United World Wrestling released its updated January Greco Roman rankings and perhaps unsurprisingly, some familiar US names have been left out. Andy Bisek (Minnesota Storm) no longer appears in the top 20 at 75 kilograms, marking the first time in a couple of years the two-time World bronze medalist isn’t found. Bisek, who last competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics in August, is currently the assistant coach at Northern Michigan University’s Greco-Roman program. He has yet to officially declare himself retired, though it seems at least for the time being, that is indeed the case. In the last UWW World Greco Roman rankings, Bisek came in at 16th, a far cry from the top-five position he held onto since becoming an international force.
Fellow 2016 Olympian Jesse Thielke (NYAC) and two-time Senior World Team member Patrick Martinez (NYAC) also find themselves on the outside looking in. Thielke just returned to competition last week at the 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial International following his recovery from a labrum tear. He falls out of the rankings after being logged in at 16th last month.
Martinez, on the other hand, enjoyed an active 2016 campaign all the way through, placing in multiple international events along with securing two World Team spots. Martinez made the University World Team at 85 kilograms in June and the non-Olympic Weight squad at 80 kilos in November. At the 2016 Golden Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan that same month, Martinez went 1-1, losing in the quarterfinals to Samat Shirdakov (KGZ). In the World Championships two weeks later, Martinez fell in the first round to Kazakhstan’s Ashkat Dilmukhamedov. In the previous rankings, the native Californian was listed 20th in the world.
The one pleasant surprise is the fast-rising Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm). Zillmer has become a dangerous athlete at 98 kilograms and the lone US wrestler to consistently challenge 2016 Junior World bronze medalist G’Angelo Hancock (NYAC) in recent months. Zillmer enters the world Greco-Roman rankings at #20 on the strength of his impressive silver-medal finish at last month’s Herman Kare International in Finland, where lost in the finals to former Cadet World champ Matti Kuosmanen (FIN, world no. 19). Despite three consecutive wins over Zillmer, a victory over 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Cenk Ildem (TUR, world no. 4), and titles at Sweden’s Klippan Cup, the NYAC International, and last week’s Schultz Memorial, Hancock remains unranked.