USA Greco

Zagreb To Kick Off ’22 Campaign for Team USA Greco

dalton roberts, 2021 world championships, zagreb
Dalton Roberts -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

Plans are plans, and plans change, especially these days. The good thing about digital spreadsheets is their malleability. If an item requires amendment, tapping the “backspace” key (or for Mac users, “delete”) is all it takes to undo an idea and start over. Canceling flights and hotel bookings is a decidedly more complicated endeavor, of course.

However, the United States Greco-Roman National program is hoping that none of the above will be necessary. Because as it currently stands, the plan for 2022 presents opportunities that have not been in place in nearly two full years — which is exactly what the Americans need, perhaps more so than any other nation.

Should the schedule as written remain without disruption, the US will break January Camp in Colorado Springs and soon after usher a delegation to Europe for a multi-week stay that includes plenty of training sandwiched between one of the sport’s toughest tournaments.

The tour would start with travel on January 15 to Finland for a week-long camp, after which a jaunt to Croatia is on the docket.

Croatia means Zagreb. Zagreb means the Grand Prix Zagreb Open.

The Grand Prix Zagreb Open has had two successful iterations since the pandemic’s dawn. Last fall, Croatia took a shot by holding the tournament just two weeks after running their nationals. Though outside participation was subject to a significant decrease, Turkey, Moldova, Sweden, and Serbia all sent competitors. Two months later, another Zagreb GP became available. The circumstances were more amenable. Serbia had hosted the first (and up till now, only) Individual World Cup one month prior; in addition, most European countries had begun to loosen restrictions enough to hold domestic competitions. Confidence in travel soon rose, and Zagreb ’21 benefitted to the tune of over 160 total entrants highlighted by 12 recent World/Olympic medalists.

For the Zagreb of January ’21, only one American saw involvement — two-time World Team member Josef Rau. The list for next month’s running is not yet confirmed, but the expectation is a sizable group of current US National Team members along with several other top-tier athletes.

Croatia is intended to set the tone in the eyes of a US program that has had to bypass most relevant international events dating back to the winter of ’20. Following Zagreb, the US has designs on at least one of the first two United World Wrestling “Ranking Series” tournaments (both scheduled for February in Italy and Turkey, respectively). Another option for Americans might be the annual Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov in Bulgaria (February 17-20). Other international camps are tentatively available, as well, provided travel is not hindered by various guidelines and restrictions.

A heightened amount of overseas activity for United States athletes during the winter will end on the doorstep of this year’s team selection process, which — in a sense — begins with the Bill Farrell Memorial in early-April. The highest-placing Americans from that tournament will comprise the roster for the Pan-American Championships. Medalists from the Pan-Ams will receive top seeds in their declared weight categories at the World Team Trials.

2022 Grand Prix Zagreb Open

January 29-30 — Zagreb, CRO

*2 kg allowance on Day 2
**All times +6 hours ET

Day 1 (1/29)
10:30am-7:00pm — Qualification rounds through semifinals

Day 2 (1/30)
10:30am-2:00pm — Repechage rounds
6:00pm-8:00pm — Finals and bronze matches

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