Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP) and Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS) are both on the cusp of fighting for gold medals while Jesse Thielke (63 kg, NYAC/LOG) and Taylor LaMont (60 kg, Sunkist) are still alive with chances to battle for bronze. Other than that, it was an at times frustrating and altogether disappointing morning for the Team USA Seniors at the 2018 Grand Prix of Germany.
Sam Hazewinkel (55 kg, Sunkist), one of seven current World Team members to compete on Saturday, dropped his first match to Germany’s Fabian Schmitt via 10-2 tech. Hazewinkel was not outclassed, he just didn’t get started quickly enough. The 35-year-old did net himself a takedown in the second period but Schmitt piled on more afterwards to end the bout early. In the next round of Pool A competition (55 kilos is the only bracket to hold such a distinction), Hazewinkel and Nowry met in what was a rematch of the Open and World Team Trials finals. Nowry got on the board initially thanks to a passivity call and capitalized immediately with a gutwrench to jump ahead 3-0. No further points were scored in the second period, but the decision for Nowry halted Hazewinkel’s chance to get more matches in.
As for Nowry, he and Schmitt engaged in a fun yet contentious battle in the proceeding round. Nowry began similarly to his bout with Hazewinkel. He benefited from the first passive call and took advantage by rapping over a gutwrench. He looked smooth, did Nowry, turning Schmitt on the feet with short drag looks whilst owning position. In the second frame, Schmitt got his par terre chance but Nowry defended. Later in the period the pair chipped back and forth with Schmitt growing increasingly exasperated. This led to Nowry baiting him even more, occasionally putting his arms down at his side. Eventually, Schmitt bullied towards Nowry but was sidestepped and takedown to fall behind 5-1, which represented the final score. Nowry will now take on Dogus Ayazci (TUR) in the semis later on today.
Roberts enjoyed a bye to the quarterfinals where he faced off with two-time Kristijan Palusalu winner Viktor Petryk (UKR). Up 1-0 in the first, Roberts converted on a pair of takedowns shortly thereafter, the second of which was challenged by Ukraine a resulted in another point to widen the gap to 6-0. Roberts chugged, chugged, chugged the rest of the way, out-hustling Petryk in nearly each exchange, though no additional points were added to the total. In a little while, Roberts will meet up with the well-traveled Maksim Kazharski of Belarus with a spot in the 60-kilogram finals on the line.
One of the most anticipated matches of the morning came in the 63-kilogram quarters, as Thielke battled 2016 Rio Olympic bronze Stig-Andre Berge (NOR, world no. 5). It was a match-up that seemed to favor Thielke and he demonstrated why quickly in the opening period when he nailed his patented duck-to-bodylock combo for a takedown. Thielke did very well managing the tempo into the second period, but of course, passivity had to play a role. Berge received a point and subsequent opportunity from top, using it to crank a front headlock roll for two, thus assuming a 3-2 lead he would not relinquish. Berge has a tough match in the semis opposite Abdol Mohamed Papi (IRI), who is back to being competitively active in 2018.
Geordan Speiller (82 kg, Florida Jets) erased a 2-0 deficit to down Petr Novak (CZE) via criteria 2-2. In the quarters, he resumed acquaintances with 2014 World Champion Peter Bacsi (HUN, world no. 14). US fans may remember that Speiller and Bacsi had gone back and forth the past two seasons. In 2016, Speiller defeated Bacsi; and last year, Bacsi got past Speiller, with both matches taking place at the Hungarian Grand Prix. In their match a year ago, Bacsi scored on an early four-point arm throw to emerge victorious 4-0. It was an eerily similar outcome this time around. Once again, Bacsi surprised Speiller in the first period with an arm throw, forcing Speiller to play a game of catch-up. The US athlete did grab a passive point later in the second, but that was it, as Bacsi earned the 4-1 decision. He will now meet Edgar Babayan (POL) in the semis, and if he wins, Speiller will have a shot at bronze tomorrow.
2016 Junior World medalist Taylor LaMont (Sunkist) was on the wrong side of a 7-1 decision against Erik Torba (HUN). LaMont kept it close and had a few looks in the latter stages of the bout, but Torba wound up with a four-point belly-to-back dump off that all but put the score out of reach. Torba will lock up with Sweden’s Ardit Faziljija in the semis and a win there would pull LaMont back in for Sunday’s repechage.
- 2017 Junior World Champion Kamal Bey (Sunkist) had his moments but ultimately succumbed to a 5-5 criteria loss at the hands of Khalid Kerchiyev (SWE).
- Both Patrick Martinez (87 kg, NYAC) and Adam Coon (130 kg, Cliff Keen WC) dropped their only bouts of the morning, as both of their opponents failed to advance to the finals.
- In his first Greco bout since April’s US Open, Joe Rau (87 kg, Chicago RTC) was knocked twice for passivity, though he nearly pulled it off at the last second with a step-out point, ultimately falling 2-1 to Aleksandar Stjepanetic (SWE).
- National Team member Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP), competing internationally for the first time since becoming a Senior athlete, fought valiantly against 2017 European Championships runner-up Aliaksandr Hrabovic (BLR) but dropped the qualification-round match 5-0.
- G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist) did not compete due to injury and Jon Jay Chavez (72 kg, NYAC/FLWC) chose to forgo entering the tournament.
2018 GRAND PRIX OF GERMANY
All times local (+6 hours EST)
Saturday, August 18th
10:00 am-5:00 pm: Qualification rounds
6:30 pm-8:30 pm: Semifinals
TEAM USA RESULTS
*2018 US World Team member
*Sam Hazewinkel (Sunkist)
LOSS Fabian Schmitt (GER) 10-2, TF
LOSS Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) 3-0
Max Nowry (Army/WCAP)
WIN Sam Hazewinkel (Sunkist) 3-0
WIN Fabian Schmitt (GER) 5-1
vs. Dogus Ayazci (TUR)
*Dalton Roberts (NYAC/OTS)
WIN Viktor Petryk (UKR) 6-0
vs. Maksim Kazharski (BLR)
Taylor LaMont (Sunkist)
LOSS Erik Torba (HUN) 7-1
*Jesse Thielke (NYAC/LOG)
LOSS Stig-Andre Berge (NOR) 3-2
*Kamal Bey (Sunkist)
LOSS Khalid Kerchiyev (SWE) 5-5 (criteria)
*Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets)
WIN Petr Novak (CZE) 2-2 (criteria)
LOSS Peter Bacsi (HUN) 4-1
*Patrick Martinez (NYAC)
LOSS Amer Hrustanovic (AUT) 5-1
Joe Rau (Chicago RTC)
LOSS Aleksandar Stjepanetic (SWE) 2-1
Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Aliaksandr Hrabovic (BLR) 5-0
*Adam Coon (Cliff Keen WC)
LOSS Kyril Hryshchanka (BLR) 5-1