USA Greco

Granma Cup Day 1: Briggs, Ortiz, & Robby In the Mix

riley briggs, 72 kg, 2020 granma cup
Photo: Jay Antonelli

The results are, as expected, incomplete, despite pre-declared efforts towards coordination. But it is what it is, particularly when a tournament takes place in a location resistant towards fully joining the rest of us here in the 21st century.

The bottom line? Three American Greco-Roman athletes will have the chance to earn bronze tomorrow at the Granma Cup following a first day of action that saw one of the nation’s most recognizable wrestlers return with a victory in his opening bout.

Four-time US World Team member Robby Smith (130 kg, NYAC/Chicago RTC) made his 2020 debut by tech’ing out Hernandez of Cuba (that’s all there is for now, a surname, which is also the case for several other US opponents from Cuba — Ed.). According to Smith, his surgically-repaired shoulder felt fine as he grasped a front headlock that would eventually prove to be the match-ending maneuver. In the next round, Smith faced off with ’19 Pan Am Championships bronze Angel Pacheco Romero (CUB) and was defeated 6-0. According to Smith, Pacheco scored four in the first period from double underhooks. “He got his underhooks and I thought he was going to step back to throw, so I was waiting to float it. But he came forward, and it is what it is. It was clean.” Pacheco was also given two passivity points en-route to victory.

Tomorrow, Smith will go for his second career Granma Cup bronze against Luciano Del Rio (ARG), a wrestler Smith has beaten before, including at the ’15 Pan Am Championships in Chile. Last spring, ’18 World silver Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) trucked Del Rio for gold at the ’19 running of the Pan Am Championships.

The biggest objective for Smith was getting a sense of his conditioning, and more importantly, how his shoulder would hold up. When speaking earlier this evening from his hotel room, he was thrilled on both accounts. “I came here to feel that match pace again, and I felt great,” Smith said. “The shoulder was good, I got to my front headlock, and I couldn’t be turned (from par terre). This was what I wanted and now I’m going to get that bronze tomorrow and come home feeling good.”

Match descriptions are unavailable for any other US athletes at this time since the tournament was not broadcast live.

Fellow Community Youth Center product and current Northern Michigan athlete Riley Briggs was back at a more agreeable weight for him today, 72 kilograms. It worked out pretty well. Briggs starched Lautaro Seghesso (ARG) in his first match but lost to ’16 World Champion Balint Korpasi (HUN) via tech in the next round. Like Smith (and the man below), Briggs is still alive for bronze and will contest Sablon (CUB) tomorrow.

Also stepping out on the mat for the first time this year was Alec Ortiz (77 kg, Minnesota Storm). For those who may remember, Ortiz tore every vital piece of tissue in his knee last winter and worked tirelessly to get back for this Olympic Year push. He only had one match today, a tech loss to ’19 World Champion/multi-time medalist Tamas Lorincz (HUN). But Ortiz was pulled back in and will go at it again tomorrow with a medal on the line opposite Dairon Salomon (CUB).

’19 Junior World bronze Peyton Omania (67 kg, CYC/MSU) was ousted in his only bout by Rodriguez (CUB), and ’18 Cadet World Teamer Dominic Damon (NMU) lost both of his matches in his second-ever Senior international tournament.

We hope to have more details and results following the conclusion of Greco-Roman competition at the 2020 Granma Cup tomorrow.

2020 Granma Cup

February 11-12 — Havana, Cuba


67 kg

Dominic Damon (NMU)
LOSS Antomarchi (CUB) 10-0, TF
LOSS Daniel Coles (CAN) 8-0, TF

Peyton Omania (CYC/MSU)
LOSS Rodriguez (CUB) 8-5

72 kg

Riley Briggs (NMU)
WON Lautaro Seghesso (ARG) 9-0, TF
LOSS Balint Korpasi (HUN) 8-0, TF
vs. Sablon

Colby Baker (NMU)
LOSS Sablon (CUB) 8-0, TF
LOSS Luis Barrios (HON) 8-0, TF

77 kg

Nate Grimes (NMU)
LOSS Ariel Fis Batista (CUB) 10-0, TF
LOSS Yosvanys Pena Flores (CUB) 10-0, TF

Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Tamas Lorincz (HUN) 8-0, TF
vs. Dairon Salomon (CUB)

130 kg

Trace Schirmers (NMU/UA)
LOSS Bradley Hildebrand (CAN) 12-4, TF

Robby Smith (NYAC/Chicago RTC)
WON Hernandez (CUB) 9-0, TF
LOSS Angel Pacheco Romero (CUB) 6-0
vs. Luciano Del Rio (ARG)

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