Northern Michigan

Aidan Nutter Finishes 5th at 2023 Nikola Petrov Memorial in Bulgaria

aidan nutter, 5th place, bulgaria

Aidan Nutter (63 kg, NYAC/NTS) exhibited poise and conviction on the mat this week and the result is a fifth-place finish from a top-tier international Senior tournament.

The medal round on Day 2 of the 2023 Nikola Petrov Memorial began at 5:00pm local time from Sofia, Bulgaria (10:00am ET) and streamed live on YouTube.

not all roads lead to gold, jim gruenwald

The ride for Nutter had begun on Thursday with an impressive victory in the quarterfinal round over Koki Yoshinaga (JPN), a match that nearly ended in the American’s favor early in the first period following a points blitz from par terre. A defeat in the semifinal to two-time U23 World bronze Hrachyan Poghosyan (ARM) halted Nutter from going for gold, but it did offer the chance to fight for third-place on Friday.

As was the case for Nutter opposite Yoshinaga yesterday, positionally-sound movement and an eagerness to seek advanaceable tie-ups greeted the proceedings. Nutter scanned and moved, only occasionally having to mind his balance against Komei Sawada (JPN).

Sawada, a bronze medalist from last year’s U20 Asian Championships, drove Nutter close to the boundary twice in the first period but the Northern Michigan rep recovered both times to retake the center. From there, fleeting arm drags and looks at two-on-ones were the strategy — and, to a degree, it worked. Sawada was the one reacting, his head lowering just a little each time Nutter asserted himself in the ties. The officials deemed Sawada passive soon after to provide Nutter with a point, but follow-up from par terre was unavailable.

Passivity went to Sawada in the second period to take criteria. Unfortunately for Nutter, more points would compile in the other direction. After securing his lock from par terre, Sawada was able to execute a lift that delivered four points. Back to the feet they were, with Nutter on the hunt for a potential multi-point score. By then, Sawada was not called upon to extend himself, relegated only to deflecting the advances as the clock ticked down to zero.

Nutter — who in ’22 reached the US Open final — officially places fifth at the Nikola Petrov Memorial. Although he had trained overseas previously, the event this week represented his first time competing in Europe (a distinction he shared with several NMU teammates).


The United States has six athletes prepared to do battle tomorrow, five of whom from Northern Michigan University: ’21 U23 World Team member David Stepanyan (67 kg), Riley Briggs (77 kg), Ryder Smith (60 kg), Charlie Welcome (67 kg), and Mike Higgins (77 kg). Also scheduled to compete for the US is former Stanford wrestler and ’16 Junior Trials runner-up Gabriel Townsell (60 kg), who is a member of the California Regional Training Center. The full schedule for Saturday is displayed below (and along with Day 3 draws). Fans in the US can watch the action live via this link.

Saturday, March 4 (Day 3) — 60, 67, & 77 kg (Smith, Townsell, Stepanyan, Welcome, Briggs, & Higgins)
10:30am-2:30pm — Qualification rounds through quarterfinals
10:30am-2:30pm — Repechage (Day 2 weight categories)
5:00pm — Semifinals
6:00pm — Finals/bronze-medal rounds (Day 2 weight categories)

2023 Nikola Petrov Memorial

March 2-5 — Sofia, BUL


63 kg

Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS) — 5th
LOSS Komei Sawada (JPN) 5-1

82 kg

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


60 kg

Ryder Smith (NMU/NTS)
vs. Michal Tracz (POL)

Gabriel Townsell (NYAC/CARTC)
vs. winner between ’22 World Champion Zholoman Sharshenbekov (KGZ) and Nedyalko Petrov (BUL)

67 kg

David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS)
vs. Morten Thoresen (NOR)

Charlie Welcome (NMU/NTS)
vs. Slavik Galstyan (ARM)

77 kg

Riley Briggs (WC Greco RTC/NTS)
vs. Zlatomir Dinkov (BUL)

Mike Higgins (NMU/NTS)
vs. Akseli Yli Hannuksela (FIN)


63 kg

Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS)
WON Koki Yoshinaga (JPN) — 7-1
LOSS Hrachyan Poghosyan (ARM) 9-0, TF

82 kg

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

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Listen to “5PM053: Northern Michigan assistant Parker Betts and USMC Captain Jamel Johnson” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM52: Two-Time Olympian Jim Gruenwald” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM51: Lining up with Tanner Farmer” on Spreaker.

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