2018 Senior Greco-Roman World Team determined, Coon upends Smith in two matches

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | June 22, 2018, 6:06 p.m. (ET)

Photo: The 2018 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team (minus Adam Coon). Photo by Austin Bernard, OWrestle.com.

VIDEO: Greco World Team Trials interviews

TULSA, Okla. The 2018 U.S. Greco-Roman World Team is set for October’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, with 10 talented wrestlers earning spots in the lineup on Friday at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Okla.

“We’ve got a great bunch of guys,” Greco-Roman National Team head coach Matt Lindland said. “I’m super excited about this team, very mentally tough guys that fought hard. We had a lot of matches go to three, so they had to gut it out, and hopefully they can carry that all the way through the training process and into Budapest for the World Championships.”

Highlighting the squad are four past Senior World Team members, including 2017 World Teamers Ellis Coleman and G’Angelo Hancock, now-three-time World Team member Patrick Martinez and 2013 World Team member Jesse Thielke.

Hancock and Thielke won their weights in two-straight matches, while Coleman’s and Martinez’s series went to three matches.

Wrestling at 63 kg, Jesse Thielke, a 2016 Olympian, had a rematch of the U.S. Open semifinals with Ryan Mango. Avenging a 9-0 loss to Mango, Thielke grabbed decisive 12-6 and 6-4 wins to make his second Senior World Team and first since 2013.

On Friday, Hancock made his second World Team of the 2018 season and his fifth World Team in the last two years when he defeated U.S. Open champion Daniel Miller in the 97 kg finals, 11-8 and 6-3.

A 2016 Junior World bronze medalist, Hancock, who is also on the 2018 U23 World Team, is heading to his second-straight Senior World Championships.

For the second year in a row, Coleman took out Alejandro Sancho in the best-of-three finals to make his second-straight World Team and third overall.

After losing the first bout to Sancho, 6-3, Coleman bounced back, forcing the series to a third match. In the second and third rounds, Coleman did not give up a single point, picking up two tech falls, 9-0 and 8-0, to punch his ticket to Budapest.

To take the spot at 87 kg, Patrick Martinez, a 2015 and 2016 World Team member, knocked off 2017 World Teamer Ben Provisor in three bouts.

The last time these two wrestlers met up was in the semis of the 2017 Trials, where Provisor grabbed a 2-1 win.

This time, it was Martinez who came out on top, winning the first round, 6-0. After Provisor won the second match, 1-1, Martinez came back to win the deciding round with a 1-1 criteria win of his own.

In addition to Provisor four other 2017 World Team members were defeated in the finals, making way for a new crop of wrestlers to head to Budapest.

Knocking off returning World Teamers were Dalton Roberts at 60 kg, Kamal Bey at 77 kg, Geordan Speiller at 82 kg and Adam Coon at 130 kg.

Roberts, a four-time age-group World Team member, earned a spot on his first Senior Team, taking out 2008 Olympian for Uzbekistan and 2017 U.S. World Teamer Ildar Hafizov.

Dropping the first bout, 4-2, Roberts stormed back with a 10-2 tech fall and a 4-3 decision to seal his spot at 60 kg.

2017 Junior World champion and 2018 U.S. Open champion Kamal Bey went head-to-head with Senior World Team member Mason Manville in a rematch of the 2017 World Team finals. Last year, Manville took the series in two bouts, but this time, it was all Bey.

After a back-and-forth first-round match that resulted in a 5-3 win for Bey, the World champ kicked it up two big four-pointers to snag a dominating 10-0 win to make his first Senior Team.

“I feel like everything has come full circle from last year being at the World Team Trials,” Bey said. “I’d fallen short to the same opponent I had to beat to make the team this year. I think it shows a lot of growth, a lot of maturity, and a lot of heart to bring it home.”

At 82 kg, 2018 U.S. Open champion Speiller controlled his series against two-time World Team member Cheney Haight, tallying a 7-2 win before closing out the 82 kg finals with an 8-0 tech.

He heads to his first World Championships at the Senior level in October. Speiller has represented the U.S. at two Junior World Championships in 2012 and 2013.

Speiller dedicated his championship performance to his late father.

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer, and passed away last year,” Speiller said. “I had to take some time off to spend as much time with him as possible. So family first. Dad, I love you. Rest in peace. This one’s for you, I’m going to the World Championships. I love you.”

Perhaps the most anticipated match of the afternoon came at 130 kg, where Coon took down four-time World Team member and 2016 Olympian Robby Smith in two matches.

They last met in the U.S. Open finals, where Smith was in control, winning a 5-0 match.

On Friday, Coon came out hard, edging out Smith in a 3-1 decision. In round two, Coon trailed on criteria, 2-2, late. With just 10 clicks left on the clock, Coon put Smith to his back and was awarded the fall, stunning the Greco veteran for the World Team spot at 130 kg.

“Yeah it was a large gap [from the Open], but it’s just small fine comb things that can close that big gap,” Coon said. “Whether or not I’ve closed that gap permanently. We’re going to have to have a few more matches. He’s a really strong opponent, so you know he’s going to come back furious.”

Immediately after winning his spot on the Greco team, Coon rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Pennsylvania as he will take on 2017 World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski for the 125 kg freestyle World Team spot in Final X in Bethlehem on Saturday. Coon looks to become the first wrestler since 1981 to make both the Greco and freestyle World Teams in the same year. The last to do it was Greg Gibson. 

To complete the lineup, two wrestlers defeated the 2018 U.S. Open champions for a chance to compete at Worlds, including Sam Hazewinkel at 55 kg and Jon Jay Chavez at 72 kg.

Hazewinkel, a 2012 freestyle Olympian and international veteran, made his first World Team, knocking off Open champion and past University World champion Max Nowry in two-straight matches. It was a rematch of the U.S. Open finals.

The 35-year-old head coach for Oklahoma City University edged out Nowry with a 4-4 win on criteria, thanks to a big first-period throw. In the second match, Hazewinkel claimed an 11-0 tech fall in the first period.

“It’s been different at 35. I can’t train the same way I used to,” Hazewinkel said. “I know the level you have to train at to be an Olympic gold medalist, and I can’t. When I train at that level I get injured. My body falls apart, so it’s a really fine line there between pushing myself and knowing when to lay off. That’s the good thing about being old, you’ve got the experience. I can be a little smarter in matches, so I’m learning how to make up for it and finding that fine line with training."

Coming down from 77 kg, where he has previously wrestled, Chavez snagged the World Team spot from tournament-favorite and U.S. Open champion RaVaughn Perkins, who was also the 2016 Olympic Team Trials champion.

Perkins dominated the first bout, winning with an 8-0 tech fall. Chavez, a 2017 National Team member, came back with a 5-4 decision to force the series to a third round. There, he escaped late efforts from Perkins and pulled out a 7-5 win to make his first Senior World Team.

“In a sport like Greco-Roman wrestling, some part of you has to love it,” Chavez said. “I’ve done it since I was a kid and I love the combative competitive aspect, and it’s nonviolent which is super cool as well because I’m kind of a pacifist. I feel like in Greco-Roman the pacifists usually win.”

Senior men’s and women’s freestyle World Team rosters will be completed tomorrow night at Final X in Bethlehem live on Flowrestling.

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

Final results
55 kg
1st: Sam Hazewinkel (Sunkist Kids) def. Max Nowry (Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout one – Hazewinkel dec. Nowry, 4-4
Bout two – Hazewinkel TF Nowry, 11-0

3rd: Dalton Duffield (NMU-OTS) TF Brittan Longmire (Team Nevada), 8-0

60 kg
1st: Dalton Roberts (NYAC) def. Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP), two matches to one
Bout one – Hafizov dec. Roberts, 4-2
Bout two – Roberts TF Hafizov, 10-2
Bout three – Roberts dec. Hafizov, 4-3

3rd: Randon Miranda (NYAC) TF Mike Fuenffinger (Army WCAP), 10-1

63 kg
1st: Jesse Thielke (NYAC/LOG) def. Ryan Mango (Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout one – Thielke dec. Mango, 12-6
Bout two – Thielke dec. Mango, 6-4

3rd: Xavier Johnson (Marines) dec. Travis Rice (NMU-OTS), 1-1

67 kg
1st: Ellis Coleman (Army WCAP) def. Alejandro Sancho (NYAC), two matches to one
Bout one – Sancho dec. Coleman, 6-3
Bout two – Coleman TF Sancho, 9-0
Bout three – Coleman TF Sancho, 8-0

3rd: Hayden Tuma (Army (WCAP)) dec. Jamel Johnson (Marines), 6-2

72 kg
1st: Jon Jay Chavez (Finger Lakes WC) def. RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC), two matches to none
Bout one – Perkins TF Chavez, 8-0
Bout two – Chavez dec. Perkins, 5-4
Bout three – Chavez dec. Perkins, 7-5

3rd: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) dec. Eleazar Deluca (Florida Jets), 7-1

77 kg
1st: Kamal Bey (Sunkist Kids) def. Mason Manville (Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout one – Bey dec. Manville, 5-3
Bout two – Bey TF Manville, 10-0

3rd: Peyton Walsh (Marines)

82 kg
1st: Geordan Speiller (Florida Jets) def. Cheney Haight (NYAC), two matches to none
Bout one – Speiller dec. Haight, 7-2
Bout two – Speiller TF Haight, 8-0

3rd: John Stefanowicz (Marines) dec. Jacob Fisher (Curby-3-Style), 7-0

87 kg
1st: Patrick Martinez (NYAC) def. Ben Provisor (NYAC/Nittany Lion WC), two matches to one
Bout one – Martinez dec. Provisor, 6-0
Bout two – Provisor dec. Martinez, 1-1
Bout three – Martinez dec. Provisor, 1-1

3rd: Kevin Radford (Sunkist Kids) TF Richard Carlson (Minnesota Storm), 8-0

97 kg
1st: G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist Kids) def. Daniel Miller (Marines), two matches to none
Bout one – Hancock dec. Miller, 11-8
Bout two – Hancock dec. Miller, 6-3

3rd: Lucas Sheridan (Army (WCAP)) dec. Kevin Beazley (NYAC/MWC), 9-4

130 kg
1st: Adam Coon (NYAC) def. Robby Smith (NYAC), two matches to none
Bout one – Coon dec. Smith, 3-1
Bout two – Coon fall Smith, 5:55

3rd: David Tate Orndorff (Utah Valley RTC) dec. Dom Bradley (Sunkist Kids WC), 6-5