Perkins vaults into February Greco rankings in his first time on the mat since 2014
The February Greco rankings, presented by Adidas, were highlighted by the return of RaVaughn Perkins. After winning world team trials in 2014, Perkins tested positive for an illegal diuretic and was subsequently banned from competing. He returned to action this past week, and won the Dave Schultz Memorial to qualify for Olympic Team Trials. It is unclear if he will be given a shot at Bryce Saddoris to try and qualify the weight for Rio in March.
Each weight is ranked 10-deep, but it is likely more than 10 athletes will qualify for the Trials in April. At the beginning of each ranking, I indicate whether or not the weight is qualified. The next chance to qualify the weight for the Olympics is the Pan Am qualifier in Frisco, TX in March. I will be attending that event and provide coverage for our four Greco weights that have not been qualified.
The next time these athletes can qualify for Iowa City is the Armed Forces Championships February 20-21 in Seattle. They can also qualify with a top three finish at an overseas tournament, of which there are about five events in which to compete in February. Last month’s rankings are in parentheses and a * indicates the athlete has qualified for OTT already.
1. Ildar Hafizov (1), Army WCAP*
2. Spenser Mango (2), Army WCAP*
3. Jesse Thielke (3), NYAC*
4. Nikko Triggas (4), NYAC*
5. Ryan Mango (5), Army WCAP*
6. Jermaine Hodge (7), Army WCAP*
7. Sam Jones (6), NYAC*
8. Max Nowry (8), Army WCAP*
9. Dmitry Ryabchinskiy (9), NYAC*
10. Aaron Kalil (10), Marines
This weight is not yet qualified for the Olympics. With the Pan Am Olympic qualifier coming up next month, it has yet to be determined if Spenser Mango will represent America or if Hafizov has an opportunity to compete there instead; both of them had off in January. Thielke continued to compete at 66kg, winning bronze in Croatia at the Zagreb Open. He only lost to Danijel Janecic, who was Croatia’s worlds rep at 71kg in Vegas this September. Triggers and Ryan Mango both took January off.
For the third consecutive month, Hodge and Jones met in a tournament. Unlike the previous two bouts, Hodge came out on top in the Schultz finals. Given the OTT seeding criteria of last win, as well as using UWW classification point scoring (7-6), I have moved Hodge back on top of Jones. Ryabchinskiy and Kalil hold their spots, as Justin LaValle did not qualify for OTT with his fourth place finish at the Schultz. LaValle lost to Kalil at the Trials Qualifier in December. Kalil lost both of his matches overseas in January in Zagreb and Paris.
1. Bryce Saddoris (1), Marines*
2. Ellis Coleman (2), Army WCAP*
3. Pat Smith (3), Minnesota Storm*
4. Christopher Gonzalez (4), NYAC*
5. RaVaughn Perkins (NR), NYAC*
6. Alejandro Sancho (5), NYAC*
7. Devin Scott (6), Minnesota Storm*
8. Brian Graham (7), Minnesota Storm*
9. Hayden Tuma (8), Army WCAP
10. Dylan Ness (NR), Minnesota Storm
This weight is not yet qualified for the Olympics. Saddoris made his return to action in Zagreb after breaking his orbital bone at Military Worlds. While he went 0-2, he was up a weight at 71kg and the first loss was to Olympic silver medalist and 2014 world bronze medalist Tamas Lorincz of Hungary, currently ranked No. 7 in the world. Smith was also in Zagreb, losing to world No. 12 Mateusz Bernatek of Poland. Gonzalez and Scott had the month off. Perkins made his official return at the Pinto Cup, pinning Jeffrin Mejia of Honduras. He would then go on to win the Schultz, beating 2015 world team trials finalist Sancho 3-0 in the finals. Perkins won the outstanding wrestler award and makes his debut in these rankings.
Graham went to the Paris Grand Prix, where he lost his only match 13-6 to 2014 Pan Am bronze medalist Jair Cuero Munoz of Colombia. Although Tuma lost 13-4 to Marco Lara in the quarters, he bounced back for third and Lara did not make the third place match. Ness was eighth in the December rankings, and returns after his strong showing at the Schultz. While he lost to Tuma, he beat Jamel Johnson, who was 10th last month, and took a very controversial loss to Sancho. Johnson drops out after losing to Ness, and the Sancho match gives Ness the bump over Bo Beckman, since neither of them have qualified for Iowa City.
1. Andy Bisek (1), Minnesota Storm*
2. Kendrick Sanders (2), NYAC*
3. Geordan Speiller (3), Florida Jets*
4. Justin Lester (4), Army WCAP*
5. Cheney Haight (5), NYAC*
6. Tarrence Williams (6), CSU Pueblo Wrestling RTC*
7. Jacob Fisher (7), Minnesota Storm*
8. Corey Hope (8), NYAC*
9. Dillon Cowan (9), Army WCAP*
10. Alec Ortiz (NR), Minnesota Storm
This weight has been qualified for the Olympics and Bisek sits in the Trials finals. All seven of the top athletes at this weight had January off. Hope beat Cowan 7-0 in the Schultz finals, so those spots hold as well. Cowan qualified for OTT by making the finals. Barrett Stanghill falls off from the 10th spot after being pinned by Kamal Bey in Colorado Springs. Bey is a high school senior training full time at the OTC; he also beat former Nebraska All American Robert Kokesh in the consi semis in Kokesh’s senior level debut. But Bey was beaten 19-12 in the third place match by Alec Ortiz. After placing 4th at the Open in May at 71kg, Ortiz has been up at 75kg for the Farrell, Nationals and Schultz. Ortiz has lost at each of those three events to Corey Hope.
1. Jordan Holm(1), Minnesota Storm*
2. Jake Clark (2), Minnesota Storm*
3. Ben Provisor (3), NYAC*
4. Jon Anderson (4), Army WCAP*
5. Patrick Martinez (5), Army WCAP*
6. Lucas Sheridan (6), Army WCAP*
7. Ryan Hope (10), NYAC*
8. Kevin Radford (7), Sunkist Kids*
9. Mark Stenberg (8), NYAC*
10. Courtney Myers (NR), Army WCAP*
This weight is not yet qualified for the Olympics. Holm, Clark, Provisor, Anderson and Sheridan did not compete in January. Martinez took home a bronze from Zagreb. After that, there was some shakeup. With Sternberg not competing and Myers making the finals at the Schultz with a win over Khymbakhy Johnson, it forced an examination of five wrestlers. Johnson drops out of the rankings because his only big win between Farrell, Nationals and Schultz was over Ryan Hope, and he also lost to Mark Stenberg at the Open in May.
That puts Myers into the 10th spot, he was runner-up to Martinez at 80kg in the WTT. Dropping to 9th is Stenberg, primarily on his win over Ryan Hope in the consis at Nationals. Stenberg lost to Kevin Radford in their placing match at Nationals, and Radford beat Khymbakhy twice. Hope has teched Radford in their past two meetings.
1. Josef Rau (1), Minnesota Storm*
2. Caylor Williams (2), Army WCAP*
3. Tracy Hancock (3), NYAC*
4. John Wechter (4), Minnesota Storm*
5. Marcus Finau (5), CSU Pueblo Wrestling RTC*
6. Orry Elor (6), NYAC*
7. Jacob Kasper (8), Roughhouse*
8. Daniel Miller (9), Marines*
9. West Cathcart (10), USOTS
10. Pat Carey (NR), Minnesota Storm*
This weight is not yet qualified for the Olympics. Caylor, Wechter, Finau, and Elor had the month off. Rau placed second in Zagreb. Hancock made the finals of the Schultz with a 5-0 win over Trice in the semis, avenging a 5-4 loss in the consi semis at the Farrell. Trice is 0-4 against American opponents in his last two tournaments after placing third at the Farrell. Miller qualified for OTT with his bronze at the Zagreb Open. Kasper beat Miller at Nationals. Cathcart had wins over both Carey and Meza at the Open in May. Carey avenged a loss to Meza from Nationals to take third at the Schultz and qualify for Iowa City.
1. Robert Smith (1), NYAC*
2. Adam Coon (2), Cliff Keen WC*
3. Toby Erickson (3), NYAC*
4. Parker Betts (4), Minnesota Storm*
5. Jacob Mitchell (5), CSU Pueblo Wrestling RTC*
6. Matt Lamb (6), Army WCAP*
7. Tyrell Fortune (NR), Titan Mercury*
8. Zach Merrill (7), Titan Mercury*
9. Eric Fader (10), Marines*
10. Jack Griggs (NR), NMU-OTS*
This weight has been qualified for the Olympics. Erickson won the Schultz over Lamb in the finals. Nye and Arendt drop out after not competing in the past three tournaments. Fortune competed in Greco for the first time since the Paris GP in 2014, and qualified for OTT by taking third over his Titan Mercury teammate in Merrill. It is unclear if Fortune will compete in both styles in April. Griggs went 0-2 at the Schultz, but with athletes dropping out for not competing, he slides in No. 10 after qualifying for the Trials with a seventh place finish at Nationals in December.
[Photo by John Sachs/Tech-Fall.com]