but neither did Berreyesa. The threat didn’t diminish into nothingness, not with a criteria advantage, but Berreyesa held his ground until the whistle just the same to earn his first spot in a World final.
In the gold-medal match tomorrow, Berreyesa has drawn a significant assignment in two-time Cadet and returning Junior World Champion Aleksandr Komarov (RUS). The final round will begin tomorrow at 6:00 pm local time/12:00 pm EST.
Bey Pushed out of Third
For those disappointed not to see Bey mix it up for his second-straight Junior World gold, a return match with the man he defeated in last year’s final appeared as a somewhat reasonable substitute given the fireworks both put forth in 2017. So here came Azkhol Makhmudov (KGZ), who like Bey, was defeated by eventual gold Islam Opiev (RUS) earlier on Monday.
Everyone wanted electricity out of a Bey/Makhmudov rematch. They got some of it. Just not in the way they hoped or expected.
Bey vs. Makhmudov Part II did not start off with a bang. Bey checked and re-checked for openings as both athletes prodded in spaces. It was obvious fairly early this wasn’t going to the points bonanza that took place in Tampere. Bey was awarded the first (and only) passive/par terre of the bout, usually a sign of good things to come. But when Bey locked and lifted, Makhmudov clamped and reversed, coming away with two before a leg foul on Bey for interfering with a follow-up reverse gut by Makhmudov increased the margin to 4-1.
Back up and Bey was on the hunt. So was Makhmudov, with a four-pointer that caught everyone off guard. Bey wasn’t in panic mode, or didn’t appear to be. Not even when Makhmudov pushed out and the ref awarded a point. The US challenged — and won — and the match resumed with Bey entering the conclusive frame down big. But not too big. Not for him.
But for most of the second period, the lion’s share of Bey’s attempts were warded off by Makhmudov via an array of pushes and slap-aways. Bey did what he could to force openings, a speciality of his. He came awfully close on a blitzing high dive late in the period only to see Makhmudov squirm free at the last instant. And then it was back to more pushing, and a blocking Makhmudov cutting off all available lanes. It all added up to an 8-1 defeat for Bey, who officially finishes fifth at the 2018 Junior Greco-Roman World Championships.
Nutter, Omania, & Dow
Alston Nutter (63 kg, NMU/OTS) woke up on Tuesday morning with his own pathway to a medal, albeit a longer road than Bey or Schultz had to deal with. Starting in the first repechage round, Nutter met up with Hrachya Poghosyan (ARM), a stocky, aggressive customer whom like Nutter, was felled by eventual champ Erbol Bakirov (KGZ) on Monday.
Poghosyan drew first blood with a four-point bodylock. Nutter defended Poghosyan’s follow-up attempts, of which there were a couple. Back standing and Nutter was trying to let him have it, unleashing a pair of quick attempts to the body that were ruled slips. But after another reset, Poghosyan hit his stride a little more and began to off-balance Nutter during each hard exchange. A takedown from the Armenian did not translate to more points because Nutter once again did an excellent job of defending.
But quickly into the second, the run for Nutter was over. Poghosyan got around and to the back for a takedown, securing the match-ending points.
Peyton Omania‘s (67 kg, CYC) first World event will likely bring back bittersweet memories in the future, though memories he’ll also have no trouble building on.
Working against Mohamed Elsayed (EGY), Omania pressured forward from the outset. He tried latching onto Elsayed’s right arm before lowering his level. Nothing was doing so they reset. Omania looked to be in a hurry. Fighting with his back to the line left him vulnerable for Elsayed to rush in and collect a step-out point. Thus was the pace: Omania digging and angling, switching off of ties; Elsayed the more linear of the two. Omania made it to the break only down a point but the floodgates opened soon into the second.
It started when Elsayed powered into the body. He wrapped his arms around Omania but was forced to settle for just two. But from top, the Egyptian stepped up with a side lift, that when it landed, was scored for five. It certainly didn’t look like a five, so the US challenged, won, and the score was put back at 7-0. Following the ensuing restart, Elsayed got in and around Omania off an exchange to secure a takedown. At 9-0, the US had no choice other but to challenge. The overture was denied, resulting in Elsayed walking away the 10-1 winner.
Wisconsin stud Tyler Dow (72 kg), as was the case with most of his US teammates, was making his World debut. Dow’s first opponent, as it shall be written in history, Gergely Bak (HUN) was not on a different level. But it was Bak who turned opportunities into points that Dow could not.
Bak broke the ice in the first period when he scored two off of a twizzler exchange at the edge. On the restart, Dow briefly worked a two-on-one before the pair began trading positions in the pummel. Bak seized on an small clearing soon after, bodylocking Dow with a short throw that yielded four. Back on the feet and Dow found himself on the wrong end of a Bak correct throw. The Wisconsin wrestler was behind 6-0, even though he didn’t appear to be overmatched. At most, Dow simply had trouble firing into the gear he needed, and it cost him.
The second period saw two things of note: a more insistent Dow and a flurry that required a second glance by the officials. It came on double-overhooks for Dow. Bak had urged forward but it was Dow who reclaimed the action by hipping back with the hold. Bak didn’t expose, but it originally looked like it could have been called a correct throw for Dow. Not only was that not the case, but it was Bak rewarded with two by the officials. A US challenge settled down the confusion and the score was back to 6-0 with just under two minutes remaining.
A Bak bodylock attempt on the boundary provided Dow with two, as he landed on top. Only down four. But soon enough, the Hungarian was able to coax Dow out for another point and a 7-2 lead. And just before time expired, Bak capitalized with a takedown to seal the bout at 9-2.
Bak was defeated later on Tuesday by Minto Maeda (JPN), eliminating Dow from contending for third in the repechage.
- Omania and Chad Porter (97 kg, Sunkist) saw their opponents lose in the semis, dashing away their hopes for the repechage round tomorrow. Elsayed (EGY), who defeated Omania, was cut down by Makhmud Bakhshilloev (UZB),; and Ilya Laurynovich (BLR), who defeated Porter, was overcome by Arvi Savolainen (FIN).
- The United States Greco-Roman program will be taking home two medals for the third straight year.
2018 JUNIOR GRECO-ROMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Trnava, Slovakia — September 17th-19th
TEAM USA DAY 2 AFTERNOON RESULTS
BRONZE MEDAL ROUND
77 kg — Kamal Bey (Sunkist) — 5th
LOSS Azkhol Makhmudov (KGZ) 8-1
130 kg — Cohlton Schultz (NYAC) — bronze
WIN Ante Milkovic (CRO) 5-1
82 kg — Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC)
WIN Muhutdin Saricicek (TUR) 2-2 (criteria)
63 kg — Alston Nutter (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Hrachya Poghosyan (ARM) 8-0, TF
TEAM USA DAY 2 FULL 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
TEAM USA DAY 3 DRAW
Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC) vs. Aleksandr Komarov (RUS)
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