The first day of the 2018 Thor Masters Invitational, Scandinavia’s largest Greco-Roman event of the year, saw five wrestlers from the US emerge undefeated with several more still alive for possible medal contention tomorrow.
Four of the five athletes without a blemish are all Olympic Trials champions from 2016 — Jesse Thielke (63 kg, NYAC), RaVaughn Perkins (72 kg, NYAC), Ben Provisor (87 kg, NLWC) and Robby Smith (130 kg, NYAC). Two-time Junior World Team member Randon Miranda (55 kg, NYAC/OTS) also got off to a hot start, dismantling 2017 Junior Nordic Championships gold medalist Nikolai Mohammadi (DEN) via tech 10-1 in his only bout of the day.
For Thielke, it was a similar expression of dominance. Taking on Sweden’s Alex Bica, the Wisconsin native struck right away, bodylocking Bica to his back for big points before ending it with two gutwrenches. He’ll now face 2015 Junior World Team member and US teammate Travis Rice (NMU/OTS), who dropped a tough one to skilled vet Mate Krasznai (HUN). Rice was originally slated to compete at 67 kilograms this weekend, so his presence at 63 is news in and of itself.
Perkins had himself a dogfight to begin. Down 4-1 to Finland’s Mikko Lyttinen with under :10 left, Perkins lowered in for a high dive and drove Lyttinen straight down for four to come away with a stunning comeback victory. In his next bout the sailing was a lot smoother, as Perkins easily downed Kristupas Sleiva (LTU) 9-0 to advance unscathed into tomorrow’s action when he will lock horns with Christoph Burger (AUT).
Provisor chased down Phillip Barreiro (CAN) off of an exchange and quickly converted into a go-behind followed by a gut. Up 4-0, He then picked up two more points on two step-outs in the first period and that was more than enough for him to cruise the rest of the way. For his next match, Provisor will meet up with multi-time Lithuanian World Teamer Julius Matuzevicius. Robby Smith earned three of his four points against Artur Vititin (EST) on an interesting run. After being awarded with the first passivity/par terre chance of the proceedings, Smith circled to Vititin’s head and torqued a front headlock for two — and then cartwheeled out of danger the moment Vititin started coming up. The bearded one added another passivity point later in the second to go up 4-2, which is how the match would end.
Alec Ortiz (77 kg, Minnesota Storm) won his first overseas match as a Senior by running over 2017 Herman Kare International bronze medalist Per Anders Kure (NOR) 8-0. His second bout represented a decidedly taller task in five-time World medalist Mark Madsen (DEN), the hometown hero at the 2018 Thor Masters Invitational. Madsen clamped a front headlock and rolled it over twice before holding Ortiz down to collect the fall. But — Ortiz is still in the thick of Pool A competition. He will battle with Fabio Dietsche (SUI) tomorrow morning in hopes of advancing to the medal rounds.
Right there with him at 77 for the US are two other young studs — 2017 U23 World Team member Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS) and Cody Pack (LOG). Porter ran over two-time Herman Kare International bronze medalist Paulius Galkinas (LTU) in his first match but fell to Nicolas Christen (SUI) after that. Pack was an offensive machine opposite Jakob Brink (SWE) en-route to an impressive tech victory, although 2012 Golden Grand Prix gold medalist Martin Szabo‘s (HUN) advantage in experience got the better of him in Round 2, as Pack dropped a a 9-0 tech. Both Pack and Porter are in Pool B, so if they keep winning, a match-up between the two would seem unavoidable.
Upstart Northerner Aaron Kliamovich (67 kg) was turned back by 2016 Junior Nordic Championships gold medalist Mikko Peltokangas (FIN) in his first match at a major Senior event but he’ll get another crack at it on Saturday as he takes on Housaam Omar (SWE). Because 67 kilograms does not have the same allotment of depth as many of the other weight classes, Jessy Williams (NYAC) didn’t take the mat on Friday but instead will see his first action of the weekend on Saturday.
“So far, not bad,” said US Greco-Roman National Team head coach Matt Lindland after action wrapped up on Friday. “We’ve taken a few losses but we also have a few guys who are still in. RaVaughn (Perkins) is looking really tough. I’m super-excited to see (Jesse) Thielke looking aggressive and tough. We have to go out, we have to score points, and we have to take the matches to guys a little more. We can’t sit back and wait. But the guys who are taking the matches to their opponents are winning and moving forward in the tournament, so I’m pretty excited about that.
“It’s a great event, as usual. It’s our third year here at Thor Masters and we love the format and we love the enthusiasm of the Danish fans out here. We’ll see tomorrow, but so far, so good”
- It wasn’t the easiest day of competition for reigning World Team member and 2017 Thor Masters bronze medalist Patrick Smith (72 kg, Minnesota Storm). He dropped his opening bout via tech fall to 2016 Germany Grand Prix winner Maximilian Schwabe (GER); for his second-round match, Smith was hanging in there well against Sweden’s Daniel Soini, but despite the pressure he brought (along with a litany of offensive attempts), he never received a chance to get on top. Despite a late flurry, the Storm wrestler was unable to close the gap and ultimately fell 4-1.
- Anthony “Twinkie” Linares (72 kg, NYAC/OTS) flew over to Denmark in effort to tack on some top-notch foreign experience but he is another American who had a tough time getting on a roll, losing his first bout to one of the most seasoned and skilled athletes at the tournament in Timo Badusch (GER), and in a much closer affair, to up-and-coming Swede Lukas Ahlgren, who has actually trained and competed in the US before.
- At 77 kilograms, 2017 World Team member Mason Manville (Army/WCAP) got back out there in a Greco tournament for the first time since the Paris Worlds and although he wrestled well, the wins didn’t follow. 2017 U23 European Championships gold medalist Alex Kessidis (SWE) hit two four-pointers and that was the difference in their 9-2 contest. Up next for Manville was 2017 Maccabi Games gold medalist Igor Petrishin (ISR). The Penn State student pressed Petrishin constantly and he came close on a couple of attempts as the bout reached its conclusion though Petrishin remained upright enough to hold on for the 3-1 win.
10:30am-3:30pm — Preliminary rounds
3:30pm-4:00pm — Bronze medal matches
4:30pm-6:00pm — Finals
All times local (+six hours EST)
Five Point Move will be providing ongoing coverage throughout the day on Twitter along with recaps and analysis later on.
2018 THOR MASTERS INVITATIONAL — Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
TEAM USA DAY 1 RESULTS
Randon Miranda (NYAC/OTS)
WON Nikolai Mohammadi (DEN) 10-1, TF
vs. Krisztian Kecskemeti (HUN)
Jesse Thielke (NYAC/OTS)
WON Alex Bica (SWE) 8-0, TF
vs. Travis Rice (NMU/OTS)
Travis Rice (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Mate Krasznai (HUN) 5-0
vs. Jesse Thielke (NYAC)
Aaron Kliamovich (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Mikko Peltokangas (FIN) 8-0, TF
vs. Houssam Omar (SWE)
Jessy Williams (NYAC)
LOSS Rami Syrja (FIN) 9-0, TF
vs. Istvan Kozac (HUN)
RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC)
WON Mikko Lyttinen (FIN) 5-4
WON Kristupas Sleiva (LTU) 9-0, TF
vs. Christoph Burger (AUT)
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Maximillian Schwabe (GER) 8-0, TF
LOSS Daniel Soini (SWE) 4-1
Anthonie Linares (NYAC/OTS)
LOSS Timo Badusch (GER) 9-0, TF
LOSS Lukas Ahlgren (SWE) 3-0
Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm)
WON Per Anders Kure (NOR) 8-0, TF
LOSS Mark Madsen (DEN) via fall
vs. Fabio Dietsche (SUI)
Cody Pack (LOG)
WON Jakob Brinke (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Martin Szabo (HUN) 9-0, TF
vs. Frederik Ekstrøm (DEN)
Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS)
WON Paulius Galkinas (LTU) 10-2, TF
LOSS Nicolas Christen (SUI) 9-0, TF
vs. Oldrich Varga (CZE)
Mason Manville (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Alex Kessidis (SWE) 9-2
LOSS Igor Petrishin (ISR) 3-1
Ben Provisor (NLWC)
WON Phillip Barreiro (CAN) 6-0
vs. Julius Matusevicius (LTU)
Michael Rodgers (NYAC)
LOSS Felix Radinger (GER) 4-2
LOSS Jan Zirn (GER) via fall
Robby Smith (NYAC)
WON Artur Vititin (EST) 4-2
vs. Konsta Mäenpää (FIN)