USA Greco

Post-Finals Quotes from Day 2 Trials Winners

2017 us greco-roman world team trials day 2 finals quotes

The second and last run of finals at the 2017 US Greco-Roman World Team Trials wrapped up with four first-time winners, although that phrasing is somewhat misleading. 85 kg champion Ben Provisor (NYAC) has been on the previous two Olympic teams and Ildar Hafizov (59 kg, Army/WCAP) himself wrestled at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. However, the other two who prevailed last night, Patrick Smith (71 kg, Minnesota Storm) and Mason Manville (75 kg, Army/WCAP) had yet to make a Senior World-level team of any sort and both did so with shining performances against talented competition.

Following their wins, each athlete took questions from reporters. Here are the highlights.

59 kg: Ildar Hafizov 

On coming to America from Uzbekistan to continue his career after having already been an Olympian: “It’s a long time. We came to the States in 2014 with my wife and kid. I started working to be part of the Army, part of WCAP. I’m enjoying the Army and now I’m representing the United States and the United States Army.”

On what it means to represent the US and the Army: “This means very huge. I’m so proud to be an American, I’m so proud to represent the Army, I’m so proud to represent the United States.”

Who helped get him to the United States: “My wife, actually. We won a lottery, we applied online and many people…we won it. Green card lottery, 50,000 a year from the whole world to apply for that green card and you have a chance to win, so it’s kind of random (laughs). We got lucky.”

Why he wanted to come to the US: “In 2010, I came to the States and wrestled at the Dave Schultz tournament. I won it and after I came home, I talked about the United States for everything, how I like Americans. So I talked to my wife, ‘Hey, we’ve got to move to the States because I love it, I love that place, I love the people. After, we applied a couple of times and we won it.”

71 kg: Patrick Smith 

On overcoming frustration after several runner-up finishes: “It’s tough. I’ve been second a lot, like you said. Last year was just a good wake up call, it made me realize what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. You know, I don’t want to come out and squeak by. The kind of wrestler I want to be, I want to make sure there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that I’m the best guy at the weight and that’s what’s going to win World gold medals and Olympic gold medals. That’s the decision I made and everyday I’ve been working to make sure I’m that guy.”

On his second match and the 4-point throw: “He was leaning a little bit, I felt I could get a good drag there. I changed my levels, got underneath him, and started driving through and planting him on his back. I just kind of felt it, it was just there.”

What he’s changed about his training: “I think a lot of it is being honest with where you’re at and who you are. Like I said, I don’t want to be a guy squeaking by and I don’t want to make excuses for what happened last year. I got to be really nitpicky about where I was at and the holes that I had, and I’m still continuing to fix those. We’ve got a few months here before Worlds and we’ve got to get to a whole nother level before then.”

On his second finals match: “Gonzalez is really strong, really good in the pummel. I knew I had to keep moving him, keep going, and staying ahead of him a little bit, otherwise he can be explosive and get in on stuff. (I) just made sure I stayed with my gameplan, kept moving, and it worked out well. In the semis, I got a good chance to wrestle RaVaughn (Perkins) again. I definitely want to use that as a measuring stick after last year’s Trials finals. So, that felt pretty good to get that win, too. He’s a really tough competitor and I think we’re all making each other better. It’s good, we’re growing, Greco is getting better. We’re placing in international tournaments and we’re going to be getting some medals here soon.”

75 kg: Mason Manville

On his success at the Cadet Worlds and the fact that he’s now going to the Senior Worlds: “You know, it’s an honor. I’ve dreamed about this every free moment I’ve had for the past two years, I’ve been thinking about making a Senior World Team or the Olympic Team, so to have that finally come to fruition is really important and really big for me.”

On if there was a recent change in his training or approach towards Greco: “No, not really. Actually, the past three weeks I haven’t even done full Greco practices. I’d just gotten back from the Nittany Lion wrestling room, so I’ve mainly been doing freestyle and folkstyle and practicing Greco on my own with my coaches. It just happened. If you believe something enough and you work hard enough, you can do it. And for me, all wrestling is the same, so it doesn’t matter if I’m training freestyle, folkstyle, or Greco, I’m going to be doing the same kind of thing, the same movements, I might just focus on different areas more than others. Wrestling is wrestling, that’s what everyone needs to start figuring out. You can’t be a one-trick pony.”

On his opponent Kamal Bey taking the lead in the first match of the series: “I got put behind in the (Jesse) Porter match, too, and I wasn’t worried. I was texting my mom this earlier today, ‘These guys, I’ve felt them before, they don’t feel as strong as they usually do. I don’t know what was happening, if it was me or them. Maybe just the stars aligned and everything happened the way I need it to. I made the Team and that’s all that matters. I’m grateful for all of my opponents, happy I got to wrestle them, I know a lot of them personally. So, there’s no hard feelings, I’m just happy we got to scrap.”

On what changes made the difference in this tournament: “I think the rest really helped but also, I’ve been in so many different high-level rooms and I’m finally picking up the best out of every partner’s style, getting it all together, and it’s the perfect melting pot for me.

On his wrestling future: “I’m going to Penn State. I signed my letter for the RTC program and my national letter of intent to Penn State. I’ll be going to Penn State next year, I’m starting in school in June. But I’m really honored that the WCAP guys would let me participate, (that) they would coach me, and so I’m eternally grateful to them for that. I can’t wait until I graduate college and I can fully join them as an officer in the Army.”

On going between folkstyle and Greco: “I’m planning juggling whatever it takes. I want as many World teams and World titles…if it’s Greco, freestyle, I don’t care. I love wrestling. I said earlier (that) wrestling is wrestling, you’ve got to go at it the same way and fight. That’s all it is.

Why he chose to focus on the Senior Trials and not enter the Juniors: “I’ve been training Senior Greco all year, so why not go for it, you know? I did this for the past eight months at the Olympic Training Center, that’s where I was for most of the year.”

His approach against Bey in the finals: “Just grind it out, just fight. Like I said, I’m pretty simplistic. I know a lot of techniques but there are certain ones that always work. You just stick to the basics and keep your good positioning, and you just keep fighting, good things will happen.”

85 kg: Ben Provisor

His overall finals performance: “I just tried to stay on the pace. I thought it was a little rough getting called on those headbutts. I’m shorter, so it’s going to look like when he’s coming in on me and my head’s just there, it’s going to look like I’m headbutting him. But he kept coming in, I have to get my chin stitched up, he kept shouldering me in the face. I mean, they can try to give him a match, but I’m still going to come out and win.”

On Rau running at him in the final seconds: “Me and Rau have wrestled a bunch of times. He’s a great competitor, he’s going to come hard and the way I wrestle, the harder you’re going to come at me, the easier it’s going to be for me to off-balance you and get you out of bounds. You know, he tried to run at me and I just stood in the center and he went flying out of bounds because that’s just my style. The harder you push, the easier it’s going to be.”

On his approach going into the tournament: “I just wanted to go out there and wrestle to the best of my ability. I had a great training camp with Pat Downey. He wrestled great in the freestyle tournament and I came and did my job here, and now I get to go to my first World Championships. There’s no mindset, I’m just coming here to win. That’s the only goal.”

How training with a freestyle wrestler helped him: “It made me get in a better stance a little bit. It made me use my legs a little bit. We feed off each other. I’m really short, he’s really tall. We wrestled, our styles are so different that we have to wrestle differently to wrestle each other. It’s a great stylistic match-up and he’s my best friend, too. What happened to him this year was sort of crap and after I got home from the tour, I went and got him because I knew he was in a bad place and we made the best of it.”


59 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) over Hayden Tuma (Army/WCAP) two matches to none
Match 1: Hafizov def. Tuma 7-3
Match 2: Hafizov def. Tuma 7-1

71 kg: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) over Chris Gonzalez (NYAC) two matches to none
Match 1: Smith def. Gonzalez 4-1
Match 2: Smith def. Gonzalez 6-0

75 kg: Mason Manville (Army/WCAP) over Kamal Bey (Sunkist) two matches to none
Match 1: Manville def. Bey 9-8
Match 2: Manville def. Bey 8-0, TF

85 kg: Ben Provisor (NYAC) over Joe Rau (Minnesota Storm) two matches to none
Match 1: Provisor def. Rau 5-1
Match 2: Provisor def. Rau 4-3

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