Following a promising first day of wrestling at the 2019 Thor Masters, the United States appeared to be in position to come away with a hefty medal haul. Five athletes entered Saturday morning undefeated at the event — and four others were still in the hunt themselves. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to expect multiple pieces of hardware, this despite the breadth of competition available.
As it stands, the US is leaving Nykøbing Falster, Denmark with only one medal and it came from a familiar face.
After two days, five matches, and technically four victories, G’Angelo Hancock (97 kg, Sunkist, world no. 3) earned his third overseas medal of the season and second bronze to lead an American squad that demonstrated a lot fight throughout the tournament, even if the results don’t back that up.
Hancock’s opening bout on Saturday came against one of the 97-kilogram bracket’s toughest competitors, Elias Kuosmanen (FIN), who in addition to owning a U23 World silver from 2017 is also a previous Military and Cadet World Champion. It was a strange bout, and one in which Hancock did not prevail. Kuosmanen received the first passive and used it for a successful gutwrench. In the second, Hancock scored on a step-out, but it all went off the rails soon after, as Kuosmanen collected his own step-out before later twisting an off-balanced Hancock to his back for four.
Hancock recovered with a flourish to secure his place in the bronze round. A 7-2 decision over Artur Omarov (CZE) meant one more step towards advancement in his pool. The proceeding round offered up his second U23 World silver medalist of the afternoon, Hungary’s Zsolt Toeroek, but this time the result went in the other direction. Hancock, poised and composed, earned the decision 6-2, setting up an opportunity to earn his third straight overseas medal.
The win over Toeroek was to set up a bronze match against 2014 Military World champ (another second on the day for Hancock it would have been) Ramsin Azizsir (GER). This bout did not come to fruition because Azizsir reportedly could not compete due to injury.
The Two Patricks
Patrick Smith (77 kg, Minnesota Storm) was making a bid to nail down his second trip to the Thor Masters podium. A tech loss to Roland Schwarz (GER) wasn’t the start on Saturday he was hoping for. Next up was US teammate Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS), who had earlier put on a show by getting Andre Isberg (SWE) out of there via tech. Smith kept busy and worked Porter in the tie-ups, earning both passivity calls before adding another pair of points on an apparent fleeing call to emerge victorious 4-0.
The last remaining obstacle standing in Smith’s way ahead of a potential medal came in the form of 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix bronze Volodymyr Yakovliev (UKR). Porter and Yakovliev had engaged in a frustrating yet spirited showdown on Friday, so how Smith’s style would match-up added a degree of intrigue. And it was true, for the most part. Smith did what he does, and he moved Yakovliev around in spaces. But he also gave up two gutwrenches in the first, which proved to be the difference in the 5-1 decision loss.
At 87 kilograms, Patrick Martinez (NYAC) endured two tough — but encouraging — defeats on Saturday. First up was two-time Olympian Amer Hrustanovic (AUT). Last summer, Hrustanovic got past Martinez at the German Grand Prix mainly due to a lift. It was different this time; Martinez tirelessly battled in the pummel but the passivity fairy wasn’t as kind. Even still, the American did not give up any additional points from bottom par terre, ultimately falling 3-1. The hill got a little steeper after that, but Martinez’s effort never waivered. He took 2016 Olympic bronze Denis Kudla (GER) to the wire and looked to come on late. Unfortunately for Martinez, the windows weren’t there and neither were the scores. He had pressed the German star from beginning to end, and again defended from par terre, but it was still Kudla who got the nod 2-1.
Jones Starts Hot
2014 University bronze Sammy Jones (63 kg, NYAC/OTS) sure got things rolling on Saturday morning with the biggest bang possible. Facing 2014 World/2016 Olympic bronze Stig-Andre Berge (NOR), Jones flashed in on a high dive and bombed a bodylock for four. Then moments later when Berge clamped a front headlock, Jones wrapped around the body and launched Berge for another four, sewing up the adrenalizing tech 8-0 early on in the first period.
— 5PointMove (@5PtMove) March 16, 2019
The next two bouts — both against high-caliber opposition — didn’t go Jones’ way. First it was a 5-0 decision loss at the hands of Dmytro Tsymbaliuk (UKR), and then an 8-3 defeat to Justas Petravicius (LTU). Jones was in both matches, and the officiating didn’t do him any favors. He worked to create scoring chances, and like Martinez, has improved markedly in par terre defense.
Nielsen Stays Unblemished But Bows Out
Carter Nielsen (82 kg, Minnesota Storm/OTS) had a dogfight on his hands Saturday. It was an at times brutal back-and-forth with Dimitrios Papadopoulos (GRE), particularly in the second period. Nielsen jumped out in front 4-0 in the first, and then tacked on a step-out and takedown in the closing frame. After an injury time-out for Nielsen, things turned hectic. Papadopoulous got heated late in the bout, shouldering, checking, and squeezing Nielsen’s throat. That didn’t mean he didn’t score, Papadopoulos. He swam around on a takedown and gutted Nielsen over twice to surge back into the fight down by a point. By then, Nielsen was in cruise control and impressively held off his opponent.
However, that would be that. Nielsen did not continue in on in the tournament as a precautionary measure (left knee). He finishes his first Thor Masters experience with a 3-0 record.
Tarpley & Elor
It won’t show up in the boxscore, but Nick Tarpley (72 kg, NYAC) did an admirable job in his matches at the 2019 Thor Masters, and specifically today. He maintained solid position against multi-time age-group World medalist Parviz Nasibov (UKR), and diligently fought in the tie-ups for scores. In the end, it wasn’t enough to get his hand raised as Nasibov grabbed a 4-1 decision.
Orry Elor‘s (97 kg, NYAC) return to international competition brought with it some positive moments. Yesterday, he took a quick loss to Omarov in his first match back. But this morning, he put together a well-wrestled bout versus Billy Rääf (SWE) and came out on top 6-1. Kuosmanen halted the train right there with a tech. Nevertheless, Elor, a former University World Team member, instantly increases the depth at 97 kilos in the US.
Full results and placings will be updated here following the tournament’s conclusion.
2019 THOR MASTERS
March 15th-16th — Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
TEAM USA FULL RESULTS
Justin Feldman (Camarillo)
LOSS Etienne Kingsinger (GER) 8-0, TF
LOSS Lauri Karjalainen (FIN) 8-0, TF
Sammy Jones (NYAC/OTS)
WIN Kasper Ravn (DEN) 11-9
WIN Stig-Andre Berge (NOR) 8-0, TF
LOSS Dmytro Tsymbaliuk (UKR) 5-0
LOSS Justas Petravicius (LTU) 8-3
Dominic Damon (WA)
LOSS Nasrullah Nasibov (UKR) 9-0
LOSS Bence Kovacs (HUN) 8-3
Morgan Flaharty (NYAC)
LOSS Aleksi Kalinichenko (UKR) 8-0, TF
LOSS Aleksandrs Jurkjans (LAT) 9-0, TF
Austin Morrow (NYAC/OTS)
LOSS Fredrik Bjerrehuus (DEN) 11-0, TF
LOSS Manrikos Theodoridis (GRE) 6-3
Jessy Williams (NYAC/FLWC)
LOSS Denis Bolunov (EST) 9-5
LOSS Daniel Soini (SWE) 10-1, TF
Nick Tarpley (NYAC)
LOSS Dawid Karecinski (POL) 8-3
WIN Flavio Freuler (SUI) 8-0, TF
LOSS Parviz Nasibov (UKR) 4-1
Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS)
WIN Jevgenijs Kolcovs (LAT) 10-1, TF
LOSS Volodymyr Yakovliev (UKR) 5-3
WIN Andre Isberg (SWE) 12-4, TF
LOSS Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) 4-0
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
WIN Nikko Erkkola (FIN) 4-0
WIN Leos Drmola (SVK) 9-2
LOSS Roland Schwarz (GER) 9-0, TF
WIN Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS) 4-0
LOSS Volodymyr Yakovliev (UKR) 5-1
Carter Nielsen (Minnesota Storm/OTS)
WIN Marc Weber (SUI) via fall
WIN Corey Fitzgerald (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
WIN Dimitrios Papadopoulos (GRE) 7-6
Corey Fitzgerald (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Anton Olsson (SWE) 8-0, TF
LOSS Carter Nielsen (Minnesota Storm/OTS) 8-0, TF
Spencer Woods (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Petr Novak (SUI) via fall
LOSS Hannes Wagner (GER) 11-0, TF
Patrick Martinez (NYAC)
WIN Tommy Brackett (NMU/OTS) 8-0, TF
WIN Eividas Stankevicius (LTU) 2-0
LOSS Amer Hrustanovic (AUT) 3-1
LOSS Denis Kudla (GER) 2-1
Tommy Brackett (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Patrick Martinez (NYAC) 8-0, TF
LOSS Dimitrios Tsekeridis (GRE)
Trey Hardy (NMU/OTS)
LOSS Albin Frid (SWE) 9-0, TF
LOSS Zakarias Berg (SWE)
Alan Vera (Florida Jets)
LOSS Dimitrios Tsekeridis (GRE) 4-1
LOSS Iurii Shkriuba (UKR) 10-9
G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist) — bronze
WIN Oleksandr Shyshman (UKR) 5-0
WIN Billy Rääf (SWE) 9-0, TF
LOSS Elias Kuosmanen (FIN) 9-1, TF
WIN Artur Omarov (CZE) 7-2
WIN Zsolt Toeroek (HUN) 6-2
Orry Elor (NYAC)
LOSS Artur Omarov (USA) 9-0, TF
WIN Billy Rääf (SWE) 6-1
LOSS Elias Kuosmanen (FIN) 9-0, TF
Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist)
LOSS Tuomas Lahti (FIN) 4-3
LOSS Vladyslav Voronyi (UKR) 4-3