Behind a strong second day of action at the 2019 Malar Cupen in Västerås, Sweden, the United States Greco-Roman program was able to win team titles in two age divisions.
Spencer Woods (77 kg, NYAC/OTS) led the charge for the Seniors by earning his first overseas gold medal, while Tommy Brackett (82 kg, NMU/OTS) and Timothy Eubanks (97 kg, NMU/OTS) both grabbed silver.
Woods began the day with a forfeit and followed with a tech of Johan Hedberg (SWE) before closing out the Malarcupen with a criteria win over Simon Borkehnhagen, who represented Sweden at the Cadet Worlds this past summer and is one of that nation’s principal prospects.
For Woods, who made the ’19 US Open final at 82 kilos but is now down to the Olympic category of 77, his participation this weekend (and on the tour itself) centered around sharpening up ahead of the Olympic Year push against what he hoped would be suitable opposition.
“My overall goal was to wrestle the best that the tournament had to offer,” Woods said Sunday following the event. “I didn’t want to walk to the finals. I wanted to get something out of this tournament, out of this trip. Something to challenge me and help me get ready for this upcoming year.
“I see these tournaments more as glorified practices. When I step on the mat there is zero pressure on me. It’s just, I’m going to go out here, I am going to have fun, do my best, and whether it works or not, I am going to learn something. Having that mindset helps because when you’re in Sweden and have Swedish refs, you’re not going to get the calls you want. It just helps with your psyche.”
Brackett — regarded as a high-profile prospect by the US program thanks to his enthusiasm for this style dating back to his youth days — dominated the Swedish duo of Martin Gistorp and Anton Valapuro to punch his ticket to the final round where he was clipped by 2019 Nordic Championships runner-up Anton Olsson (SWE) 5-2.
“Getting these competitions in before the (Bill) Farrell was really important to me,” Brackett said. “I plan on making some serious noise come New York, and I wanted to get some matches in prior. Honestly, the two day format of this tournament was kind of wack, due to me only have one match yesterday and the rest today. I am disappointed with my loss today, but happy I was able to get overseas and get some matches in. It’s a great plus to pick up two medals along the way. There’s nothing like competition reps. You will see me at 77 kilos come New York. This is going to be a big year and I have made some big changes.”
International competition seems to also agree with Eubanks thus far, as the former Williams Baptist athlete is now three-for-three in European events. Eubanks, who went up to 97 kilos this weekend, won both of his matches on Saturday to make today’s final. He fell to Jacob Logård (SWE) in the gold-medal match, but it doesn’t change the narrative. Like Brackett, Eubanks made the podium last week at the Klippan Cup, earning bronze. This past May, he placed second in both the Junior and U23 divisions in Spain — adding up to four medals in his first three overseas tournaments.
“I felt confident going into the tournament because of learning so much from being at Northern Michigan so far, and from the camp the week before,” Eubanks explained following the event. “I felt like I learned a lot position-wise and scoring-wise. During the matches, I went in with confidence believing that I could win even if I lose, which is the mindset that I had during the tournament this weekend. I focused on scoring points and not being passive. As a wrestler, I felt like I learned a lot and have a lot to improve on from the tournament.”
Age-Groupers Run Wild
Most of the matches that saw American participation on Sunday occurred in the U14 age group, which the US won with relative ease. And as noted yesterday, most of the wins garnered were of a dominant variety. That didn’t change today.
Riker Graff (38 kg, IA) won two matches on Saturday — one tech and one pin. Sunday, Graff started out with a pin over Husein Akhmatov (SWE) and collected two more tech falls, including the final against Anzor Musaev (NOR). Not one of Graff’s matches at the Malarcupen went the distance, a fact that speaks to his individual ability as well as the potency US youths offer in this particular age division.
Joining Graff as a U14 Malar Cupen champ was Luke Lilledahl (41 kg, MO), who had three more matches to get through today for a total of seven combined throughout the weekend. His methodology was not the same as Graff’s; Lilledahl earned three of his wins via decision. But he finished up with quite the one-sided ledger. Across his seven matches, Lilledahl outscored the opposition 52-6, counting two tech falls and two pins.
Another youngster who made a big impression was bronze medalist Marcos Torrez (52 kg, WA). As was the case with Graff and Lilledahl, most of Torrez’s activity in this tournament unfolded on the second day. He opened with a hiccup — Torrez fell in his first match this morning to Adam Silverin (SWE). But he had no problem shaking that off. In his next three bouts, Torrez went virtually untouched and ended the tournament with two pins and a tech.
Just missing out on bronze medals and placing fourth were Hoyt Hvass (41 kg, WA) and Brent Slade (68 kg, IA). Hvass finished with a 3-2 record (two pins and a tech), and Slade went 2-2 with both of his victories arriving via fall.
Two-time Cadet World Team coach and Combat WC founder Lucas Steldt acted as the lead US coach for this tour. After the tournament ended, Steldt was pleased with the results and pointed to several factors he believed directly influenced the more positive outcomes.
“The medalists simply had a plan and system ready for their arsenals,” Steldt said. They weren’t hunting or trying to find ‘something’, they had a direct protocol of offense to run through, and if it failed, they just kept running through it until an attack scored. The theme was high-paced and constant timely attacks while staying composed.
“This is a great tour with two competitions and one week of camp at a crazy low price,” he continued. “It’s a good time of year for these developing athletes. They should return to their training institutions and have an outline of what they need to improve on, what they have developing, and what they are solid at. This tour doesn’t end on the plane ride. It’s just part of a training plan that needs to be extended at home.”
- The US wins the Malarcupen in two age divisions for the first time since 2017. Last year, USA finished second and third at Senior and age-group, respectively.
- USA athletes (at Senior and U14) won a combined 47 matches at the tournament with 18 tech’s — and 21 pins (the vast majority of which recorded by U14 athletes).
- For most of the Seniors who competed on the annual Sweden tour, their next event will be the Bill Farrell Memorial/NYAC Open on November 15 in New York.
2019 Malar Cupen
November 2-3 — Västerås, Sweden
TEAM USA FULL RESULTS
Sean Sesnan (NMU/OTS) — 7th
LOSS Mattias Poutanen (FIN) 9-0, TF
WON Jonatan Jednell (SWE) via fall
LOSS Imranullah Safi (SWE) 11-7
Logan Hatch (EAP/OPTC) — 7th
LOSS Sergiu Ilies (SWE) 8-0, TF
WON Alexander Jonereiv (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Arttu Hakala (FIN) 10-0, TF
Nick Leonetti (EAP/OPTC) — 16th
LOSS Zaman Amiri (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Mikael Karlsson (SWE) 8-0, TF
Brody Olson (NMU/OTS) — 16th
LOSS Daniel Therkildsen (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Samuel Nyberg (SWE) 11-0, TF
Spencer Woods (NYAC/OTS) — gold
WON Emil Bertzel (SWE) 9-0, TF
WON Ruhullah Kharoti (SWE) via fall
WON Pepes Panagiotis (GRE) via forfeit
WON Johan Hedberg (SWE) 10-2, TF
WON Simon Borkenhagen (SWE) 4-4 (criteria)
Nate Grimes (NMU/OTS) — 7th
WON Christian Johansson (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Didrik Silverin (SWE) via fall
LOSS Simon Borkenhagen (SWE) 8-0, TF
Tommy Brackett (NMU/OTS) — silver
WON Kim Stenberg (SWE) 5-3
WON Martin Gistorp (SWE) 8-0, TF
WON Anton Valapuro (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Anton Olsson (SWE) 5-2
Tommy Dantzler (Front Range Twisters) — 8th
LOSS Anatoli Bogdanov (NOR) 8-8 (criteria)
LOSS Sotiriadis Avraam (GRE) 9-1, TF
Timothy Eubanks (NMU/OTS) — silver
WON Benjamin Sjöstrand (SWE) 12-3
WON Kostas Chasapis (GRE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Jacob Logård (SWE) via fall
Cael Khale (WI) — 7th
LOSS Leevi Joutsenlahti (FIN) 8-0, TF
WON Brage Sether (SWE) 12-3, TF
LOSS Felix Morsing (SWE) 8-0, TF
Gunnar Hamre (WI) — 8th
WON Matias Jäntti (FIN) 8-0, TF
LOSS Tim Bergfalk (SWE) 5-2
WON Aleksi Tuukala (FIN) 13-4, TF
LOSS Kasper Överby (NOR) 11-8
Brandon Boehm (WI) — 10th
LOSS Mark Loitto (SWE) 9-0, TF
WON Kevin Englund (SWE) via fall
LOSS Vilgot Klinthäll (SWE) 10-8
Aiden Attao (ID) — 10th
LOSS Måns Klostermann (SWE) 9-0, TF
LOSS Noel Nordqvist (SWE) via fall
Riker Graff (IA) — gold
WON Nestori Vettenranta (FIN) 12-0, TF
WON Gurgen Hovsepyan (SWE) via fall
WON Husein Akhmatov (SWE) via fall
WON Victor Larso (DEN) via fall
WON Anzor Musaev (NOR) 12-0, TF
Luke Lilledahl (MO) — gold
WON Felix Silen (SWE) 12-0, TF
WON Valter Hedqvist (SWE) via fall
WON David Gozalyan (SWE) via fall
WON Mario Mariut (NOR) 7-4
WON William Ekeroth (SWE) 6-1
WON Christ Yacoubian (SWE) 12-0, TF
WON Idal Bers Timirbiev (NOR) 3-1
Hoyt Hvass (WA) — 4th
WON Pontus Lindqvist (SWE) via fall
WON Benjamin Failli (SWE) via fall
WON Alexandru Baloi (SWE) 16-2, TF
LOSS Idal Bers Timirbiev (NOR) via fall
LOSS Mario Mariut (NOR) 12-0, TF
Jackson Losee (WA) — 16th
LOSS Samuel Nilsson (SWE) 14-4, TF
LOSS Topi Kujala (FIN) 12-0, TF
Hunter Jenkins (MO) — 5th
WON Calle Zetterkvist (SWE) via fall
WON Samu Luojus (FIN) via injury default
WON Leokim Josef Beky (SWE) via fall
WON Karl Holmberg (SWE) via fall
LOSS Jonathan Svensson (SWE) 5-0
LOSS Tural Binnatov (SWE) via fall
Jonathan Krager (WI) — 12th
LOSS Wilmer Guldstrand (SWE) 12-0, TF
WON Silas Humle (DEN) 14-4, TF
LOSS Lars Letvik (NOR) via fall
Logan Trenary (KS) — 17th
WON Yones Mohammad (SWE) via fall
LOSS Dominic Arnold (GER) 12-0, TF
LOSS Vikke Tarkkio (FIN) 14-0, TF
Marcos Torrez (WA) — bronze
WON Max Eriksson (SWE) via fall
WON Simen Ekeberg (NOR) via fall
WON Rashid Gadaramov (SWE) 12-0, TF
LOSS Adam Silverin (SWE) 9-0, TF
WON George Sidorenko (SWE) via fall
WON Max Nordfelt (SWE) 12-0, TF
WON Jonathan Lundin (SWE) via fall
Jaime Villanueva (KS) — 13th
WON Adam Olsson (SWE) via fall
LOSS Alexander Amas (NOR) via fall
LOSS Martin Ljosåk (NOR) via fall
Brent Slade (IA) — 4th
LOSS Hugo Svahn (SWE) 8-5
WON Erik Havi Sjödahl (SWE) via fall
WON Theodor Davidsen (SWE) via fall
LOSS Santeri Karppinen (FIN) 6-0