After an adrenalizing first day at the 2017 Junior Greco-Roman World Championships in Tampere, Finland, Team USA is back at it again in the morning. Four of the country’s finest young Greco-Roman athletes will look to add onto the stellar performances of gold medalist Kamal Bey (Sunkist) and silver Cevion Severado (Xtreme RTC) from earlier today, and they’ll definitely have a shot to do that.
Returning Junior World Team member Randon Miranda (55 kg, NYAC-OTS) believes he is a World medalist in waiting and he’ll have the chance to prove it right away. That’s because his first round opponent is 2015 Cadet World Champion Turabek Tirkashev (UZB). Tirkashev is a good match-up for Miranda since they share some stylistic attributes, most notably the ability to pile on points in a hurry off of transition moves. The Uzbek is of course, a more classically-grounded wrestler than Miranda is, but both like speed and can punish opponents in the tie-ups if the scoring is hitting a lull. Tirkashev won his World title at 46 kilograms two years ago and has put on some size, though it isn’t as if he’s a behemoth all of the sudden. He curiously went up 60 kilos for the Junior Asian Championships, where he took eighth.
Elsewhere on Miranda’s side of the bracket are other successful World-level competitors. Nugzari Tsurtsumia (GEO) is back at 55 kilograms — he was a runner-up here in 2016. At the tippy-top of the bracket is two-time Cadet World silver medalist and this year’s Junior Euros champ Kerem Kamal (TUR). In other words, all of the “hammers” everyone would want to avoid at this weight class are all crammed together in the same half of the bracket. Them’s the breaks.
Miranda has his work cut out for him and that’s how it is. But he has grown a ton over the past year and is virtually a completely different all-around wrestler than he was in Macon. His jump in Senior matches has helped, as well. It’s a tough assignment — Tirkashev and everyone else — but Miranda is one who turns on the heat in an eyeblink. So long as he’s aggressive, good things will happen.
Dominick Demas (66 kg, CWC) will see his qualification round action versus 2015 Junior Pan Am Championship gold medalist Joilson de Brito Ramos. This is likely a good match-up for Demas. Ramos is no slouch by any stretch and does have a lift-to-gut sequence that looks pretty solid. But he can’t wreak the kind of havoc Demas can on the feet, at least not if Demas is moving well. There should be opportunities for the American via takedown. Demas is an adept thrower, so he’ll seek out chances to let it fly. But he’s money when speed is a factor and it probably will be against Ramos. Expect Demas to move on to face the winner of 2017 Junior Euro silver Giorgi Kurtanidze (GEO) and Dinesh Dinesh (IND). Kurtanidze was a rough customer at the Euros and will provide Demas with all the physicality he could ask for.
Mizzou’s Wyatt Koelling (MWF) opens up at 84 kilograms with Aleksandar Stjepanetic (SWE). Stjepanetic won the Junior Nordic Championships this year and has also seen some relevant action at the Senior level with appearances at the Haavisto Cup and Denmark’s Thor Masters. This is an experienced opponent for Koelling, so the key for him will be to stick to the basics, something he does well. Stjepanetic has some aggression and offers a decent pace for an upper-weight. Koelling’s biggest strength is his penchant for maintaining disciplined position until it’s time to strike. He’ll need that for this one.
If Koelling gets by Stjepanetic he will have the winner of Nikita Klimovich (BLR) and Wei Zhi Su (TPE). Klimovich is a known commodity. The bruising Belarusian just grabbed silver at the Junior Euros, falling to Russian standout Aleksandr Komarov, who sits in the top part of the bracket. Klimovich is a serious, serious competitor and if Koelling can fight it out against him, he will most certainly be working with a ton of confidence heading into the quarterfinals.
One of the biggest prospects in the country for Greco-Roman is of course, 2016 Cadet World Team member Cohlton Schultz (120 kg, NYAC). Schultz is on both the Junior and Cadet teams in 2017, but it’s this tournament that is going to provide him his toughest assignments. Starting off, Schultz has Artur Vititin (EST), and he’s a guy who has bounced between age levels. We haven’t seen a ton of video on Vittin outside of his more recent performances at the Junior Euros and the U23 equivalent. Vititin seems tough and eager to work, but can get caught off-balance by pushy big men. Schultz will want to be a little patient with this wrestler, he’s not going to be able to just bully him around likely. However, since Schultz is a hungry scorer, it’s a safe bet he will have opportunities to take advantage of.
Should Schultz advance to the round of 16, he’ll have whoever survives between Amin Moham Mirzazadeh (IRI) and Sukhroj Azizov (TAK). Mirzazadeh was fifth at this tournament last year and like most Iranians, possesses a well-balanced attack and will try to lift if he can. Azizov was a runner-up at the Junior Asian Championships in 2016. Both wrestlers hold a comfortable amount of experience over Schultz, but with the year the Coloradan has had, neither should be considered beyond his scope. And if Schultz can make it to the quarters, he will likely be facing off with the best wrestler, maybe in the entire tournament, in two-time defending World Champion Zviadi Pataridze (GEO, world no. 12).
*We will be providing live updates on Twitter throughout the day with recaps following each session.
2017 JUNIOR GRECO-ROMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — TAMPERE, FINLAND
Wrestling begins at 10:00am local time (3:00am EST) on Trackwrestling.com.
TEAM USA DAY 2 DRAWS — Sunday, August 6th
55 kg: Randon Miranda (NYAC-OTS/CA) vs. Turabek Tirkashev (UZB)
66 kg: Dominick Demas (CWC/OH) vs. Joilson de Brito Ramos (BRA)
84 kg: Wyatt Koelling (MWF/UT) vs. Aleksandar Stjepanetic (SWE)
120 kg: Cohlton Schultz (NYAC/CO) vs. Artur Vititin (EST)
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