The hits keep on coming for Hayden Zillmer (98 kg, Minnesota Storm).
Earlier this morning at the 31st annual Ljubomir Ivanovic-Gedza International in Kragujevac, Serbia, Zillmer collected his second overseas medal of the year in clutch fashion. Down by a point to Stjepan Lavoric (CRO) with :36 remaining in the bronze medal match, Zillmer stepped in and lassoed a deep bodylock. He then tightened it up and dramatically took Lavric straight to his back, the pin coming seconds later. Lavoric won this event in 2016.
Up until the fall, it was tough sledding for the Storm wrestler. The bout started off with Lavoric being awarded a passivity point as Zillmer attempted to find angles to appropriate his busy brand of inside work. Zillmer sustained a steady pace throughout the first period, but it was Lavoric who was finding success in the pummel, digging into underhooks whilst controlling the range. Zillmer made adjustments heading into the second period, although Lavoric was given another passivity point to go up 2-0. Zillmer began shoring up the distance in the tie-ups and coming closer with his two-on-ones. Lavoric didn’t seem to be fading right away — he used his legs constantly to try and move Zillmer off his spot. But towards the waning moments of the bout he was clearly losing steam.
Zillmer recognized a sense of urgency. A brief level change caused Lavoric to react and reset. Shortly after, Zillmer (finally) received a passivity point to cut the score in half. But with under a minute remaining, an offensive point was going to be necessary. He’d get more than that. Zillmer shucked an arm, went one way and then the other, ducking under Lavoric to wrap his arms around the Croatian’s body. From there it was practically academic. Zillmer held the clasp, adjusted, and torqued Lavoric down for the fall. The win gives Zillmer his second medal on international soil in 2017 after nailing down a silver earlier in the year at the Herman Kare event in Finland.
The pin for Zillmer in the bronze medal bout wasn’t his only one of the day. Starting off in the qualification round he flattened Janko Ivetic (SRB) in 1:42. Zillmer next faced off with 2017 Junior Asian Championships runner-up Amirmohammed Noroozipasand (IRI) and emerged with a 6-0 shutdown victory before dropping a tough 2-0 decision to eventual champ Mikheil Kajaia (SRB) in the semifinals.
Both Zillmer and Minnesota Storm teammate Barrett Stanghill (85 kg), who competed yesterday, will now return home to the United States where they will continue training throughout the summer.
31ST ANNUAL LJUBOMIR IVANOVIC-GEDZA INTERNATIONAL — KRAGUJEVAC, SERBIA
US GRECO-ROMAN DAY 2 RESULTS
Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm) — bronze
WIN Janko Ivetic (SRB) via fall (1:42)
WIN Amirmohammed Noroozipasand (IRI) 6-0
LOSS Mikheil Kajaia (SRB) 2-0
WIN Stjepan Lavoric (CRO) via fall (5:24)