Sam Hazewinkel storms into World Team Trials finals in Greco

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | June 13, 2014, 12:57 p.m. (ET)
2012 freestyle Olympian Sam Hazewinkel, who last wrestled Greco full-time in 2009, advanced to the finals of the World Team Trials on Friday. David Peterson photo.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sam Hazewinkel was more than eager to have another shot to make a U.S. World Team.

Two weeks after falling in the finals of the World Team Trials in freestyle, Hazewinkel landed a spot in the World Team Trials in Greco-Roman on Friday at the Ocean Center Exhibit Hall. 

Hazewinkel defeated Max Nowry 2-2 on criteria to win the Challenge Tournament on Friday afternoon at 59 kg/130 lbs.

“I feel good – I can’t complain,” said Hazewinkel, a 2012 Olympian in freestyle. “My timing is just a touch off, but for not doing Greco for a while I feel real good out there. Freestyle has helped me where I’m used to moving around more, and it helps me with level changes and creating angles in Greco. My conditioning’s real good from training for the freestyle Trials.” 

Hazewinkel advances to face a familiar foe in two-time Olympian and four-time World Team member Spenser Mango in the best-of-3 final-round series.

Mango earned an automatic spot in the finals by virtue of finishing in the top five in the World in 2013. 

The World Team Trials finals are set for 6 p.m. in Daytona Beach.

“We’ve probably wrestled each other about 10 times,” said Hazewinkel, who was second to Mango in the 2008 Olympic Trials. “I need to wrestle my match. If I make a mistake, he’s going to capitalize. I need to stay in good position. He’s been at the top for the last six years and he’s been there for a reason. I have to be ready and I have to come after him.” 

The U.S. is holding separate World Team Trials for freestyle and Greco-Roman for the first time in 15 years.

“I absolutely love having this opportunity,” Hazewinkel said. “Thanks for USA Wrestling for doing these Trials on different weekends. It’s a bummer that I’m 31 before we did this. I would have loved doing both Trials the whole time I’ve been wrestling. This is a step in the right direction. Given time I think a lot of athletes will do both.” 

Champions at the Trials advance to September’s World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Bryce Saddoris knocked off 2012 Olympian and 2013 World Team member Ellis Coleman 9-1 in the Challenge Tournament semifinals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. 

Saddoris now advances to Friday night’s best-of-3 final-round series against 2014 U.S. Open champion RaVaughn Perkins. Saddoris placed third at the Open.

Toby Erickson edged Erik Nye 1-0 to win the Challenge Tournament at 130 kg/286 lbs. Erickson advanced to face U.S. Open champion Robby Smith in the finals. Smith earned an automatic spot in the finals by virtue of finishing in the top five in the World in 2013. 

U.S. Open champion Andrew Bisek will meet U.S. Open runner-up Jon Anderson in the finals at 75 kg/165 lbs. Bisek is a two-time World Team member.

2013 World Team member Caylor Williams advanced to the finals against John Wechter at 98 kg/216 lbs. 2013 World Team member Jordan Holm will battle Zachary Nielsen in the finals at 85 kg/187 lbs. 

Jesse Thielke fell to Max Nowry 2-2 on criteria in the Challenge Tournament semifinals at 59 kg/130 lbs. Thielke placed eighth at the 2013 Worlds and won a bronze medal at the 2012 Junior Worlds.

The final two World Team spots in Greco-Roman, in the two non-Olympic weight classes, will be determined at the Phase II World Team Trials in late July in Fargo, N.D. 

U.S. World Team Trials

June 13

Ocean Center, Daytona Beach Fla.

Finals matchups 

59 kg/130 lbs.

Spenser Mango, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP) vs. Sam Hazewinkel (Norman, Okla./Minnesota Storm)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.

RaVaughn Perkins (Omaha, Neb./RRPN) vs. Bryce Saddoris (Camp Lejeune, N.C./U.S. Marines) 

75 kg/165 lbs.

Andrew Bisek, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm) vs. Jon Anderson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)

85 kg/187 lbs.

Jordan Holm, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) vs. Zachary Nielsen, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) 

98 kg/215.5 lbs.

Caylor Williams (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) vs. John Wechter (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm)

130 kg/286 lbs.

Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) vs. Toby Erickson (East Helena, Mont./New York AC/USOEC)