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U.S. Greco-Roman World Team to headline tour for Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia on June 10-11

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | June 05, 2017, 5:47 p.m. (ET)

Ildar Hafizov battles Hayden Tuma in the 2017 Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Las Vegas. Hafizov is among four past Olympians competing for Team USA in Tbilisi, Georgia this weekend. Photo by John Sachs,

Seven members of the 2017 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team will compete in a major international competition this weekend, the Tbilisi Grand Prix in Tbilisi, Georgia on June 10-11. This tournament is held in honor of Georgian wrestlers V. Balavadze and G. Kartozia.

“It is important for us to get international matches, which are always valuable. We want to go against the best countries in the world. Everybody in the world will be there. We have received confirmation that many of the top teams will have their No. 1 or No. 2 wrestlers competing in Georgia,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland.

Four past Olympians are among the American competitors: Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) at 59 kg/130 lbs., Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Ben Provisor (Stevens Point, Wis./New York AC) at 85 kg/187.25 lbs. and Robbie Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 130 kg/286 lbs.

Provisor competed in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Hafizov was a 2008 Olympian for Uzbekistan, and has since become a U.S. citizen. Coleman competed in the 2012 Olympic Games, while Smith competed in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Smith has competed in three previous World Championships, while Coleman was a 2013 World Team member. Hafizov and Provisor will be wrestling in their first Senior World Championships for the USA.

Cheney Haight (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC), who wrestled in the 2011 World Championships and is on his second World Team, will enter at 80 kg/176 lbs. First-time U.S. Senior World Team members who will wrestle in Tbilisi include Patrick Smith (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 71 kg/156 lbs. and Mason Manville (Colorado Springs, Colo.?U.S. Army WCAP) at 74 kg/163 lbs.

The U.S. will have a delegation of 10 athletes wrestling in Tbilisi. After the competition in Georgia, the U.S. team will travel to Hungary for two weeks of intense training with the Hungarian National Greco-Roman team.

The other U.S. World Team member, G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 98 kg/215 lbs. will not compete in the tournament in Georgia, because he wrestled in Akron, Ohio this past weekend in a Special Wrestle-off for the Junior World Team, as well as in the University Nationals. Hancock will attend the tour for training, both in Georgia during the event as well as with the team in Hungary the following two weeks.

“By competing in early June, it is early enough for us to make the adjustments necessary to perform at our best at the World Championships, and hopefully return with many medals. The timing is better than going for competition and training later in July. We will return from this tour, our athletes will recover, then they will get in a good wrestling camp in July here at the Olympic Training Center,” said Lindland.

At Tbilisi, Georgia, June 10-11

U.S. Greco-Roman lineup

59 kg/130 lbs. - Ildar Hafizov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Ellis Coleman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
71 kg/156 lbs. - Patrick Smith, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
71 kg/156 lbs. - Alejandro Sancho, Miami, Fla. (New York AC/NMU-OTS)
75 kg/165 lbs. - Mason Manville, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
75 kg/165 lbs. - Nick Tarpley, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
80 kg/176 lbs. - Cheney Haight, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
80 kg/176 lbs. - John Jay Chavez, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC)
85 kg/187.5 lbs. - Ben Provisor, Stevens Point, Wis. (New York AC)
130 kg/286 lbs. - Robbie Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
National Greco-Roman Coach: Matt Lindland, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Assistant National Greco-Roman Coach: Momir Petkovic, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
Coach: Glenn Nieradka, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach: Herbert House, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Event Schedule

Saturday, June 10
Greco-Roman: 59 kg, 71 kg, 80 kg. 98 kg (Hafizov, Smith, Sancho, Haight, Chavez)

Sunday, June 11
Greco-Roman: 66 kg, 75 kg, 85 kg, 130 kg (Coleman, Manville, Tarpley, Provisor, Smith)