For the second weekend in a row, United States Greco-Roman age-groupers collected valuable overseas experience as well as some shiny hardware.
Payton Jacobson (60 kg, Topper WC) once again finished with a gold medal, and this time around was joined atop the podium by none other than “Mr. Fantastic” himself — Benji Peak (67 kg, Sunkist/NMU). Three other athletes, including one Greco neophyte, were also in the running at the Sundsvall Open in Sundsvall, Sweden to cap a brief winter tour that was certainly a success for the American program.
As was the case in Denmark last Saturday, Jacobson expressed dominance. Only one of his four bouts managed to reach the sixth minute, his penultimate victory over Harijs Janušausks (LAT). Other than that one decision, Jacobson’s gold-medal performance entailed one pin and two superiors. Overall, Jacobson’s record in the pair of Scandinavia tournaments rests at 6-0 with four tech falls.
Peak — who served as the group’s coach in the corner at the Kolding Cup one week ago — added to his growing pile of overseas medals but there was some stiff competition standing in the way. He didn’t have any matches on Saturday, the first day of the Sundsvall Open, which meant his workload today was considerable. Peak opened with a breezy tech win over David Södergran of Sweden but was challenged in the next round by Belarusian Ilya Livno in what ended up a 12-7 decision. In the finals, Peak met up with Samuel Nyberg (SWE), a budding Senior talent in his own right, and prevailed 6-3. Peak would later be named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
Afterwards, Peak spoke to the unique set of circumstances surrounding his participation not only in this event, but throughout the past week overseas. Last week, he was a coach. This week, he competed in the same tournament, but in a way, still functioned in a mentoring capacity.
“I have known these kids since they were 10, so for me to get to come overseas with them and coach them to some wins was awesome”, he said following the tournament. “I have known Payton Jacobson since he was four, he is like a little brother to me, so it’s awesome to see him finding success and wrestling Greco.”
Regarding his own competitive concerns, Peak retained focus in his remarks. A Junior World Team Trials champ two years ago, he hopes to take his success in that age group even further while still eligible. But, most of his matches the past two seasons have taken place at either Senior or U23. The Sundsvall Open represented a chance to reconnect with what he sees as his primary objective at the moment.
“The reason I did this tournament was because I wanted to wrestle Juniors a little,” Peak explained. “All I have been doing are Senior tournaments, and I thought it would be good for me to wrestle Juniors because my goal this year is to win the Junior Worlds.”
Kahle, Halverson, & Amborn
Two medalists from the Kolding Cup were back in action this weekend. Cael Kahle (55 kg, Topper WC) got started off on the right foot yesterday, opening with a tech at the expense of Axel Nilsson (SWE) before ending the day with a nail-biting criteria loss to Alvin Lundgren. Kahle was still alive in the pool this morning but dropped a decision to Antonio Bogdan (SWE).
It was a similar story for Henry Amborn (65 kg, Topper WC), who closed out Saturday with an impressive come-from-behind pin. But despite showing immense heart on the mat this morning, he didn’t make it to the medal stand. Amborn dropped a decision to Rahman Kusnetsov (SWE), though he was technically still in contention afterwards. However, Linus Öberg (SWE) clipped Amborn in the proceeding round, which dashed his medal hopes altogether.
Making his Greco-Roman debut this weekend in Sweden was Cole Halverson (60 kg, Combat). He made an immediate impression. In his very first bout, Halverson decked Birol Celebi (SWE). Consecutive losses to Kasper Överby (NOR) and Julius Grawin (SWE), respectively, cut Halverson’s tournament short, but the fact that this event was where he planted his flag didn’t go unnoticed. “He’s my new protégé”, said Combat WC coach Lucas Steldt, who was with the US delegation in Sundsvall. “He just started Greco and this was his first experience. I really like this kid.”
- With only two competitors (Jacobson and Peak), the US (listed as Team Wisconsin USA) finished second in the Junior team race. At Cadet, Team Wisconsin USA finished in a tie with 11 other teams for 19th place.
- Eight of the Americans’ 11 victories at the 2020 Sundsvall Open were the result of match-ending methodologies (five tech’s and three pins).
- At the Kolding Cup in Denmark last week, Jacobson earned gold, Kahle silver, and Amborn, bronze.
2020 Sundsvall Wrestling Open
January 25 — Sundsvall, Sweden
TEAM USA RESULTS
Payton Jacobson (Topper WC) — gold
WON Allan Behnam (SWE) via fall
WON Hugo Hübinette (SWE) 10-1, TF
WON Harijs Janušausks (LAT) 4-1
WON Marwan Nazeer (SWE) 8-0, TF
Benji Peak (Sunkist/NMU) — gold
WON David Södergran (SWE) 8-0, TF
WON Ilya Livno (BLR) 12-7
WON Samuel Nyberg (SWE) 6-3
Cael Kahle (Topper WC) — 6th
WON Axel Nilsson (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Alvin Lundgren (SWE) 2-2 (criteria)
LOSS Antonio Bogdan (SWE) 9-2
Cole Halverson (Combat WC) — 5th
WON Birol Celebi (SWE) via fall
LOSS Kasper Överby (NOR) 12-1, TF
LOSS Julius Grawin (SWE) via fall
Henry Amborn (Topper WC) — 5th
WON Tom Bleher (ISR) 10-2, TF
WON Wilgot Lindberg (SWE) via fall
LOSS Rahman Kusnetsov (SWE) 8-6
LOSS Linus Öberg (SWE) 7-1
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