USA Greco

TRIALS DAY 1: 97 KG Madness; RaVaughn, Holmes, Thielke, & Ildar Among Semifinalists

RaVaughn Perkins -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

RaVaughn Perkins (77 kg, NYAC, 5PM #2) had his hands full against Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #7) but never flinched en-route to victory. One spot lower in the same bracket, Britton Holmes (Army//WCAP, 5PM #4) maintained a substantial lead over Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #5) and carried it all the way home, thus setting up a Sunday semifinal that already has people talking.

Day 1 of the 2022 World Team Trials began at 10:00am CT from the Xtream Arena in Coralville, IA and streamed live on FLOWrestling.

not all roads lead to gold, jim gruenwald

Outside of five preliminary bouts, Saturday was all about the quarterfinals for nine of Greco-Roman’s ten weight categories. 97 kilograms was the exception and contested its semifinal round during the evening session.

Perkins, the top seed at 77, enjoyed a bye to the round-of-eight, while ’21 Trials runner-up Schierl had to contend with ’19 Junior World Team member Jack Ervien (Viking WC) before moving on to the tune of a 15-4 tech.

When it was his own turn to get warm, Perkins quickly took command. A spin-behind takedown near the edge opened the scoring in the first period — but it was during the second period when Schierl’s deficit became problematic. Another Perkins takedown was challenged by Schierl, with the result inconclusive and translating to one more point being distributed in the other direction. The heat intensified as Schierl went on a mad dash to somehow get to the body. His attempts, while admirable, were futile, and a last-ditch leap-to-throw was easily thwarted by Perkins, who collected Schierl mid-flight along with a decisive 9-1 triumph.

Holmes Over Ortiz

The latest edition of Holmes/Ortiz was pegged as one of the two premier quarterfinals of the tournament due to their recent but raucous history. Entering Saturday, the two were deadlocked with two wins apiece against one another after Holmes defeated Ortiz in the Open final just three weeks ago.

Now the former NMU athlete holds a 3-2 edge in their domestic rivalry.

And the only reason why their match on Saturday was not devoid of suspense could be attributed to Ortiz’s reputation for piling up points out of nowhere, and in a hurry.

Holmes took a 4-0 lead in the first period following a takedown that eventually gave way to a correct throw off the line. An Ortiz step-out with slightly over one minute remaining before the break widened the margin.

Five points is not insurmountable for a wrestler like Ortiz, provided he can force the sort of unorthodox scoring opportunities that have been his calling card. But said opportunities were hard to find. Holmes, perhaps having learned from their previous encounters, rarely broke posture and declined to over-pursue coming off of exchanges. Still, Ortiz efforted inside for possible attacks — just not enough to garner a passivity/par terre opportunity. Instead, the official went the other way and awarded the shot to Holmes. Nothing was doing from top, save for an Ortiz stand-up; but then Holmes notched another step-out to climb within a point of securing the match outright.

In the proverbial race to the finish, Ortiz pounced and pounded, dipped and darted. He was desperately hunting for the bushel of points that would somehow change the whole thing around. Not only did that fail to materialize, Holmes landed on top of Ortiz’s last-gasp throw attempt as time expired to put this one in the books as a technical fall.

Holmes — who has become a major player at 77 over the past year — will now face the elegant elder statesman Perkins on Sunday in what should be quite the semifinal.

Thielke & Hafizov Cruise

At 63 kilograms, reigning World Teamer “Wildman Sam” Sammy Jones (NYAC, 5PM #1) made quick work of Ty Lydic (Knights WC). On the bottom side of the bracket, ’16 Olympian Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP, 5PM #2) did the same opposite Logan Savvy (NYAC, 5PM #11), just in a different way.

Savvy expressed a solid first contact and immediately began working to physically assert himself, clashing in and out sans committal to early-on tie-ups. For his part, Thielke remained patient through the storm — until countering Savvy’s head-and-arm with his own and whamming a thunderous headlock that netted four. After the reset, they resumed chipping. Just when it had begun to seem as though the tempo might stabilize, Thielke used a fleeting exchange to unfurl an exceedingly crisp and tight arm throw that stopped the match.

Thielke, the #2 seed, will stand across his Open runner-up Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #6) tomorrow. Top-seeded Jones will exchange pleasantries with his World Team Trials runner-up from September, David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #3), who downed Corbin Nirschl (MWC, 5PM #7) 4-0 in the quarterfinal.

Hafizov

Speaking of arm throws, Hafizov delivered a beauty to fast-rising Phillip Moomey (Spartan Wrestling RTC) to go up 4-0 in their quarterfinal match-up. The two-time Olympian — once for Uzbekistan (’08), once for Team USA (’20) — then scored a takedown ahead of executing his high-gut for the VSU. Hafizov will square off against Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #4) with one Final X spot on the line. Koontz survived a tight struggle from Mitchell Brown (Air Force RTC, 5PM #8) earlier in the day. ’21 World Team member Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP, 5PM #1) had a bye but will run it back yet again with former Northern Michigan teammate and ’22 Pan-Am gold Randon Miranda (Rise RTC, 5PM #3).

97 kg: Brax & Maley Emerge

’21 Junior World bronze/’20 Olympic Trials runner-up Braxton Amos (97 kg, Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC, 5PM #3) and Haydn Maley (Beaver Dam RTC, 5PM #9) enjoyed big days in the event’s most significant bracket.

Amos started action off on Saturday by ushering two-time age-group World rep Chad Porter (Sunkist, 5PM #6) to an early exit. Next came a rematch from last year’s Olympic Team Trials, newly-minted National champ Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP, 5PM #4). Amos drew first blood by staying heavy on a Sheridan headlock attempt and turning it into a lift attempt. Sheridan adjusted, but still gave up two on the edge. Later in the stanza, it was Sheridan who took control. Passivity on Amos seemed to provide a spark as the Army wrestler crunched a gutwrench; then suddenly, Amos was hit for fleeing on the back-end and par terre was resumed. Only this time, Amos bunched himself into a ball and stood right up, in the process taking away what might have been Sheridan’s best opportunity to create meaningful distance in the bout.

The second period opted for more conventional histrionics. Observers might have figured an Amos match against Sheridan to be won via counter-attacks or scrambles. Not the case. Rather, par terre was the decisive factor. Sheridan was dinged — and Amos rotated two guts to retake the lead 7-4. There was no further scoring in the match, putting the native West Virginian one step closer to his second-straight Senior Trial finals appearance in two tries.

Maley Surprises Boykin

It was not the performance for which Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC, 5PM #2) had been hoping. Or like most observers, expecting. Boykin — ’19 Junior World Team, two-time National Champion, ’21 U23 World Team member, and ’22 Pan-Am bronze — owned not only the top seed, but also most of the hype. Deservedly. Boykin has markedly improved, particularly since pandemia began, and is established as a legit Senior force domestically.

But none of that bothered Maley, apparently.

Their paths: Boykin went over “Last Chance” victor Timothy Eubanks (NMU/NTS, 5PM #12); Maley pinned Guy Patron (Dubuque WC, 5PM #10).

In other words, they were rested and ready for Saturday’s evening session.

Much of the first period was limited to jousting. For Maley, it was a step-out point responsible for his score. Boykin’s haul was a takedown plus correct-throw at the line that yielded one point.

The rains came in the proceeding period. Maley worked behind Boykin, looking to lift. Initially, it did not appear all of the moving parts were in agreement. An adjustment at hip-level changed that, allowing Maley to bomb Boykin for five.

However, Boykin was still alive.

He was like a magnet when it came to Maley’s body through the majority of the match but could not convert in big-time fashion. Takedown points matter, too, of course, and when Boykin caught a run in the trenches, settling for an amplified two was deemed a net gain. But in the follow-up, Boykin’s reverse lift attempt opened the door for a Maley reversal. Then Maley locked to turn, and scored, but also exposed midway through the action.

Down 11-7, Boykin entered the contest’s last minute clinging to tie-ups and pummeling for even the narrowest windows worthy of exploitation. There was wear, for both parties, though Maley responded to each position with requisite zeal. Boykin wanted to expend and explode his way back into daylight. It would not happen on this night. Maley remained upright till the end for an 11-7 decision that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Sunday’s Schedule

All weight categories except for 97 kilograms will run their semifinals during the morning session (beginning at 10:00am CT). The winners of each semifinal match will advance to the Final X Series date corresponding with their weight category.

97 kilograms will observe the traditional World Team Trials Challenge Tournament best-of-three final. The winner of this three-match series will then go head-to-head with ’21 World bronze G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist, world #5, 5PM #1) at Final X: New York on June 8.

Sunday, May 22
10:00am-1:30pm — Semifinals (Final X qualifying round for all weight categories except 97 kg), consolations, consolation semifinal, and third-place matches
2:30pm — Round 1, 97 kg best-of-three
3:30pm-6:30pm — Round 2, 97 kg best-of-three; Round 3 (if necessary); winner will face Hancock at Final X in June.

2022 World Team Trials

May 21-22 — Coralville, IA

SEMIFINAL RESULTS

97 kg

Haydn Maley (Beaver Dam RTC) def. Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) 11-7
Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC) def. Luke Sheridan (Army/WCAP) 7-4

QUARTERFINAL RESULTS

55 kg

Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) def. Cole Smith (Army/WCAP) 8-0, TF
Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Jakason Burks (MWC) 13-4, TF
Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP) def. Camden Russell (MWC) 12-2, TF
Drew West (IL) def. Jacob Cochran (NMU/NTS) 9-0, TF

60 kg

Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) — bye
Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) def. Phillip Moomey (Spartan Wrestling RTC) 8-0, TF
Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Mitchell Brown (Air Force RTC) 4-2
Randon Miranda (Rise RTC) def. Max Black (NMU/NTS) 5-2

63 kg

Sammy Jones (NYAC) def. Ty Lydic (Knights WC) 8-0, TF
Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP) def. Logan Savvy (NYAC) 8-0, TF
Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS) def. Mason Hartshorn (West Coast Greco RTC) 5-1
David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS) def. Corbin Nirschl (MWC) 4-0

67 kg

Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) def. We Rachal (IRTC) 9-0, TF
Alston Nutter (Sunkist/NTS) def. Jessy Williams (Spartan Wrestling RTC) 10-0, TF
Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC) def. Morgan Flaharty (NYAC) 8-6
Peyton Omania (NYAC/MSU) def. Nate Moore (UNCO) 8-0, TF

72 kg

Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) def. Noah Wachsmuth (Cobra) 13-4, TF
Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS) def. Ryan Wheeler (Colorado Mesa WC) 8-0, TF
Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP) def. Eddie Smith (Pickaxe WC) 6-1
Jamel Johnson (Marines) def. Brody Olson (NMU/NTS) 4-4 (criteria)

77 kg

RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) def. Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC) 9-1, TF
Jesse Porter (NYAC) def. Chad Walsh (NJ) 10-4
Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) def. Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS) 7-2
Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP) def. Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) 8-0, TF

82 kg

Ben Provisor (NYAC) — bye
Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) — bye
Tyler Cunningham (MWC) def. Ben Lee (Viking WC) via fall
Ryan Epps (Minnesota Storm) def. Tommy Brackett (Unattached) 5-1

87 kg

Alan Vera (NYAC) — bye
Tim Young (IL) — bye
George Sikes (NYAC/NTS) def. Austin Craig (All-Navy) 4-0
Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm) def. Tyler Hannah (Combat WC) 3-1

97 kg

Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) def. Timothy Eubanks (NMU/NTS) 8-0, TF
Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC) def. Chad Porter (Sunkist) 8-0, TF
Luke Sheridan (Army/WCAP) def. Brady Vogel (Dubuque WC) 9-0, TF
Hadyn Maley (Beaver Dam RTC) def. Guy Patron (Dubuque WC) via fall

130 kg

Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) def. Malcolm Allen (LOG) 8-0, TF
Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC) def. Tom Foote (NYAC) 8-0, TF
West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC) def. Ron Dombkowski (BK WC) 8-0, TF
David Tate Orndorff (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Courtney Freeman (Marines) 13-5, TF

PRELIMINARY RESULTS

55 kg

Cole Smith (Army/WCAP) def. Jonathan Gurule (NMU/NTS) 5-1
Jakason Burks (MWC) def. Dominic Robertson (All-Navy) 8-0, TF

63 kg

Ty Lydic (Knights WC) def. Diego Romero (NMU/NTS) via fall

77 kg

Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Jack Ervien (Viking WC) 15-4, TF
Chad Walsh (NJ) def. Tyler Eischens (CARTC) 12-7

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