Aidan Nutter (63 kg, NYAC/NTS) started off his first international tournament with a victory and will vie for a bronze medal tomorrow. Michael Altomer (82 kg, NMU/NTS) also earned a win in his introduction to overseas competition before he and teammate DM Hallett were both felled by the same opponent.
Day 1 of the 2023 Nikola Petrov Memorial in Sofia, Bulgaria began at 10:30am local time (3:30am ET) and streamed live on YouTube.
Nutter betrayed plenty of conviction and calmness in dispatching Koki Yoshinaga (JPN) in the quarterfinal. From the whistle, the protocol was eager yet disciplined movement into positions that kept Yoshinaga in reaction mode. Nutter pursued inside with underhooks, in between flinging off a Yoshinaga attempt, and kept his feet underneath him in a practical cadence. Yoshinaga was dinged for passivity, which allowed Nutter to immediately pile on the offense with a lift and — what had originally appeared to be — a pair of gutwrenches. If the scoring had held, it would have meant the end of the match. But Japan challenged the points and won, with the final turn in the sequence being wiped off the board. Nevertheless, Nutter walked into the break with a commanding 7-0 lead.
Yoshinaga upped his own output to start the second frame, though the smattering of flurries did little to discourage Nutter’s tactics. More authentic and purposeful scanning in the ties followed on his part, but it was not enough to ward off the passivity fairy. Yoshinaga had his shot from top par terre and it broke apart quickly. The Japanese athlete circled around to Nutter’s head but, before he could get a grip, Nutter was already on his feet and ready for to put in more work. Yoshinaga opted for several last-gasp measures — including a “flying squirrel” with little time left — and Nutter easily deflected the mini onslaught to cruise into the semifinal as the 7-1 winner.
The semifinal did not go the same way. Two-time U23 World bronze Hrachyan Poghosyan (ARM) got on a run against Nutter that could not be curtailed. Poghosyan, one of the bracket’s most established competitors, moved past the NMU student via 9-0 technical fall, thus sending Nutter to tomorrow’s bronze medal round where he will face ’22 Junior Asian Championships bronze Komei Sawada (JPN).
Altomer & Hallett
If there were any reservations in Altomer’s mind with regards to the toughness of the Petrov, he had a very unique way of concealing them. In his first-ever international Senior showdown, the New York product trucked Yoshinosuke Aoyama (JPN) to come away with the fall. Quite the debut. The ride ended in the next round, however. ’18 University World bronze Rosian Dermanski (BUL) used a front headlock to spin behind Altomer and finish with a succession of guts. Dermanski was then handled in relatively short order by ’22 World Champion/’21 silver Burhan Akbudak (TUR), which eliminated Altomer and Hallett (who himself had been defeated by Dermanski in the qualification round).
Tomorrow, Northern Michigan has only one active athlete for the morning session, ’18 U23 World Teamer George Sikes (87 kg, NYAC/NTS). Sikes will battle Japan’s Kaito Miyamoto. The schedule for Friday’s slate of action is displayed below. Note that the medal round featuring Nutter is on the docket for 6:00pm local time (11:00am ET). Links to watch live can be found here.
Friday, March 3 (Day 2) — 87, 97 & 130 kg (Sikes)
10:30am-2:30pm — Qualification rounds through quarterfinals
10:30am-2:30pm — Repechage (Day 1 weight categories)
5:00pm — Semifinals
6:00pm — Finals/bronze-medal rounds (Day 1 weight categories)
2023 Nikola Petrov Memorial
March 2-5 — Sofia, BUL
DAY 1 TEAM USA RESULTS
Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS)
WON Koki Yoshinaga (JPN) — 7-1
LOSS Hrachyan Poghosyan (ARM) 9-0, TF
Michael Altomer (NMU/NTS)
WON Yoshinosuke Aoyama (JPN) via fall
LOSS Rosian Dermanski (BUL) 9-0, TF
DM Hallett (NMU/NTS)
LOSS Rosian Dermanski (BUL) 8-0, TF
DAY 2 TEAM USA DRAWS
Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS)
vs. Komei Sawada (JPN) — bronze-medal round
George Sikes (NYAC/NTS)
vs. Kaito Miyamoto (JPN)
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