Midway through today’s morning session at the 2019 US Open in Las Vegas, the script seemed to be playing out as usual. The most established Greco athletes in the country were, by and large, knifing their collective way past eager up-and-comers in effort to set up a slate of semifinals most figured would be the end result of their work.
But there were a few wrestlers who stepped up and made their voices heard loud and clear. And now what we have to look forward to later on this evening is a lineup of matches that offer more intrigue than even originally anticipated.
Day 1 of the 2019 US Senior Greco-Roman Nationals began at 9:00am local time (12:00pm ET) and aired live in the US on FLOWrestling.
Spencer Woods (NYAC/OTS) rocketed to the 82-kilogram semifinal thanks to a huge win over Armed Forces gold Vlad Dombrovskiy (Army/WCAP). Woods, who hails from Alaska and has turned into one of the nation’s best prospects, dominated through his first two matches prior to the quarters and carried that momentum into the next round. He went up 2-1 on Dombrovskiy by yanking over a front headlock and chipped away from there, scoring on a couple of takedowns late in the second period to put this one away. Woods is making his first US Open semifinal appearance and will face two-time World Team member Cheney Haight (NYAC), who was victorious for the third time last week at the Pan Am Championships.
Kendrick Sanders (NYAC/OTS), back in action for the first time in nearly a year (and up at 82 kilos for only the second time in his career), had himself an interesting test in the semis: an also-returning Jon Jay Chavez (NYAC/FLWC), the 2018 World Team Trials champ. Following a caution on Chavez, a step-out, and then a passivity, Sanders uncorked a reverse lift for five to sew up the match in the first period. Tonight, Sanders will stand across two-time National Team member John Stefanowicz (Marines).
Although he doesn’t have the same allotment of experience as many of his brethren at this event, Eric Twohey (97 kg, Minnesota Storm) has more than does his part thus far — in fact, he is yet to give up a point. After downing Hunter Mooring (CMU) and Karl Oesser (AF) via back-to-back tech’s, Twohey clipped 2016 Open runner-up Khymba Johnson (NYAC/OTS) 6-0. The hill gets significantly steeper in the next round, as reigning World Team member G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist, world no. 3) awaits.
Roberts, Smith, & Bey Prevail
2018 World Team members Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS) and Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist, world no. 7) have looked extremely strong up to this point. Roberts concluded his 29-2 morning tear after defeating Austin Wallace-Lister (UA) 11-2; Bey, a silver medalist at the Pan Ams a week ago, has been especially — and frighteningly — effective. In his three bouts Thursday morning, Bey outscored his opposition 34-0, ending his string with a 12-0 bombing of tough and talented ’18 U23 Trials runner-up Fritz Schierl (ORTC). Coincidentally, both Roberts’s and Bey’s opponents tonight are who they faced in the Open finals last year: Roberts will renew pleasantries with Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP) while Bey greets Peyton Walsh (Marines).
Patrick Smith‘s (Minnesota Storm) seasonal run at 77 kilograms continues to impress. The ’17 World Teamer took two quick tech’s into an exhausting quarterfinal match versus Corey Hope (NYAC), who in the midst of his first live action in over two years. The pair clashed constantly, and neither appeared close to engineering workable offense on the feet. As such, passivity is how this one was decided. Smith received a passive chance in the first, Hope got his in the second, and then a call in Smith’s favor towards the end of the bout was all she wrote, as the Storm rep advanced on the heels of a 2-1 decision.
Smith’s opponent tonight is 2017 World Teammate Mason Manville (NLWC). It was only three months ago when these two went toe-to-toe in the Dave Schultz finals, a bout Smith emerged the victor via decision.
Overall, 13 of tonight’s 20 semifinals are rematches with two having taken place during last year’s Open semis — returning champ Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP) again faces Jabari Moody (NYAC) and Ellis Coleman (67 kg, Army/WCAP), who’s shooting for his fifth National crown, meets Austin Morrow (NYAC/OTS).
The semifinal round 2019 US Senior Greco-Roman Nationals starts at 6:00pm (9:00pm ET) and can be viewed live in the US on FLOWrestling.
2019 US Senior Greco-Roman Nationals
Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) vs. Jabari Moody (NYAC)
Dalton Duffield (NYAC/OTS) vs. Jemone Carter (Marines)
Dalton Roberts (NYAC/OTS) vs. Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP)
Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) vs. Randon Miranda (NYAC/OTS)
Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP) vs. Travis Rice (IRTC)
Xavier Johnson (Marines) vs. Sammy Jones (NYAC/OTS)
Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP) vs. Austin Morrow (NYAC/OTS)
Hayden Tuma (Army/WCAP) vs. Jamel Johnson (Marines)
RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) vs. Colin Schubert (NYAC/OTS)
Ray Bunker (Marines) vs. Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP)
Kamal Bey (Sunkist) vs. Peyton Walsh (Marines)
Mason Manville (NLWC) vs. Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
Cheney Haight (NYAC) vs. Spencer Woods (NYAC/OTS)
John Stefanowicz (Marines) vs. Kendrick Sanders (NYAC/OTS)
Patrick Martinez (NYAC) vs. James Souza (Army/WCAP)
Ben Provisor (NYAC/NLWC) vs. Joe Rau (TMWC/Chicago RTC)
G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist) vs. Eric Twohey (Minnesota Storm)
Daniel Miller (Marines) vs. Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP)
David Tate Orndorff (NYAC) vs. West Cathcart (Stoopstyle)
Toby Erickson (Army/WCAP) vs. Jacob Mitchell (Army/WCAP)