USA Greco

Schultz Nabs Silver While Knopick & Russell Fight for Medals In Serbia

Cohlton Schultz takes silver at 2017 Refik Memišević–Brale Tournament
Photo: Lucas Steldt

Cohlton Schultz (100 kg, NYAC/CO) has himself another international medal in 2017.

Earlier today on Day 2 of the Refik Memišević–Brale Tournament in Subotica, Serbia, Schultz advanced to the finals in what was a stout 100 kilogram bracket to come away with silver. The 16-year-old frizzy-haired wunderkind came close to securing his second straight gold, but was ultimately turned back in an exciting back-and-forth battle that could pay dividends later on this summer. To get to the finals, Schultz came away with two consecutive pins over Andrija Djuerdjevic (CRO) and Konstandinos Manolopoulous (GRE), respectively.

In the final against Artem Rubantsev (RUS), Schultz was dinged for a passivity point to go down 1-0. After the reset, the American was fighting for position when Rubantsev got around on the ensuing scramble to pick up another pair of points along with a 3-0 lead. Schultz would have his say before it was over. First, he got back in it with a nice trap-arm bodylock for two. His engine started revving. Then Schultz grabbed two more on a takedown to go up 4-3. Holding a one-point lead with time becoming a factor, Schultz appeared to be in the driver’s seat and ready to take this one all the way home. Only, with virtually no time left on the clock, Rubantsev was able to hustle Schultz down with a sag bodylock to somehow escape with the 6-4 win.

Schultz, a Cadet World Team member in 2016 and both a Cadet and Junior World Team member this year, has made three international finals in 2017. At the Austrian Open in March, Schultz took second to Senior star G’Angelo Hancock (NYAC, world no. 17). Last week, he earned a gold at the Croatia Open in Zagreb. Sandwiched in between have been wins at both age-group Trials and a victory in the Team USA/Sweden dual meet at Northern Michigan. This latest silver in Serbia demonstrates why he is looked upon as one of the biggest Greco-Roman prospects in the US and also as one of the country’s best hopes for a medal this summer, in either age group.

Russell and Knopick

Neither Camden Russell (54 kg, MWC/NE), who earned a silver last week in Croatia, or Conor Knopick (54 kg, MWC/NE) were able to earn medals Sunday at the Refik Memišević–Brale Tournament, but both made their presence felt just the same. Knopick came out hard in his first bout against Andrei Savu (ROU) and cruised 6-3. In the semis, he fell to eventual champion German Doev (RUS) via tech. That gave Knopick a chance for a bronze, where he ultimately dropped a 5-3 decision to Miro Olsson (SWE).

Russell, for his part, got on a run early, too. He won his first bout with a fall over Mallej Parszewski (POL) to advance to the semifinals. There, he ran into decidedly rougher waters versus Ion Donici (MDA) and lost 11-2. Like Knopick, Russell still had a shot for a bronze, but couldn’t break through, losing a heartbreaker to Greece’s Konstantinos Damiankis 7-5. Still — the duo earned wins at an event considered to be among the most competitive in the world and for that, Go Greco USA coach Lucas Steldt is impressed. “Russell and Knopick both battled great against tough opponents,” Steldt said. “It’s just the experience in the style that is the difference.”

The first Go Greco USA Developmental Program tour is now in the books. Coaches on the trip included 2017 Cadet World Team coach Steldt and legendary US Greco-Roman competitor and two-time Olympian Shawn Sheldon, who himself has long been one of the most respected coaching voices in the country. It was an important first-time experience for the athletes involved and judging by Steldt’s words, it left a mighty impression, including on him.

“What an experience!,” Steldt exclaimed afterwards as he and the team were waiting to board one of several flights home. “I had the chance to coach with Olympian Shawn Sheldon and work with athletes from across the nation. This tour wasn’t about winning medals exactly, nor was our focus only on training. It was everything. The idea that this is what real Greco is and what we need to do stateside to be a world power. We are recruiting athletes to ‘Go Greco’ very literally. We need these guys to not be afraid to be great at Greco and to do what needs to be done.”


54 kg
Raiden Johnson (SWAT/FL) — 10th
LOSS Andrei Savu (ROU) 8-0

Conor Knopick (MWC/NE) — 5th
WON Andrei Savu (ROU) 6-3
LOSS German Doev via fall
LOSS Miro Olsson (SWE) 5-3

Camden Russell (MWC/NE) — 5th
WON Mallej Parszewski via fall (2:00)
LOSS Ion Donici (MDA) 11-2, TF
LOSS Konstantinos Damiankis (GRE) 7-5

63 kg
Dominic Damon (Tri-Cities/WA)
LOSS Georgios Sotiriadis (GRE) 6-0

Frankie Tal-Sharer (SWAT/FL)
LOSS Gombog Nejc (SLO) 8-0, TF
LOSS Luka Malobabic (CRO) via fall

76 kg
Bryan Alsteen (Combat WC/WI)
LOSS Andrijan Tanasevic (MDA) via fall (1:55)

Damion Smith (Combat WC/WI)
LOSS Bence Holocsi (SVK) 13-4, TF

100 kg
Cohlton Schultz (NYAC/CO)
WON Andrija Djuerdjevic (CRO) via fall (2:32)
WON Konstandinos Manolopoulous (GRE) via fall (1:07)
LOSS Artem Rubantsev (RUS) 6-4

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