Admittedly, the United States’ presence at the 2016 Greco Club Cups in Budapest, Hungary is more about drumming up experience for the roster than anything else. Aside from a savvy vet or two, the rest of the group is a little short on high-level international seasoning. That’s okay. It’s a fresh start for the American program and if hitting the reset button at certain weight classes means some lumps have to be taken, so be it.
The US, competing as Team NYAC at this edition of the Greco Clubs Cup, entered into the Group B bracket along with Europrofil-Budapest (Hungary), Ethnikos (Greece), and Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi (Turkey). Thus far in team competition today, Team NYAC is 0-2. But it’s the process right now that counts, not necessarily the results although for two US wrestlers, the results have already been pretty good.
The big story of the morning is G’Angelo Hancock (98 kg) upsetting 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Cenk Ildem (TUR, world no. 4) 2-1. Hancock, the 19-year old phenom who earned his first Junior World medal back in August, disrupted Ildem’s tie-up attempts enough to cause some frustration. Towards the end of the first period and up 1-0 on a passive point, Ildem tried to bull into Hancock with his left hand low. Too low, as it knocked Hancock right in the sweet spot, causing him to hit the deck in agony. Following a challenge by the US, Ildem was dinged for a caution and two, giving Hancock the lead.
Ildem opened up a little more in the second frame, latching onto front-heads and trying to work position up high. The problem? Hancock was the fresher athlete and easily defended the Turkish wrestler’s charges. He maintained posture and did his best to work back inside for most of the period. Despite no offensive points scored, Hancock comes away with a signature win over one of the World’s best.
Patrick Smith (71 kg) won both of his matches in the first two rounds of Group B competition basically by breaking both opponents. Employing his patented relentless style, Smith earned an early passivity point against Cengiz Arslan (TUR) and proceeded to sustain a high pace. Smith might have some brawling tendencie, but he was technically sharp throughout, coming close on high-dives and bodylocks he would find off of busy setups. The second period saw Smith resume his constant high-pressure attack. Cengiz came out with more vibrance but quickly went back on his heels once Smith pushed forward. A step-out point for Smith punctuated the scoring for a 2-0 victory.
Earlier in the day, Smith was down 2-1 late in the second to Europrofil-Budapest’s Krisztian Jager. Once again, the pressure and perseverance Smith is known for made the difference. He walked Jager towards the edge with double underhooks for a step-out and another point to take a 3-2 lead he would not relinquish in the final 30 seconds.
We will update with more results as the Greco Clubs Cup continues later on today.
Team NYAC (USA) Greco Clubs Cup Results – Group B
Europrofil-Budapest (HUN) – 6 Team NYAC (USA) – 2
59 kg: Erik Torba (HUN) def. Sammy Jones (USA) 8-0, TF
66 kg: Itzvan Kozak (HUN) def. Austin Morrow (USA) 10-0, TF
71 kg: Patrick Smith (USA) def. Krisztian Jager (HUN) 3-2
75 kg: Martinz Szabo (HUN) def. Kamal Bey (USA) 12-10
80 kg: Bertalan Papp (HUN) def. Cheney Haight (USA) 10-0, TF
85 kg: Erik Szilvassy (HUN) def. Kevin Radford (USA) 9-0, TF
98 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (USA) def. Ivan Nemeth (HUN) 2-1
130 kg: Mozes Majoros Armin (HUN) def. Eric Fader (USA) 8-0, TF
Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi (TUR) – 6 Team NYAC (USA) – 2
59 kg: Mustafa Saglam (TUR) def. Sammy Jones (USA) 4-1
66 kg: Atakan Yuksel (TUR) def. Austin Morrow (USA) 8-0, TF
71 kg: Patrick Smith (USA) def. Cengiz Arslan (TUR) 2-0
75 kg: Emrah Kus (TUR) def. Kamal Bey (USA) 10-2, TF
80 kg: Selcuk Cebi (TUR) def. Cheney Haight (USA) 3-1
85 kg: Metehan Basar (TUR) def. Kevin Radford (USA) 9-0, TF
98 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (USA) def. Cenk Ildem (TUR) 2-1
130 kg: Riza Kayaalp (TUR) def. Eric Fader (USA) 9-0, TF
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