Returning U23 World Team member/2018 US Senior National champ Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS) and two-time Junior World Teamer Randon Miranda (NYAC/OTS) entered the 2018 U23 Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Akron, Ohio on a collision course – and sure enough — they’re set up for a rematch from last year’s best-of-three final in Rochester.
Miranda, who is up from 55 to 60 kilograms, advanced to this afternoon’s series with snappy back-to-back tech falls over Rae-Sae Settles (Backyard WC) and Hunter Starner (Peninsula), respectively. Against Settles, Miranda executed a whipping bodylock-to-gut combo to end that one early, and was just as frighteningly effective opposite a very game Starner. As for Roberts, he, too, didn’t require a ton of time to nail down his spot in the final. A tech-via-caution over Liam Cronin (Indiana) sandwiched between two conventional superiority victories provided Roberts with the steam required to renew pleasantries with the man who serves as both his teammate and primary domestic rival.
Roberts and Miranda share a fairly pronounced history with Roberts coming out on top the majority of the time. However, the last time they met (in the finals of the Bill Farrell Memorial), it was Miranda who emerged with a grinding decision win. Both athletes know each other quite well, and as mentioned in our preview, would relish the opportunity to appear on two World Teams in the same year — which can happen depending on what unfolds in Tulsa. Either way, this is the rematch many wanted and expected, so here we go again.
Johnson, Rice, Mossing, & Kass
At 63 kilos, surging Marine Xavier Johnson will be doing battle with another athlete who has been coming on strong of late, NMU’s Travis Rice. Johnson, perhaps one of the five most explosive wrestlers in the country, raced past Nick Johnson (University of Florida) and Erik Spence to advance. It was a similar story for Illinois-native Rice, who tech’ed out Angel Nava and Ty Pelot (X-Factor). There is not a vast sample size for Johnson and Rice, although they did compete against each other in New York with the Marine prevailing via 9-0 tech on his way to a bronze medal.
One of the most interesting finals match-ups on Friday could be 2017 U23 World Team member Alex Mossing (Air Force RTC) versus Logan Kass (Minnesota Storm/OTS). 72 kilograms is a full bracket, meaning both wrestlers needed three wins to march on through. The unpretentious throwing ability of Mossing escorted him to victories over Trace Thome (University of Florida), Davey Tunon (Indiana), and one of the weight class’s more well-rounded competitors who himself enjoyed some moments throughout the day, two-time Fargo National champ Brett Bye (LOG). Coming off a fifth-place finish at the Senior Open is Kass, who has made steady improvement over the past two years. He presented a devastating picture to deal with in the morning session. Round-of-16 opponent Will Kaldes (Pittsburgh) almost made it to the end of the first before Kass sealed that one up. In his next two bouts Kass didn’t reach the second minute, pounding out a pair of breezy tech’s at the expense of newcomers Jaylen York (River Valley WC) and McKoy Tekautz (GWC).
Porter Untouchable; Nielsen vs. Berreyesa
The parade continues on at 77 kilos, where Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS) did his part to become one of the four holdovers from the inaugural U23 squad to make the final. Porter unfurled a pair of correct throws on former teammate-turned-MMA-fighter Zach Krapf (GWC) before bombing a side lift to nail down his first win of the morning. The semifinals brought forth another vintage Porter performance. A lateral almost yielded a quick pin over Emmanuel Diaz (Florida Jets). When Diaz’s challenge was upheld and action resumed from par terre, Porter hurled Diaz over for the match-ending points.
In the 77-kilogram best-of-three final, Porter faces off with Ohio State’s Fritz Schierl. A bronze at Fargo a few years ago along with possessing stout complete wrestling skills, Schierl has been a fun watch on Friday, putting together two wins filled with offense, including a raucous tech over Eddie Smith (Beast Mode) in the quarters.
Top-seeded Carter Nielsen (82 kg, NMU/OTS), competing for the first time since December after recovering from ACL surgery, has delivered one of the most dominant performances of the day thus far. Following what could best be described as a crucifix to pin Trevor Graves (Grits Athletics) in the round-of-16, Nielsen then went on to superior Caleb Spears (Strong & Courageous) and teammate Spenser Woods. It is worth noting that Nielsen has defeated his opposition with ferocious efficiency — all told, he needed a mere 1:52 combined to rack up his three victories.
Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC) already has a bye to the Junior World Team Trials finals next weekend, but he enjoyed a full slate of action this morning (though one match less than Nielsen). The Junior National champ corkscrewed a headlock against Tim Abee (Strong & Courageous) to pick up four and then followed up with a front headlock throw to wrap it up. Berreyesa was tested a whole lot more in the semis. Doing business with Oklahoma State’s Chandler Rogers, Berreyesa was forced to dig in and slug it out to come out on top 7-6.
These two know each other just a little bit: Nielsen and Berreyesa competed against each other in the consolation semifinal of the 2017 U23 Trials with Nielsen earning a 9-5 decision.
Hancock & Schultz Lights Out
The last of the 2017 U23 World Teamers eligible for consecutive chances to make the team is G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist), who has yet to be seriously tested in his first domestic tournament since October. Hancock patiently stalked Hunter Hart (Montana) around the mat just ahead of launching a bodylock that he stayed with to secure the fall. The semifinals offered up William Baptist’s Devon Amburgy, a still-developing prospect who did his best to scrap with Hancock on the inside, but ultimately succumbed to a pair of throws and an eventual tech. Nothing about Hancock’s two matches this morning offered a surprise. For that, you’d have to check out the semifinal on the bottom half of the bracket.
Returning U23 World Team member Blake Smith (OTC) got off to a hot start against Northern’s Roy Nash, bombing a throw that very nearly resulted in a pin. Up 4-1, Smith collapsed on top of a Nash front headlock try to pick up another pair of points. The officials took a long time reviewing the proceeding challenge from NMU — but when action restarted, Nash was awarded two for his throw attempt. Another long challenge arrived shortly thereafter — and then right before the end of the first, Nash forced Smith out to take a 6-6 criteria lead.
However — when Smith stepped out, he suffered an apparent ankle injury, to the extent of which is not yet known. Several minutes passed and the training staff wrapped Smith’s ankle. He gingerly walked back to the center of the mat to begin the second period and tried to make a go of it, even yielding a step-out point when he arched for a throw near the edge. But that sequence would wind up doing him in, as Smith — in obvious pain and barely able to stand — was compelled to bow out of the match.
The only question involving Cadet World Champion Cohlton Schultz‘s (NYAC) presence in this event is if he would be able to execute his attacks when paired with older, stronger foes. The older part of the equation, that’s a layup. Stronger? Maybe not so much. The 17-year-old wunderkind not only notched three tech wins en-route to the finals, one of his no-doubt-about-it triumphs came against 2016 University National champ Matt Voss (Patriot Elite).
- Despite the injury, Smith did choose to enter the consolation bracket and will meet Amburgy in the bronze-medal match. “I’m just going to tape it up real good and do what I do,” Smith told 5PM a short time ago.
- The medal rounds of the 2018 U23 Greco-Roman World Team Trials are slated to begin at 2:00pm (EST) and can be viewed live on FloWrestling (subscription required).
2018 U23 Greco-Roman World Team Trials Finals
55 kg: Jabari Moody (NYAC) vs. Dalton Duffield (Unattached)
60 kg: Dalton Roberts (NYAC/OTS) vs. Randon Miranda (NYAC/OTS)
63 kg: Xavier Johnson (Marines) vs. Travis Rice (NMU/OTS)
67 kg: Dominick Demas (Oklahoma RTC) vs. Nolan Baker (NIRTC)
72 kg: Alex Mossing (Air Force RTC) vs. Logan Kass (Minnesota Storm/OTS)
77 kg: Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS) vs. Fritz Schierl (Ohio State)
82 kg: Carter Nielsen (NMU/OTS) vs. Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC)
87 kg: Jimmy Stillerman (LAW) vs. George Sikes (NMU/OTS)
97 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist) vs. Roy Nash (NMU/OTS)
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (NYAC) vs. David Orndorff (Utah Valley RTC)