#GrecoMonday: Taking a look at the five U.S. medalists from the Haparanda Cup

By Mike Willis, USA Wrestling | Dec. 02, 2019, 5:01 p.m. (ET)

Photo of Raymond Bunker competing at the 2019 World Championships

Last weekend, five Americans claimed medals at the Haparanda Cup in Sweden. Three of the medalists were 2019 World Team members, while one is currently the No. 2 on the National Team. Let’s take a deeper look at the individuals bringing home medals for Team USA.

Competing at the lightest weight, 55 kg, 2019 World Team member Max Nowry went 0-1. Given that it was a two-man bracket, Nowry still walked away with silver. In his only match of the day, Nowry fell to Andrey Semenchuk of Ukraine, 9-7. It should be noted that Nowry is fresh off a virus he picked up while training in Georgia.

Nowry, a five-time National Team member, finished fifth at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan this September. He will be competing primarily at 60 kg for the next year as 55 kg is not an Olympic Weight class. He made the finals of the Bill Farrell International this November competing at the higher weight class before defaulting to fellow Army WCAP member, Ryan Mango.

Nolan Baker was the next American to earn a medal, taking bronze at 67 kg. His only loss in the tournament came to Mamadassa Sylla of France, 7-4. Sylla would go on to win gold. Baker pinned his other two opponents including fellow American and current No. 2 on the National Team Jamel Johnson.

Baker spent two years at Northern Illinois University wrestling folkstyle before deciding to go all in on Greco-Roman. Baker, a 2018 U23 World Team member, moved to the USOPTC in Colorado Springs and has been on a steep upward trajectory since. Two weeks ago, he took bronze at the 2019 Bill Farrell International, his first senior level Greco-Roman tournament. Baker will look to keep his momentum rolling at the Arvo Haavisto International in Finland this weekend.

2019 World Team member Raymond Bunker took bronze at 72 kg, going 2-1. Bunker has been one of fast-rising American Greco-Roman stars over the past two years. In 2019, he won the Dave Schultz Memorial International and the U.S. Open before earning the World Team spot in two-straight matches at Final X. Bunker went 1-1 at the World Championships.

72 kg is not an Olympic weight class, so Bunker will need to decide if he wants to move up to 77 kg or down to 67 kg. Given that Bunker competed in 2018 almost exclusively at 67 kg, it seems likely he would make the descent once again. At 67 kg, Bunker won the Bill Farrell International and placed fourth at the World Team Trials.

The lone U.S. champion was John Stefanowicz at 87 kg. Stefanowicz was the World Team member at 82 kg and was previously the No. 2 on the National Team at 80 kg. Deciding to move up a weight class for the Olympic year, Stefanowicz has found immediate success. This tournament was the first time Stefanowicz has taken gold at an international completion. Stefanowicz placed third at this tournament in 2018.

Stefanowicz suffered a loss in the pool to Daniel Bogdanov of Russia. However, he was still able to advance out of the pool matches. He won his semifinal over Aleksandar Stjepanetic of Sweden, 3-3. In the finals he defeated Davyd Shadt of Ukraine, 6-2. Shadt had defeated Bogdanov in the other semifinals.

The final medalist was Lucas Sheridan at 97 kg. The current No. 2 on the National Team, Sheridan placed third with a 3-1 record. All of his victories came by fall including one over National Team No. 3 Daniel Miller.

Sheridan, a two-time National Team member and two time Junior World Team member, has been the clear No. 2 at the weight class in the U.S. this past year, finishing runner-up at the U.S. Open and the Dave Schultz Memorial International and winning the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament.