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Monday Roundup: SIX USA Greco Athletes Ranked by UWW; BUL Roster (?); Nordic C’Ships

bunker, uww rankings
Ray Bunker -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

With the first United World Wrestling “Ranking Series” tournament of the year now having concluded, points have been distributed and six American Greco-Roman athletes are in the running.

At 60 kilograms, Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP, 5PM #1) enters UWW’s top-10 rankings for the first time as a US athlete. The two-time (USA) World Team member and Olympic Trials finalist-in-waiting finished fifth at the Matteo Pellicone Memorial on Thursday — which was the case for all of the US wrestlers who are ranked following Rome. Hafizov received a total of eight “Ranking Series” points for his placing and holds  the #5 allotment according to the global sanctioning body’s system.

Thus, the pattern: UWW points from ranking events are derived from a combination of placement and number of competitors in a given bracket. Five of the six US reps in Rome had numbers which mirrored those of Hafizov’s.

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“Wildman Sam” Sammy Jones‘ (NYAC/URTC, 5PM #5) finished fifth, accrued eight points, and is ranked #5 at 63 kilograms. And like Hafizov, and Peyton Walsh (77 kg, Marines, 5PM #9), Jones had not previously approached UWW’s vaunted top-10 list.

Walsh’s eight points got him the #5 spot at 77, while Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #1) earned the same number of points but occupies #6 on the list. That is because Walsh acquired more classification points in the tournament.

’19 World Team members Ray Bunker (Marines, 5PM #3 at 67 kg) and Joe Rau (TMWC/IRTC, 5PM #2) were both ranked in the top-10 entering this year but have now been reset in Pellicone’s aftermath. Bunker — who exited the tournament via injury default shortly after beginning his third bout — officially finished fifth in the pooled 72 bracket and is ranked #5 by UWW, two notches lower than where he ended up following his gold at the ’20 Pan-Am Championships. Meanwhile, Rau moves up two spots, from #7 to #5. But there is a difference that separates Rau from his stablemates: his fifth at Pellicone tallied ten points because 87 kilograms had more than 10 competitors (11, to be precise). See chart below for further details.

United World Wrestling Ranking Series Chart

United World Wrestling “Ranking Series” Points Distribution Chart. (Source: UWW)

UWW Greco-Roman Rankings – USA Athletes

March 2021

60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) — #5 (8 pts)

63 kg: Sammy Jones (NYAC/UVRTC) — #5 (8 pts)

72 kg: Ray Bunker (Marines) — #5 (8 pts)

77 kg: Peyton Walsh (Marines) — #5 (8 pts)

77 kg: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) — #6 (8 pts)

87 kg: Joe Rau (TMWC/IRTC) — #5 (10 pts)

UWW’s reset also means that a substantial number of USA Greco-Roman wrestlers have fallen out of the rankings, most of whom due to not having been able to participate in the Italian tournament — or much of anything else.

Max Nowry (60 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #3) — previous UWW ranking (at 55 kg): #3

Mike Fuenffinger (60 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #4) —  previous UWW ranking: #17
Pan-Am Championships silver

Ryan Mango (60 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #2) —  previous UWW ranking (at 63 kg): #7

Alex Sancho (67 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #2) — previous UWW ranking: #19

John Stefanowicz (Marines) — previous UWW ranking (at 82 kg): #3

G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, 5PM #1) — previous UWW ranking: #7

Adam Coon (130 kg, NYAC/Cliff Keen, 5PM #1) — previous UWW ranking: #6

Bulgaria’s Euro Qualifier Roster

The Bulgarians are in Tata, Hungary for final preparations prior to the European Olympic Qualifier (March 18-20 in Budapest). The roster in Tata, presented below, is presumably comprised of the group that will attempt to lock down licenses for Tokyo. If unsuccessful in Budapest, Team BUL will have one more opportunity, along with a slight home-field advantage: the World OG “Last Chance” Qualifier takes place in Sofia on May 8.

*Projected Qualifier Entrants

60 kg: Edmond Nazaryan — ’19 Cadet World bronze, ’20 European Championships gold

*60 kg: Ivo Angelov — ’13 World Champion, ’11 World bronze

67 kg: Ivo Iliev — ’19 U23 European Championships bronze

*67 kg: Deyvid Dimitrov

*77 kg: Aik Mnatsakanian — two-time World bronze

77 kg: Stoyan Kubatov — ’19 U23 European Championships bronze

*87 kg: Daniel Aleksandrov — ’20 European Championships silver, ’18 European Championships bronze

*97 kg: Kiril Milov — ’18 World silver, ’19 European Championships silver

*130 kg: Radoslav Georgiev

Nordic Championships

Off in the distance due to pandemic-forced postponement are the 2021 Nordic Championships, now scheduled for September 4 at Sportscenter Herning in Herning, Denmark. The Nordic Championships, which arrive just a month later after the Olympics and four weeks before the Oslo Worlds, will be the first major event in Denmark dating back to the ’20 Thor Masters Invitational which took place last January.

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