When a squad of US Greco-Roman age-group wrestlers took on the Swedish delegation that was in attendance at last year’s Superior Camp, it was a one-sided thumping in favor of the Americans. This time around, the final result was a whole lot closer.
Thanks to two dominant wins by Junior World bronze medalist Taylor LaMont, tech falls by Randon Miranda, Jacob Cochran, and Britton Holmes, as well as a criteria win from Ryan Cummings, Team USA was able to escape with a razor-thin 7-6 dual meet victory over Sweden. The action took place earlier this evening in the Superior Dome on the campus of Northern Michigan University as part of the 2017 Superior International Camp.
LaMont was one of several wrestlers at the dual meet to wrestle two matches. He won by tech in his first bout against Anton Rosen (SWE) at 60 kilos before doing the same versus Arvid Westlund (SWE) a weight class higher. Miranda also tech’ed Rosen, who is a familiar face to the US. Rosen competed at the Superior Camp dual last year and at the 2017 Junior Greco World Duals, where he took gold a few weeks ago.
A name who might not be quite as recognizable as some of the others yet but soon should be is Ryan Cummings. Cummings was in a tense dogfight with August Eriksson (SWE) and scoring was hard to come by for both wrestlers. It wasn’t due to lack of effort — the pair of combatants were evenly matched and openings closed as quickly as they arrived. Down 1-0, Cummings snagged a point later on in the bout to pull out the 1-1 criteria win, which essentially clinched the dual for the US.
Colorado high school wrestling star and NMU commit Britton Holmes was also impressive. Holmes five’ed Alex Beck (Sweden) right away in their 69 kilogram tussle and immediately transitioned into a good gutwrench to seal this one up quickly.
Going into the dual meet with Sweden, Northern Michigan head coach Rob Hermann, who is also the Superior Camp’s director, was most interested in making sure the US athletes who have been plugging away this week got the taste of foreign wrestling they needed while recognizing the different type of looks they’d typically see across the Atlantic. “Basically, it was a friendly dual,” Hermann said. “I just wanted the guys to get some international experience. I wanted them to work on some things they’ve been learning at camp, but to also get into some situations where they are able to use moves they’re comfortable with. I think that these matches gave them those opportunities.”
Case in point is the mixture of experience levels with the Americans. Some, like LaMont, Miranda, Logan Kass, and Holmes, have garnered some meaningful time overseas while a few of the fresher faces are newer to what foreign competition has to offer. So although this wasn’t some grudge match between the squads, it did carry potential significance for later on according to Hermann. “I told the guys this morning that these matches could start their careers,” informed the coach. “You have to wrestle these guys to know where you’re at and where you need to be. If they’re better than you, then you have to get better. These matches can take you over the top whether it’s Sweden or anybody. We don’t wrestle many Greco matches like this in our country. With it being televised on Facebook, it’s priceless. In order to get this stuff, we usually have to travel to Sweden or wherever, and we didn’t have to do that this time.”
As for the 2017 running of the Superior International Camp, there are still a couple more days left for the US and Swedish wrestlers to pile on some more competition. That’s because on Friday and Saturday, the camp will conclude with matches twice each of those days. A whole lot of activity has already taken place inside of the Superior Dome since camp opened on Monday and Hermann has been very encouraged by how things have gone so far.
“It’s been going great. Sweden has been loving the camp, as well. They’re here for the same reasons we are, to get better. They push the dual meets because they need matches, too. Any time there’s joint training, we are all looking to get better as two countries. When you’re wrestling the best Juniors and Cadets in the US with great coaches like Andy Bisek, and Gary Mayabb also stepped up this week along with the Swedish coaches, there aren’t many times when there are eight days of Greco with this caliber of coaches.”
Team USA — 7 Sweden — 6 — June 7th, Marquette, Michigan
Jacob Cochran (USA) def. Teo Jonsson (SWE) 8-0, TF
Samuel Trellid (SWE) def. Hunter Lewis (USA) 7-2
Harry Bostrom (SWE) def. Delon Kanari (USA) 10-0, TF
Randon Miranda def. Anton Rosen (SWE) 8-0, TF
Taylor LaMont def. Anton Rosen (SWE) 8-0, TF
Taylor LaMont def. Arvid Westlund (SWE) 8-0, TF
Arvid Westlund (SWE) def. Chris Allen (USA) 4-0
Frankie Tal-Shahar (USA) def. Albin Jonsson (Sweden) 10-9
Erik Persson (SWE) def. Alston Nutter (USA) via fall
Britton Holmes (USA) def. Alex Beck (SWE) 10-0, TF
Lukas Ahlgren (SWE) def. Logan Kass (USA) 3-0
Lukas Ahlgren (SWE) def. Trey Hardy (USA) 6-4
Ryan Cummings (USA) def. August Eriksson (Sweden) 1-1 (criteria)