USA Greco

Black Earns Bronze at Thor Masters 2024

max black, thor masters 2024 bronze
Max Black -- Image: Brydeklubben Thor YouTube

Max Black (60 kg, NMU/NTS) put the pieces in place on Friday to exit his second appearance at Thor Masters with a medal and the top US lightweight finished the job earlier today by coming away with bronze.

Day 2 of Thor Masters 2024 began at 10:30am local time from Nykobing Falster, Denmark (4:30am ET) and streamed live on the event’s official website as well as YouTube.

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Yesterday, Black started off with a decision victory over Nikita Dementiev of Ukraine to advance one step in his pooled bracket. When action resumed this morning, the two-time US U20 World Team member had to bite down against Adam Silverin (SWE) in order to collect a 1-1 win via criteria. It did not get easier in Round 3, as ’20 Olympian Etienne Kinsinger (GER) was able to capture the momentum early and eventually route Black en-route to an 11-0 VSU.

That match essentially functioned as one of two semifinals for the entire bracket, which meant that Black had qualified for the bronze-medal match. Waiting for him there was Mark Liotto (SWE), who had decisioned American Rhett Peak (OPTC) one round prior.

The scoring kicked off for Black due to a throw attempt from Liotto. Black had felt it coming and deftly countered to net two exposure points while trying to hunt for a pin. Liotto rolled to his stomach and a reset was called in short order. Back on the feet — and after some mutual playback in the tie-ups — Black found himself with a front headlock position. In response, Liotto tried to submarine up from his knees but Black quickly shucked him to his back for another pair of points before Sweden once again got himself prone. From top par terre, Black secured a trap-arm gutwrench and twice rotated his lock for the 8-0 VSU much to the delight of his teammates who were enthusiastically cheering from matside.

The bronze medal Black earned today represents his first from a Senior overseas tournament. It is also the first medal for a US competitor from Thor Masters since ’21 (Billy Sullivan, silver at 55 kg; Randon Miranda, silver at 60 kg). In addition, Black had competed at Thor Masters last year but did not contend for a medal.

Peak, Jacobson, & Amos

Black was the only American to make the Thor Masters podium on Saturday but there were other encouraging performances from the Day 2 group of competitors.

Peak — who just began on the Senior circuit this past fall — recorded his first international win by defeating Alexander Norstrom (SWE) 5-1. How it occurred was important, considering all contextual parameters. Norstrom was gifted the opening period’s passivity/par terre opportunity and had attempted to crank a gutwrench. On the conclusive try, he came close, but Peak just managed to avoid surrendering exposure. In Period 2, Norstrom was deemed passive, thus allowing Peak a chance to damage from top. He did. After initially securing a conventional gutwrench lock, Peak brought his clasp high under Norstrom’s arms and executed a four-point lift that brought the score to 5-1 in his favor. Norstrom hardly threatened through the remainder and Peak had his first taste of victory over a foreign counterpart. Liotto decisioned Peak in the next round to end the American’s time in the tournament.

Thor Masters 2024 did not provide Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS) with a medal. A non-issue. Jacobson — who prior to this weekend was focused on 77 kilograms but that may have now changed — competed quite very well in the 87 kg class. On Friday, he fell in a tight contest to experienced Croatian Vjekoslav Luburic before defeating Minnesota Storm representative Lukas Poloncic. This morning, Jacobson continued his run in the event by holding on for a 1-1 nod over ’19 European Games bronze Arkadiusz Kulynycs. The degree of difficulty climbed one notch higher for Jacobson in Round 4 as he took the mat against ’22 U23 World Champion and overall highly-decorated Istvan Takacs of Hungary.

Physicality is not an aesthetic but rather an expression of one’s personal nature. It is also a competitive tactic, and a very important one at that.

Takacs, who prevailed in this match 5-3, scored all of his points in the first period thanks to par terre. Jacobson was knocked for passive, and Takacs delivered a lift that netted four. After the reset, Jacobson was showing a variety of looks as he pounded away in the hand-fight. His positioning was malleable and not static, a stylistic wrinkle as much as a necessity due to Takacs’ height. Soon enough, chippiness. Jacobson had been heavy on the head as is custom and had apparently drawn Takacs’ ire with a well-placed club. Takacs responded by overtly slapping Jacobson, which resulted in Hungary being penalized for a caution to make the score 5-2. Passivity 180’d in the second period to put Jacobson within closer reach, but Takacs defended the lock and would go on to take the decision. The Northern Michigan University athlete thus closed out Thor Masters 2024 with a 2-2 record.

’21 U20 World bronze/’22 Senior World Team member Braxton Amos (97 kg, Sunkist) — who returned to action on Friday following an injury-compelled hiatus — came from behind to defeat Christian Zemp (SUI) on Saturday morning. From the whistle, it was apparent that Amos brought to bear a higher quality skill-set and he ardently pursued scoring positions rather than engage in typical early-match histrionics. One such position was a bodylock, but Amos’ feet and timing of the attempted execution were out of sync, which helped Zemp to land on top and collect four points at the boundary. The officials next called Amos for passivity. He was not guilty of passive mechanics by any reasonable standard, but they must choose an athlete for the match stimulation procedure and as such it was him who had the honor of hitting the deck in par terre. Zemp, now up 5-0, was able to elevate his lock but could not muster a turn. Back standing, and it was Amos’ time to start mounting an offensive. The first salvo was the bout’s most pronounced and impressive.

Zemp had clasped over the top of Amos’ head — and Amos re-attacked by wrapping his right arm around Zemp’s body, holding his foe’s left arm in place across the torso, and whipping a throw that translated to four points. Not a maneuver seen quite often.

Down 5-4, Amos went back to work in the second period and consistently navigated to workable positions but the action was also hitting a stalemate. Passivity did not factor into the equation until midway through the frame with Amos opting for a front headlock. He pulled the hold up as he stepped to his feet, and Zemp had, inadvertently or otherwise, interfered with Amos’ right leg. But Amos still finished on an attempt that went out of bounds to net himself a point. Another was added after a challenge from Switzerland failed to alter the score of the sequence. Amos remained upright till the whistle and triumphed 7-5. One round later, he was decisioned 4-1 by eventual runner-up Lucas Lazogianis (GER).

Brackett & Attao

’21 U23 World Team member Tommy Brackett (87 kg, NYAC) had lost a tough match on Friday (to Kulynycs) but he was still with a chance to compete on this second day of Thor Masters 2024 and drew German Hannes Wagner for the second round. Wagner was the recipient of the first period passivity/par terre and capitalized with four gutwrenches to defeat Brackett via technical fall.

Two top-level opponents were on the docket for ’22 U20 World bronze Aden Attao (Beaver Dam RTC) at Thor Masters. On Friday, Attao performed admirably against ’21 Senior World bronze medalist Mantas Knystautas (LTU) but was on the wrong end of a 3-2 decision. On Saturday, the young competitor did not have too much of an opportunity to gain traction opposed by ’17 U23 World medalist Jello Krahmer (GER). Attao was moving well and flashed a couple of arm throw attempts that were ruled as slips. On a subsequent restart, Krahmer re-engaged off of an exchange to get behind Attao before finishing with a suplex for five. The German then turned Attao twice with a gutwrench to seal the 9-0 VSU. Attao, who developed on the age-group level under famed coach Ivan Ivanov, is currently a resident athlete at the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center but will attend Oregon State University beginning next fall.

2024 Thor Masters

March 1-2 — Nykobing Falster, DEN


60 kg

Max Black (NMU/NTS) — BRONZE
WON Nikita Dementiev (UKR) 9-3
WON Adam Silverin (SWE) 1-1 (criteria)
LOSS Etienne Kinsinger (GER) 11-0, TF
WON Mark Liotto (SWE) 8-0, TF

Rhett Peak (OPTC) — 6th
LOSS Brian Kurt Santiago (DEN) 6-1
WON Alexander Norstrom (SWE) 5-1
LOSS Mark Liotto (SWE) 5-3

72 kg

Patrick Brackett (CO) — 15th
LOSS Witas Behrendt (GER) 8-0, TF
LOSS Sebastian Nad (SRB) 12-1, TF

77 kg

Aaron Dobbs (NMU/NTS) — 28th
LOSS Pavel Puklavec (CRO) 4-0
LOSS Adam Standner (SWE) 4-0

87 kg

Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC) — 17th
LOSS Martin Ljsoak (NOR) 7-1
LOSS Szymon Szymonowicz (POL) 8-0, TF

Tommy Brackett (NYAC) — 15th
LOSS Arkadiusz Kulynycs (POL) 10-1, TF
LOSS Hannes Wagner (GER) 9-0, TF

Rich Carlson (Minnesota Storm) — 19th
LOSS Marcel Sterkenburg (NED) 8-0, TF
LOSS Matej Mandic (CRO) 8-0, TF

Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS) — 9th
LOSS Vjekoslav Luburic (CRO) 3-3 (criteria)
WON Lukas Poloncic (Minnesota Storm) 11-0, TF
WON Arkadiusz Kulynycs (POL) 1-1 (critieria)
LOSS Istvan Takacs (HUN) 5-3

Lucas Poloncic (Minnesota Storm) — 16th
LOSS Artem Shapovalov (FIN) 7-2
LOSS Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS)

97 kg 

Braxton Amos (Sunkist) — 13th
LOSS Mathias Bak (DEN) 5-3
WON Christian Zemp (SUI) 7-5
LOSS Lucas Lazogianis (GER) 4-1

130 kg

Aden Attao (Suples) — 6th
LOSS Mantas Knystautas (LTU) 3-2
LOSS Jello Krahmer (GER) 9-0, TF

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