U.S. Greco wraps up day one competition at U23 World Championships

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Nov. 21, 2017, 9:41 a.m. (ET)

Photo: Jesse Porter at the U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Photo by Andy Hamilton, Trackwrestling.com.

VIDEO: U23 World Championships interviews

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland U.S. Greco-Roman wrapped up day one of the U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Tuesday, unable to qualify a wrestler for the medal rounds.

“It was a rough first day,” U.S. Greco-Roman National Coach Matt Lindland said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys here that experienced their first World Championships today. Tomorrow we have a more experienced group wrestling.”

2017 U.S. Open runner-up and 2016 UWW University Nationals champion Jesse Porter advanced to the repechage at 75 kg/165 lbs.

Porter (Albany, N.Y./New York AC) battled with 2017 Senior World fifth-place finisher Fatih Cengiz of Turkey in his first match. In a bout full of passivity points, Porter was on the short end, suffering a 2-1 heartbreaker.

Cengiz went on to the 75 kg finals, pulling Porter back into repechage.

There, he took on 2016 Cadet World silver medalist and 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Nasir Hasanov of Azerbaijan.

Hasanov came out swinging with a big four-point throw to open scoring. Shortly after, the Azeri wrapped up the match with a headlock for four points and an 8-0 win, bringing Porter’s run to a medal to an end.

“I think our guys wrestled a little timid today. Look at Jesse’s last match,” Lindland said. “He’s got a great arm spin, but the guy knew it was coming because he kept showing it. If he would have hit some other attacks from there, maybe it would have opened it up for him. We have to go out there and create opportunities. You can’t wait for something to come or try to force something.”

Americans Blake Smith, Barrett Stanghill and Alex Mossing were not pulled back into the repechage after first-round losses.  

At 98 kg/216 lbs., Blake Smith (Peoria, Ariz./NMU-OTS) faced 2016 U23 European silver and 2015 U23 European bronze medalist Kukuri Kirtskhalia of Georgia after a first-round bye.  

Kirtskhalia was off to a fast start with a headlock for a four-point throw, but Smith responded with a pair of takedowns to knot the score at 4-4, with the Georgian holding criteria. Despite giving up six points in the final few minutes, Smith fought hard and showed a lot of aggression in his 10-4 loss.

In the quarterfinals, the Georgian got pinned by 2017 Russian Championship silver medalist Aleksandr Golovin of Russia in the first period, wrapping up Smith’s U23 Worlds.  

Stanghill (Philipsburg, Mont./Minnesota Storm), two-time University Nationals champion, was the first American to wrestle, taking the mat at 85 kg/187 lbs. He opened with Sweden’s Emil Sandahl, who was the 2016 Senior Nordic champion and 2017 Senior Nordic silver medalist.

Sandahl walked away with a 2-0 victory, scoring his two points on passivity.

The Swede eventually fell, 6-0, in the quarterfinals to Finland’s Toni Metsomaeki, who finished fifth at the 2017 Junior Worlds and 2017 Military Worlds, which ended Stanghill’s 2017 U23 World run.

Air Force Academy wrestler and 2017 University National champion Alex Mossing (Toledo, Ohio/Foxfire WC) fell in his first bout to 2017 World Military silver medalist Armen Hakobyan of Armenia in a 10-0 technical fall.

Hakobyan was on the board quick with a step out, followed by passivity point. Moments after the Armenian put up two explosive four pointers to close out the bout.

Mossing’s tournament came to an end when Hakobyan lost his quarterfinal match to Murat Dag of Turkey, 3-1.

The medal matches are set for 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET) Tuesday evening. Live stream and brackets can be found on trackwrestling.com. Viewers must pay to watch the live stream.

2017 U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Bydgoszcz, Poland (Six hours ahead of ET)

U.S. Greco-Roman draws
71 kg/145 lbs. – Alex Mossing (Toledo, Ohio/Foxfire WC)
vs. Armen Hakobyan (Armenia), 10-0

75 kg/156 lbs. – Jesse Porter (Albany, N.Y./New York AC)
LOSS Fatih Cengiz (Turkey), 2-1
LOSS Nasir Hasanov (Azerbaijan), 8-0

85 kg/187 lbs. – Barrett Stanghill (Philipsburg, Mont./Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Emil Sandahl (Sweden), 2-0

98 kg/216 lbs. – Blake Smith (Peoria, Ariz./NMU-OTS)
LOSS Kukuri Kirtskhalia (Georgia), 10-4