It has been a day of returns so far at the Greco Roman portion of the 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial, but not necessarily resurgences.
The hottest weight class of the morning session was the lightest one, though you-know-who helped with that. 2016 Olympian Jesse Thielke (NYAC) was stepping into competition for the first time since Rio and quickly got past veteran Roger Stewart (NYAC) with a tech in only :48. Unfortunately for Thielke, he couldn’t keep the ball rolling very long. In his next bout against Egyptian Mostafa Mohamed, Thielke had trouble getting his offense ignited as Mohamed did his best to control the pace and search for arm throws.
Down 1-0 towards the end of the first period, Thielke turned a Mohamed arm-throw attempt into a front-headlock roll. In the ensuing sequence, both wrestlers were awarded two, making the score 3-2 in favor of Egypt. Later on in the second, Mohamed finally picked up points off of an arm throw for another two and a 5-2 lead, which is how the match ended, sending Thielke into the consolation bracket.
Sammy Jones (NYAC-OTS) finds himself in the 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial finals at 59 kilograms for the second consecutive year and was forced to go through two NMU teammates to get there. Jones turned back both Randon Miranda (NYAC-OTS) and Dalton Roberts (NYAC-OTS) by scores of 8-0 and 12-1, respectively. This afternoon, he will be meeting up with Japan’s Masuto Kawana.
RaVaughn Perkins (71 kg, NYAC) didn’t appear to have any ring rust in his return to action. Battling it out with Je Frim Sambula (HON), Perkins assumed command and never relented. Wrestling without forced par terre for the first (and maybe only) time, Perkins exhumed confidence in the ties and earned a passivity point and step-out in the first to take a 2-0 lead. In the second stanza, the 24-year old cinched up a bodylock at the edge, brought it down for four, and then rolled Sambula over for an 8-0 technical fall and a trip to the finals, where he will meet Shogo Takahashi (JPN).
Bey/Porter renew hostilities; Provisor on a mission
Two of the sport’s most exciting young stars are set to collide yet again at 75 kilograms, as Kamal Bey (Sunkist) and Jesse Porter (NYAC-OTS) will continue on with what might turn out to be one of Greco’s most enduring rivalries. Bey and Porter first went at it on the national stage in the finals of the Junior World Team Trials, where Bey prevailed two matches to one. They got the chance to greet each other again in the US Senior Nationals finals in December but in that bout, all of the drama was dashed virtually immediately when Bey tossed Porter a couple of times in the opening seconds.
Bey reached the finals thanks to a no-nonsense tech over Roni Sosa (ARG) in the quarterfinals followed by another in the semis against 2016 Junior World Team member Kodai Sakuraba (JPN). For his part, Porter has appeared to be on his game and then some leading up. Three technical falls including one over popular scrapper Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) have been his day so far, thus setting the stage for another showdown between the two.
85 kilos is also a place of interest. If Kevin Radford (Sunkist) is at all interested in proving he’s for real, he took the first step by surviving against Khymba Johnson (NYAC) 8-4 in what was a rematch of the National final, which Radford won, as well. An interesting turning point in this bout came with Johnson up 3-0. He collected Radford to the mat off a slip and proceeded to gut him over. Radford was shaken up during the melee. Shortly after recovering, Radford came through with what was initially scored five points off of a lateral, though Johnson reversed position immediately for a point. Following a challenge by NYAC, the scoring was corrected to four points for a 4-4 Radford criteria lead.
In the second period, Radford began coming on even more. He poked and prodded for openings, finding success in exchanges despite not converting for points. With just over 30 seconds remaining, Radford put the nail in this one when he got behind Johnson for two and gutted him over for two more and an important 8-4 win.
His finals opponent won’t be a cookie.
Maybe Ben Provisor (NYAC) doesn’t have anything to prove but even should that be the case, he hasn’t been wrestling like that today. Provisor started off by marching through Adrian Salas (unattached) on the strength of a a takedown, step-outs, and then another takedown/gut combination. In the semifinals, Vaughn Monreal-Berner (Marines) surprised the two-time Olympian with four points off of a loose scramble to jump out in front. Provisor answered right back with a snap-and-spin to two gutwrenches and a 6-4 lead.
The conclusive frame saw Provisor pick up two points by pressuring Monreal-Berner into the mat where he spun behind once more. This was the formula. Provisor, ever the immovable object, stayed committed to his snaps and shucks, keeping the Marine wrestler off-balance. With under a minute left, Provisor uppercutted an underhook with his right arm and clasped around for a twisting bodylock that led to another takedown and the match-ending two points. The 12-4 technical fall win for Provisor puts him against Radford in what could be a World Team Trials final preview.
You wanted more? You got it!
Bey and Porter might have their own thing going on but in terms of rivalries, G’Angelo Hancock (98 kg, NYAC) and Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm) are also doing their part. The two originally met in the finals of the Bill Farrell/NYAC Open where Hancock emerged with a 2-0 win. A month later in Vegas, Hancock earned his first Senior National gold with a passivity-laden 2-1 victory over the imposing former North Dakota State University grappler. Now it’s all about round three.
Zillmer punched his ticket to the finals with a 1-1 criteria win over last year’s Dave Schultz Memorial International champ, Kevin Mejia Castillo (HON). The predictably tight affair saw Zillmer trying to keep upright while torquing inside for positions he could capitalize on. They weren’t to be, though his output bought him some time to work. Castillo nursed a 1-0 lead into the second period when Zillmer picked up his own point and stalked the rest of the way.
Unlike Zillmer, Hancock did not have a bye to the semis. Instead, he got some work in, although the “work” didn’t last too long. Hancock opened up with a blistering 9-0 defeat of Thomas Barreiro (Tristar) in just :40. In the semifinal, the 19-year old wunderkind was on a similarly scary level versus Yuta Nara (JPN), ending this affair 8-0 in 1:08.
- Dalton Roberts (NYAC-OTS) defeated Junior World teammate and bronze medalist Taylor LaMont (CWC) 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Roberts lost to Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP) in the consolation semifinals. Incidentally, Fuenffinger pinned Thielke in the match before that.
- Curt Colovecchi (75 kg, NMU-OTS) picked up what is perhaps the biggest win of his career in the consolation bracket. He defeated Sakuraba via tech fall 14-4.
- Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) might not be staying at 80 kilograms, but has looked just fine in the higher weight class. Speiller tech’ed Courtney Myers (Army/WCAP) before coming away victorious against Shoei Yabiku (JPN) 6-3. He is in the finals opposite 2016 Olympian Mahmoud Sebie (EGY).
2017 Dave Schultz Memorial International Finals Pairings
59 kg: Sammy Jones (NYAC-OTS) vs Masuto Kawana (JPN)
66 kg: Alex Sancho (NYAC-OTS) vs Tsuchika Shimoyamada (JPN)
71 kg: RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) vs Shogo Takahashi (JPN)
75 kg: Kamal Bey (Sunkist) vs Jesse Porter (NYAC-OTS)
80 kg: Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) vs Mahmoud Sebie (EGY)
85 kg: Kevin Radford (Sunkist) vs Ben Provisor (NYAC)
98 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (NYAC) vs Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm)
130 kg: Malcom Allen (Minnesota Storm) vs Pete Gounaridis (Army/WCAP)
Finals are set for 4:00 pm MT. Consolation medal rounds are being contested at press time. We will have a full report later on covering both the finals and the placewinners. For those not in attendance, all of the action can be found on Flowrestling.org.