Five US Greco-Roman wrestlers are set to compete tomorrow on Day 2 of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Szombathely, Hungary. Three of those competitors will be compressed into one weight class, as Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets, world no. 19), Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm), and John Stefanowicz (Marines) are hitting the mats at 80 kilograms. The next highest weight being competed tomorrow, 98 kilograms, sees Daniel Miller (Marines) try to make it two medal performances in a row overseas. If you recall, Miller earned an impressive bronze at the Paris International in January. Of course, the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix also means the return of 2014 World Team member and 2016 Olympic Trials champ Joe Rau (Minnesota Storm). Rau has not been in action since last May due to recovery from knee surgery and is looking to get going again in advance of the US World Team Trials.
Stefanowicz is starting off tomorrow in the round of 16 with a tough assignment — 2014 World Champion and 2016 Olympian Peter Bacsi (HUN, world no. 5 at 75 kg). Most recently, Stefanowicz barely missed out on a medal at the Dave Schultz Memorial and took second overall at the Armed Forces Championships last month. He drew a much more accomplished and seasoned competitor in Bacsi, that is without dispute. However, Stefanowicz is a wrestler who is constantly improving and with the lack of forced par terre, will have a chance to turn the bout with Bacsi into the kind of dogfight he excels in.
For one Barrett Stanghill, he, too, didn’t draw a cookie. Starting in the qualifying round, Stanghill has Pavel Pominchuk (BLR, world no. 16), who won this event last year and US fans may remember, also defeated Patrick Martinez (NYAC) at the Pytlasinski Open during the summer. Stanghill, formerly a part of the Northern Michigan program, has seen his stock rise since he’s been with the Storm. Pominchuk represents a difficult test, but Stanghill is is getting stronger in every facet of his game. He’s also dangerous once he gets into positions he likes, making this one contest to pay attention to. Also in the qualifying round is Speiller, who is facing off with 2014 University World silver Aleksandr Kukhta (UKR). Speiller returned following a pronounced layoff for the Schultz, where he got past 2016 Olympian Mahmoud Sebi (EGY) to earn gold. He then followed that up with a one-match tournament win at the Granma Cup in Cuba two weeks later.
In keeping up with the theme of challenging first-round draws, Rau is lacing them back up for a showdown with 2013 World and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Javid Gamzatov (BLR, world no. 3 at 85 kg) in the round of 16. Gamzatov took silver at this event last year. Miller, also in the round of 16, will be meeting up with Fodor Tamas (HUN) to kick off his day of competition.
Day 2 begins tomorrow morning at 9am (4am EST). We will be providing live coverage and analysis both during and following the US performances.
US Greco-Roman Draws — 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix Day 2
John Stefanowicz (Marines) vs. Peter Bacsi (HUN)
Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm) vs. Pavel Pominchuk (BLR)
Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) vs. Aleksandr Kukhta (UKR)
Joe Rau (Minnesota Storm) vs. Javid Gamzatov (BLR)
Daniel Miller (Marines) vs. Fodor Tamas (HUN)