USA Greco

VOTE: 2022 ‘Athlete of the Year’ & ‘Outstanding Individual Performance’

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Voting is now open for two of Five Point Move‘s year-end awards — Athlete of the Year and Outstanding Individual Performance. Below find the procedural explanations for each award along with their accompanying polls.

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2022 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR VOTING PROCEDURES

Qualifying factors responsible for determining the 2022 Athlete of the Year candidates are as follows:

  • US Senior World/Olympic Team.
  • US Senior National Champion.
  • US Senior World/Olympic Trials Champion.
  • Minimum of one Senior international medal earned outside of the US.
  • Junior/U23 World medalist.

The fan vote is tasked with determining the top five candidates by midnight (ET) on January 4. Once voting ends, the 5PM AOTY Voting Committee will then select the winner from the top five as decided by the open fan vote.

2022 5PM AOTY VOTING COMMITTEE

Joe Betterman — Multi-time US National Team; 2007 World Team member; Colorado USA Wrestling Chairman
Jim Gruenwald — Two-time US Olympian; three-time World Team; two-time Pan Am Championships gold; head coach, Wheaton College
Dennis Hall — 1995 World Champion; ’96 Olympic silver medalist; ’94 World bronze medalist
Sam Hazewinkel — 2012 Olympian; ’18 World Team ’08 University World Champion; multi-time US National Team
Jim Martinez — 1984 Olympic bronze; ’85 World bronze
Paul Tellgren — Former US National Team member; 5PM Contributor
Joe Uccellini — New York State Greco-Roman/freestyle developmental head coach; founder of Curby 3-Style Wrestling

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2022 OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE

Outstanding Individual Performance isolates the efforts of one Greco-Roman athlete at a single event. Candidates are determined according to subjective but relevant contextual parameters.

  • Highlighted performance represented a breakthrough or milestone achievement for the athlete or;
  • A signature win, over a foreign or domestic opponent, was included, or;
  • Athlete overcame perceived odds or adversity.

QUALIFYING FACTORS

  • Athlete had to have placed at said event.
  • Senior events only.

Outstanding Individual Performance is decided entirely by fan vote. Voting is available from now until 12:00am on January 4.

2022 OIP Candidates

Max Nowry (55 kg, Army/WCAP) — World Championships, 5th place (9/10/22, Belgrade, SRB)

Nowry entered the ’22 Worlds after having endured surgery on his wrist, which was then followed by an elbow injury suffered during World Team training camp. He arrived in Belgrade all sorts of banged up — and still managed to turn in one of the most impressive showings of his career, which is quite saying something. Back-to-back wins via fall (and in clutch fashion) against two stout opponents elevated Nowry towards an eventual berth in the bronze-medal round for a second time in three World appearances.

Randon Miranda (60 kg, Unattached) — Pan-American Championships, gold (5/6/22, Acapulco, MEX)

Although he started off hot as a pistol, Miranda’s march to his first Pan-Am title required heart, conviction, and timing. He had experienced next to zero difficulty in notching his first two victories; but come the semifinal round, it was a different story. Miranda was down 5-0 to Joao Benavides (PER) and, after chipping away, grabbed a buzzer-beater score that meant a trip to the finals. Once there, Miranda was given a nice test courtesy of very tough Samuel Gurria (MEX). Great back-and-forth action commenced, but the California native’s skill-set couldn’t be touched.

Mason Hartshorn (63 kg, CYC/West Coast Greco RTC) — World Team Trials, 3rd place (5/22/22, Coralville, IA)

Talent matters, experience helps, but perseverance is the biggest factor when it comes to defining what makes for a true competitor, and that is exactly what Hartshorn demonstrated in May. At the World Team Trials, Hartshorn fell in the first round to National runner-up Aidan Nutter; on the backside of the bracket; he got past Logan Savvy before edging ’21 Trials finalist David Stepanyan; and then it was Nutter again, this time with a National Team spot on the line. As if given a fresh start, Hartshorn stalked and stormed en-route to victory, thus capping one of the year’s more underrated tournament finishes.

Jesse Thielke (63 kg, Army/WCAP) — US Open Champion (5/1/22, Las Vegas, NV)

He won’t talk about it, because the past is the past and dwelling on it serves precisely zero purpose for top-level wrestlers. But that does not mean Thielke’s US Open title (and his stellar season as a whole) should go without proper appreciation. Although the “Honey Badger” had first returned from a long injury rehabilitation process in ’21, it was not until this past year when Thielke started delivering key reminders of his remarkable capabilities. In particular at the US Open, where he brandished a familiar array of dazzling maneuvers across three matches, piled up 25 offensive points along the way, won each bout via VSU, and did not surrender a single point in return. Mesmerizing.

Pete Ogunsanya (72 kg, West Point WC) — US Open, runner-up (5/1/22, Las Vegas, NV)

Ogunsanya, who earlier in the year had completed a sterling collegiate wrestling career at West Point, was not expected to make a definitive impact at the US Open. He just wasn’t. The thought was more that he might place somewhere among the top-7 — but make the final? And not just make the final, but provide a then-returning Benji Peak with a formidable challenge? Ogunsanya did all that and more, earning big wins throughout the tournament at the expense of credible opposition ahead of unleashing some exciting offense against Peak under the spotlight. A force with which to be reckoned he was and is, a story that began this past spring.

Benji Peak (72 kg, Sunkist/NTS) — Final X: Stillwater (6/4/22, Stillwater, OK)

In the ’21 WTT best-of-three, Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) ended the series with Peak in two matches. They might have been two hard-fought matches, but still a front-end sweep. To his credit, Peak had emptied himself in those bouts, what with having been pushed to the limit. A common occurrence for Smith’s opponents. Peak learned, however. He prepared for the ’22 Team selection process understanding full well what would be necessary in order to summit the mountaintop. It required uncommon effort, as well as the ability to shake off a Match 1 loss on the grandest domestic stage available. Peak’s thrilling series triumph over Smith at Final X: Stillwater was undoubtedly a big story, but how it was achieved should be recognized first.

Noah Wachsmuth (72 kg, Cobra) — World Team Trials, 3rd place (5/22/22, Coralville, IA)

Wachsmuth’s spring exemplified grit. He had a solid US Open but was unable to qualify for the WTT, which meant traveling to beautiful, hospitable New Jersey in time for the “Last Chance” event, which is how he earned his Trials spot. And in the first round of said Trials, Wachsmuth was dusted by Smith. Something must have clicked right then, because what happened next soon became the talk of the tournament. In three bouts on the bracket’s backside, Wachsmuth systematically took apart three extremely tough and talented athletes (two of whom recent National Team members) — Brody Olson (NMU/NTS), Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP), and Jamel Johnson (Marines). With this showing, Wachsmuth himself earned National Team honors, in addition to having loudly declared his potential on the Senior circuit going forward.

Britton Holmes (77 kg, Army/WCAP) — US Open Champion (5/1/22, Las Vegas, NV)

Try not to misunderstand: Holmes contending for a tournament win was nothing new as he marched towards the US Open final this past spring. Ever since joining the Army and subsequently re-entering the fold in ’21, Holmes has been a consistent contender at every domestic event. But he had not yet cleared a Senior tournament’s last and most important hurdle. When that opportunity once again presented itself in Vegas, Holmes focused on each moment of each match, and it paid off with an Open title. That he defeated uber-prospect Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS) and recent-rival/’21 National champ Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) to lock it down similarly spoke to the level on which he operates.

Payton Jacobson (77 kg, Sunkist/NTS) — World Team Trials, 3rd place (5/22/22, Coralville, IA)

The most power-packed weight category in the country expanded in ’22 thanks to the presence of young Mr. Jacobson, whose reputation preceded him. Prior to ’22, Jacobson had only a taste of what the Senior level offers, and that came at 72 kg. Alas, he was more than ready to stare down the beasts one weight class north, and displayed as such with his ledgers from the April Farrell and US Open, respectively. The Trials for Jacobson began with an early loss to Kamal Bey — but like for Hartshorn and Wachsmuth — the defeat served to reinforce motivation rather than hinder it. On a tear he went, did Jacobson, as he prevailed over two of the bracket’s best in RaVaughn Perkins and Jesse Porter to win the race for the National Team spot.

Rich Carlson (87 kg, Minnesota Storm) — Bill Farrell Memorial, gold (4/1/22, Cedar Falls, IA)

One match should not, and often does not, define the totality of an athlete’s performance, let alone one moment from one match. But when it comes to Carlson’s highlight-reel comeback against two-time World Teamer Alan Vera (NYAC), an exception must be made, and for two reasons: 1) there were procedural implications attached, as champions from the April Farrell were to earn selection onto the Pan-Am roster; 2) Carlson had not previously won a Senior tournament, which was in and of itself for some difficult to believe. You might recall the circumstances — Vera had built a 7-0 lead in the round-robin final and it was late in the second period when, in a gnarled surge, Carlson locked and loaded a bodylock that put Vera on his back. The pin was called, and Carlson had achieved three objectives at once. He had won his first-ever Senior tournament, took out the nation’s #1 guy to do it, and earned placement on an official Team USA roster for the first time since the ’14 Junior Worlds.

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