Competition is still in session on this, the third and final day in Zagreb, and two Americans have garnered victories.
At 60 kilograms, two-time World Team member Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) swarmed Mateusz Szewczuk (POL) in the round-of-16 to come away with a VSU that was steeped in urgency. Roberts barely allowed Szewczuk the space to exhale and quickly got on the board with a takedown. After the reset, and as they jostled towards the boundary, Szewczuk went back on his heels and the NMU grad was ready with the land-on-top for four points. Another restart was all it took. Roberts, now on a roll, was angling on Szewczuk’s right arm appearing to clasp for a two-on-one when he instead darted to his adversary’s left side to unfurl a cascading arm throw. Four more points were added to the margin, two more than is required to force a stoppage, and Roberts had moved onto the quarterfinal where he will face Maito Kawana (JPN).
Patrick Smith (72 kg, Minnesota Storm), himself a three-time US World Teamer and ’19 Pan-Am Games gold, started in the qualification round by decisioning Hungarian Krisztofer Klanyi. The first-period passivity benefited Klanyi, who could not take advantage of par terre. Later in the period, Smith — as is so often the case — used his churning style to compel a step-out point, and walked into the break ahead on criteria.
The passives flipped in the second period, with the popular Stormer accomplishing what Klanyi could not. From top par terre, Smith settled into his lock and rotated Klanyi to net two more points. Smith was never in danger after that, and the 4-1 win had propelled him into a round-of-16 showdown opposite Iranian Sajjad Imentalabfoumani.
Passivity is what determined the outcome, in near totality. Smith was dinged in the first period, and Imentalabfoumani was unable to capitalize. There was no scoring in between, and then Smith had his chance from top along with a tenuous 1-1 criteria lead. Imentalabfoumani defended, and they returned standing. Though Smith was eagerly pressing inside, the officials felt that a third passive was warranted, and they selected Smith to hit the deck. This time, Imentalabfoumani succeeded in finding a gutwrench, with which he turned Smith once to eventually prevail 3-1.
UPDATE: Imentalabfoumani advanced to the 72-kg final, which means that Smith will have a potential pathway to bronze through the repechage round. Waiting for him there will be Jamol Jumbaev (UZB). Should Smith get past Jumbaev, he will then compete for bronze.
Woods, Sheridan, & Farmer
Spencer Woods (82 kg, Army/WCAP), who competed in the ’22 World Championships, was turned back 3-0 by veteran Croatian Filip Sacic 3-0. Sacic is sitting in the semifinal; if triumphant, Woods will re-entere the tournament through the repechage round later today.
UPDATE: Sacic has indeed advanced to the final; Woods will square off against Jonni Sarkinen (FIN) in the repechage. A win for Woods will put him in the bronze-medal round.
Multi-time National Team member Lucas Sheridan (97 kg, Army/WCAP), who prior to this past week had not traveled overseas in a few years, was on the wrong end of a 3-0 decision to Gerard Kurniczak (POL). No points were scored from par terre. Kurniczak was awarded the bout’s first passivity point and added two more via step-out. The Polish competitor did not make it past Arif Niftullayev (AZE) in the round-of-16, which ended Sheridan’s performance in Zagreb.
For those who might remember Tanner Farmer‘s (130 kg, NYAC/IRTC) impressive flashes last winter in Bulgaria, then his first-round match-up should have incited extra interest. Standing across from the Final X runner-up this morning was ’22 World bronze Alin Alexuc-Ciruarriu (ROU), who has been a top heavyweight contender for over half a decade. On the Petrov stop from the ’22 US Winter Tour, Farmer put quite the scare into Alexuc-Ciurarriu until a bodylock-to-pin cut the string on what would have been seen as a massive upset.
On Sunday, Alexuc-Ciurarriu defeated Farmer again, this time by a score of 5-2. But it was nonetheless encouraging as well as, perhaps, an indication of just how formidable Farmer is becoming.
Alexuc-Ciurarriu was put down first but Farmer could not negotiate a turn. In the second period, Romania had his opportunity to make a dent from par terre and Farmer remained static. But a step-out point, the match’s first measure of offensive output, had Alexuc-Ciurarriu inch ahead 2-1. A subsequent pressure-release spin-behind takedown for ROU with :28 to go increased Farmer’s deficit to 4-1. Seven seconds hence they were ordered to stand. As time continued to diminish, Farmer broke forward and bumped Alexuc-Ciurarriu out of bounds. The US challenged, looking for a fleeing caution on Alexuc-Ciurarriu to augment the step-out point. The officials disagreed, Romania was given a point for the upheld call, and Farmer had been defeated by a final score of 5-2.
Alexuc-Ciurarriu lost to fellow World bronze Oskar Marvik (NOR) in the round-of-16 to eliminate Farmer from repechage.
Duffield, Miranda, & Holmes
Dalton Duffield (55 kg, Army/WCAP) had a rough start to his day in Zagreb, dropping a pair of technical falls to Ikhtiyor Botirov (UZB) and U23 World Champion Poya Dad Marz (IRI), respectively. But because 55 kilograms is a round-robin pool, Duffield had one more match with which to work, and he made the most of it. With Deleanu leading 3-3 going into the second-period par terre, Duffield stepped over a gutwrench attempt, cranked his own turn, and proceeded to pin Deleanu.
Multi-time age-group World Teamer, and current US National Team member, Randon Miranda was not given an easy assignment in Amirreza Dehbozorgi (IRI). The bout’s first passivity is when things got away from the Olympic Training Center resident athlete. Dehbozorgi executed a lift that yielded four and transitioned into another turn; with the score at 7-0, Dehbozorgi kept the momentum and went up for one more lift. Two more points signaled the finish. Dehbozorgi was clipped by Razvan Arnaut (ROU) in the quarterfinal, which deposed Miranda from possible repechage.
Testing the waters back down at 72 kilograms for the first time in three seasons was Final X runner-up (at 77 kg) Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP). It was a fitful affair for Holmes against Luka Malobabic (CRO). Malobabic was gifted the first passive and could not budge Holmes. More methodical than intense was the action through much of the first period with Malobabic clinging to the same 1-0 passive lead.
Holmes responded very well in the second. He had snuffed out a Malobabic attempt to sit behind and wallop a thunderous four-point lift, thus surging ahead 4-1. Follow-up points on the mat were unavailable and they returned to the feet. Holmes then went to duck-under for his own attempt, and Malobabic covered for takedown points. Again, Holmes would not be turned and the lead was still his at the next reset. After a close call on a slip that initially looked like a Holmes takedown, Malobabic benefited in the opposite manner. Holmes had dipped for an arm try but came loose; Malobabic scampered behind and was awarded two. The sequence made the score 5-4 for Croatia, and Malobabic survived the rest of the way to collect the decision. Matias Lipasti (FIN) edged Malobabic in the round-of-16 to end Holmes’ tournament.
Coverage is ongoing. A recap of the repechage and bronze round will be released following the event’s final session. The 2023 Grand Prix Zagreb Open can be viewed in the US on FLOWrestling.
2023 Grand Prix Zagreb Open
February 3-5 — Zagreb, CRO
TEAM USA DAY 3 RESULTS
Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Ikhtiyor Botirov (UZB) 9-0, TF
LOSS Poya Dad Marz (IRI) 10-2, TF
WON Artiom Deleanu (MDA) via fall
Randon Miranda (Unattached)
LOSS Amirreza Dehbozorgi (IRI) 9-0, TF
Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP)
WON Mateusz Szewczuk (POL) 10-0, TF
Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Luka Malobabic (CRO) 5-4
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
WON Kritsztofer Klanyi (HUN) 4-1
LOSS Sajjad Imentalabfoumani (IRI) 3-1
Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Filip Sacic (CRO) 3-0
Luke Sheridan (WC Greco RTC/Army/WCAP)
LOSS Gerard Kurniczak (POL) 3-0
Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC)
LOSS Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU) 5-2
TEAM USA DAY 2 RESULTS
Sammy Jones (NYAC/CTT) — 10th
LOSS Ivan Lizatovic (CRO) 3-1
Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) — 11th
WON Domagoj Celicek (CRO) 11-1, TF
LOSS Adomas Grigaliunas (LTU) 5-4
TEAM USA DAY 1 RESULTS
Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) — 25th
LOSS Rui Lui (CHN) via injury default
Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS) — 23rd
LOSS Pavel Puklavec (CRO) 3-1
Alan Vera (NYAC) — 28th
LOSS Erik Szilvassy (HUN) via injury default
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