USA Wrestling Top U.S. stars to ba...

Top U.S. stars to battle at Golden Grand Prix Final in Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 24-26

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Nov. 21, 2016, 6:20 p.m. (ET)

USA Wrestling is sending an exciting American squad to Baku, Azerbaijan, to compete in the Golden Grand Prix Final, including 2016 Olympian Frank Molinaro and Non-Olympic Weight World Team members Patrick Martinez and Sarah Hildebrandt.

Competition is scheduled to begin on Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day, with men’s freestyle, followed by women’s freestyle on Friday and Greco-Roman on Saturday.

Molinaro, who broke out as an American freestyle star this year, recently wrapped up his first Olympic Games with a fifth-place finish at 65 kg, getting edged out by 2015 World champion Frank Chamizo in the bronze-medal bout.

In addition to the Olympics, Molinaro has seen tons of international competition over the last few months, winning medals at the Pan-American Championships and Germany Grand Prix as well as going undefeated at the Men’s Freestyle World Cup.

He’ll be surrounded by freestyle talent in two-time World Team member Tony Ramos, 2015 World Team member Zach Rey and internationally experienced Alan Waters, Austin Trotman, Richard Perry, J.T. Felix and Dustin Kilgore.

Greco-Roman star Martinez has been one of the busiest competitors this year, medaling at several international tournaments, including bronzes from the Pan-American Championships, Grand Prix of Spain, Pytlasinski International and Grand Prix Zagreb Open.

He recently made his second Senior World Team, taking the 80 kg spot for the Non-Olympic Weight World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in December. Martinez was also a World Team member in 2015. This weekend, he is expected to compete at 85 kg.

Other Greco wrestlers joining him are Pan-American Championships gold medalists Pat Smith (2015) at 71 kg and Cheney Haight (2016) at 80 kg.

Hildebrandt made her first Senior World Team in early-November for the World Championships in December at 55 kg, defeating Whitney Conder in a best two-of-three finals series.

The two-time Junior World Team member won two silver medals in both international tournaments she competed in this year, including the Klippan Lady Open and the Dave Schultz Memorial International.

She is joined by a star-studded women’s freestyle roster, including 2012 Olympian and 2016 Olympic Team Trials champion Kelsey Campbell, 2016 Olympic Team Trials champion Tamyra Mensah, three-time World Team member Whitney Conder and two-time Junior World champion Victoria Anthony.

The event provides prize money to medalists, including $5,000 for gold, $3,000 for silver and $1,000 for bronze.

United World Wrestling is expected to live stream the event.

Fans can also follow the action daily on and through USA Wrestling’s social media outlets.

Baku, Azerbaijan :: Nov. 24-26

U.S. men’s freestyle roster

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Tony Ramos, Chapel Hill, N.C. (Sunkist Kids)
61 kg/134 lbs. – Alan Waters, Columbia, Mo. (Missouri Wrestling Foundation)
65 kg/143 lbs. – Frank Molinaro, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
86 kg/189 lbs. – Austin Trotman, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC)
86 kg/189 lbs. – Richard Perry, Philadelphia, Pa. (NYAC)
97 kg/213 lbs. – Dustin Kilgore, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
97 kg/213 lbs. – JT Felix, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Titan Mercury WC/Cliff Keen WC)
125 kg/275 lbs. – Zach Rey, Bethlehem, Pa. (Lehigh Valley WC)
Coach – Jeff Buxton, Easton, Pa.
Coach – Kenny Monday, Chapel Hills, N.C.

U.S. women’s freestyle roster
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Victoria Anthony, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Whitney Conder, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Sarah Hildebrandt, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC/OTC)
58 kg/127.5 lbs. – Kelsey Campbell, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
69 kg/152 lbs. – Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC)
U.S. Women’s Freestyle National Coach – Terry Steiner, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Izzy Izboinikov, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo.

U.S. Greco-Roman roster
71 kg/156 lbs. – Pat Smith, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
80 kg/176 lbs. – Cheney Haight, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC/USOTC)
85 kg/187 lbs. – Patrick Martinez, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC)
U.S. Greco-Roman National Coach – Matt Lindland, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Matt Ghaffari, Avon Lake, Ohio

Medical – Terry Grindstaff, LaVista, Neb.
Referee – Cody Hesser, Gonzalez, La.

Thursday, Nov. 24 – Men’s freestyle (all weights)
Friday, Nov. 25 – Women’s freestyle (all weights)
Saturday, Nov. 26 – Greco-Roman (all weights)