Coleman, Haight, Hancock and Smith win spots on 2017 Greco-Roman World Team

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | April 29, 2017, 1:44 a.m. (ET)

G'Angelo Hancock celebrates making his first Senior World Team. Photo by John Sachs, 

 LAS VEGAS – Four of the eight Greco-Roman 2017 World Team spots were determined Friday night at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas.

World Team members at 80 kg/187 lbs., 98 kg/215 lbs. and 130 kg/286 lbs. were decided in two matches, while it took three matches to determine the World Team member at 66 kg/145 lbs.

The exciting rivalry between Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) and Alejandro Sancho (Miami, Fla./New York AC) continued on Friday night.

To open the three-match series at 66 kg, Coleman was on the board first when Sancho was penalized for passivity in the first period to lead 1-0 at the break.

Coleman got a second point on passivity early in the second period, but Sancho cut Coleman’s lead in half, 2-1, with 1:30 left when Coleman was hit for passivity.

Coleman was awarded two more points for Sancho pulling on the fingers, but Sancho picked up a caution and two against to make it 4-3. It was not enough as Coleman took the first win.

All three points in the second bout were scored on passivity. This time, it was Sancho coming out on top with a 2-1 win to force the series to a third match.

The rubber match featured more intensity as the two laid it all on the mat.

Halfway through the second period, Sancho held criteria with the score locked at 1-1. Coleman drew a passivity point against Sancho to the lead with seconds left. Sancho kicked it into high gear, attempting a flying squirrel and looked to force a step out but fell short.

Sancho’s corner challenged, looking for a fleeing the hold call but it was denied, giving Coleman a 3-1 win and the World Team Trials championship.

“I know [Sancho] likes to throw but I’m going push the pace,” Coleman said. “You got a guy who’s really, really strong, you work him out and you wear him down and he’s not as strong. You got a guy who’s really athletic, you wear him down and he’s not as athletic. You got a guy with great cardio, that’s a banger. That’s a head to head match, you have to figure something out. But he’s a thrower. I get him tired and he can’t throw anymore. He forces throws and I score on him. I made him wrestle my match every single match.”

With the win, Coleman earned a spot on the U.S. World Team for the second time. His first trip to the World Championships came in 2013. He also represented the U.S. in the London Olympics in 2012.

The series between Coleman and Sancho is now tied at 3 apiece.

2016 Junior World bronze medalist G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/Sunkist Kids) made his first Senior World Team tonight, defeating Hayden Zillmer (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) in straight matches at 98 kg.

“[Making the World Team] is just a stepping stone, 100 percent. The goal is to be the best in the world. I’m not where I want to be yet but I’m getting there,” Hancock said.

In the first match, Hancock scored the first point on a passivity against Zillmer to lead 1-0 at the break. In an active exchange, Zillmer scored a two-point throw, followed by a big five-point throw by Hancock to make it 6-2. Zillmer added a point on a step-out and then a passivity, but the clock ran out with Hancock holding a 6-4 advantage.

To wrap up his spot on the World Team, Hancock held off Zillmer, who scored early with a four-point throw. The call was challenged and overturned, due to a leg foul.

Able to draw two passivity calls against Zillmer, Hancock slid by with a 2-0 win in the bout.

“As [Zillmer and I] have met before in the past I was just growing, growing,” Hancock said. “I feel like now I’m not near my final stage, but I’m starting to spread the gap and that’s what my coaches are trying to train me to do and that’s what I’m trying to do myself.”

Hancock also expressed he plans to also go out for the Junior World Team in a delayed wrestle-off later this year.

2016 Olympian and now-four-time World Team member Robby Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) proved he is still the man at 130 kg, beating out Toby Erickson (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) for the World Team spot.

To kick off the series, Smith led 1-0 after the first period, thanks to passivity against Erickson. In the second, Smith was hit for passivity, allowing Erickson to tie it at 1-1. A second passivity against Erickson made it 2-1 for Smith.

In the second bout, Smith ran out to a quick 7-0 lead by way of a takedown and arm throw. He pressed for the pin and got the fall in 1:04 to win his fourth World Team spot in style.

“People thought I was done. People thought I didn’t have it. I proved right there I have it and proved right there I’m going to get a medal. It’s my year,” Smith said. “I don’t understand the doubters. It is what it is, doubt me. I love it. I love being the underdog. I’ve been on top for so long, but when you make me the underdog, I have something to feed off of. Don’t pay attention to me. Think I’m garbage because I’ll prove you wrong.”

 At 80 kg, Cheney Haight (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) defeated John Stefanowicz (Hubert, N.C./Marines) in two matches.

In the first match, Haight scored a takedown and a step-out to make it 3-0 for Haight at the break. Stefanowicz received a point in the second period on a passivity against Haight, but no other points were scored the rest of the way, giving Haight a 2-1 win in bout one.

Haight proved to be the aggressor, once again, in match, scoring on an arm throw early in the first. Similar to the first match, Stefanowicz cut the score in half, heading into the break.

The nail in the coffin came late in the second period when Haight drew a passivity from Stefanowicz to win the bout 3-1 and earn a spot on his second World Team.

The remaining four Greco-Roman weights (59 kg, 71 kg, 75 kg and 85 kg) will be contested tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. All the action can be seen live on

April 28 at South Point Hotel in Las Vegas

Best-of-three championship finals

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Ellis Coleman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP) vs. Alejandro Sancho (New York AC), two matches to one
Bout One – Colman dec. Sancho, 4-3
Bout Two – Sancho dec. Coleman, 2-1
Bout Three – Coleman dec. Sancho, 3-1

80 kg/176 lbs. - Cheney Haight, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. John Stefanowicz, Camp LeJeune, N.C. (Marines), two matches to none
Bout One – Haight dec. Stefanowicz, 3-1
Bout Two – Haight dec. Stefanowicz, 3-1

98 kg/215 lbs. -  G’Angelo Hancock, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC/Sunkist Kids) dec. Hayden Zillmer, Crosby, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), two matches to none
Bout One – Hancock dec. Zillmer, 6-4
Bout Two – Hancock dec. Zillmer, 2-0

130 kg/286 lbs. - Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Toby Erickson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout One – Smith dec. Erickson, 2-1
Bout Two – Smith pin Erickson, 1:04

Greco-Roman Medal Matches

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
3rd - Brian Graham, Kansas City, Mo. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Anthonie Linares, Marquette, Mich. (NYAC), 5-1
5th - Jamal Dearmond, Marquette, Mich. (NYAC) dec. Jessy Williams, Marquette, Mich. (NYAC), 9-5
7th - Raymond Bunker, Villa Park, Ill. (U.S. Marines) dec. Colton Rasche, Emerald Isle, N.C. (U.S. Marines), 9-4

80 kg/176 lbs.
3rd - Courtney Myers Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Barrett Stanghill Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 6-1
5th - Richard Carlson Onalaska, Wis. (Minnesota Storm) forfeit over Geordan Speiller Oviedo, Fla. (Florida Jets)
7th - Nick Becker, Kenosha, Wis. (Grizzly WC) tech. fall Brandon Johnson, Spokane, Wash. (U.S. Air Force), 10-0, 1:13

98 kg/215 lbs.
3rd - Enock Francois, Ithaca, N.Y. (NYAC) dec. James Souza Colorado Springs, Colo (U.S. Army), 9-6
5th - Austin Schafer Edmond, Okla. (Bronchos WC) pin Jacob Kasper Mansfield, Ohio (Blue Blood WC), 1:39
7th - Daniel Miller Berlin, Md. (U.S. Marines) tech. fall Endhyr Meza Colorado Springs, CO (U.S. Army WCAP), 8-0 2:10

130 kg/286 lbs.
3rd - Jacob Mitchell, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) tech. fall Matt Voss, Fairfax, Va. (Patriot Elite WC), 10-0 1:36
5th - Malcolm Allen, New Rochelle, N.Y. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Parker Betts, St. Michael, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 6-4
7th - Eric Fader, Morrice, Mich. (U.S. Marines) pin Pete Gounaridis Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 2:32