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Monday Roundup: Olympic Qualifier; THOR MASTERS

kamal bey, 2024 pan american olympic games qualifier
Kamal Bey -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

Two tournaments take place this week, and both are important — but one of them, at least as far as the United States is concerned, is much more important than the other.

not all roads lead to gold, parent edition, jim gruenwald


2024 Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier Schedule
Team USA Roster for the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier
2024 Thor Masters Information & Schedule
Team USA Roster for Thor Masters 2024

2024 Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier Schedule

The schedule for the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico is essentially the same as it was for last week’s continental championships with two noted exceptions: 1) only the six Olympic weight categories are being contested, thereby rendering a true one-day format; 2) finals matches will not occur, which is a tournament format that is new for this Olympic cycle. Because semifinal winners automatically secure Olympic quotas on behalf of their countries for Paris ’24 — and because too often athletes in the past who had prevailed in semifinal matches chose to bypass competing in Olympic Qualifier tournament finals — United World Wrestling deemed fit for continental qualifier events to no longer include gold-medal rounds.

*All times -1 hr ET.
FLOWrestling will carry the live broadcast for the United States audience.

Wednesday, February 28
10:00am-2:00pm — Qualification through quarterfinal rounds
7:30pm — Semifinals

To Whom Belongs the Glory graphic

Team USA Roster: Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier

As reported last week following the continental championships, the seeds for the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier are all, basically, determined. The precise draws for each bracket are expected for release on Tuesday. Next to each athlete’s name and club/team affiliation is their projected seed.

60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) — #2
67 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) — #1
77 kg: Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) — #2
87 kg: Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP)random draw
97 kg: Alan Vera (NYAC) — #2
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) — #1

Thor Masters 2024

If not for the Olympic Qualifier unfolding on Wednesday, the majority of the focus on this platform would center around Thor Masters, one of the very best tournaments held each year. Thor Masters in Nykobing Falster, Denmark — so long as it is not subject to various schedule interruptions — stacks up with just about every event that is available on the international schedule. The Nordic system format along with the presence of many top European athletes are why Thor Masters is a top destination. There is, of course, also the accompanying camp that follows each year’s event, but that is more of a concern for athletes and coaches than it is for fans of the sport.

It does bear mentioning that although Thor Masters is not a priority for the US in ’24, the tournament is indeed serving as a hotly-desired tune-up for those who may participate in the European Olympic Games Qualifier set for early April in Baku, Azerbaijan. Such is why the field for the event is indeed significant. At press time, 153 competitors are registered. Unsurprisingly, the Olympic weight categories are the most populated, specifically 67, 77, 87, & 97 kg.

2024 Thor Masters Schedule

*All times +6 hrs ET
Live stream available at this link.

Friday, March 1
1:00pm-8:00pm — Preliminary rounds

Saturday, March 2
10:30am-3:30pm — Preliminary rounds
3:30pm-4:00pm — Bronze-medal rounds
4:30pm-6:00pm — Finals

Team USA Roster: Thor Masters

The US is bringing a rather pronounced roster of athletes to Thor Masters 2024. 

The Brackett Brothers are a lead story for Team USA in Denmark, as top Senior competitor Tommy (87 kg) and younger brother Patrick (67 kg) have not yet appeared together in an international tournament. Patrick, however, did get his first taste of overseas wrestling back in ’23. 

Currently, Rhett Peak is listed for 55 kilograms, a surprise if only because he appeared massive for 60 this past fall. Thor Masters is observing a two-kilogram allowance — and there will be a non-Olympic weight World Championships this year. Perhaps that is influencing Peak’s entry at 55. 

From Northern Michigan University’s National Training Site are Max Black (60 kg), Aaron Dobbs (77 kg), and Payton Jacobson (77 kg). Black and Jacobson are both qualified for the Olympic Trials in April. 

Three Junior World medalists are on the US roster, as well: Braxton Amos (97 kg, Sunkist — bronze, ’21), Aden Attao (130 kg, Beaver Dam RTC — bronze, ’22), and Andrew Berreyesa (87 kg, NYAC — silver, ’18). Amos — who was the Olympic Trials and Final X runner-up in back-to-back years to G’Angelo Hancock — was not able to compete in last year’s selection process due to injury. At his first Senior Worlds in ’22, Amos went 1-1, with his victory in the opening round coming against Vadem Kozliuk of Ukraine. 

Attao, who most recognize as an extremely promising heavyweight prospect, will be making his Senior overseas debut in Denmark. The 130 kg bracket is not exactly crammed at Thor Masters, but solid match-ups could await, one of which could come against ’21 World bronze Mantas Knystautas (LTU). 

The Minnesota Storm has two athletes in the running at Thor Masters, both in the same weight category — Rich Carlson and Lukas Poloncic. Carlson has long been a standout on the Senior level and is a current National Team member. Poloncic has yet to fully break through domestically but the Wyoming product is tough, skilled, and constantly progressing. This is the type of trip that can make an impact for a wrestler like him. 

*Qualified for US Olympic Team Trials

55 kg

Rhett Peak (OTC)

60 kg

*Max Black (NMU/NTS)

67 kg

Patrick Brackett (CO)

77 kg

Aaron Dobbs (NMU/NTS)
*Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS)

87 kg

*Mike Altomer (Curby 3-Style)
Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC)
Tommy Brackett (NYAC)
*Rich Carlson (Minnesota Storm)
Lukas Poloncic (Minnesota Storm)

97 kg

*Braxton Amos (Sunkist)

130 kg

*Aden Attao (Beaver Dam RTC)

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Listen to “5PM57: Kamal Bey and David Stepanyan” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM56: Rich Carlson and Spencer Woods” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM55: Recapping Final X with Dennis Hall with words from Koontz, Braunagel and Hafizov” on Spreaker.

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