United World Wrestling has released its first edition of Greco-Roman rankings (now located on the UWW homepage) since before the World Championships this past August and only two US wrestlers have made the cut.
After being temporarily dropped from the top 20 in July, Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) is back in the fold at 71 kilograms, showing up at 19th. Smith went 1-1 in Paris, scoring a first-round shutout win over Mateous Morbitzer (CZE) before dropping an 8-2 decision to Nurgazy Asangulov (KGZ, world no. 11), ultimately finishing 15th in his first Senior World event. The season may not have ended the way he wanted, but Smith’s 2016-17 campaign was his best one yet.
Last December, the Minnesota native earned his first Senior National title, which set the tone for the proceeding months. A bronze-medal performance at the Thor Masters Invitational in March served as a warm-up prior to the World Team Trials, where he emphatically cut his string of runner-up finishes. The following week in Brazil, Smith dominantly locked up his third consecutive win at the Pan Am Championships and in June, went 1-1 at the Tbilisi Grand Prix, which included a 2-0 passivity-filled loss to then-reigning World Champion Balint Korpasi (HUN, world no. 4).
The other USA representative listed in the rankings this time around shares the same surname — four-time World Team member and 2016 Olympian Robby Smith (130 kg, NYAC, world no. 16). Similar to the lighter Smith (no relation), the popular heavyweight left Paris with a 1-1 slate. His first bout of the day was a victory via fall over Tamas Soos (SLO), which represented Smith’s seventh win at a World Championships. In his next bout, the 30-year-old was turned back by eventual bronze medalist Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (CUB, world no. 4).
All of Smith’s matches last season came after the calendar flipped to 2017, beginning with a gold at Thor Masters. He sewed up his fourth World Team appearance in April by defeating familiar face Toby Erickson (Army/WCAP) in two straight before checking in with a Pan Ams bronze the very next week for his fourth medal in four tries at that tournament. It was also just announced that Smith will be taking the mat at the Battle on the Midway Dual on Tuesday in San Diego, California.
Junior World Champion Kamal Bey (Sunkist) surged back into the 75 kilogram Greco-Roman rankings in August, but his move up to 80 along with shifts elsewhere globally in that weight class see him left out this time around. It is the same story for 2016 Junior World bronze medalist G’Angelo Hancock, who had spent most of the year in the top 20 at 98 kilograms but has committed to staying at 130 for the foreseeable future. Both Bey and Hancock will be competing at the U23 World Championships this coming week in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
US APPEARANCES IN November UWW GRECO-ROMAN RANKINGS
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, world no. 19)
Robby Smith (NYAC, world no. 16)