RaVaughn Perkins talks to U.S. coaches Matt Lindland and Momir Petkovic (Photo/Larry Slater)
BUDAPEST, Hungary -- It was a tough day for the U.S. Greco-Roman team on the opening day of the Greco-Roman competition at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The team struggled in many aspects and are searching for answers. All four wrestlers who competed lost their opening bouts. Three of the four scored points and had competitive matches that they were in until the very end. The lone wrestler waiting to see if he receives a repechage match is Sam Hazewinkel.
The first American wrestler was RaVaughn Perkins who started his day against Murat Dag of Turkey. Perkins started strong and held a 3-0 lead after scoring with a gut wrench. His lead was short lived as he found himself trailing 6-3 at the break. But Perkins continued to battle, fighting until time expired. Perkins climbed back into the match and closed the gap to 8-7, but was unable to score again and that was the score when the final whistle blew.
Perkins, a replacement for Team USA, was critical of himself and his performance.
"It was an embarrassment for me and for my country to go out there like that," Perkins said. "Having this opportunity, I shouldn't have [gone] out there like that. I'm a veteran in this sport and should have done better."
Perkins was eliminated from competition when Dag lost his next match.
Jesse Thielke dropped his opening match at the World Championships (Photo/Larry Slater)
Jesse Thielke also suffered a close defeat. Wrestling against Donior Islamov of Moldova, Thielke began the match strong, sprinting out to an early 5-0 lead by virtue of two firm gut wrenches. Thielke would relinquish his lead as Islamov stormed back with some gut wrenches of his own to build a 6-5 lead heading into the break. Islamov built his lead to 8-5 with a gut wrench and held on for the victory.
"It's disappointing but you [have] to find a way to move forward," Thielke said. "I have to find a way to score, champions find a way to win and I didn't do that. It's a learning lesson, you have no choice but to move forward."
Thielke was not eligible for a repechage match after Islamov dropped his quarterfinal match.
Geordan Speiller scores with a gut wrench (Photo/Larry Slater)
Geordan Speiller found himself in an early hole against Luis Avendano Rojas of Venezuela. Losing 4-0 at the break, Speiller wrestled his way back into the match, getting ahead 5-4 by the use of two gut wrenches. Rojas would not be behind for long as he scored to go up 8-5, that would be the final scoring as Speiller suffered and arm injury and was forced to default out.
Speiller was eliminated when Rojas lost.
Veteran Sam Hazewinkel, a 2012 Olympian in freestyle, made a miniscule mistake and allowed his opponent, Ekrem Ozturk of Turkey, to get behind him and make a four-point throw and then Ozturk used a gut wrench for the final scoring, completing the technical fall 8-0.
Hazewinkel is waiting to see if he will receive a repechage match as Ozturk has moved on to the semifinals, this afternoon. If Ozturk wins, then Hazewinkel will wrestle his repechage match on Friday.