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LAS VEGAS — Robby Smith (above left) and Haley Augello (right) represented the United States in last summer’s Rio Olympics and Alli Ragan later earned a silver medal at a non-Olympic weight in December, but none of the three were ready to slow down at the start of a new quadrennial … and all three won their weight classes on the first night the World Team Trials in Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle Friday in at the South Point Arena.
By winning both matches in the best 2-of-3 Championship Series, these three Americans made up three of the eight weight classes — four in Greco and four in women’s freestyle — that were decided in both styles on Friday. The final weights will be determined Saturday night and those winners will complete the American team in those two styles that will wrestle at the United World Wrestling World Championships in Paris this August.
Meanwhile, men’s freestyle was still competing in it’s U.S. Open at the same time as the Greco/Women’s Freestyle Trials and all eight finals are now set for Saturday night with the the winners earning at least a No. 1 seed in the Challenge Tournament of the men’s freestyle World Team Trials that be decided June 10 in Lincoln, Neb.
The following is a list of those finals:
57k/125 pounds — Tony Ramos vs. Nahshon Garrett
61k/132 pounds — Brandon Wright vs. Kendric Maple
65k/143.5 pounds — Frank Molinaro vs. Jordan Oliver
70k/154 pounds — James Green vs. Nazar Kulchytskyy
74k/163 pounds — Jordan Burroughs vs. Kyle Dake
86k/189 pounds — David Taylor vs. Richard Perry
97k/197 pounds — Micah Burak vs. Kyven Gadson
125/265 pounds — Zach Rey vs. Nick Gwiazdowski
In Greco, Robby Smith used an arm throw to pin Toby Erickson at 130 kilos to claim his third World Team spot and had no problem expressing his frustration with doubters about his future.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries, people thought I was done,” said Smith, who had only competed in one international tournament since last summer’s Olympics. “I had to prove that I still had it.”
In the three other Greco weights that were determined, Ellis Coleman, Cheyney Haight and G’Angelo Hancock also won their weight classes.
Coleman needed three matches to beat Alex Sancho for the 66-kilo berth on this year’s World Team. Last year was very frustrating for Coleman, the 2012 Olympian who finished fourth in both the Olympic Trials and non-Olympic weight Trials.
Haight, who stepped away from the sport for two years after qualifying for the 2011 World Team, will return to the Worlds after beating John Stefanowicz in two straight bouts at 80 kilos.
Hancock, who claimed a bronze medal in last summer’s Junior Worlds, earned his first Senior World membership when he edged former North Dakota State wrestler Hayden Zillmer at 98 kilos.
In women’s freestyle, both Augello and Ragan moved up a weight class. Augello, who wrestled at 48 kilos last summer in Rio, defeated former World Team member Whitney Conder at 53 kilos in two straight bouts while Ragan, a World silver medalist at the non-Olympic weight of 58 kilograms, dominated Francesca Giorgio in two straight matches at 60 kilograms.
The other two American women to earn a spot on this summer’s World Team were Mallory Velte at 63 kilos and Tamyra Mensha at 69 kilos. Velte, who lost to Jennifer Page at last December’s U.S. Open avenged that setback and beat Page in two straight bouts. Mensah, who won last summer’s Olympic Trials but was unable to qualify the weight class for the United States, rallied in the second period of both of her victories over nine-time World/Olympic team member Elena Pirozhkova, who moved up a weight class for these Trials.
The following are highlights of the Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle World Team Trials that took place on Friday:
66 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — Ellis Coleman Colorado Springs, CO (U.S. Army) dec.. Alejandro Sancho Garden City, NY (NYAC), 4-3 — Just after Sancho cut the margin to 2-1 with 1:30 left after Coleman was called for passivity, Sancho was penalized two points for illegally
Match 2 — Sancho dec. Coleman, 2-1 — All the points were passivity calls with the second one in the second period keeping Sancho alive for a third match.
Match 3 — Coleman dec. Sancho, 2-1 — A passivity point against Sancho provided the winning margin for Coleman, who have to withstand a late attack by Sancho and had to wait for a video review to realize he qualified for the World Team.
80 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — Cheney Haight Garden City, NY (NYAC) dec. John Stefanowicz Jacksonville, NC (Marines), 3-1 — All of Haight’s points came in the first period off a stepout and takedown. Stefanowicz received a passivitiy point with a minute left and nearly earned a throw, but slipped, as time expired.
Match 2 — Haight dec. Stefanowicz, 3-1 — Haight led 2-0 after one period then clinched the bout on a passivity call with 35 seconds left in the match.
98 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — G’Angelo Hancock Garden City, NY dec. Hayden Zillmer Crosby, MN (Minnesota Storm), 6-4 — Hancock used a big five-point throw near the edge of the mat with two minutes left in the match and just moments after Zillmer countered a throw to lead 2-1. Zillmer’s final two points came off a pair of passivity calls in the final 1:28.
Match 2 — Hancock dec. Zillmer, 2-0 — Hancock scored both of his points off passivity in the second period. Zillman was first awarded a four-point throw in the first period before an official reviewed waived off the points.
130 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — Robert Smith Garden City, NY (NYAC) dec. Toby Erickson Colorado Springs, CO (U.S. Army), 2-1 — All three points came from passivity with Smith receiving the final one with one minute left in the match. Smith also earned a passivity point in the first period before Erickson earned his with 1:53 left in the bout.
Match 2 — Smith pinned Erickson, 1:04 — The 2016 Olympian led 2-0 when he used an arm throw to put Erickson on his back and eventually scored the fall.
53 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — Haley Augello (Lockport, Ill./NYAC) dec. Whitney Conder (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) — Augello countered a double by Conder built an 8-1 lead with two minutes in the match before Conder rallied with six points in the final 1:15, first an arm throw for four points, then a throw by cut the margin to one with 40 40 seconds left.
Match 2 — Augello dec. Conder, 5-4 — Sixteen seconds after Conder scored a takedown to tie the bout 4-4, Augello clinched the match with a reversal after Conder tried to snap her back. A pair of takedowns gave Augello a 4-2 first period lead.
60 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — Alli Ragan (Colorado Springs, Colo./NYAC) won by TF over Francesca Giorgio, West Lawn, Pa. (Burnaby Mountain WC) — Ragan used a chest to back throw for five points in the first 30 seconds then added three more takedowns to end the bout with 1:14 left in the first period.
Match 2 — Ragan won by TF over Giorgio, 10-0, 1:05 — Ragan’s first takedown led to three turns and six more back points then ended the match with a second takedown.
63 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Jennifer Page, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC), 10-8 — Velte’s gut after a third takedown gave her an 8-2 lead with 2:21 left in the match, then added a reversal 30 seconds later. Page added some late excitement when she threw Velte to her back for a four-point move as time expired.
Match 2 — Velte dec. Page, 2-2, criteria — Velte scored the deciding point with 1:16 left on a stepout by Page.
69 kilos Championship Series
Match 1 — Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Elena Pirozhkova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC), 4-2 — Mensah scored a takedown off a heel pick 20 seconds in the second period to provide the winning margin. Pirozhkova jumped out 2-0 off a defensive turn early in the first period before Mensah scored a reversal and pushout to end the first period.
US Open Men’s Freestyle Results
57 kilos/125.5 pounds
61 kilos/134 pounds
65 kilos/143.5 pounds
70 kilos/154 pounds
74 kilos/163 pounds
Jordan Burroughs, Scottsdale, AZ (Sunkist Kids) won by TF over Kevin LeValley, Lewisburg, Pa. (Buffalo Valley) 12-2, 5:58
Kyle Dake, Ithaca, NY (TMWC) dec. Alex Dieringer, Stillwater, Okla. (TMWC), 3-0
86 kilos/189 pounds
97 kilos/213 pounds
125 kilos/264.5 pounds