Ahmadi tops Barkman, as Masters Nationals concludes with action-packed freestyle competition

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | April 25, 2018, 8:36 p.m. (ET)
Shirzad Ahmadi powers Steve Barkman to the mat for a takedown to win the Div. E 62 kg weight class on Wednesday. Photo by Robbert Wijtman.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The most accomplished Masters wrestler in USA Wrestling history was put to the test during the freestyle competition of the 2018 Masters Nationals in the South Point Arena on Wednesday.

Shirzah Ahmadi of the KT Kidz, who boasts 13 Veterans World gold medals and so many U.S. Masters titles that he isn’t exactly sure how many he has won, entered the Div. E 62 kg weight class. He had only one opponent in the draw, multiple World medalist Steve Barkman of the Hunterdon Hills WC, the 2018 Masters Greco-Roman champion from yesterday.

At 69 kg, Ahmadi is no longer able to compete at the Veterans World Championships, which was capped at 60 years old a few seasons ago. But USA Wrestling maintained Div. E, for wrestlers over 60, giving Ahmadi and Barkman and some of their wrestling peers another chance to compete.

Ahmadi figures he and Barkman have met seven or more times, and they often get together in the summer to train together. They are friends with a great deal of respect for each other. Their best-of-three series, however, was intense, and needed extra toughness to win.

Ahmadi scored a tight 3-0 win in bout one. In the second match, Ahmadi was put on a shot clock and unable to score, giving Barkman a 1-0 lead at the break. In the second, Ahmadi forced Barkman to the ground for his first takedown. Back on the feet, he hit a counter takedown to lead 4-1, then hit four straight ankle lace turns to end the match with a technical fall, 12-1.

The athletes hugged on the center mat, and Barkman raised Ahmadi’s arm in respect for all the fans to see.

“He is really good. We know each other so long. We’ve wrestled seven times, and he comes to my house and we train. We know each other very well. I was planning on taking him down and gut wrenching him. But he is very strong upper body, so I figured I would go to his legs. I leg laced him to finish the match,” said Ahmadi.

Ahmadi coaches wrestling at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and works with local kids in the wrestling room in his house. Ahmadi just can’t get enough of the sport.

“I love this. I hope to wrestle next year, too, when I am 70. This is so much fun. It is a different world. I want to be up there all day long, all year long, the rest of my life,” said Ahmadi.

There were 15 double champions this year, winners of both the Greco-Roman and freestyle divisions. The double champions this year were
• Div. A 100 kg- Garth Wara (Unattached)
• Div. A 130 kg- Matthew Paeth (OJC) double champion
• Div. B 62 kg - Aleksandr Serebrinnikov (CWC)
• Div. B 70 kg- Jordin Humphrey (TMWC)
• Div. B 78 kg - Cort Petersen (Unattached)
• Div. B 100 kg- James Medeiros (SK Golden Boys)
• Div. C 100 kg - Jeffery Anderson (CWC)
• Div. C 130 kg - Gabe Beauperthuy (Unattached)
• Div. D 70 kg- Domenico Piccinini (The Wrestling Family)
• Div. D 78 kg - Igor Llin (Chicago Wrestling Club)
• Div. D 88 kg - Petros Petrosyan (Santa Monica Bay wrestling club)
• Div. D 130 kg - Daniel Chaid (THWC) – double champion
• Div. E 70 kg - Didier Nicholas (Las Vegas WC)
• Div. E 78 kg- Kevin Hejnal (Unattached)
• Div. E 100 kg – Jack Schwartz (Lakewood)

Hejnal has won multiple Masters Nationals titles in freestyle, but won his first Masters in Greco-Roman to become a double champion for the first time.

Beauperthuy will go from being a double champion as a Masters wrestler to entering the Grappling World Team Trials, which begins tomorrow.

Humphrey, who coaches youth wrestlers for the Titan Mercury WC, was one of four repeat freestyle champions from last year, joined by Llin, Pine and Anderson.

One of the big efforts came at 62 kg in Div. C, where Lim Prim of the Nor Cal Takedown Club won the weight class, which featured the 2018 Greco-Roman champion Carson Gainey, plus a pair of 2017 Greco-Roman champions Joe Raia and Ric Fehr.

At Las Vegas, Nev., April 25

Freestyle results

Div. A

62 kg
Gold - Nate Hansen (National Wrestling Advancement Association)
Silver - Rashad Riley (East St. Louis WC)
Bronze - Albert Tapia (WBU)
4th - Ryan Lessner (UD)
RR 1 – Riley tech. Lessner, 10-0, Hansen tech Tapia, 10-0
RR 2 – Riley tech. Tapia, 10-0, Hansen tech Lessner, 10-0
RR 3 – Hanson tech. Riley, 13-2, Tapia tech. Lessner, 13-2

70 kg
1st - Anthony Birchak (Warrior Wrestling Club Tucson, AZ) dec. Gralan Early (Warrior Elite), 18-12
3rd - Jason Clark (National Wrestling Advancement Association) tech. fall Jovanny Velarde (Unattached), 12-1 3:47

78 kg
1st - Joshua Terrell (UD Spartans) dec. Paul Vasquez (Warrior Wrestling Club Tucson, AZ), 8-5
3rd - Connor Keating (Rockeater Wrestling) dec. Mike Brooks (Lovelock Mustangs), 12-7

88 kg
1st - Jared Hatley (HHAC) tech. Johnathon Gonzalez (Screaming Yetis), 10-0 0:30
3rd - Ernie Vasheresse (Unattached CA) pin Nick Africano (KT KIDZ), 2:14

100 kg
Gold - Garth Wara (Unattached)
Silver - Gabriel Camarillo (Lawc)
Bronze - Blake Watkins (Unattached)
4th - Adam Otero (Unattached)
RR 1 – Watkins tech Bascue, 10-0, Camarillo pin Otero, 1:40
RR 2 – Wara pin Bascue, 0:42; Watkins pin Otero, 0:29
RR 3 – Wara pin Otero, 0:30; Camarillo tech Watkins, 11-1
RR 4 – Wara tech Camarillo, 12-2; Otero tech. Basue, 14-4
RR 5 – Wara pin Watkins, 1:28; Camarillo pin Bascue, 0:27

130 kg
Gold - Matthew Paeth (OJC)
Silver - Robert Gray (Fellowship of Christian Athletes-Team Freedom)
RR – Paeth inj Gray; Paeth inj. Gray

Div. B

62 kg
1st - Aleksandr Serebrinnikov (Chicago Wrestling Club) tech. fall David Gallegos (Chicago Wrestling Club), 10-0 1:03
3rd - David Yi (Mad Dawg) tech. fall Patrick Wayne Robles (Warrior Wrestling Club Tucson, AZ), 16-3 1:59

70 kg
1st - Jordin Humphrey (TMWC) tech. fall Orlando Jimenez Phoenix, AZ (Olympus), 12-2 2:29
3rd - Rayes Gonzales (Faith Lutheran High School Wrestling) pin Franz Gutcher (Bakersfield), 8-0 0:55

78 kg
1st - Cort Petersen (Unattached WY) pin Rudy James (Apple Valley), 2:36
3rd -Jeffery Estrada (Sons of Thunder Academy) pin Ryan Meloche (Team Fluffy), 5-4 5:43

88 kg
Gold - Aaron Meister (WBU)
Silver - Jason Blakeman (OWC)
RR – Meister tech. Blakeman, 10-0; Meister tech Blakeman, 8-0

100 kg
1st - James Medeiros (SK Golden Boys) dec. Octavius Bellamy (Chicago Wrestling Club), 6-2
3rd - Quinn Collett (Unattached) inj Matt Dunn (Unattached NC)

130 kg
Gold - Josiah Smith (Warrior Wrestling Club Tucson, AZ)
Silver - Joe Espejo (Bakersfield)
Bronze – Travis Clark (AAWC)
4th - Jarad Carson (Bomb Squad Wrestling)
RR 1 – Espejo pin Carson, 0:52, Smith tech Clark, 12-2
RR 2 – Carson inj. Smith; Espejo dec. Clark, 5-4
RR 3 – Clark Inj Carson, Smith dec. Espejo, 14-5

Div. C

62 kg
Gold – Lim Prim (NOR CAL TAKE DOWN)
Silver - Joe Raia (CWC)
Bronze - Ric A Fehr (Unattached)
4the - Carson Gainey (Other)
RR 1 – Prim tech Fehr, 15-5, Gainey tech. Velasquez, 11-0
RR 2 – Raia pin Fehr, 1:57; Prim inj. Gainey
RR 3 – Raia inj. Gainey, Prim tech. Velasquez, 12-0
RR 4 – Raia tech. Velasquez, 12-1, Fehr inj. Gainey
RR 5 – Prim tech. Raia, Fehr tech. Velasquez

70 kg
1st - Tom Donahue (Bethel Wrestling Club) pin Kipp Kahlenbeck (Bethel Wrestling Club), 6-0 1:28
3rd - Igor Leuskyi (Chicago Wrestling Club) tech. fall Marcus Collins Ardmore, OK (Mac Attack), 17-6 2:14

78 kg
1st - Kazeka Muniz (Colorado) dec. Jon Banko (Pittsburgh Wrestling Club), 17-12
78 Boris Kulich (Chicago Wrestling Club) tech. fall Bryan Schiller (Fin Spin Elite), 10-0 1:10

88 kg
1st - Kevin Pine (Las Vegas WC) tech. fall Scott Herman (fish), 10-0 1:08
3rd - Jason Mitchler (Unattached CO) dec. Edward Andersen (Jackson Bronc WC), 10-3

100 kg
Gold - Jeffery Anderson (CWC)
Silver - Craig Fredrikson (Unattached)
Bronze - Erik Hinckley (Unattached)
4th - Ronald Ayers (Las Vegas WC)
RR 1 – Hinckley pin Ayers, 0:51; Anderson tech. Fredrikson, 10-0
RR 2 – Fredrikson pin Hinckley, 0:53; Anderson tech Ayers, 10-0
RR 3 – Anderson inj. Hinckley, Fredrikson dec. Ayers, 3-1

130 kg
Gold - Gabe Beauperthuy (Unattached)
Silver - Daniel Lovell (Screaming Yetis)
Bronze - Greg Conn (Corn)
4th - Samuel Tanios (CWC)
RR 1 – Jackson fft Conn; Lovell tech. Tanios, 10-0
RR 2 – Beauperthuy tech. Conn, 10-0, Tanios fft. Jackson
RR 3 – Beauperthuy pin Tanios, 0:25, Lovell fft. Jackson
RR 4- Beauperthuy dec. Lovell, 5-0; Conn pin Tanios, 0:38
RR 5 – Beauperthuy fft Jackson, Lovell pin Conn, 2:25

Div. D

62 kg
1st - Zhora Hovhannisyan (Armenia) tech. fall Matthew Robertson (Auburn slam), 13-1 2:31
3rd - Jeffrey Mallett (Unattached MD) pin Roger Papotto (Las Vegas WC), 1:32

70 kg
1st - Domenico Piccinini (The Wrestling Family) tech. fall David Gilson (AWA Veterans), 11-0 2:36
3rd - Timothy Wolf (Las Vegas WC) dec. Dennis Mcinerney (Mac Attack), 8-5

78 kg
1st - Igor Llin (Chicago Wrestling Club) tech. fall Russell Schenk (Brandon WC), 10-0 2:53
3rd - Bruce Moe (Bison Wrestling Club) dec. Mike Tritto (Washington Wrestling Club, DC), 14-9

88 kg
Gold - Petros Petrosyan (Santa Monica Bay wrestling club)
Silver - Kevin Kares (Las Vegas WC)
Bronze - Patrick Daly (NYAC)
4th - Caleb Pike (Unattached)
RR 1 - Daley pin Pike, 0:22; Petrosyan tech Kares, 1:22
RR 2 – Petrosyan tech Daly, 10-0; Kares tech Pike, 10-0
RR 3 – Kares pin Daley, 2:02; Petrosyan pin Pike, 0:32

100 kg
Gold - Robert Mancha (APAX)
Silver – Joseph Cattan (KY)
Bronze - Edward Freysinger (Unattached)
4th - Jeff Henry (USA Wrestling Colorado Springs)
RR 1 – Freysinger pin Brister, 0:53; Mancha tech. Henry, 13-0
RR 2 – Cattan pin Freysinger, 0:34; Henry inj. Brister, 13-10
RR 3 – Cattan pin Henry, 0:51; Mancha inj. Brister
RR 4 – Mancha dec. Cattan, 10-3; Freysinger fft Henry
RR 5 – Cattan inj Brister, Mancha pin Freysinger, 1:42

130 kg
Gold - Daniel Chaid (THWC)
Silver - Brian Jones (Santa Monica Bay WC)
RR – Chaid tech. Jones, 10-0; Chaid pin Jones, 0:23

Div. E

62 kg
Gold - Shirzad Ahmadi (KT KIDZ)
Silver - Steve Barkman (Hunterdon Hills Wrestling Club)
RR – Ahmadi dec. Barkman, 3-0; Ahmadi tech. Barkman, 12-1

70 kg
Gold - Didier Nicholas (Las Vegas WC)
Silver - Keith Lyndaker (Unattached)
Bronze - Gaetano DiZebba (Blue Claw, MD)
RR – Nicholas tech DiZebba, 12-2; Nicholas tech. Lynaker, 11-0; Lyndaker inj. DiZebba, 1:58

78 kg
1st - Kevin Hejnal (Unattached CA) pin Mark Black Santa Monica, CA (Santa Monica Bay WC), 3:54
3rd - Greg Archer (Unattached IN) tech. fall Jeff Jacobs (Brown University), 11-0 2:24

88 kg
Gold - Stephen Contarino (Unattached)
Silver - Valery Sorokov (CWC)
Bronze - Dean Barnard (MF)
4th - Jeff Davis (Florida Jets)
RR 1 – Contarino tech. Barnard, 10-0; Sorokov pin Davis, 3:31
RR 2 – Sorokov pin Barnard, 2:21; Contarino dec. Davis, 8-0
RR 3 – Barnard tech. Davis, 16-4; Contarino dec. Sorokov, 7-6

100 kg
1st - Jack Schwartz (Lakewood)