Hazewinkel, Thielke, Perkins, Speiller get draws for World Championships in Budapest

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 24, 2018, 10:40 a.m. (ET)
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Four U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers received their draws for the World Wrestling Championships. Competition in their weight classes begin on Thursday at the Papp Laszlo Arena.

Team USA will be represented by a pair of past Olympians in this group, Sam Hazewinkel, Guthrie, Okla. (Sunkist Kids) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Jesse Thielke, Beresford, S.D. (New York AC/Legends of Gold) at 63 kg /138.75 lbs.

Hazewinkel will open his competition against No. 1 seed 2018 World University champion Ekrem Ozturk of Turkey. Also in his half-bracket is 2017 Junior World silver medalist Zholaman Sharshenbekov of Kyrgyzstan.

Other half bracket away from Hazewinkel has No. 2 seed A. Fergat of Algeria, No. 3 seed S. Tanokura of Japan, 2018 European champion and two-time Junior World champion Eldaniz Azizli of Azerbaijan and 2018 European U23 champion Nuzgari Tsurtsumia of Georgia and 2018 Pan American champion Sargis Khachataryan of Brazil.

Hazewinkel is among the few wrestlers in U.S. history who has competed at a World or Olympic level in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. He was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team competing in freestyle. He is now wrestling in his first Senior World Championships in Greco-Roman. He was a 2008 University World champion in Greco-Roman and won two Pan American Championships titles in freestyle.

At 35, Hazewinkel is the oldest member of the U.S. Greco-Roman World Team. A four-time All-American at Oklahoma, Hazewinkel is currently the head wrestling coach at Oklahoma City University. He comes from a family of Olympians, as his father Dave and his uncle Jim were both Olympic Greco-Roman wrestlers.

Thielke will wrestle 2018 European bronze medalist Donior Islamov of Moldova in the first round.

Also in his half-bracket are three-time World medalist Elmurat Tasmuradov of Uzbekistan, 2016 Asian silver medalist Urmatbek Amatov of Kyrgyzstan and Soslan Daurov of Belarus, who was fifth at the 2015 World Championships.

In the half-bracket opposite from Thielke are 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2014 World bronze medalist Stig-Andre Berge of Norway, 2018 European champion Mihai Mihut of Romania, 2017 World bronze medalist Stepan Maranyan of Russia and two-time Junior World champion Rahman Bilici of Turkey.

A member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team in Greco-Roman, he placed ninth at the Rio Olympic Games. He was also eighth in the 2013 World Championships, his previous Senior World appearance. Thielke was also a 2012 Junior World bronze medalist. To qualify for the 2016 Olympics, Thielke was second in the 2nd World Olympic Qualifier in Turkey. He made four Junior World Greco-Roman Teams. A native of Germantown, Wis., he was an NCAA qualifier for Wisconsin before changing focus to full-time Greco-Roman. He currently coaches and trains with the Legends of Gold RTC in South Dakota.
Competing at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. is RaVaughn Perkins, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), who will open up against Murat Dag of Turkey, a 2018 University World champion.

Also in Perkins’ half-bracket are two-time World champ Frank Staebler of Germany, 2014 World bronze medal Rasul Chunayev of Azerbaijan, 2017 World bronze medalist Mohammadali Geraei of Iran and 2017 World silver medalist Demeu Zhadrayev of Kazakhstan.

In the opposite half-bracket away from Perkins are 2016 World champion Balint Korpasi of Hungary, 2008 Junior World silver medalist Aleksandar Maksimovic of Serbia and Tarek Aziz Benaissa of Algeria, who was fifth in the 2015 World Championships.

Perkins, competing in his first Senior World Championships, is a replacement for the injured Jon Jay Chavez. He won the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials but was not able to compete in the Rio Olympic Games because the USA did not qualify his weight class for the Olympics. Perkins is a two-time U.S. Open champion and has won the Dave Schultz Memorial International two times. A native of Omaha, Neb., he competed at Ellsworth CC before switch to a full-time Greco-Roman focus. Perkins is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.

At 82 kg/180.5 lbs., Geordan Speiller (Oviedo, Fla./Florida Jets) will open against 2018 Pan American champion Luis Avendano Rojas of Venezuela.

Also in Speiller’s half bracket are 2017 World champion Maksim Manukyan of Armenia, 2011 World champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Saeid Morad Abdvali of Iran, 2010 World bronze medalist Imil Sharafetdinov of Russia, 2015 World bronze medalist Lasha Gobadze of Georgia, 2013 World bronze medalist Emrah Kus of Turkey and Daniel Aleksandrov of Bulgaria, who was fifth in the 2017 World Championships.

In the other half-bracket away from Speiller are 2014 World champion Peter Bacsi of Hungary, 2015 World silver medalist Viktar Sasunouski of Belarus, 2018 Asian silver medalist Atabek Azisbekov of Kyrgyzstan.

Speiller is competing in his first Senior World Championships. He has competed at the 2013 University World Games and the 2012 and 2013 Junior World Championships for the USA. Speiller was a 2016 Pan American Championships gold medalist, and also won a silver medal at the 2018 Pan American Championships. Speiller was second in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. A native of Oviedo, Fla., Speiller was an NCWA national champion for Central Florida University.

U.S. Greco-Roman first round draws for Thursday

55 kg/121 lbs. - Sam Hazewinkel, Guthrie, Okla. (Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Ekrem Ozturk of Turkey, 2018 World University champion, 3rd in 2018 European Championships,

63 kg /138.75 lbs. - Jesse Thielke, Beresford, S.D. (New York AC/Legends of Gold)
Vs. Donior Islamov (Moldova), 3rd in 2016 and 2018 European Championships, 2012 University World champion

72 kg/158.5 lbs. – RaVaughn Perkins, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
Vs. Murat Dag (Turkey), 2018 University World champion, 2017 U23 World bronze medalist

82 kg/180.5 lbs. - Geordan Speiller, Oviedo, Fla. (Florida Jets)
Vs. Luis Avendano Rojas (Venezuela), 2018 Pan American champion, 3rd in 2016 and 2017 Pan American Championships