It’s here, wrestling friends. The global equivalent of a week-long wrestling Christmas, the Senior World Championships, are upon us and being fought in Paris, France. Your Penn State Nittany Lions put two onto America’s Teams, and from the sound of things, will be coming home with a third. Let’s get to the good stuff.
The tournament began on Monday at 3AM Eastern. PSU true freshman Mason Manville took the mat wearing red, white, and blue at 75KG (165lbs). The Anvil opened with a dominant 4-2 win over Manfred “Big Sway” Edsberg of Sweden. He was rolling.
Next Mason fought a Georgian, Tsulukidze. He scored two takedowns, gave up zero takedowns, and still lost. How is that possible, you ask? Wellsir, it’s possible when the referees don’t count one of his takedowns, and award the other guy 3 penalty points. That’s how the Anvil lost 3-2. (Technically, 4-2, because Mason also lost a video review challenge, because of course).
Stunning, I know.
The well worn wrestling trope is “you can’t leave it up to the officials”. That’s terrific advice in grade school. Unfortunately the rub here, at this “best on planet Earth” level, is that the talent/ability gap between competitors can be pretty small, because no one sucks. They’re all good, including the cheaters. Ergo, the “best on planet” thing.
Mason took it like a man, and tossed in “grateful” and “fun”, so he’s already indoctrinated. Plus he’s young - he’s actually Junior eligible - and he has a lot more fight ahead of him. Hopefully, in a few more years, he’s so dominant that he’s 6 points better than everyone else - as that’s the going referee rate.
- 59kg Ildar Hafizov 0-1, DNP
- 66kg Ellis Coleman 1-1, DNP
- 71kg Pat Smith 1-1, DNP
- 75kg Mason Manville 1-1, DNP
- 80kg Cheney Haight 0-1, DNP
- 85kg Ben Provisor 0-1, DNP
- 98kg Tracy Hancock 1-1, DNP
- 130kg Robbie Smith 1-1, DNP
Eight DNPs is not a great look, but in my own stupid opinion, it looks like Team USA Greco is beginning to turn a corner. Onward and upward, gentlemen.
Also, also - Ben Provisor, in his post-match interview with TrackWrestling, indicated that he’ll be moving to State College, PA. The 2x Olympian will join the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, work out with the growing Greco contingent (including the US Army WCAP, and teammate Manville), and share some hand-fighting techniques. Welcome aboard, Ben!
- 48kg Victoria Anthony 5th
- 53kg Haley Augello 7th
- 55kg Becka Leathers 3rd
- 58kg Helen Maroulis 1st
- 60kg Alli Ragan 2nd
- 63kg Mallory Velte 0-1, DNP
- 69kg Tamyra Mensah 1-1, DNP
- 75kg Victoria Francis 0-1, DNP
The ladies brought home 3 medals, and a 2nd place team finish with 127 points, edging out Belarus (112). Japan, who has dominated for years, took first with 202.5. Turkey (76) and Mongolia (75) rounded out the top 5. Canada, America’s tophat, finished 6th (66.5).
Helen Maroulis bumped up to 58kg this year, and laid a whoopin’ on planet Earth, outscoring everyone 52 - 0. Awfully impressive.
The results are pouring in as you’re reading this. Four weights go today - 57kg, 61kg, 86kg, and 125kg. Brackets for those were released late Thursday, and we cover a few scenarios below. Saturday they’ll fight the other four weights, including our man Zain’s 65kg. But we won’t get to see Zain’s bracket until late Friday, because wrestling’s governing body, UWW, acknowledges rampant cheating. In any event - to the draws:
- 57kg (125.5lbs) - Thomas Gilman is unseeded, but got about as nice of a draw as you could hope for as an American. He’ll open with Yatsenko from Ukraine, who is a fellow newbie at the Senior level. That’s great. Plus, most of the experienced, known landmines are on the opposite half of the bracket - Atli (TUR), Dubov (BUL), Uguev (RUS), Erdenbat (MON), Takahashi (JPN) - Gilman won’t hit any of them until the final. It’s such a great draw that you’d think Gilman was a Russian, or something.
- 61kg - Logan Stieber is the top seed, so he’ll have a golden path covered in rose petals all the way into the - lolno. LogieBear’s draw is laughably difficult. Sure, he starts with a BYE. Wonderful. Up next? Russia’s Rashidov, a known hammer. Beat Rashidov, and Logie gets...Khinchegashvili, Oly Gold, World Gold, and Georgia’s legit, no cheating needed, uber-freak. So that’s the bad news. The good news is this: if we get Logan vs. Khinch, we’re in for a real treat. They might set a new international scoring record. They’re both slicker than knee cartilage.
- 86kg - J’Den Cox, however, is cleared for a run to the final. The biggest landmine, Iran’s Yazdanicharati, is on the other half of the bracket - and so are the rest of the reasonably sized landmines. J’Den’s second round match might be Ville Heino (FIN), who wrestles for Campbell, and most recently DNP’d at last year’s NCAAs.
- 125kg - Nick Gwiazdowski holds a special place in all PSU fans’ hearts for beating Tony Nelson at NCAAs, and thereby clinching PSU’s national title. Plus he trains part-time at NLWC. Both of these things combine to allow us to forgive then-freshman Nick for beating Cam Wade in the blood round back in 2011. This is Nick’s first Worlds, and he drew a couple of old-timers in the first two rounds. He opens with Romanov (Moldova), and if he clears that hurdle, he’ll get Hungary’s Ligeti. Both have been on the Senior level since Nick was at Binghamton. Fortunately for Nick, neither has won much of anything in years. Let’s go Nick!