The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Nowry, Hafizov lead U.S. Greco through transition with Top-10 finishes at Worlds
Photo: Max Nowry used this arm throw to take down Arjun Halakurki of India and eventually posted the first of two pins at 55 kilos in Greco-Roman competition at the 2022 World Championships in Serbia. Unfortunately, Nowry lost his last two matches and settled for fifth place. (Justin Hoch photo)
By Mike Finn
Greco-Roman — the first of three tournaments at the 2022 UWW World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia — was contested Sept. 10-13 and is now complete. A Team USA Greco program that is in transition after coach Matt Lindland recently stepped down was led by two Top-10 finishes from Max Nowry and Ildar Hafizov in the two lightest weights.
WIN Magazine will provide comprehensive coverage of the 2022 Worlds, including men’s and women’s freestyle, in the next issue that will be printed Sept. 29. Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe to WIN Magazine.
Overall, the 10 Americans won seven of 21 Greco matches in Stark Arena, including a pair of wrestlers, representing the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program — Max Nowry (55k) and Ildar Hafizov (60k) — who won two bouts and came the closest to earning a medal in Serbia.
Nowry, 32-year-old native of Wheeling, Ill., pinned two foes in his third Worlds appearance and reached the semifinals before settling for fifth place.
Hafizov, the 34-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan, also won his first two bouts while competing in a sixth World Championship before losing to an eventual finalist. Once pulled into repechage, he lost a match and settled for 10thplace.
Also recording wins in Greco were Alex Sancho (67k) and a pair of collegiate wrestlers: Braxton Amos (97k) and Cohlton Schultz (130k).
2022 UWW World Championships Greco-Roman
U.S. Results and Match Notes
55k/121 pounds – Max Nowry (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP) – 5th
1st round – pinned Arjun Halakurki (India), 5:02 – Nowry was trailing 3-1 when he used an arm throw to put the Indian on his back with 1:10 left before Nowry eventually scored the fall 12 seconds later. Nowry had injured his elbow when Halakurki scored a takedown with 44 seconds left in the first period.
Quarterfinal – pinned Fabian Schmitt (Germany), 4:58 – Shortly after Nowry scored a passivity point — that tied the match 1-1 with two minutes left — the American first used a bar arm to turn the German for two exposure points, readjusted his hold for two more exposure points, then scored the fall with about a minute left in the match.
Semifinal – lost by TF to Eldaniz Azizli (Azerbaijan), 9-0 (1:44) — The eventual champ, who also won gold in 2018 and a pair of bronzes in 2019 and ’21, scored all his points after earning a passivity point at the 4:38 mark. From there, he used a pair of guts to lead 5-0, then ended the match when he lifted Nowry and threw him off the mat for four additional points.
Bronze – lost to Yu Shiotani (Japan), 7-0 — The two-time Asian champion scored all his points in the first period. First, he used an arm throw to take a 4-0 lead over Nowry a minute into the match, before he added a stepout point and countered a takedown attempt by the American with five seconds left in the first period.
60k/132 pounds – Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP) – 10th
Prelim – dec. Ditcher Toro Castaneda (Colombia), 9-6 — This was a wild match that saw the Colombian wrestler take a 10-9 lead with 1:33 in the match before a challenge by Hafizov’s corner took seven points away from Toro Castaneda because of an illegal throw. Before that, Hafizov countered a lift for a takedown to lead 4-2 with 38 seconds left in the first, then used a chest lock to lead 9-2 before the intermission.
1st round – dec. Michal Tracz (Poland), 7-1 — Hafizov broke open a close match when he used an upper-body lock for a four-point takedown with a minute left. His final two points came when he countered a takedown attempt by the Pole with seven seconds left.
Quarterfinal – lost by fall to Zholaman Sharshenbekov (Kyrgyzstan), 0:45 — The 2021 World silver medalist used a throw 36 seconds into the match before he scored the fall nine seconds later. Hafizov was brought back into repechage when Sharshenbekov defeated Aidos Sultangati of Kazakhstan 7-0 in the semifinals.
Repechage – lost by TF to Krisztian Kecskemeti (Hungary), 9-0 – After the Hungarian earned a passivity point midway through the first period, Kecskemeti used a gut-wrench for four points, then added another gut for two. The match ended at the first-period buzzer when the Hungarian countered a Hafizov takedown attempt.
63k/138.5 pounds – Sam Jones (Rockford, Mich./New York AC) – dnp
Prelim – lost to Neeraj Neeraj (India), 4-0 — Jones, who replaced Final X winner Jesse Thielke in what would be his second World Championships, gave up a passivity point and a two-point gut at the 4:42 mark to the Indian, who added a stepout with 2:28 left in the match. Jones was eliminated when Neeraj lost his next match.
67k/147.5 pounds – Alex Sancho (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP) – dnp
Prelim – won by TF over Norva Bukasa (Congo), 9-0 — Shortly after earning a passivity point, the American used a pair of guts to post two four-point scoring sequences, the second coming with 1:17 left in the first period.
1st round – lost to Parviz Nasibov (Ukraine), 5-0 — Nasibov, the 2020 Olympic silver medalist, scored all of his points in the first period, including a four-point gut with 26 seconds left before intermission. Sancho was eliminated when Nasibov lost his next match.
72k/158.5 pounds – Benji Peak (Marquette, Mich./MNU-OTS/Sunkist Kids), dnp
Prelim – lost to Robert Fritsch (Hungary), 3-1 — Competing in his first Worlds, Peak took a 1-0 lead off a passivity point before the Hungarian used a throw-by takedown and stepout in the final two minutes. Peak was eliminated when Fritsch lost his next match.
77k/169.5 pounds – Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP) – dnp
Prelim – lost to Viktor Nemes (Serbia), 4-0 — Nemes, the 2017 World champion, ended the American’s time in Serbia when he scored a passivity point, stepout and takedown with two minutes left … then eliminated Bey when he lost his semifinal match.
82k/180.5 pounds – Spencer Woods (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP) – dnp
Prelim – lost by fall to Chengwu Wang (China), fall 4:01 — The Alaska native, who replaced Final X champ Ben Provisor in the Worlds, was actually a point away from scoring a technical fall when Wang used a lateral drop to take down Woods with 2:34 left and then pinned him 30 seconds later. Woods had jumped out to a 4-0 left off an arm drag before Wang used an arm spin and two guts to lead 6-4. Woods then countered two takedown attempts by the Chinese wrestler and used a reverse gut and trapped-arm gut to lead 13-6 as the first period ended.
87k/191.5 pounds – Alan Vera (New York, N.Y./NYC RTC/New York AC), dnp
Prelim – lost to Haitao Qian (China), 5-3 — Vera, the Cuban immigrant, led 1-0 at the break before Qian used a par-terre advantage off a passivity call to lift and throw Vera off the mat for a 5-1 lead with 2:15 left. Vera’s final two points came off a takedown with 49 seconds left.
97k/213.5 pounds: Braxton Amos (Mineral Wells, W.V./Badger RTC/Sunkist Kids) – dnp
Prelim – dec. Vladlen Kozliuk (Ukraine), 12-6 — Subbing for 2021 World bronze medalist G’Angelo Hancock, who retired this summer after winning Final X, Amos broke open a 6-6 tie on a headlock with 38 seconds left before closing out the scoring with a trapped-arm gut with 20 seconds left. A counter and headlock gave the Wisconsin college wrestler a 6-2 lead before the Ukrainian battled back on a takedown and trapped-arm gut with 2:11 left in the bout.
1st round – lost to Beksultan Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan), 5-2 – Appearing in his fourth World Championships, Makhmudov jumped out to a 5-0 lead off a passivity point and a pair of gut-wrenches midway through the first period before Amos added a passivity and stepout point.
130k/286.5 pounds – Cohlton Schultz (Parker, Colo./Sunkist Kids) – dnp
Prelim – dec. David Ovasapyan (Armenia), 1-1 — Schultz, the NCAA All-American from Arizona State, won his first match when his point off of a passivity call with 2:17 left was the last point scored. The Armenia earned a par-terre advantage with 55 seconds left but could not turn the American.
1st round – lost to Oskar Marvik (Norway), 5-0 — The Norwegian, who claimed World bronze in 2021, scored a passivity point, two step-outs and off a throw-by takedown to blank Schultz, who was eliminated when Marvik lost his next match.