In a morning filled with tough draws, the US Greco Roman Cadets had trouble coming up with the right answers at the right time.
At the 2016 Cadet World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia, Clay Lautt (76 kg, KS) stood out as the lone US wrestler to earn a victory on the tournament’s second day. In the first round, Lautt nailed two vice-grip front headlocks against Teodor Domozinov (BUL) for seven of his eight points. Domozinov got two back off of a takedown but couldn’t capitalize any further. A passivity point later added on for Lautt, who walked away the winner 8-2. It was a fine showing for Lautt: Domozinov took home bronze from July’s Cadet Euros and was considered a difficult obstacle for the American in his first match. But that would be a familiar story throughout for the rest of the US squad.
Lautt’s next opponent, Ali Hunc (TUR), used a step-out and a four-point headlock to climb out to an early lead. The front headlocks that presented themselves in his first match weren’t there for Lautt in the second. Lautt was not over-matched in a physical sense; he drove in and looked for tie-ups he could do something with. Hunc simply demonstrated a more refined game, which he employed to his advantage in the closing period to net two more as he ambled around Lautt off the edge. Final score, 7-1 Hunc. The Turkish wrestler lost in the semifinals, ending Lautt’s chance of earning a medal.
Andrew Chambal (42 kg, MI) is a gamer. Facing off versus arguably the most difficult draw of the day in 2016 Cadet Euro gold medalist Vladyslov Kuzko (UKR), Chambal didn’t give an inch. Literally. He displayed tenacity in each exchange, at times even setting the tone with his penchant to clash inside. The problem? At times, Chambal held onto Kuzko perhaps a little too much and had trouble igniting his own offense. This would result in two passivity points against him, which wound up being the difference in the match. Kuzko prevailed 2-0, though Chambal showed he could have been a very legitimate player at this weight.
But he’d get another shot. Kuzko advanced to the final, pulling Chambal into the repechage. This time around, it was Hayk Asatryan (ARM) greeting him. And similar to his battle with Kuzko, Chambal stayed right in the pocket but was unable to deliver any offense. A passivity point went to the Armenian less than 30 seconds into the first period, and that would be the only point scored throughout the entire match. Chambal was out of the tournament by virtue of razor-thin 1-0 margin.
Chambal’s Michigan teammate Brandon Whitman (85 kg) dusted up with Hakob Baghdasaryan (ARM) and was behind the eight-ball from the beginning. Baghdasaryan spun around at the edge for the first two points. In the second period, the Armenian struck again, getting behind for another two before hitting a gutwrench to widen his lead to 6-0. There was only so much Whitman could do at that point. Baghdasaryan cruised the rest of the way, though he would not advance past the semifinal, meaning Whitman was done for the day.
Another Armenian would prove to be kryptonite for the US. Ashot Mkhitaryan (46 kg) got in deep on American fireballer Mosha Schwartz and launched him out of bounds for his first two points. The early scare did not deter the US Triple Crown winner from repeatedly racing back into the fire. Schwartz was looking for his own opportunities — his scoring capability is frenetic enough to where he’s never out of it. However, the tide wouldn’t turn back in Schwartz’s direction. A four-point sequence from Mkhitaryan in the latter stages of the second period iced the bout in his favor.
Max Wohlabaugh (69 kg, FL) prodded for inside wrist control and tried to pummel in against Yasin Turan (TUR), but it was Turan who seized the first opportunity to score big. Towards the very end of period 1, Turan lit Wohlabaugh up with a five-point throw that included plenty of air. Such a vast maneuver usually seems like a portend of things to come, but it wasn’t. If anything, it brought the fight out of Wohlabaugh, who continuously went after Turan for most of the second frame. Turan defended all of the US wrestler’s attacks though he, too, was shut down the rest of the way. It was a frustrating defeat for Wohlabaugh, who came on strong in the second despite being unable to open up his offense.
The United States didn’t get to the medal stand and (at press time) is relegated to 28th place in the team standings. It certainly wasn’t the performance the US was hoping for. Were there silver linings? Without reaching too far, the Americans never appeared out of their element. Each match was contested and no one was tech’ed out. And other than a couple of turns, par terre defense seemed solid overall. But it is yet another example of how although the US athletes impress in competitions at home, they are a little too light on experience against more-seasoned international competition.
2016 Cadet World Championships – Greco Roman Day 2 US Results
Andrew Chambal LOST Vladyslov Kuzko (UKR), 0-2
LOST Hayk Asatryan (ARM), 0-1
Mosha Schwartz LOST Ashot Mkhitaryan (ARM), 0-6
Max Wohlabaugh LOST Yasin Turan (TUR), 0-5
Clay Lautt WON Teodor Domozinov (BUL), 8-2
LOST Ali Hunc (TUR), 7-1
Brandon Whitman LOST Hakob Baghdasaryan (ARM), 0-6