A few of the more notable names on the Junior level took home titles yesterday at the Junior Greco World Team Trials yesterday in Las Vegas.
Three-time Cadet World Team member Taylor LaMont (Champions Wrestling Club) faced off with Minnesota Storm rival Mitchell McKee in the finals at 60 kg. These two have locked horns more than a few times before, and have even competed against each other in both folkstyle and freestyle. Their series had been sort of a back-and-forth epic leading in, but the drama that normally surrounds their meetings wasn’t there in Vegas. LaMont pinned McKee twice in a row to sweep the best-of-three and make the World Team.
“I mean, I just wanted to separate myself”, LaMont said afterward. “I went back to the Last Chance Qualifier and beat some tough Senior guys and that gave me a lot of confidence. I know that if I can hang with any Senior guy, if I can do that, then I should be able to blow these guys out of the water. So I came in there with that mentality and that’s what I did.”
Two of the country’s rising young Greco stars, Kamal Bey (Front Range Twisters/OTC) and Jesse Porter (NYAC/NMU) delivered the much-anticipated fireworks fans in attendance were hoping to see at 74 kg. If you like points, their first in the finals series is probably one you’re going to want to go back and watch. Big throws on and off the edge were the order of the day for both wrestlers. It was an “answer back” match; Porter would try to nail something huge and then Bey would respond with his own offense. However, it was Porter who squeaked out a last-second two to take the first one 16-14.
Bey was all business in the second match. He asserted control immediately, scoring from everywhere to cruise to a 9-0 tech fall victory. The third and last bout saw Bey get off to another fast start. With a 7-0 lead early on, a Junior Greco World Team Trials win seemed all but certain. But Porter wasn’t going to go out without putting up a serious fight. The New York native hit a nice throw to close the gap and then picked up more points thanks to a scramble when Bey got caught underneath. However, Bey got back on track and increased his output to come away with an exciting 11-7 series-clinching win. Bey would also later be named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
“First match, came out guns blazing, Kamal Bey-style-highlight reel…wasn’t smart”, Bey said. “Second round, came out, changed up my stance a lot, and my position, technique, and everything. It’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to be professional now and learn from your mistakes.”
Bey continued. “Colorado’s been great, you know. It’s been a great time for me. Me and RaVaughn Perkins team up and I work out with him. Overall, it’s been increasing my lungs. TC (Dantzler) has me walking the incline, training in back-rope, running in the morning, doing ropes and everything. It’s really helped me a lot, even in school and everything.”
G’Angelo Hancock keeps rising. Hancock (Front Range Twisters/OTC), 18, made his first US Senior National team earlier this past year and also finished an impressive third at the US Olympic Trials. Showing off a keen understanding for where the offense needs to be as well as an innate ability when to try something big, Hancock demonstrated once again why he is someone to take seriously at any level.
In the 96 kg final, Hancock squared off against former Cadet World Team member Angus Arthur, a Northern Michigan product who is also the holder of a bright future. Nevertheless, this was the “Hancock Show” from the outset. Utilizing a neat throw-and-turn sequence without losing his momentum, G’Angelo Hancock blitzed through the first match 10-0. He picked up where he left off going into the second of the series, again starching Arthur, this time via an 8-0 score.
Junior Greco World Team Trials Champions
50 kg: Randon Miranda (NMU/OTS)
55 kg: Dalton Roberts (NMU/OTS)
60 kg: Taylor LaMont (Champions Wrestling Club)
63 kg: Francisco Casas (RMN/OTC)
66 kg: Jamal DeArmond (NMU/OTS)
70 kg: Quentin Hovis (Arizona)
74 kg: Kamal Bey (Front Range Twisters/OTC)
79 kg: Jacobi Jones (Pueblo Wrestling RTC)
84 kg: Nick Reenan (Dallas Dynamite Wrestling Club)
96 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (Front Range Twisters/OTC)
120 kg: Michael Rogers (Bison Legend Wrestling Club)