Greco News

Monday Roundup: Rule Change, December Nationals, Pat Smith, and UWW

greco roman rule change
Photo: John Sachs

There is no question from a Greco Roman side of things, the big news last week was the announcement from United World Wrestling that ordered par terre was being removed at the Senior level. The US athletes, for the most part, couldn’t be happier. That makes a lot of sense for more reasons than one. Jesse Thielke (NYAC), for instance, is convinced that one of the primary benefits is that American Greco Roman wrestlers will now no longer be encumbered by a looming second passivity call because even if a US guy gets knocked, no problem, a takedown might be right around the corner. Is it as simple as that? It could be? Why not? I mean, if we’re all to operate under the belief that the strength of the US Seniors is standing up and the weakness is par terre defense, then sure, this tilts is their favor. Sort of.

It also means fans are bound to see more competitive matches. We plan on getting into this more later this week, but obviously, there have just been so many bouts internationally between well-matched opponents which basically have ended as soon as one guy was rewarded with their first chance on par terre top. Second whistle, four gutwrenches, see ya later. The four guts to victory (or defeat) are not gone, but yikes, at least wrestlers will earn their way on top legitimately. Another slight ray of sunshine.

Of course, it also means that officials will be wielding the same amount of power, if not more. So they can’t put guys on the mat anymore. Does anyone honestly believe they are going to be happy with all of the calls from now on? That you still won’t be yelling in the arena or at your TV screen how a ref is jobbing someone you’re rooting for? This was the same rule-set we’ve all seen at the age-group level and complained about, even just recently at the Junior and Cadet World Championships. So it is sort of fuzzy why some fans were dancing in the streets when previously, they were complaining how freely passivity points were being doled out to US opponents. Settle down a little because make no mistake about, that is still going to happen. Being infuriated isn’t going away just yet.

We’re going to break this down more, so stay tuned.

December, the Nationals

The US Greco Roman Nationals will be held the week before Christmas, December 17th and 18th, in Las Vegas. This is going to hit during a very busy stretch in the Senior schedule (busy is a good thing). November’s World Team Trials for the non-Olympic weights take place November 12th in New York; two weeks later is the Golden Grand Prix Final in Baku, Azerbaijan; and the non-Olympic Worlds are set for December 10th in Budapest, Hungary. So…yeah, that is a lot of wrestling to look forward to in a condensed period of time. It’s what you want.

Bravo, FLO

If you haven’t seen the outstanding reporting job on FloWrestling earlier today, you’re seriously missing out on groundbreaking work. There has for a very long time been plenty of talk about how FILA had manipulated matches and outcomes, but UWW was supposed to a bright light and new beginning for a fairly-governed sport. Of course, it didn’t take too long for that sentiment to change. It began gradually and then came to a head at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where there were so many dodgy calls, it almost seems like anything positive that came out of this year’s Games was a fluke.

Flo alleges that Antonio Silvestri, UWW’s Chief Referee, orchestrated a sophisticated system of corrupt officiating parameters by placing certain officials with certain countries, for certain wrestlers, in certain spots throughout the tournament. The evidence is extraordinarily strong and detailed — a complete list of involved parties is available with descriptions of each UWW official’s role in the scheme. Flo’s analysis is both comprehensive and compelling, and there is little doubt that UWW will have to respond in some way, shape, or form. Do check this out.

That Smith kid

Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) has already shown himself to be a very dangerous competitor at 71 kilograms, so it was no surprise for people to learn that he was game for the non-Olympic Weight World Team Trials. Smith is a skilled athlete who is also a bit of a throwback — it’s like the adage for fighters who’d say, “Win or lose, they’re going to know they got in a fight with me.” That could stand for Smith but the thing is, the guy has won. A lot. He just hasn’t captured the blue ribbon yet, though that could change in just under a couple of months in New York City.

Rice Nice, Rice Twice

We are in the process of putting together features on USA Greco’s Rice brothers, Brandon and Travis. Travis will be up first this week. Both are talented Northern Michigan athletes who are usually in the mix domestically,  and this could be an important year for the duo.

On the “Hey, I’ve Still Got It” side of things

A big congratulations to Chris Brown (85 kg, Maryland) for taking home gold at the Greco Roman Veteran World Championships. With the victory, Brown becomes the first US Veteran Greco competitor to capture two World titles, the first being in 2014. Doing battle in Division E, Brown went 4-0 in his five-man round-robin, coming away the winner 4-2 in the final.

He wasn’t the only US medalist, either. Mark LeVasseur (58 kg, Minnesota) and Bruce Moe (76 kg, North Dakota) picked up silver medals in Division E, as well. Gabe Beauperthuy (130 kg, Colorado) and Constantin Tintea (85 kg, Pennsylvania) earned bronze medals in Divisions B and E, respectively.

What’s coming up here…

  • The new “Coach Lindland’s Report” is another great one. Coaches’ education videos and the intent to get more teachable content out to interested parties is a primary topic, but not to be outdone by a discussion on how the US Greco Roman Wrestling program has been inclusive and inviting to college programs. There are a whole lot of interesting points made by the National Team coach, so make sure you dig into that one tomorrow.
  • As mentioned above, a closer look at the new par terre rule change, what it could mean, positives, negatives, and what fans maybe should expect.
  • Travis Rice, Northern Michigan’s wildcat.
  • A profile on Joe Uccellini and his soon-to-be full-time wrestling school, Curby 3-Style. Uccellini, an All-American at the Senior level, is one of the original NMU athletes under Ivan Ivanov.
  • Plenty more!

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