With a mix of new participants, more matches, and a legitimate main event, Ringers’ Greco Showcase 2 accomplished the not-so-easy objective of improving over its initial effort.
Two dozen bouts were held Friday night in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin with several wrestlers competing twice. Two in particular managed to stand out just a little more than the rest — Jalin Connor (67 kg, City Kids) and Brett Back (67 kg, World Gold Wrestling).
Neither athlete appeared on Greco Showcase 1 in February but both made big impressions. Connor had his work out cut out for him in skilled age-grouper Carter Stephenson (USOPTC). What was expected to be a drawn-out struggle wound up a lopsided triumph for Connor via 13-3 tech. In his second match, it was an equally-difficult assignment, Cael Khale (Ringers). They slugged it out, exchanging positions — and throws, and points — but in the second period, Connor landed one more salvo, catching Kahle on his back to pick up the fall.
Back’s story reads with similar language. Two game opponents, two dominant wins. Against Jon James (City Kids), Back made first contact and immediately locked for a throw. He had the position upon impact, holding James in place for a pin. Next up for Back was Henry Amborn (Ringers), a seasoned and well-rounded competitor with a touch of overseas miles logged. But again, Back got on a roll that was hard to stop. Shortly after the whistle, he yielded a four-pointer. A reset, and Back was hunting with underhooks before securing a takedown and turn combo for the match-ending points.
“Brett is a student of the sport and always asking questions,” said Back’s coach Dennis Hall. “He is also figuring out how to learn by himself. It’s all positionally-based with him. It’s kind of neat coaching a guy like that because you don’t have to have a ton of hands on. Brett and my son work out together after they help out with the beginners, and if they have questions, I tell them what I might do in a given situation. It’s neat that he has already taken ownership of where he’s at in his athletic career and has that burning desire to figure the sport out at such a young age.”
As for Stephenson, he would be heard from once more, as he and Cole Halverson (Combat WC) engaged in a physical affair that was half-slugfest, half-technical battle. Halverson, who did notch a win over James earlier and finished with a 2-0 ledger in the first Showcase, was on the wrong end of a fitful exchange in the second period that saw Stephenson promptly capitalize to cut the match short via pin.
The final bout of the evening was pegged to offer six minutes of suspense and it didn’t disappoint, as ’19 Cadet World Teamer/Fargo champ Robert Perez III (USOPTC) banged heads with ’20 Junior National champ Payton Jacobson (Ringers). Tactical throughout, the pair of super-prospects had the same goal: to wedge underhooks and navigate for openings without betraying position for the sheer sake of doing so. In other words, they played it tight, but the threat of something wild was ever-present.
Perez received the first passivity/par terre and jimmied around for a workable clasp. He found one, and netted a gutwrench for the early 3-0 advantage. The order flipped soon into the second period. Perez was dinged, giving Jacobson a chance. The gutwrench didn’t gain steam, and back up they were. Jacobson clashed with intent for much of the remainder, but Perez answered back with weaving underhooks as a means of disarmament. With the match ebbing towards the finish line, the official got involved in an effort to deploy the updated third par terre rule that was recently introduced. It was later in the game for the call than is purportedly recommended, but they went with it and called Perez passive. From top, Jacobson locked and cranked and Perez remained static. A last-gasp rush was on for the Wisconsinite until the conclusion, and Perez held his ground to come away with the hard-fought 3-1 decision.
Following another fruitful night’s work, Ringers coach and Showcase founder Bill Khale seemed pleased with the outcome, though also noted that there are tweaks to be made potentially.
“I thought the event was really good, there were some stellar match-ups,” began Khale. “I think we are going to step it up as far as streaming and not use Facebook live. But these events are great, because they give kids a reason to train Greco and an opportunity to compete. I was also happy to see City Kids again. They have improved. They are training more Greco, they like it, and that’s great to see.”
Also heavily involved in the proceedings was Combat’s Lucas Steldt. The narrative has not changed for the two-time Cadet World Team coach pertaining to what age-group competition could mean in the US going forward. Events like the Greco Showcase are isolated snapshots that, when managed correctly, open the doors for both athletes and observers to glean a deeper understanding of what it takes to succeed.
“Besides growing our athlete base, Bill and I are trying to grow the coaching and fan base at the local level, and also use social media at the national level,” explained Steldt. “Showcasing the professional Greco athletes as well as the newcomers is really helping us portray the respect that is required for international Greco versus domestic recreational Greco. In the spring and summer it’s Greco season within our borders. This is the only place on Earth where that occurs. We must make hay when the sun shines and strike when the iron is hot. It is now when we must recruit the next set of professional full timers such as Jacobson, Stephenson, Perez, and Kahle — all of whom were present at this competition.”
Ringers Greco Showcase 2
March 5 — Menomonee Falls, WI
51 kg: Will Scherer (Combat WC) def. Sully Ramos (Ringers) via fall
60 kg: Massey Odiotte (Ringers) def. Julian Slaastad (Ringers) via fall
60 kg: Nicolar Rivera (Ringers) def. Will Baysinger (Illinois) 8-0, TF
65 kg: Jomar Matos (City Kids) def. Jacob Champion (Ringers) via fall
63 kg: Henry Amborn (Ringers) def. Laythe Jaraba (City Kids) 9-0, TF
67 kg: Carl Dotson (City Kids) def. Bryce Crook (Aviators) via fall
67 kg: Jalin Connor (City Kids) def. Carter Stephenson (USOPTC) 13-3, TF
67 kg: Aiden Nutter (Combat WC) def. Hector Razo (City Kids) 9-0, TF
63 kg: Cole Halverson (Combat WC) def. Jon James (City Kids) 10-0, TF
60 kg: Julian Slaastad (Ringers) def. Ethan Xiong (City Kids) via fall
60 kg: Massey Odiotte (Ringers) def. CJ Wallenberg (Ringers) 10-2, TF
67 kg: Aaron Dobbs (Combat WC) def. Caden Young (Aviators) via fall
67 kg: Brett Back (WGW) def. Jon James (City Kids) via fall
60 kg: Cael Kahle (Ringers) def. Will Baysinger (Illinois) 11-7
67 kg: Brett Back (WGW) def. Henry Amborn (Ringers) 8-0, TF
63 kg: Jalin Connor (City Kids) def. Cael Kahle (Ringers) via fall
67 kg: Carter Stephenson (USOPTC) def. Cole Halverson (Combat) via fall
67 kg: Robert Perez III (USOPTC) def. Payton Jacobson (Ringers) 3-1
48 kg: Carly Ceshker (Ringers) def. Bopa Quintana (JJ Box & Wrest) 16-9
48 kg: Caitlyn Kelly (Combat WC) def. Trinity Malave (Victory Elite) 6-4
55 kg: Rose Ann Marshal (NT) def. Avery Steldt (Combat WC) 10-3
60 kg: Koressa Allgeyer (X-Factor ) def. Kylie Rule (Combat WC) via fall
60 kg: Sofia Metcalf (AWA) def. Hannah Erthum (RT) via fall
63 kg: Marisa Roth (Ringers) def. Alicia Pieper (Michigan) 10-0, TF