When the pair of Final X Series dates arrive early next month, a few of the names advertised in lights will be new ones.
The semifinal round on Day 2 of the 2022 US World Team Trials began at 10:00am CT/11:00am ET and aired live on FLOWrestling.
Momentum often straddles the line between real and imaginary — but if indeed it is real, Britton Holmes (77 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #4) is suitable evidence. Holmes won his first National title late last month at the expense of Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #5) — and it was Ortiz once again on Saturday, to whom Holmes dealt an 8-0 defeat. This morning’s semifinal did not offer a smoother ride. Standing in the opposing corner was multi-time Trials champ RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC, 5PM #2), whose decision over September’s runner-up Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #7) was responsible for setting up Sunday’s suspenseful showdown.
Holmes got on the board in the first period thanks to par terre. He opted for a higher-than-midrange gut; Perkins initially defended with nary an issue, but Holmes’ second-effort brought with it suitable power and tallied an additional two points to his cause. Back standing, and Holmes had a clasp at the body that acted as the catalyst for a subsequent step-out point.
Perkins’ best and most obvious opportunity to wrest control of the proceedings came in the second period, as passivity had flipped in his favor. Down by two, Perkins did achieve a lock around Holmes’ midsection — but was unable to drive off his legs and rotate the hold. It was down to the wire following par terre. Perkins upped the intensity in his ties, expertly divvying from one entry to another in search of a score. He found a promising lane to the body, and completed an attempt that netted both a step-out point and fleeing caution on Holmes. Through the last :30 of the match, Perkins latched a front headlock and positioned himself for an actionable attempt until Holmes eased out of danger. The clock eventually read all zeroes, and Holmes had recorded the biggest domestic victory of his still-young career.
Young & Farmer
Last year, Timothy Young (87 kg, Unattached, 5PM #7) was considered a potentially exciting prospect, particularly in the eyes of those in and around Illinois’ Greco community. Though once a Cadet World Teamer and eventual Division 1 collegian for Old Dominion, Young was at best a faint blip on the US program’s radar entering this season.
Now he is two wins away from an appearance in the Senior World Championships.
To get to this point, Young required some heroics. ’18 U23 World Team member George Sikes (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #5) was leading Young 3-2 late in the second period when the match went haywire. Young had broken free off of an exchange to lower his level and, from distance, high-dive Sikes to the mat. The scoring action was immediately four points — but the fall was called in quick succession following the maneuver.
Farmer Over West
It was a clash between teammates and friends at heavyweight with ’22 Bill Farrell Memorial gold Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #3) knocking off two-time National runner-up West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #4). Those interested in this match-up were hoping for a classic, prolonged battle of big men doing big men things. What they got instead was a surprisingly quick finish.
After some preamble, Cathcart was dinged for passive. From top PT, Farmer locked for a gutwrench — and then managed to hold Cathcart in place to come up with the win via fall. Aside from their time together on the mat in Champaign, the pair of heavyweights had not collided in an official match prior to Sunday.
Nutter Needs Big Points to Beat Merkin
They didn’t waste any time. There were six minutes available with which to work, but ’19 Junior World bronze Alston Nutter (67 kg, Sunkist/NTS, 5PM #4) and ’22 Open runner-up Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC, 5PM #4) appeared to have a gentlemen’s agreement in place to determine the victor as soon as possible, and with as many points as possible.
If it had only went longer, their fracas on Sunday would be considered a classic.
Soon after the whistle, Merkin latched onto a Nutter bodylock attempt for a salto re-throw with his back towards the line. It scored a step-out point, but nothing else. Merkin then required a lengthy check from the matside trainer, and back to the center they were. On the reset, Nutter locked for his own throw, and then another. The end result was three points and the lead was his, temporarily, 3-1.
Another restart saw Merkin reel Nutter in for a bodylock and bring him down hard for four. 5-3, Merkin.
It was all Nutter after that, after what was a throw-trading first :90 of the match. Nutter went on a scoring blitz that was started by a correct throw (which was accompanied by a four-pointer) and ended with a drag-to-takedown and, finally, a lift that crashed off the line. The final score of 16-5 looks on paper one-sided, which in a sense is accurate. But it takes two, and Nutter/Merkin (just like Omania/Merkin last month) lived up to all of the hype.
Nutter, who famously left high school early in ’16 to join the program at Northern Michigan University, is a World Team Trials finalist for the first time.
Peak Takes Out Hooker
Benji Peak (72 kg, Sunkist/NTS, 5PM #2) piled on against Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP, 5PM #4) en-route to victory — but not before Hooker had his say in the matter.
A beautiful arm throw from Hooker elicited “ooh’s” and “aahs” from the crowd, not to mention put Peak in a 4-0 hole early on. But a takedown followed by a succession of trap-arm gutwrenches sealed the deal for “Mr. Fantastic”, who will now focus on Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #1) for Final X: Stillwater. Smith defeated Peak in consecutive bouts at the ’21 WTT this past September.
Army Rolls Once Again
Two-time World Team member Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP, world #11, 5PM #1) ran the string against Drew West (IL, 5PM #6) 8-0 to assure himself a spot at Final X next month. On the bottom side of the same bracket, Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP, 5PM #3) fell to second-seeded Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #2) by way of VSU. When they meet up again in Stillwater, OK, it will not only be a rematch of their ’19 Final X best-of-three, which saw Nowry sweep Koontz in two straight, but it will also be the only WTT rematch from that year’s selection process final round.
At 60, two more multi-time World-level Team members prevailed for Army: Dalton Roberts (5PM #1) and ’20 Olympian Ildar Hafizov (5PM #2). Roberts defeated frequent rival and former teammate Randon Miranda (Rise RTC, 5PM #3) via tech, while Hafizov executed a throw attempt against Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #4) and transition to headlock to nail down a pin.
Roberts defeated Hafizov in both the ’18 and ’21 World Team Trials finals, as well as in the gold-medal match of the ’22 Farrell in early-April.
Thielke & Sancho
The scariest thing about Jesse Thielke (63 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #2) right now is that he has not peaked for this season, and each tournament out his long-appreciated offense seems to increase in efficiency.
Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #6) — one of NMU’s best young stars as well as Thielke’s runner-up from the Nationals in April — has learned this first-hand.
For the second time in this tournament, Thielke unleashed a searing headlock, which in this case harvested four points. Not wanting to give Nutter any chance to recover, Thielke then pounced over-the-top for a front headlock and waterfalled his way to a vicious VSU.
’20 Olympian Alex Sancho (67 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #1) did not have vengeance on his mind on Sunday with Peyton Omania (NYAC/MSU) standing across from him. He was just focused on moving on to Final X. But their match today was different than the two that took place in September’s Trial finals. Eight months ago, Omania had all of the answers as well as the energy and timing to keep Sancho guessing whenever the exchanges heated up.
Sancho kept the pace more on his terms in this one, and limited Omania’s chances on the feet whilst doing so. Par terre helped. Omania was put down in the first period, to which Sancho snared advantage by unloading on an explosive crash-gut, thus garnering a 3-0 lead. Omania’s chance from PT top in the second failed to close the gap further.
A flurry of activity from Omania targeted at putting Sancho back on his heels similarly fell by the wayside. Frustrated but still engaged, Omania let loose with a decent clubbing slap to Sancho that resulted in a two-point caution. The ’19 Junior World bronze then walked off the mat with :03 on the clock but was called back to center for the bout’s conclusion.
Bey & Woods
When he needed to score, he did, which sums up Kamal Bey‘s (77 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #3) vanquishing of longtime adversary and ’21 World Teamer Jesse Porter (NYAC, 5PM #1). Porter did not make it easy, and the 3-1 advantage was his entering the second period.
Bey’s passivity/PT chance in Period 2 was unsuccessful insofar that he could not gain a turn or lift. But when Porter rose to his feet, Bey improvised in a flash by executing a throw off the edge that scored a step-out point. Porter still held the lead via criteria but his corner chose to challenge. After the officials gave it another look, the call was upheld and Bey was awarded an additional point. “The Human Highlight Reel” found the body once again following the reset; as Bey adjusted to throw, Porter wisely conceded the takedown. They fought to the whistle, mostly with Porter hunting down looks in desperation mode. Bey held strong just the same, making 77 kilograms at Final X: New York an All-Army affair.
“The Alaskan Assassin” Spencer Woods (82 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #2) has done his part to earn another crack at Ben Provisor (NYAC, 5PM #1) with a World Team spot hanging in the balance. And the opponent today was one who has been on a roll — ’22 Pan-Am bronze “Turbo” Ty Cunningham (MWC, 5PM #5).
A throw from Woods in the first period put Cunningham behind 4-0. Later in the frame, and just when Cunningham appeared to be gaining a sense of rhythm, Woods chipped inside to rope another body attack, this time for two points.
Cunningham had a good idea when opening the second period: to start immediately with the level changes rather than wait until the match was almost over. But as he broke position and submarined, Woods snapped and spun for the match-ending points. Unfortunately for Cunningham, an injury also occurred during the sequence and he was forced to default out of the consolation semifinal.
Other ’21 World Team Members
Nowry and Roberts are two holdovers from the ’21 Oslo roster who have thus far advanced to Final X. So too have Sammy Jones (63 kg, NYAC, 5PM #1), Patrick Smith (72 kg, Minnesota Storm, 5PM #1), Provisor, Alan Vera (87 kg, NYAC, 5PM #1), and Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist, 5PM #1).
— Jones put on a display against yet one more WTT second place from last year, David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #3). Passivity and two correct throws were the initial slashings; following the restart, Jones snapped, spun, and turned Stepanyan for the win.
— Smith — a three-time World Teamer — defeated ’19 National Team member Jamel Johnson (Marines, 5PM #3) 8-0. A body attack in the second period that which was attached to a 4-0 Smith lead served as the table-setter. Smith dashed inside to collect the two before gutting Johnson to compel the stoppage.
— Provisor took on ’21 National/WTT runner-up Ryan Epps (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #3) and that pulsating power present in his haunches was featured, as always, in the methodology. Provisor picked up two step-out points in the first plus a passivity tick in the second to get past the iron-tough Stormer 3-1.
— The sharpness and polish inside of Vera’s technical arsenal were tempered in the early-going by Christian DuLaney (5PM #6), who was minding the ties well without bailing or abandoning possible entries. But Vera knows how to capitalize, which he did twice, and both times were costly for DuLaney. First was, essentially, a tackle for four points off the edge; later it was Vera bustling behind to lock a side lift, and the completed maneuver signaled the end of their contest.
— Schultz was the recipient of a good fight courtesy of David Tate Orndorff (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #5). It was not a back-and-forth thing on the scoreboard, though Orndorff did hold a 1-0 passive lead heading into the second. From then on, Schultz assumed command, aided in part by a caution on Orndorff. The multi-time age-group medalist grabbed a 3-1 advantage before the second-chance par terre, and used it to net four turns. Orndorff reversed on the back-end of the sequence to avoid the tech. Following the reset, Schultz went with “The Big Push” towards the boundary — and fair or unfair — Orndorff was banged for a fleeing caution. That extra point for Schultz was responsible for an 11-2 technical fall.
- The 97 kilogram best-of-three final is scheduled to begin along with the other finals series at 2:30pm local time in Coralville (3:30 ET). Round 2 is slated for 3:30pm and that session will last until 6:30pm CT — or until all finals series have been decided.
- The 97 kg best-of-three will have its own recap later tonight. Included therein will be results from the consolations.
2022 WORLD TEAM TRIALS
May 21-22 — Coralville, IA
Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) def. Drew West (IL) 8-0, TF
Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP) 9-0, TF
Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) def. Randon Miranda (Rise RTC) 8-0, TF
Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) def. Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC) via fall
Sammy Jones (NYAC) def. David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS) 9-0, TF
Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP) def. Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS) 8-0, TF
Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) def. Peyton Omania (NYAC/MSU) 5-1
Alston Nutter (Sunkist/NTS) def. Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC) 16-5, TF
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) def. Jamel Johnson (Marines) 8-0, TF
Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS) def. Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP) 14-4, TF
Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP) def. RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) 4-3
Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) def. Jesse Porter (NYAC) 6-3
Ben Provisor (NYAC) def. Ryan Epps (Minnesota Storm) 3-1
Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) def. Tyler Cunningham (MWC) 8-0, TF
Alan Vera (NYAC) def. Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm) 8-0, TF
Timothy Young (Unattached) def. George Sikes (NYAC/NTS) via fall
Haydn Maley (Beaver Dam RTC) def. Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) 11-7
Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC) def. Luke Sheridan (Army/WCAP) 7-4
Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) def. David Tate Orndorff (TMWC/Ohio RTC) 11-2, TF
Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC) def. West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC) via fall
Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) def. Cole Smith (Army/WCAP) 8-0, TF
Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Jakason Burks (MWC) 13-4, TF
Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP) def. Camden Russell (MWC) 12-2, TF
Drew West (IL) def. Jacob Cochran (NMU/NTS) 9-0, TF
Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) — bye
Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) def. Phillip Moomey (Spartan Wrestling RTC) 8-0, TF
Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Mitchell Brown (Air Force RTC) 4-2
Randon Miranda (Rise RTC) def. Max Black (NMU/NTS) 5-2
Sammy Jones (NYAC) def. Ty Lydic (Knights WC) 8-0, TF
Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP) def. Logan Savvy (NYAC) 8-0, TF
Aidan Nutter (NYAC/NTS) def. Mason Hartshorn (West Coast Greco RTC) 5-1
David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS) def. Corbin Nirschl (MWC) 4-0
Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) def. We Rachal (IRTC) 9-0, TF
Alston Nutter (Sunkist/NTS) def. Jessy Williams (Spartan Wrestling RTC) 10-0, TF
Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC) def. Morgan Flaharty (NYAC) 8-6
Peyton Omania (NYAC/MSU) def. Nate Moore (UNCO) 8-0, TF
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) def. Noah Wachsmuth (Cobra) 13-4, TF
Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS) def. Ryan Wheeler (Colorado Mesa WC) 8-0, TF
Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP) def. Eddie Smith (Pickaxe WC) 6-1
Jamel Johnson (Marines) def. Brody Olson (NMU/NTS) 4-4 (criteria)
RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) def. Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC) 9-1, TF
Jesse Porter (NYAC) def. Chad Walsh (NJ) 10-4
Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) def. Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS) 7-2
Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP) def. Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) 8-0, TF
Ben Provisor (NYAC) — bye
Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) — bye
Tyler Cunningham (MWC) def. Ben Lee (Viking WC) via fall
Ryan Epps (Minnesota Storm) def. Tommy Brackett (Unattached) 5-1
Alan Vera (NYAC) — bye
Tim Young (IL) — bye
George Sikes (NYAC/NTS) def. Austin Craig (All-Navy) 4-0
Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm) def. Tyler Hannah (Combat WC) 3-1
Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) def. Timothy Eubanks (NMU/NTS) 8-0, TF
Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC) def. Chad Porter (Sunkist) 8-0, TF
Luke Sheridan (Army/WCAP) def. Brady Vogel (Dubuque WC) 9-0, TF
Hadyn Maley (Beaver Dam RTC) def. Guy Patron (Dubuque WC) via fall
Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) def. Malcolm Allen (LOG) 8-0, TF
Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC) def. Tom Foote (NYAC) 8-0, TF
West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC) def. Ron Dombkowski (BK WC) 8-0, TF
David Tate Orndorff (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Courtney Freeman (Marines) 13-5, TF
Cole Smith (Army/WCAP) def. Jonathan Gurule (NMU/NTS) 5-1
Jakason Burks (MWC) def. Dominic Robertson (All-Navy) 8-0, TF
Ty Lydic (Knights WC) def. Diego Romero (NMU/NTS) via fall
Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC) def. Jack Ervien (Viking WC) 15-4, TF
Chad Walsh (NJ) def. Tyler Eischens (CARTC) 12-7
Listen to “5PM52: Two-Time Olympian Jim Gruenwald” on Spreaker.
Listen to “5PM51: Lining up with Tanner Farmer” on Spreaker.
Listen to “5PM50: Mr. Fantastic Benji Peak” on Spreaker.
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