Dalton Roberts celebrates at the 2018 U.S. Open on April 27, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Dalton Roberts’ “warrior spirit” helped him earn a silver medal as the Grand Prix of Germany Greco-Roman wrestling competition wrapped up Sunday in Dortmund, Germany.
In trouble 3-1 in the second period of his bout against Maxim Kazharski of Belarus in Saturday’s 60 kg. semifinal, Roberts closed the gap with a point on passivity and added a late takedown. The Belarusians threw the challenge brick, but it was denied, advancing Roberts to the gold-medal final with Hungary’s Erik Torba Sunday morning.
Roberts’s intelligence and never-give-up attitude led U.S. Greco-Roman coach Matt Lindland to praise his “true warrior spirit,” something that has served the 22-year-old from Michigan since the very beginning of his career, when he posted a losing record as a high school freshman in Fowlerville, Michigan.
He’s come a long way since. Though he was defeated 8-2 by Torba, a former world junior bronze medalist, Roberts walks away with Team USA’s only medal of the weekend.
Roberts was named USA Wrestling’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Aug. 14, thanks to his strong performances at the world team training camp.
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Four other U.S. wrestlers had a chance to crack the medals in Dortmund. Max Nowry came closest to earning some hardware, wrestling his way into the bronze-medal match in the 55 kg. weight class. There he faced off against Germany’s Fabian Schmitt, who took revenge for the 5-1 loss Nowry handed him in an earlier preliminary bout. Schmitt defeated Nowry 6-3 to take the match and the bronze, leaving the 28-year-old American veteran fourth.
After defeats on Saturday, Taylor LaMont, Patrick Martinez and Geordan Speiller all lived to wrestle another day through repechage, which gives wrestlers new life if the opponent they lose to in the preliminary rounds advances to the gold-medal round.
LaMont advanced to the bronze-medal match in 60 kg. on a forfeit by Poland’s Dawid Ersetic, but lost his final bout 9-0 to Sweden’s Ardit Fazliija.
Despite the second chance afforded by the repechage, Speiller, wrestling at 82 kg., and Martinez, at 87 kg., were unable to reach the medal rounds in their respective weight class. Speiller fell to Germany’s Roland Schwarz 8-0, while Martinez was unable to overcome Sweden’s Aleksandar Stepanetic, 5-5 by criteria.
Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.