Feature photo courtesy of Zac Dominguez.
STERLING, Va. - Greco United held the inaugural Capitol Cup Saturday Feb 27th at Top of the Podium Wrestling Center in Sterling, VA. The event featured an eight-man Greco-Roman tournament at 67kg. A dozen exciting Senior-level matches were contested near the nation’s capitol, showcasing the beauty of the classic style and fast pace of women’s wrestling.
Nolan Baker of the New York Athletic Club dominated the field, winning a $1,000 cash prize and handcrafted dagger. The former Northern Illinois University wrestler and 2018 U23 World Team member is now a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and a student at UCCS.
In the championship finals, Baker stormed back after the break to defeat Lenny Merkin to earn a 14-6 tech fall victory. Nolan is coached by his father Bob Baker, a longtime USAW Greco-Roman leader in Illinois. He looks poised to make a run at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials next month after a strong performance.
There were a number of women's freestyle matches featuring top Junior athletes from across the country. Wyoming Seminary was led by freshman Faith Bartoszek of Wisconsin, who earned a first period fall with an aggressive early takedown and nearside cradle. Madison Wellen wasted no time, starting with a quick takedown before launching two smooth headlocks to win by technical fall. Avery Kibelbek defeated a tough opponent in young Trista Blasz of New York, 5-4.
New Jersey native Angie Dawson emerged victorious from a back-and-forth battle with Virginian Kaylee Anderson. Anderson took a quick 9-1 lead before Dawson rallied back to tie it at 10-10. Dawson continued to mount pressure, putting Anderson on her back and earning the fall. US National Team member Ava Bayless, Piper Staniford, and freshman star Rianne Murphy also picked up wins for the USA/SEM Girls National Development Program.
Seda Tsarni of Maryland won by fall at 65kg over 2020 Junior and U23 All-American Kendall Bostelman of Napolean, OH. Young star Carina Giangeruson, representing Team New Jersey, used a variety of explosive attacks to win by technical fall over Joe-Ellen Hutto at 57kg.
The Junior Greco-Roman match featured Luke Roberts of Virginia and Jake Dailey, a freshman at Wyoming Seminary in PA. Fireworks began early with a series of attacks and counter attacks that saw Roberts holding a 12-6 lead at the break. Dailey stayed aggressive, but another flurry of action gave Roberts the tech fall win. The match displayed total wrestling, as both wrestlers came out firing multiple attacks, dismissing the notion of “boring” Greco.
Breaking ground on the Greco front for the women were Xochitl Mota-Pettis, Piper Staniford and Kendall Bostelman. Mota-Pettis defeated rising Junior stars Staniford and Bostelman by technical fall and decision respectively. In both bouts, wrestlers fought for position with Mota-Pettis executing some crafty attacks from neutral, scoring on several arm throws. Xochitl Mota-Pettis is coached by Olympian and All-Army Greco-Roman wrestler Derrick Waldroup of Rise Wrestling in Texas.
The 8-man senior tournament showcased how fun Greco-Roman wrestling is for everyone – athletes, coaches, and fans. After being briefly removed from the Olympic Games, sweeping rule changes transformed international wrestling back to a more aggressive style. Points per match have soared ever since in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling at all levels. Following the reorganization of the former FILA to UWW, wrestling has experienced better events and more exciting matches. Paired with increased coverage, platforms such as Rokfni and a recent COVID evolution, the Olympic styles are helping propel the worlds oldest sport to new heights.
Capitol Cup creator and Greco United co-founder Logan Savvy played host to the event. He also put on a show finishing 4th after three exciting matches in the 8-man Greco-Roman tournament. Top of the Podium is a non-profit world class wrestling facility located in Sterling, VA. TOP has played host to many world class wrestlers, coaches, and programs.
Capitol Cup, Feb 27th 2021
Top of the Podium Wrestling Center Sterling, VA
Eight-man Greco-Roman tournament results
1st - Nolan Baker (NYAC) TF Lenny Merkin (NYAC/Curby 3-Style) 14-6
3rd - Jessy Williams (NYAC/Spartan) TF Logan Savvy (NYAC)
5th - Morgan Flaherty (NYAC) TF Eric Hoffman 8-0.
7th - Corbin Nirschl DEC Kabil Soulfan 7-2
76kg: Maurice Flemming (Blue Claw) TF Brenton Dotter (unattached)
62 kg: Xochitl Mota-Pettis (RISE Wrestling) DEC 5-2 Kendall Bostelman (SEM/OH)
62 kg: Xochitl Mota-Pettis (RISE Wrestling) TF Piper Staniford (SEM/PA) 10-0
Junior women’s freestyle
65 kg: Faith Bartoszek (SEM/WI) FALL Eva Keefauver (NC)
50 kg: Rianne Murphy (SEM/IN) DEC Ava Purifoy (VA) 8-1
50 kg: Avery Kibelbek (SEM/TN) DEC Trista Blasz (NY) 4-3
65 kg: Angie Dawson (SEM/NJ) FALL Kaylee Anderson (VA)
62 kg: Piper Staniford (SEM/PA) DEC Jade Hutto (VA) 18-10
57 kg: Madison Wellen (SEM/PA) FALL Arianna Carasquilla (MO)
57 kg: Carina Giangeruso (NJ) TF Jade Hutto (NC) 10-0
57 kg: Ava Bayless (SEM/PA) FALL Arianna Carasquilla (MO)
65 kg: Seda Tsarni (MD) FALL Kendall Bostelman (SEM/OH)
62 kg: Luke Roberts (VA) TF Jake Dailey (SEM/PA) 14-6