Exciting best-of-three finals set for 2018 Greco-Roman World Team Trials on Friday in Tulsa

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | June 21, 2018, 9:38 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Alejandro Sancho (right) will face 2017 World Team member Ellis Coleman in the finals at 67 kg. Photo by Austin Bernard, Owrestle.com.

TULSA, Okla. – The best-of-three finals pairings for the 2018 Senior Greco-Roman World Team Trials have taken shape after a full day of Greco action at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Okla.

We can expect to see a finals rematch from the U.S. Open at 55 kg and 130 kg.

At 55 kg, 2012 freestyle Olympian Sam Hazewinkel teched his way through the bracket and surrendered only one point.

In the finals, the 34-year-old dominated 2018 U23 World Team member Dalton Duffield, whom Hazewinkel has coached for more than a decade, in a 12-1 tech. Hazewinkel, the 2018 U.S. Open runner-up, will go up against the Open champion Max Nowry for the World Team spot.

Tomorrow’s heavyweight series will feature two literal Greco giants as challenge bracket winner Adam Coon will face off against multiple-time World Team member and 2016 Olympian Robby Smith.

In the U.S. Open finals, Smith controlled the entire match, claiming a 5-0 win over Coon to earn a spot in the Trials finals series.

“I’m going to have to find a way to score on him. That’s the biggest thing,” Coon said. “He’s really good at holding position, and he’s really good at exploding out and scoring. So I just got to make sure I’m weathering his storm, while he’s got to weather mine. Just basically getting after it and not settling… I’m going to do the best I can to make him work.”

Coon navigated his way through the 130 kg bracket on Thursday, collecting a pin and two techs, including an 8-0 win over 2017 Trials runner-up Toby Erickson in the challenge semifinals.

Of note, after tomorrow’s finals, Coon will catch a plane to Bethlehem, Pa., to compete in Final X on Saturday for the freestyle World Team spot at 125 kg against 2017 World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski.

At 67 kg, the entertaining saga between 2017 U23 World Team member Alex Sancho and 2012 Olympian and two-time Senior World Team member Ellis Coleman will continue tomorrow as they go head-to-head for the World Team spot.

These two met in the 2017 World Team Trials finals, with Coleman claiming his second World Championships bid in three matches.

To get to the best-of-three finals, Sancho took out Hayden Tuma, a 2017 Trials finalist who jumped up three weight classes this year. Sancho trailed late in the match but a pair of big throws ultimately gave Sancho a 7-2 win.

We’ll also see a rematch of the 2017 World Team Trials finals at 77 kg as reigning World Teamer Mason Manville sprinted through the challenge bracket to take on US Open champion and 2017 Junior World champion Kamal Bey, who earned an automatic bid to the finals.

In last year’s finals, heavily-favored Bey dropped two matches to Manville, 9-8 and 8-0, respectively.

“I’m looking for redemption, so get ready for a fight because I’ve got something to prove,” Bey said.

Bey secured a spot in the finals, winning the Open in April. Manville, who competes at Penn State, was not there.

On Thursday, Manville went unscored upon, dominating a tough bracket. In the finals, he took out Open runner-up Peyton Walsh, 10-0.

2017 World Team member Ildar Hafizov seeks his second-straight bid to the World Championships as he emerged from the challenge bracket at 60 kg, defeating Army WCAP teammate Leslie Fuenffinger and avenging a US Open semifinals loss. Hafizov took the win with a 5-0 decision. He’ll take on U.S. Open champion Dalton Roberts in Friday’s finals.

Past U.S. Senior World Team members will go at it in tomorrow’s finals at 87 kg as it features two-time Olympian and 2017 World Team member Ben Provisor against two-time World Teamer Patrick Martinez.

After not competing at the U.S. Open, Martinez had to go through the mini tournament, where he did some damage scoring 22 points in two matches. In the finals, he teched 2017 US Open champion Kevin Radford, 11-0.

Provisor and Martinez last went head-to-head at the 2017 Trials, where Provisor claimed a 2-1 win in the semis.

I’ve known Ben for a while,” Martinez said. “We’ve had a few matches. They’ve all been pretty close, but he’s got the best of me every time, so I’ve been dreaming about this. Every time I’m in the weight room, I think about it. When I’m doing one more set, I’m thinking about his name in the back of my mind, so he’s definitely been some motivation for me to push me harder.”

2016 Olympian Jesse Thielke came out on top in the challenge bracket at 63 kg and seeks revenge against U.S. Open champion Ryan Mango in the finals series. The last time they met was in April’s U.S. Open semifinals, where Mango picked up a 9-0 tech fall in the first 90 seconds.

Thielke aims to make his first Senior World Team since 2013, while Mango looks to make his first Senior Team.

At 72 kg, 2018 NCAA All-American Jon Jay Chavez moved down from 77 kg, where he knocked off returning World Team member and U.S. Open runner-up Patrick Smith in the challenge bracket finals with a 5-0 shutout.

Chavez, who just guaranteed a spot on his second-straight National Team, will take on 2016 Olympic Trials champion and US Open winner RaVaughn Perkins in a best-of-three series tomorrow. Both guys are on the prowl for their first Senior World bid.

Other 2017 World Team members looking to defend their spots are Cheney Haight and G’Angelo Hancock, who both had to go through Thursday’s challenge tournament.

Haight came through at 82 kg, taking out John Stefanowicz in the finals, 5-3, after trailing late in the bout. It was a rematch of the Trials finals last year.

Haight will have to take on U.S. Open champion Geordan Speiller for the 82 kg bid to Budapest.

After representing the USA at the three World Championships last summer, Hancock is on a mission to bring home a medal. Fresh off winning the 2018 U23 World Team spot, Hancock showed his power on Thursday, putting up three technical falls.

Tomorrow Hancock will face U.S. Open champion Daniel Miller, who guaranteed himself a spot on his first Senior National Team with his automatic bid to the finals.

Action continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. with the third-place matches, followed by the best-of-three finals at 12 p.m. CT live on Flowrestling.org.

at Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Okla. June 21-22

Best-of-three finals pairings:
55 kg: Max Nowry (Army WCAP) vs. Sam Hazewinkel (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg: Dalton Roberts (NYAC) vs. Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP)
63 kg: Ryan Mango (Army WCAP) vs. Jesse Thielke (NYAC/LOG)
67 kg: Ellis Coleman (Army WCAP) vs. Alejandro Sancho (NYAC)
72 kg: RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) vs. Jon Jay Chavez (Finger Lakes WC)
77 kg: Kamal Bey (Sunkist Kids) vs. Mason Manville (Army WCAP)
82 kg: Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) vs. Cheney Haight (NYAC), 5-3
87 kg: Ben Provisor (NYAC/Nittany Lion WC) vs. Patrick Martinez (NYAC)
97 kg: Daniel Miller (Marines) vs. G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist Kids)
130 kg: Robby Smith (NYAC) vs. Adam Coon (NYAC)

Challenge bracket finals results
55: Sam Hazewinkel (Sunkist Kids WC) TF Dalton Duffield (NMU-OTS), 12-1
60: Ildar Hafizov (Army (WCAP)) dec. Leslie Fuenffinger (Army (WCAP)), 5-0
63: Jesse Thielke (NYAC/LOG) fall Xavier Johnson (Marines), 2:34
67: Alejandro Sancho (NYAC) dec. Hayden Tuma (Army WCAP), 7-2
72: Jon Jay Chavez (Finger Lakes WC) dec. Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm), 5-0
77: Mason Manville (Army (WCAP)) TF Peyton Walsh (Marines), 10-0
82: Cheney Haight (NYAC) dec. John Stefanowicz (Marines), 5-3
87: Pat Martinez (NYAC) TF Kevin Radford (Sunkist Kids WC), 11-0
97: G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist Kids) TF Lucas Sheridan (Army WCAP), 11-0
130 kg: Adam Coon (NYAC) TF David Tate Orndorff (Utah Valley), 8-0