Max Nowry gets his hand raised after winning his first match at the World Championships (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan -- The United States Greco-Roman team picked up three wins in the opening session of the 2019 World Championships but failed to advance a wrestler past the quarterfinals on Saturday in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
However, two wrestlers who competed on Saturday remain alive in the competition.
Max Nowry (55 kilograms) and John Stefanowicz (82 kilograms) will wrestle in repechage, while Ryan Mango (63 kilograms) and Raymond Bunker (72 kilograms) were eliminated from the competition.
The four Greco-Roman weight classes contested on the opening day are non-Olympic weight classes.
Nowry started his tournament at 55 kilograms with a 10-1 technical superiority over 2019 European bronze medalist Fabian Schmitt of Germany. Schmitt led 1-0 at the break after scoring off a passivity. Nowry turned it up in the second period. He used a four-point throw to go up 4-1. A short time later, Nowry secured a takedown off a snap down and then scored with two trap-arm gut wrenches to close out the match.
In the quarterfinals, Nowry met crowd favorite Khorlan Zhakansha of Kazakhstan, a bronze medalist at the Asian Championships. Nowry struck first, scoring two points off a counter. He would take a 2-0 lead into the break. In the second period, Nowry was called for passivity, giving Zhakansha his first point. Trailing 2-1, Zhakansha scored with a gut wrench to go up 3-2 and held on for the win.
Nowry remained alive in the competition after Zhakansha knocked off returning world champion Eldaniz Azizli of Azerbaijan, 11-5.
John Stefanowicz went 1-1 in the opening session of the World Championships (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Stefanowicz, competing at 82 kilograms, was shut out in his opening match by Georgia's Lasha Gobadze, 7-0. Gobadze scored first off a passivity and then extended his lead to 3-0 late in the first period off an arm throw. In the second period, the Georgian once again earned a point off passivity to go up 4-0 and then scored two points off a caution. The call was challenged by the United States and upheld, giving Gobadze a seven-point lead. Stefanowicz was unable to score and Gobadze advanced.
Stefanowicz still has a chance to wrestle back for a bronze medal after Gobadze earned a 3-1 win in the semifinals over Nurbek Khashimbekov of Uzbekistan.
Ryan Mango lifts Rahman Bilici of Turkey (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Mango cruised to a technical superiority in his opening match over Portugal's Julinnho Corriea Diu, 11-0. After scoring off a passivity midway through the opening period, Mango used a gut wrench to turn the Portugal wrestler five times and end the match in the first period.
Next up for Mango was world bronze medalist Rahman Bilici of Turkey. Bilici scored the first point of the match off a passivity before Mango turned the tables, scoring with a four-point move to go up 4-1. Bilici then reversed Mango and scored two points before getting another two points off an exposure to grab a 5-4 lead. Bilici would add a takedown in the second period and win by three.
Bilici was beaten by Kazakhstan's Almat Kebispayev 7-4 in his next match, ending Mango's tournament.
Raymond Bunker talks with U.S. Greco-Roman coaches Matt Lindland and Brandon Paulson (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Bunker opened his tournament at 72 kilograms by edging India's Yogesh, 6-5. The American used a strong first period to grab a 4-0 lead at the break. In the second period, after a scoreless first minute, Bunker was called for passivity, giving Yogesh a point and the top position in par terre. Yogesh then locked up a gut wrench and scored two turns before Bunker came behind for a reversal, making the score 5-5 with the India wrestler leading on criteria. Bunker wasted little time, retaking the lead, 6-5, off a step out. He then held on for the victory.
In his second match, Bunker faced returning world bronze medalist Aik Mnatsakanian of Bulgaria. Bunker went up 2-0 in the first period off the strength of a passivity and a step out. The Bulgarian came back in the second period, scoring his first point off a step out before getting a passivity point to give him the criteria lead with two minutes remaining. Mnatsakanian was given an opportunity in par terre after the passivity call and took advantage of it. He scored with a gut wrench and then a lift for another two points to grab a 6-2 lead, which would close out the scoring in the match.
Bunker's tournament came to close when Mnatsakanian was defeated by Uzbekistan's Aram Vardanyan 4-1 in the semifinals.
Three more American Greco-Roman wrestlers will begin their tournaments on Sunday: Ellis Coleman (67 kilograms), Joe Rau (87 kilograms) and G'Angelo Hancock (97 kilograms).