The first day of competition at the 2019 Cadet World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria did not unfold according to plan for Team USA, with all five athletes suffering defeats prior to the quarterfinals.
Three of the American competitors still had a shot to be pulled back in during the semifinal session, but only one, Robert Perez III (65 kg, ABG) saw his opponent advance to the final, and by extension, provide a new lease on life for tomorrow. And as we know now, Perez will battle Arman Khachikyan (ARM) in the repechage. If he wins, he’ll find himself in the bronze round.
But the second day, which begins Saturday morning at 10:30am local time (3:30am ET) welcomes in a fresh batch of USA Greco-Roman wrestlers with title hopes very much dancing in their heads.
45 kg: Mason Gehloff (Sebolt)
vs. Gheorghita Scheul (ROU)
51 kg: Jeff Strickenberger (SOT)
vs. Ou Deng (CHN)
60 kg: Parker Decker (Mile High WC)
vs. Arturs Seskens (LAT)
71 kg: Daniel Segura (Team Miron)
vs. Andreas Vasilakopoulos (GRE)
92 kg: Tyler Hannah (Combat)
vs. Muhammad Evloev (RUS, 2017 Cadet World Champion, two-time Cadet European Championships gold)
Right off the bat, 2018 Fargo Cadet champ Hannah has himself by far the toughest draw on paper, as Evloev was one of the more standout competitors in this tournament two years ago, when Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist) prevailed at heavyweight. The Russian was a first-year Cadet in ’17, but Russia didn’t send him last summer, instead choosing to shuffle Evloev off to the Youth Olympic Games last October where he placed third.
The credentials for the opponents facing the four other Day 2 Americans are not nearly as glittering as Evloev’s. Seskens, Decker’s counterpart, took a bronze at the Nordic Championships, and like Scheul, who is facing Gehloff, missed out on a medal at the Euros. Likewise, Deng (Strikenberger’s opponent), lost in the bronze round at the Asian Championships.