Both United World Wrestling and USA Wrestling have shuffled out their updated winter Greco Roman rankings. On the global front, there is not a whole lot of news. The two American Olympians who have been ranked of late, Jesse Thielke (59 kg, NYAC) and Andy Bisek (75 kg, Minnesota Storm), have seen their placements drop, primarily due to inactivity. Thielke only fell one spot, from 16th to 15th. Bisek, who currently is at the very least “semi-retired”, dropped from 13th to 16th.
Patrick Martinez (80 kg, NYAC) entered the World rankings during the summer following back-to-back bronze medal performances overseas and was seated at number 17. However, after being eliminated in the qualifying round of last month’s Non-Olympic Weight World Championships, UWW has put Martinez at 20th.
As expected, the USAW winter Greco Roman rankings are heavy on inspiration from the Nationals a few weeks ago. For the most part, where athletes placed in Vegas is aligned to their designated ranking. Hayden Tuma (Army/WCAP) leapfrogs over teammate Ryan Mango to take over the third spot in the 59 kilogram class. Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) is apparently not going to be competing at that weight any longer, though since that hasn’t been made official yet, he still occupies the second spot behind Thielke stemming from the Olympic Trials. This is the same story at 66, where RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) is ranked first, despite the fact he is done at the sport’s second lowest weight class. Sammy Jones (NYAC-OTS) moves up two spots and checks in at number five in the 59 kg rankings with his third-place performance at the US Nationals.
There are a couple of interesting wrinkles at 80 kilograms. Jon Anderson (Army/WCAP) comes in at fifth, but the news here is Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm) taking over the third spot above Jon Jay Chavez (NYAC), who finished second in Vegas and has defeated Stanghill on a handful of occasions. Stanghill performed impressively at the Nationals himself and earned a bronze for his efforts, and looks to be surging heading into 2017.
Finally, at 98 kilos, G’Angelo Hancock (NYAC) has overtaken Joe Rau (Minnesota Storm) at number one. This has been coming. Rau has sidelined with an injury while Hancock has gone on an epic tear that includes a Junior World bronze, a tournament victory in Sweden, a Farrell/NYAC title, a win over an Olympic bronze medalist (Cenk Ildem) and of course, his Nationals win against Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm, who comes in third on USA Wrestling’s rankings).
Rosters have yet to be announced in full and we should be able to bring you who is going where soon enough, but here are the three overseas events USA Greco wrestlers will be participating in later on this winter.
- March 4th — Thor Masters, Nykobing Falster, Denmark (Senior)
- March 4th — Austrian Open, Götzis, Austria (Junior)
- March 11th — Grand Prix Zagreb Open, Zagreb, Croatia (Senior)
All of the Seniors who compete at Thor Masters along with some of the Juniors will be making the trip to Croatia. Specific information as far as camp setups and so forth will be released in the near future. Of course, all of this is coming after January’s schedule, which sees the Jack Pinto Cup in both Colorado Springs and Greely (Colorado) on January 28th and 29th, leading up to the 2016 Dave Schultz Memorial International just a couple of days later.
We will be unveiling a special feature on US Olympic Training Center coach and 2006 World Champion Mohamed Abdelfatah. “Mo”, as he is commonly known, was an incredibly successful competitor for his native Egypt from the late 1990’s through the mid-aughts and his resume is simply staggering. Aside from that World gold a decade ago, Mo has two World Cup titles, four (!) Golden Grand Prix titles, three Olympic appearances, and countless other accomplishments that jump off the page.
At this stage in his wrestling career, Mo happens to be an extraordinarily popular and well-respected coach who is beloved by the wrestlers under his watch. It’s only fitting as we move into the new year to shine a spotlight on one of the most prized possessions of the US Greco program so that everyone else out there can get a sense of the kind of men who train the American athletes and also, what makes them so special.
What’s coming up here
- Unless there are breaks in the schedule, look for the forthcoming Coach Lindland reports towards the latter part of each week. If there is a major event (or major news), we will switch it up accordingly.
- Just a reminder, the Kevin Radford interview is up. It is definitely worth your time because Radford is completely up-front about the changes he made in both his preparation and attitude that have led him to become a National champ. An enjoyable read.
- Joe Rau. With everything going on at 98 kilograms in the US, it’s only right to get Rau’s take on the situation. Plus, it’ll be good to get some insights regarding his recovery from surgery and when he will be back at full-speed.