As the summer begins its inevitable transformation into autumn, so too does the Greco-Roman program at Northern Michigan University shift its focus towards a new season.
14 Greco-Roman athletes who call the Olympic Training Site at NMU home will be opening up their 2018-19 campaigns by competing in the Eduardo Campbell Cup in Santiago de Veraguas, Panama next month. The Campbell Cup has become an annual season-opening showcase for Northern competitors over the past five years (with the exception of 2014) resulting in 23 overall medals won including seven golds.
As you might suspect, several on the roster for this go-round are intimately familiar with the event. 2016 Senior Open runner-up Khymba Johnson (87 kg, NYAC/OTS) took first last year, and remains one of the toughest, most underrated wrestlers in the United States. David Prado (77 kg, NMU/OTS) grabbed third in 2016, and Aaron Kliamovich (67 kg, NMU/OTS) went 2-2 in ’17 with his pair of losses coming at the hands of teammates Austin Morrow (67 kg, NYAC/OTS, who won the tournament) and Chris Rodgers, who placed third.
But because this is the largest delegation of US athletes yet to check in for the Campbell Cup, there resides a high probability for a cavalcade of medalists, if not champions. Chief among these premier candidates is none other than 2014 University World bronze Sammy Jones (63 kg, NYAC/OTS), who delivered one of the most impressive performances of his career this past April at the US Open. Jones is an electrifying athlete with a strong preference for going big, and given that he is now just beginning to enter his prime, the Campbell Cup might very well offer a collection of highlight-worthy throws coming from the Louisiana native regardless of who is standing across from him.
Colin Schubert (72 kg, NYAC/OTS), widely acknowledged as an important part of the country’s future in the sport, will be looking to further harness his take-no-prisoners approach and use it to hit the next phase of his development. In 2017, Schubert wowed a lot of observers with his fourth-place showing at the Senior Trials. Later on in the year, he dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 series loss to Alex Mossing (Air Force) in the U23 Trials finals. Last season didn’t produce the results Schubert was looking for, so he’s likely going to want to send a message right out of the gate in Panama and he certainly has the skills to do so.
What about the trio of young guns who all took big strides in 2018? Mason Hartshorn (63 kg, NMU/OTS) earned silvers at the Austria Open, the US Junior Open, and the Junior World Team Trials, respectively. In May, Hartshorn also ran the table at the Junior Greco World Duals hosted at the Community Youth Center in California, the very place from whence he came. Riley Briggs (67 kg, NMU/OTS) trucked through the Austria Open, grabbed third at the Junior Open, and capped his season with a bronze from the Trials. Jordan Auen (67 kg, NMU/OTS) burst onto the scene in ’16 with a gold at Sweden’s Klippan Cup and a bronze in Austria. Last season, Auen jumped in three events, all on the Senior level. Part of his education. Auen is someone to keep an eye on going forward because he has already shown to be a capable scorer with an underlying intensity that will serve him well as he continues to progress.
Spencer Woods (82 kg, NMU/OTS) doesn’t receive the same billing many of his teammates do, but those who have been paying attention know there is more than meets the eye with the Alaskan. Woods didn’t stock his trophy case last season; but he did discover a new level of gameness later on. At the U23 Trials in June, Woods won his first two bouts — including a caution-filled tech over Northern frosh Tommy Brackett. He was then defeated by eventual champ Carter Nielsen (yet another teammate), and wound up finishing fourth. It’s not the fourth that stood out, but rather, Woods’ attitude. He went hard after each opponent and angrily chased down scoring opportunities. With a little more experience and some additional foreign polish, Woods profiles as a potentially special athlete.
The same can be said of former Junior World Team member Roy Nash (97 kg). After temporarily walking away the sport a few years ago, Nash enrolled at Northern in the latter part of 2017 and it wasn’t too long before he made an impact. The first real sign that Nash might be a stout competitor arrived at the U23 Trials, where he advanced to the finals opposite two-time Senior World Teamer G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist). But even in defeat, it was hard not to notice that the fighting instincts were all still there. The Senior Trials provided more evidence to support Nash’s viability. Following a first-round loss to Hancock, Nash scored a tech fall against Nick Boykin (Sunkist) and grinded out a criteria decision over Senior Open runner-up Micah Burak (TMWC).
As of this writing it is not known whether or not there will be a stream for the 2018 Eduardo Campbell Cup. If there is, we will update accordingly.
2018 Eduardo Campbell Cup
September 29th — Santiago de Veraguas, Panama
TEAM USA ROSTER
+2 kg allowance
Mason Hartshorn (NYAC/OTS)
Sammy Jones (NYAC/OTS)
Jordan Auen (NMU/OTS)
Riley Briggs (NMU/OTS)
Aaron Kliamovich (NMU/OTS)
Reese Dalton (NMU/OTS)
Colin Schubert (NYAC/OTS)
Colby Baker (NMU/OTS)
David Prado (NMU/OTS)
Spencer Woods (NMU/OTS)
George Hooker (NMU/OTS)
Khymba Johnson (NYAC/OTS)
Roy Nash (NMU/OTS)
Marc Leon (NMU/OTS)