Daniel Miller (98 kg, Marines) got even with a past opponent and Courtney Myers (80 kg, Army/WCAP) scored himself a nice first-round victory, but ultimately, Team USA Greco is leaving Lithuania without a medal following a second day of action that saw all four Americans tangle with serious foreign competition.
On Day 2 of the 2017 CISM World Military Wrestling Championships in Klaipeda, Miller opened up with a solid 7-1 win over Greece’s Spyridon Kountouratzis. Kountouratzis had defeated Miller prior at the 2016 World Wrestling Clubs Cup in Budapest 7-4. In the quarterfinals, Miller was turned back by Stardub Siarhei (BLR) 10-1. It was obviously not the result he was hoping for, but Marines head coach Jason Loukides saw value in his performance, especially against Greece.
“Daniel dominated in that first match,” Loukides said. “He wrestled kind of an aggressive pace to begin with and didn’t make any mistakes. The guy tried to throw him and he countered him to his back for two, but maybe it could have been a four. And then he got on and went to lift and gutted him. The guy tried to counter and then he gutted him again. He looked good.”
As is the case with all four wrestlers from Day 2, Miller’s performance on Saturday is a building block towards the new year.
“We obviously want to win, but he’s trying to hone in on his style and how he wants to adjust when matches start going different ways,” Loukides explained. “The first match he was able to stay completely within himself and use his power to score. That second match was a little bit different. He won the first passivity and then they were pummeling and he got slid-by a couple of times and front headlocked. So it wasn’t as good as the first match, but we’ll learn from it and the main thing is honing in on who he is, instead of trying to be like any particular person.”
Myers got off to a hot start by steamrolling 2015 Olympia Tournament champ Nikolaos Varkas (GRE) via 10-1 tech. Only, he couldn’t keep the momentum going and fell to Iran’s Ali Sharifi 6-3 in the 80 kilogram quarters. Andreii Antoniuk (UKR) tech’ed out Sharifi in the semifinals to officially end Myers’s bid for a medal.
“His first match, he (Myers) looked really good,” said Loukides. “He picked him up off his back, he was in the bridge. He picked him up and dropped Varkas down real hard for the pin and then they (officials) said ‘brutality’, and took it away and made them keep wrestling. And then he threw him again. It was over real quick.”
2017 US National Team member John Stefanowicz (Marines) entered into the CISM World Military Wrestling Championships up from 80 to 85 kilograms. He pressed 2016 Islamic Solidarity Games bronze Mahdi Fallah Hamidabiadi (IRI) as much as he could but found offense to be at a premium, dropping the bout 3-1. Hamidabiadi lost in the quarters to 2014 World bronze medalist and last year’s CISM World Champion Evegeni Saleev (RUS, world no. 16).
According to Stefanowicz, the weight wasn’t as much of an issue as the positioning and shaking some short-term rust off. It had been nearly five months since he last competed, so getting the call for the CISM Worlds served as a powerful reminder of what keeps him motivated.
“It’s great to experience high-level competition at a heavier weight,” Stefanowicz said earlier from Lithuania. “There is a large difference between what works and what doesn’t work at different weights, of course. I have been able to get opponents out of position, but getting to the body for an attack just wasn’t there. Position and tie-ups are huge here. It’s the first chance since April I’ve had a chance wrestle a match. It’s a perfect opportunity to use this, and any other tournaments I go to before the new year, as training opportunities to really hone in on techniques and game plans. A loss is never something to be happy about, but to get hung up on a loss in what could be considered our off-season isn’t beneficial in any way. There’s a much larger picture I have my heart and mind set on.”
His coach agrees not only with his charge’s overall assessment, but also thinks Stefanowicz looked pretty good at the higher weight class despite the result.
“He showed that he could definitely compete up at that weight and hopefully, it makes him believe it, too,” Loukides said. “He is right there with anybody. It was one little situation and maybe it could have been called a couple of different ways. Going out of bounds, Iran got two there and then shut down, he kept getting an underhook and holding the wrist, so it was hard for John to create any motion or get any action. But it was definitely a one takedown match.”
Young heavyweight Eric Fader (Marines) was looking to make an impression at his first World event, but had trouble keeping it going against 2017 Junior European Championships bronze medalist Lenard Istvan Berei (ROU) and found himself on the wrong side of a 12-4 technical fall. Fader got knocked out of the tournament altogether when Berei was defeated by Vasilii Parshin (RUS) in the 130 kilogram quarterfinals.
“Eric came out and was pretty comfortable,” informed Loukides. “He hit an arm throw right off the bat and was winning, but fell apart after that. He needs to become aware of how hard he needs to fight in matches. Sometimes, you just have to start pummeling, and this guy he was wrestling would have had to match his intensity. Eric is more out there looking for throws and other stuff, which obviously didn’t work out real well.”
2017 CISM WORLD MILITARY WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
TEAM USA DAY 2 RESULTS
80 kg: Courtney Myers (Army/WCAP)
WON Nikolaos Varkas (GRE) 10-1, TF
LOSS Ali Sharifi (IRI) 6-3
85 kg: John Stefanowicz (Marines)
LOSS Mahdi Fallah Hamidabiadi (IRI) 3-1
98 kg: Daniel Miller (Marines)
WON Spyridon Kountouratzis 7-1
LOSS Stardub Siarhei (BLR) 10-1, TF
130 kg: Eric Fader (Marines)
LOSS Lenard Istvan Berei (ROU) 12-4, TF
2017 CISM WORLD MILITARY WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS DAY 2 PLACEWINNERS
Gold: Andreii Antoniuk (UKR) def. Eltun Vazirzade (AZE) 2-1
Bronze: Azamat Khakulov (RUS) def. Ali Sharifi (IRI) 9-0, TF
Bronze: Rafik Manukyan (ARM) def. Damian Dietsche (SUI) 9-0, TF
Gold: Zhan Belenyuk (UKR) def. Evegeni Saleev (RUS) 2-1
Bronze: Mahdi Fallah Hamidabiadi (IRI) def. Toni Metsomaki (FIN) 8-1
Bronze: Islam Abbasov (AZE) def. Argisti Agbaryan (ARM) 5-0
Gold: Nikita Melnikov (RUS) def. Orkhan Nuriev (AZE) 4-1
Bronze: Yevhenii Seveta (UKR) Staradub Siarhei (BLR) 2-2 (criteria)
Bronze: Matti Elias Kousamanen (FIN) def. Alimulati Dalawubai (CHN) 5-1
Gold: Mantas Knystautas (LTU) def. Edgar Khachatryan (ARM) 9-2
Bronze: Vasilii Parshin (RUS) def. Armen Nasari (IRI) 5-2
Bronze: Heiki Nabi (EST) def. Lukasz Banak (POL) 4-0