Greco News

Monday Roundup: USA Tour of Europe Continues; Haparanda Cup Entry List; Donato OTR

marat garipov, haparanda cup entries, michael donato
Marat Garipov -- Photo: CBW

Over the weekend, six USA Greco-Roman Seniors earned medals at the 2018 SA Lavrikov Memorial in St. Petersburg, Russia. Two-time Trials winner Joe Rau (87 kg, Chicago RTC) grabbed gold to lead the pack; 2017 World Team member Patrick Smith (77 kg, Minnesota Storm) — and four Marines, Ray Bunker (72 kg), Jamel Johnson (72 kg), Terrence Zaleski (82 kg), and ’18 National Champion Daniel Miller (97 kg) — all recovered from early losses to wind up with bronze.

Most of the Americans who competed in St. Petersburg are staying put for training camp throughout the week. The group will then make its way to Sweden ahead of Saturday’s Haparanda Cup.

Speaking of Haparanda, an influx of US athletes are arriving in Europe to jump on board for the event:

  • Colton Rasche (63 kg, Marines)
  • Xavier Johnson (63 kg, Marines, National Team member)
  • John Stefanowicz (82 kg, Marines, National Team member)
  • Tommy Brackett (82 kg, NMU/OTS)
  • Keaton Fanning (87 kg, NMU/OTS)
  • Barrett Stanghill (87 kg, Minnesota Storm/OTS)
  • Eric Twohey (97 kg, Minnesota Storm)

The Haparanda Cup is one more late-autumn overseas tournament in which the US boasts a history of participation, though there hasn’t been an American presence in several years. The degree of competition, depending on the weight class, is by and large a full tick higher than this past weekend’s Lavrikov. For instance, Russia usually sends a high-speed delegation to Haparanda. And given the event’s location, so do Finland and Norway.

The last time a US squad entered the tournament (2012), they came away with three champs and seven overall medalists to win the team title.

GOLD: Nate Engel (55 kg), Joe Betterman (60 kg), Andy Bisek (74 kg)
SILVER: Spenser Mango (60 kg), Ben Sanchez (66 kg)
BRONZE: Jon Anderson (84 kg), Erik Nye (120 kg)

Given the number of  US athletes showing up — as well as the breadth of talent which includes several National Teamers and top-tier Seniors — it is more than reasonable to expect a very strong performance from the Americans this weekend. If you’d like to look ahead, here is an early rendering of the entry list for the 2018 Haparanda Cup (minus US athletes). Note: the below list is subject to change.

60 kg

Maksym Liu (UKR)
Myroslav Solovian (UKR)

63 kg

Alex Bica (SWE)
Juuso Latvala (FIN)
Roope Miettunen (FIN)

67 kg

Denis Bolunov (EST)
Gustav Dahl (SWE)
Marat Garipov (BRA)
Serhii Hrushyn (UKR)
Håvard Jörgensen (NOR)
Joni Komppa (FIN)
Elmer Mattila (FIN)
Marcus Sellden (SWE)

72 kg

Ihor Bychkov (UKR)
Yuri Denisov (RUS)
Simon Erlandsson (SWE)
Vladyslav Kravchenko (UKR)
Akseli Yli-Hannuksela (FIN)
Leevi Ukkola (FIN)

77 kg

Artem Gerasinmenko (RUS)
Andre Isberg (SWE)
Petteri Kukkola (FIN)
Per Anders Kure (NOR)
Iiro Piippo (FIN)
Roni Purolainen (FIN)
Sakke Purolainen (FIN)

82 kg

Vitalii Andriiovych (UKR)
Ivan Chernov (RUS)
Dmytro Gardubei (UKR)
Otto Ketonen (FIN)
Oskar Johansson (SWE)

87 kg

Danila Bogdanov (RUS)
Rami Hietaniemi (FIN)
Erik Int (EST)
Arttu-Petteri Klami (FIN)
Aleksei Kuniashev (RUS)
Gustav Månsson (SWE)
Duguchiev Movsar (RUS)
Emil Sandahl (SWE)
Valentyn Shkliarenko (UKR)

97 kg

Aleksandr Badanin (RUS)
Pontus Lund (SWE)
Billy Rääf (SWE)
Arvi Savolainen (FIN)
Christoffer Svensson (FIN)
Oleksandr Yevdokimov (UKR)

130 kg

Georgi Helaya (RUS)
Konsta Mäenpää (FIN)

Michael Donato Speaks

Michael Donato (77 kg, NMU/OTS) is an interesting case. A product of New York’s Beat the Streets program, Donato was originally steered towards Greco by now-Hunter College head coach MarcAntoni Macias and NMU alum Joe Uccellini. After finishing high school and armed with only a cursory amount of Greco-Roman experience, Donato enrolled at Northern where he is in the beginning stages of building the foundation of his career.

Donato has been overseas before, but he is still learning. On Saturday, he went 1-1 at the Lavrikov Memorial, just one more day of education tacked on to go along with all of the others. That’s the life of a developing US Senior athlete. After the tournament, Rau put on his athlete-correspondent’s hat and had Donato discuss the importance of competing across the Atlantic.

Donato: “It wasn’t my best tournament, but not because of the scoring. I scored 20 points in my two matches, so I know I can get to my attacks. I just need to make some micro adjustments, get my mental game up, and just be ready to get out there. I’m trying to peak for April. I have two more tournaments to get quality matches in and I’m looking forward to these training camps. There are a lot of tough guys in my weight, it’s a deep bracket, and hopefully I am going to learn from them this week. I would like to make a lot of changes and get my game plan ready so I can continue to develop.”

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