Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP), when the clouds part and a little distance is created, will hopefully look back at the 2019 World Championships with a sense of pride. Because although the result did not meet his expectations, it was still one helluva run.
The finals/bronze medal round on Day 2 at the 2019 World Championships kicked off at 7:30pm from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan and aired live in the US on Trackwrestling.
On Sunday, Nowry became only the second United States Greco-Roman athlete to compete for a medal this quad, save for ’18 World silver Adam Coon (130 kg, NYAC/Cliff Keen) a year ago. The Illinois native’s performance began on Saturday with a drubbing of Germany’s Fabian Schmitt ahead of a close loss to eventual silver Khorlan Zhakansha (KAZ). This morning, Nowry won his repechage match against #4 seed Abdelkerim Fergat (ALG) via tech fall, which propelled him into the bronze round opposite returning World Champion Eldaniz Azizli (AZE).
It was a match-up that Nowry had no doubt imagined taking place before ever arriving in Kazakhstan. Azizli, who attained various degrees of international success both prior to and following 55 kilograms’ reintroduction last season, has been seen as the rightful standard bearer of this weight class due to his wealth of skills — and of course, his title-winning performance at Budapest 2018. Nowry has some skills of his own, but he did not get the chance to demonstrate them against Azizli.
Using a front headlock, Azizli quickly scampered behind for a takedown. He immediately locked up a gutwrench and rotated Nowry, who attempted to hip-heist. There was a pause; Nowry had flattened out and appeared to be defending, and was maybe close to a restart. But Azizli maintained his lock and was able to crank out two more turns to end the bout prematurely.
A University World Champion in 2012 along with having made the Olympic Trials final that same year, Nowry’s career temporarily stalled once United World Wrestling eliminated 55 kilograms two years later. Following an impressive National-Team-making performance at the ’17 US World Team Trials, Nowry’s luck changed when UWW re-inserted 55 last season, and he promptly won the US Open before falling to Sam Hazewinkel in the Trials best-of-three series. When the summer of ’18 ended, Nowry underwent surgery on both hips but was back in time for the Armed Forces Championships.
This season had been Nowry’s strongest, with tournament wins at the Pan Am Championships, the US Nationals, and a bronze last month at the Wladyslaw Pytlasinski Memorial in Poland, respectively. With the Olympic Year now beginning for he and his US Teammates whose seasons also ended today, Nowry will rest, heal, and prepare for the domestic field at 60 kilograms.
2019 World Championships
September 14-17 — Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
55 kg: Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) — 5th
WON Fabian Schmitt (GER) 10-1, TF
LOSS Khorlan Zhakansha (KAZ) 3-2
WON Abdelkerim Fergat (ALG) 11-3, TF
LOSS Eldaniz Azizli (AZE) 8-0, TF