USA Greco

Roberts & Coon Bounced from Medal Contention in Hungary

adam coon, bill farrell memorial champion
Adam Coon -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

Two-time World Team member Dalton Roberts (60 kg, Army/WCAP) ’18 World silver/’24 Olympian Adam Coon (130 kg, NYAC/Cliff Keen) were the first two Americans to hit the stage at the Polyak Imre Memorial “Ranking Series” tournament on Saturday in Budapest. Both top-tier competitors (and natives of Fowlerville, Michigan) put forth strong efforts in their matches — but both were unable to advance further in their respective weight categories.

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Day 1 of Greco-Roman at the 2024 Polyak Imre Memorial began at 10:30am local time from Budapest, Hungary (4:30am ET) and streamed live in the US on FLOWrestling.

Roberts is already associated with observing a high tempo, but the pace he set from the outset against Abdelkerim Fergat (ALG) in the quarterfinal round was even more pronounced than usual. Roberts combined an intense, bullying approach with an eagerness to attack Fergat with a two-on-one. While most seek to latch a two-on-one and grind the trapped appendage into a methodical lever, Roberts appeared to desire using the hold as a means to punish his opponent as well as to setup a potential scoring position. It paid off, as Roberts persistently chained from two-on-one attacks to front headlock holds, which in the early stages of the contest resulted in Fergat being forced out of bounds. The pressure continued following the reset and passivity on Fergat came next. Roberts locked and stepped for a lift, but he could not gain traction and the lock fell apart. Thus, he sauntered into the break up by a score of 2-0.

Matthew 20 Graphic v2

The same strategy accompanied Roberts into Period 2, and once again Fergat was dinged for passive. This time, a crash gut was the primary option for Roberts, but Fergat held firm and a reset was ordered. Back standing, and Fergat started to demonstrate more urgency. Time was a factor for him and Roberts’ 3-0 advantage on the scoreboard loomed large. But — even before the Algerian had a good look at a body attack — Roberts was put down in the third par terre of the match as :51 hung on the clock. Fergat then executed a four-point lift and kept his lock to earn two more points when a gutwrench try ended out of bounds. Roberts was unable to cut into what had become a 6-3 deficit before time expired and Fergat had prevailed 6-3. Prizon Abuladze (GEO) downed Fergat in the semifinal, which halted Roberts from having a chance to re-enter the tournament in the repechage round.

Coon began in the qualification round opposed by ’23 World bronze Abdelatif Mohamed (EGY) and found early success in the tie-ups. With a right lead leg, Coon burrowed inside on Mohamed and looked to slide in a right underhook. His insistent posture had Egypt backing up, nearly all the way to the boundary, and soon enough passivity rang on Mohamed. From top par terre, Coon first lassoed around Mohamed’s head before working to lock a gutwrench. He indeed achieved his lock — but was barely given time to set his feet in position to crank, as the mat referee had called for a rather quick reset. They returned standing and it was more of the same. Mohamed did increase in activity, but Coon also came close to scoring a step-out point prior to the end of the period.

However, not long into the second, Mohamed was able to get behind Coon and score a takedown following an exchange towards the boundary. The American defended well from bottom par terre and back into the trenches it was. Another flurry between the two occurred near the marker and Mohamed again swooped behind Coon and hustled a step-out point. The remainder of the bout saw Coon do his bidding in the ties but without an opportunity to gather a meaningful scoring hold. There was no passivity call in the second period, either, and Mohamed walked away the 3-1 winner. Lee Seung-Chan (KOR) defeated Mohamed in the proceeding round to eliminate Coon from possible re-entry into the tournament via repechage.

Day 2 on Sunday

Four more United States Greco-Roman athletes will compete on Sunday at the Polyak Imre Memorial, including Paris Olympians Payton Jacobson (87 kg, Sunkist/NTS) and Joe Rau (97 kg, TMWC). Also taking the mat for Team USA will be ’20 Olympian/two-time World Team member Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP), ’21 World rep Jesse Porter (77 kg, NYAC), and two-time World Teamer Spencer “The Alaksan Assassin” Woods (Army/WCAP).

For Sancho, Sunday will mark a return to 72 kilograms, a weight category in which he had logged relevant time previously. He was a runner-up in the old division of 71 kg at the ’16 non-Olympic World Trials, and on numerous occasions competed quite well once 72 was introduced. Tomorrow, Sancho has a bye to the quarterfinal round and will face the winner between ’16 Olympic bronze Shmagi Bolkvadze (GEO) and Adam Pohilec (HUN). Woods is in a similar boat, though it has not been as long. Woods is competing in the non-Olympic class of 82 kg, the weight in which he made his two World Championships appearances. Woods starts in the quarterfinal on Sunday against Ashkan Saadati Fard (IRI). Both Sancho and Woods are expected to be major contenders when the United States holds its Team selection tournament for the ’24 non-Olympic Worlds slated for the early fall.

Porter, who will begin in the qualfiication round, is paired with two-time World champ Burhan Akbudak (TUR). Should Porter triumph, the favorite to meet him in the quarterfinal would be ’21 World silver Zoltan Levai (HUN), who edged Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) in the “Paris Olympic Playoff” last month in Istanbul. Levai’s own draw is interesting, as he has been matched up with his younger brother Levente Levai in the qualification round (though it would not be surprising if the match is not contested).

In his first tournament as an Olympian, Jacobson will have for himself a nice test right out of the gate against ’23 co-World Champion Ali Cengiz of Turkey. If successful, there is a chance that Jacobson could face the other co-World champ at 87 kg from last year, David Losonczi of Hungary. A stiff match-up awaits Rau, as he will greet either Tamas Levai (HUN) or ’21 Olympic bronze/’21 World gold Mohammadhadi Saravi (IRI).

Remaining Polyak Imre Memorial Schedule

Sunday, June 9
*All times +6 hrs ET
10:30am-3:00pm — Qualification rounds through semifinals
6:00pm-8:30pm — Finals/bronze-medal matches

Streaming available in the United States on FLOWrestling

2024 Polyak Imre Memorial

June 8-9 — Budapest, HUN


60 kg: Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Abdelkerim Fergat (ALG) 6-3

130 kg: Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen)
LOSS Abdelatif Mohamed (EGY) 3-1


72 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP)
vs. Shmagi Bolkvadze (GEO) or Adam Pohilec (HUN) — quarterfinal

77 kg: Jesse Porter (NYAC)
vs. Burhan Akbudak (TUR) — round-of-16

82 kg: Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP)
vs. Ashkan Saadati Fard (IRI)

87 kg: Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS)
vs. Ali Cengiz (TUR)

97 kg: Joe Rau (TMWC)
vs. Tamas Levai (HUN) or Mohammadhadi Saravi (IRI)

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