Two programs upon which American Greco-Roman wrestling largely depends these days are witnessing strong performances from their lineups at the 2022 US World Team Trials.
Entering action on Sunday, Northern Michigan University’s National Training Site has five athletes in the semifinal round — and four more who, at press time, are still alive for third place/National Team honors on their respective brackets’ backsides.
Army’s World Class Athletes Program, which arrived in Coralville, Iowa with one less competitor than NMU, walks into Sunday morning’s semifinal round boasting nine potential Final X participants.
Here is a brief look at the names both programs will send to the mats for Sunday’s first session. Because NMU and Army have been successful thus far, there are several match-ups between both programs already on the docket.
55 kg: Jacob Cochran (5PM #4)
Consolation semifinal vs. either Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #2) or Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP, 5PM #3)
60 kg: Max Black (5PM #7)
Consolation semifinal vs. either Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP, 5PM #2) or Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #4)
63 kg: David Stepanyan (5PM #3)
Semifinal vs. Sammy Jones (NYAC, 5PM #1)
63 kg: Aidan Nutter (5PM #6)
Semifinal vs. Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP, 5PM #2)
67 kg: Alston Nutter (5PM #4)
Semifinal vs. Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC, 5PM #5)
72 kg: Benji Peak (5PM #2)
Semifinal vs. Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP, 5PM #4)
77 kg: Payton Jacobson (5PM #6)
Consolation semifinal vs. either RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC, 5PM #2) or Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP, 5PM #)
87 kg: George Sikes (5PM #5)
Semifinal vs. Timothy Young (IL, 5PM #7)
97 kg: Timothy Eubanks (5PM #12)
Consolation semifinal vs. Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP, 5PM #4)
55 kg: Max Nowry (5PM #1)
Semifinal vs. Drew West (IL, 5PM #6)
55 kg: Dalton Duffield (5PM #3)
Semifinal vs. Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #2)
60 kg: Dalton Roberts (5PM #1)
Semifinal vs. Randon Miranda (Rise RTC, 5PM #3)
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (5PM #2)
Semifinal vs. Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #4)
63 kg: Jesse Thielke (5PM #2)
Semifinal vs. Aidan Nutter (5PM #6)
67 kg: Alex Sancho (5PM #1)
Semifinal vs. Peyton Omania (NYAC/CYC, 5PM #3)
72 kg: Michael Hooker (5PM #4)
Semifinal vs. Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS, 5PM #2)
77 kg: Kamal Bey (5PM #3)
Semifinal vs. Jesse Porter (5PM #1)
82 kg: Spencer Woods (5PM #2)
Semifinal vs. Tyler Cunningham (MWC, 5PM #4)
97 kg: Luke Sheridan (5PM #4)
Consolation semifinal vs. Timothy Eubanks (NMU/NTS, 5PM #12)
Notes & Elsewhere
For NMU, Payton Jacobson (77 kg) put forth an impressive effort opposite Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) in their quarterfinal pairing yesterday. Jacobson had his opportunities and appeared close, on occasion, to coming through with potential match-changing points. But a four-point haul in the first for Bey — along with an uncanny knack for reacting and responding on the fly — kept the young Wisconsinite from advancing to the round-of-4.
Timothy Eubanks (97 kg) was turned back in the quarterfinal by top-seed Nick Boykin (Sunkist, 5PM #2)… but in his first bout on the backside, Eubanks recorded a big win via fall over Guy Patron (Dubuque WC, 5PM #10) to stay in the running for third place. Today, Eubanks will square off against Army’s Sheridan, who was downed by Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC, 5PM #3) during last night’s semifinal.
The new face who has caught the most attention thus far is Chad Walsh (77 kg, NJ). Walsh was one of only three winners from the “Last Chance Qualifier” to enter the Trials Challenge Tournament. In his first bout, Walsh shocked ’19 Junior World Team member Tyler Eischens (CARTC, 5PM #10) and then proceeded to give reigning World Team member Jesse Porter (NYAC, 5PM #1) a nice scare in a match that was originally ended via tech until a review kept it going. Walsh later had Porter in trouble briefly with a modified front headlock but ultimately fell 10-4. Jacobson, perhaps still heated from his loss to Bey, hastily ended Walsh’s tournament via lift-to-VSU in the consolation round-of-four.
Is There a Storm Brewing?
The Minnesota Storm has not been quiet in Coralville. Three are alive and well in the semifinal: top-seeded and well-decorated Patrick Smith (72 kg, 5PM #1) will bang heads with Jamel Johnson (Marines, 5PM #3); Ryan Epps (82 kg, 5PM #3) gets to test two-time Olympian Ben Provisor (NYAC, 5PM #1), and Christian DuLaney (87 kg, 5PM #6) will stare down Alan Vera (NYAC, 5PM #1). Smith, Provisor, and Vera were all members of the US World Team a year ago.
Sunday’s morning session begins at 10:00am CT/11:00am ET and will air live on FLOWrestling.
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