Stefanowicz upsets Speiller as Greco World Team Trials finals are set at 66 kg, 80 kg, 98 kg and 130 kg

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | April 28, 2017, 9:18 p.m. (ET)

Alex Sancho throws Anthonie Linares in the World Team Trials semifinals. Photo by John Sachs, tech-fall.com.

 
VIDEO: Greco-Roman World Team Trials interviews
 
LAS VEGAS –
The finals have been set for the 2017 Greco-Roman World Team Trials at 66 kg/145 lbs., 80 kg/176 lbs., 98 kg/215 lbs., and 130 kg/286 lbs. at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas.

John Stefanowicz (Hubert, N.C./Marines) highlights the group of finalists, beating out 80 kg favorite Geordan Speiller (Oviedo, Fla./Florida Jets) in the semifinals with a 3-2 decision.

Speiller led 2-1 after the first period, but Stefanowicz executed a two-point arm throw to take the lead and the win.

“It’s something huge,” Stefanowicz said. “You keep wondering every time you lose whether or not you can get there if you almost made it to the finals. I’m lucky enough today with the training that I’ve had with Coach Loukides and my entire team. They’ve really been stepping it up coming out here. I’ve got to have the better end today. Today will be my day.”

Earlier in the day, Stefanowicz, who finished fifth at U.S. Nationals in December, recorded a 9-1 technical fall over Richard Carlson (Arden Hills, Minn./Minnesota Storm) in the quarterfinals.

Stefanowicz will go head-to-head with 2011 World Team member Cheney Haight (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) in the finals.

Haight, a five-time National Team member, has put together a solid tournament thus far, dominating Brad Johnson (U.S. Air Force) with a first-period tech fall before outlasting the 2017 Armed Forces champion Courtney Myers (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP), 2-1, in the semis.

The other three weights’ finals will feature familiar foes.

2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) and two-time National Team member Alejandro Sancho (Miami, Fla./New York AC) will add another chapter to their saga tonight in the 66 kg finals.

Sancho holds a 2-1 lead in the series with wins coming from the 2016 Olympic Trials at 66 kg and the 2016 World Team Trials at 71 kg.

Coleman won the most recent matchup between the two at the U.S. Senior Nationals finals in December, taking a tightly contested 2-2 win on criteria.

On the day, Sancho has blazed through the competition, defeating Sahid Kargbo (Alexandria, Va./Patriot Elite WC) with a 12-6 decision in the quarterfinals before putting up a huge five pointer against Anthonie Linares (San Jose, Calif./New York AC) to seal a technical fall win and his spot in the finals.

Coleman started the day with a come-from-behind win against Raymond Bunker (Villa Park, Ill./U.S. Marines), who went up early, 4-0. Coleman grinded out step-out and passivity points before putting together a four-point throw to win, 8-4.

In the semis, he defeated Brian Graham with a 4-1 decision.

G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/Sunkist Kids) and Hayden Zillmer (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) will meet for the fourth time since November at 98 kg.

Their previous three meetings have all been in tournament finals.

2016 Junior World bronze medalist Hancock holds a 3-0 advantage, defeating Zillmer at the 2016 Bill Farrell, 2017 U.S. Nationals and 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial International.

Collectively, the three bouts have been decided by only five points.

To earn his way to the finals, Hancock put up a pair of commanding wins, giving up only one point.

He teched Duke wrestler Jacob Kasper (Mansfield, Ohio/Blue Blood Wrestling Club) in the quarters with a 9-1 score, and then went on to shut out Enock Francois (Ithaca, N.Y./New York AC), 5-0.

“My main focus has been cardio. I want to wear out whoever I wrestle,” Hancock said. “I don’t think my technique is all the way there, but right now I’m sound and confident in myself and my coaches. I think my technique is kind of sound, so my goal is to go in there and have the cardio to go the distance with him.”

Zillmer registered an 8-0 tech fall over Austin Schafer (Edmond, Okla./Bronchos Wrestling Club) to start his tournament before edging out James Souza (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) with a 6-4 decision in the semifinals.

At 130 kg, 2016 Olympian Robby Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) and Toby Erickson (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) will meet again for the third time in World Team Trials finals.

Smith has made two of his three World Teams by defeating Erickson in the finals.

2017 U.S. Senior Nationals champion and No. 1 seed Erickson teched his way to the finals, taking out Pete Gounaridis (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) in the quarters, 9-0, before executing an 8-0 win over Malcolm Allen (Mankato, Minn./Minnesota Storm).

Smith made a steady comeback in the quarterfinals, going down early, 4-0, to Eric Fader (Jacksonville, N.C./U.S. Marines). A series of takedowns along with a four-pointer earned Smith the 10-4 win. In the semis, he defeated Jacob Mitchell (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) with a 7-0 decision.

“I feel great. Moving right along. I got the finals tonight. I have to take it one match at a time and one point at a time. Get through that, then off to Paris,” Smith said.

The finals are a best-of-three series and are scheduled to start tonight at 6:30 P.T. The finals will be streamed live on FloWrestling.org.

2017 GRECO-ROMAN WORLD TEAM TRIALS
April 27 at South Point Hotel in Las Vegas

Finals matchups

66 kg: Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army WCAP) vs. Alejandro Sancho (New York AC)
80 kg: Cheney Haight (New York AC) vs. John Stefanowicz (Marines)
98 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (NYAC/Sunkist Kids) vs. Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm
)
130 kg: Toby Erickson (U.S. Army WCAP) vs. Robby Smith (New York AC)

Semifinals results

66 kg
Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army WCAP) dec. Brian Graham (Minnesota Storm), 4-1
Alejandro Sancho (New York AC) tech. fall Anthonie Linares (New York AC), 8-0

80 kg
Cheney Haight (New York AC) dec. Courtney Myers (U.S. Army WCAP), 2-1
John Stefanowicz (Marines) dec. Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets), 3-2

98 kg
G’Angelo Hancock (NYAC/Sunkist Kids) dec. Enock Francois (New York AC), 5-0
Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm
) dec. James Souza (U.S. Army WCAP), 6-4

130 kg
Toby Erickson (U.S. Army WCAP) tech. fall Malcolm Allen (Minnesota Storm), 8-0
Robby Smith (New York AC) dec. Jacob Mitchell (U.S. Army WCAP), 7-0