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Greco-Roman’s Best-of-3 Finals set for Olympic Trials

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Updated: April 19, 2024

Photo: Adam Coon, a former World silver medalist, dominated Aden Attao to win the Challenge Tournament final at 130 kilos in Greco-Roman action. He will meet Cohlton Schultz in the Best-of-3 Championship Final on Saturday. (Photo by Sam Janicki)

Greco-Roman

The following are the highlights of the finals and semifinals of the Challenge Tournament of the 2024 Olympic Trials, which took place Friday at the Penn State Bryce Jordan Center. Saturday’s Best-of-3 Championships Series, which will finalize Team USA for the Paris Olympics, begins at 10 a.m. EDT.

60k/132.5 pounds

Challenge Tournament finalists Ildar Hafizov (WCAP) and Dalton Roberts (WCAP) will advance to Saturday’s Best-of-3 Championship Series. This will be a rematch of 2023 Final X, won by Hafizov. The winner will then need to qualify the weight class at the Final Qualifier, May 9-12, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Semifinals

Ildar Hafizov (WCAP) won by TF over Sammy Jones (SKWC), 9-1 — Trailing 1-0 after giving up a passivity point in the first period, Hafizov took even bigger advantage of passivity par terre when he used an upper-body lock to rock Jones back and forth four times to end the bout with 2:07 left.

Dalton Roberts (WCAP) dec. Max Black (NMU) 5-2 — Roberts scored a takedown 30 seconds in each period and added a passivity point against Black.

67k/147 pounds

Challenge Tournament finalists Alejandro Sancho (WCAP) and Ellis Coleman (WCAP) will advance to Saturday’s Best-of-3 Championship Series. The winner will then need to qualify the weight class at the Final Qualifier, May 9-12, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Semifinals

Alejandro Sancho (WCAP) dec. Pat Smith (MN Storm) 3-2 — The 2021 Olympian scored a stepout with one second left to win first on criteria. Sancho added another point when Smith’s challenge was not upheld.

Ellis Coleman (WCAP) dec. Xavier Johnson (WCAP) 7-6 – A five-point throw by Coleman gave him a 6-0 lead with 1:04 left before Johnson battled back on a four-point move with 47 seconds left in the first frame. Each man added a stepout in the second period.

77k/169.5 pounds

Challenge Tournament finalists Kamal Bey (WCAP) and Aliaksandr Kikinou (NYAC) will advance to Saturday’s Best-of-3 Championship Series. The winner will then need to qualify the weight class at the Final Qualifier, May 9-12, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Semifinals

Kamal Bey (WCAP) dec. RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC), 7-1 — Bey trailed 1-0 after the first period before he scored two takedowns, two stepouts and a passivity point against Perkins.

Aliaksandr Kikinou (NYAC) dec. Benji Peak (NMU / SKWC), 7-6 — The 44-year-old Kikinou used a takedown and gut to lead 5-0 at the break, then held off Peak, who battled back to cut the margin to one point on a takedown with 31 seconds left.

87k/191.5 pounds

Payton Jacobson (NMU / SKWC) won the Challenge Tournament and earned the right to face Pan Am Qualifier Spencer Woods in Saturday’s Best-of-3 Finals.

Championship

Payton Jacobson (NMU / SKWC) dec. John Stefanowicz (USMC), 1-1 criteria — With both men scoring passivity points, Jacobson did it last to earn the victory. Stefanowicz had a chance to score off par terre later in the match, but failed.

Semifinals

John Stefanowicz (USMC) dec. Mahmoud Sebie (NYAC) 3-0 — Stefanowicz’s first two points came off a tough arm throw midway through the firsts period against the Italian immigrant.

Payton Jacobson (NMU / SKWC) dec. Zachary Braunagel (IRTC / NYAC) 6-0 — Jacobson used a pair of passivity par terre opportunities to score three points in each period.

97k/213.5 pounds

Joe Rau earned a chance to face Pan Am Qualifier Alan Vera in Saturday’s Best-of-3 Championship Series.

Challenge Championship

Joe Rau (TMWC) dec. Nicholas Boykin (SKWC), 5-3 — Rau scored all his points in the first period, including the final four on a takedown and a gut for two.

Semifinals

Joe Rau (TMWC) dec. David Orndorff (OH RTC / TMWC) 5-0 — Rau scored his five points in the first period when he used a par terre passivity to add a pair of high-guts. Orndorff earned a passivity point in the second but could not score off par terre.

Nicholas Boykin (SKWC) pinned Diante Cooper (AFRTC), 1:28 – Boykin was only leading 4-3 when he scored a second takedown and used the throw to flatten Cooper.

130k/286.5 pounds

Former World silver medalist Adam Coon earned a rematch against Pan Am Qualifier Cohlton Schultz in Saturday’s Best-of-3 Championship Series. Schultz defeated Coon in last year’s Final X.

Challenge Championship

Adam Coon (CKWC / NYAC) won by TF over Aden Attao (BDRTC / NYAC), 9-0 — After four stepout and a passivity call against Attao, Coon ended the bout on a four-point move with two seconds left in the first period.

Semifinals

Adam Coon (CKWC / NYAC) won by TF over Donny Longendyke (MN Storm) — Coon took advantage of a passivity call as he used the par terre advantage to rock Longendyke back and forth four times; the final one coming with 58 seconds left.

Aden Attao (BDRTC / NYAC) won by TF over Courtney Freeman (USMC), 10-0 — Attao used a second four-point throw with 16 seconds left in the first period to end the match.