Cliff Keen WC, Spartan Combat RTC finish unbeaten on Day 1 of RTC Cup

Yianni Diakomihalis helped lead the Spartan Combat RTC to a 2-0 day (Photo/Sam Janicki,

CINCINNATI -- The inaugural RTC Cup kicked off Friday in Cincinnati with six teams competing over two days.

The opening day consisted of pool competition to set up the seeds for Saturday's championship bracket. The Cliff Keen WC and the Spartan Combat RTC finished unbeaten on Friday and will receive byes into Saturday's semifinals.

Below is a recap from Friday's pool competition.

The Cliff Keen WC finished 2-0 on Day 1 (Photo/Sam Janicki,

Pool A

The Cliff Keen WC rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Gopher WC in the first dual in Pool A. The first four matches went to the Cliff Keen WC, which clinched the dual meet after 86 kilograms.

Seth Gross, filling in for Stevan Micic, opened with a 12-4 victory over Zach Sanders in a battle of Minnesota natives. Sanders led 3-2 after the opening period, but Gross came out strong in the second period and pulled away to win by eight.

At 65 kilograms, Alec Pantaleo was dominant in picking up a 10-0 technical superiority over Brayton Lee. Pantaleo led 1-0 at the break, but poured it on the second period, scoring two takedowns, two turns and a step out to close out the match.

Senior Nationals champion Logan Massa gave the Cliff Keen WC a 3-0 lead by beating Evan Wick 5-2 at 74 kilograms. Massa used two second-period takedowns to pace him to the victory.

Myles Amine, an Olympic qualifier for San Marino, clinched the dual meet for the Cliff Keen WC with an 8-2 win over Brett Pfarr. Pfarr led 2-2 on criteria after the opening period, but Amine scored three straight takedowns in the second period to win by six.

The Gopher WC got on the scoreboard at 97 kilograms when Hayden Zillmer dominated T.J. Dudley 11-1.

Junior world champion Mason Parris closed out the dual meet with an 8-2 win over two-time NCAA champion Tony Nelson. Parris led 6-0 at the break and the two wrestlers traded takedowns in the final period.

The second dual meet of the session pitted the Cliff Keen WC against the Wolfpack RTC. The Cliff Keen WC took the first three matches before the Wolfpack RTC stormed back to win the final three matches, making the dual meet score 3-3. The dual meet was ultimately decided by criteria, with Cliff Keen WC taking the victory.

Gross started the dual meet with a 13-2 technical superiority over Darian Cruz at 57 kilograms in a battle of NCAA champions.

At 65 kilograms, Pantaleo controlled Kevin Jack 7-2 to put the Cliff Keen WC up 2-0.

The 74-kilogram match between Massa and Hayden Hidlay was filled with drama. Hidlay looked strong early. He scored two takedowns before using a four-point arm throw to go up 8-0 at the break. Massa, though, battled back, scoring two four-point moves to win 8-8 on criteria.

Trent Hidlay gave the Wolfpack RTC its first win of the dual meet with a 10-6 victory over Abounader at 86 kilograms. Hidlay trailed 2-1 at the break, but came out strong in the second period, using a four-point move to go up 5-2. He extended his lead to 6-2 with a step out. Abounader used a takedown and turn to cut the deficit to 8-6. But Hidlay came right back with a takedown and held on to win by four.

Michael Macchiavello, a 2018 NCAA champion, grinded out a 5-4 victory over Dudley at 97 kilograms.

Nick Gwiazdowski came from behind to earn a technical superiority over Mason Parris (Photo/Sam Janicki,

The final match of the dual meet was a showdown between two-time world medalist Nick Gwiazdowski and the Senior Nationals champion Parris. Parris came out fast, scoring three takedowns and a turn to build an 8-0 lead. Gwiazdowski came back with a takedown before securing a lace and turning Parris five times to go up 12-8. Gwiz continued to roll in the second period, picking up a takedown and exposure to go up 16-8. He then closed out the technical superiority with another takedown.

With both teams splitting the six matches, it came down to criteria, technical points. The Cliff Keen WC edged the Wolfpack RTC 46-45 on technical points to earn the dual meet victory and finish the day undefeated.

In the final dual meet of Pool A, the Gopher WC edged the Wolfpack RTC on criteria after both teams won three matches.

Jakob Camacho put the Wolfpack RTC up 1-0 after a 12-6 win over Sean Russell at 57 kilograms.

Junior world silver medalist Mitch McKee used a big second period to roll to a 15-6 win over Jack at 65 kilograms.

The Wolfpack RTC's Tommy Gantt topped Wick 7-2 at 74 kilograms. Gantt led 3-2 at the break and scored two step outs and a takedown in the final period.

At 86 kilograms, Trent Hidlay used two second-period takedowns to propel him to a 6-2 win over Pfarr to put the Wolfpack RTC up 3-1.

Minnesota would take the final two matches, with Hayden Zillmer and Gable Steveson picking up wins at 97 kilograms and 125 kilograms respectively to give both teams three wins.

Zillmer defeated Michael Macchiavello 8-4 on the strength of two four-point moves. He led 8-0 before Macchiavello scored a late takedown and turn.

The final match -- with the dual meet on the line -- pitted America's top two freestyle heavyweight against each other, Gwiazdowski vs. Gable Steveson. Steveson, a three-time age-group world champion, scored a takedown on the edge of the mat in the first period and took a 2-0 lead into the break. In the second period, Gwiz scored a step out to cut the deficit to 2-1. Steveson countered a Gwiz attack and scored another takedown and held on to win 4-1.

Gable Steveson after defeating Nick Gwiazdowski (Photo/Sam Janicki,

Steveson's victory helped give the Gopher WC a narrow victory over the Wolfpack RTC on criteria (technical points).

The Gopher WC concluded the day with a 1-1 record, while the Wolfpack RTC finished 0-2, losing both matches by criteria.

Pool A Results

Cliff Keen WC df. Gopher WC, 5-1
57: Seth Gross (Cliff Keen WC) dec. Zach Sanders (Gopher WC), 12-4
65: Alec Pantaleo (Cliff Keen WC) tech. Brayton Lee (Gopher WC), 10-0
74: Logan Massa (Cliff Keen WC) dec. Evan Wick (Gopher WC), 5-2
86: Myles Amine (Cliff Keen WC) dec. Brett Pfarr (Gopher WC), 8-2
97: Hayden Zillmer (Gopher WC) tech. T.J. Dudley (Cliff Keen WC), 11-1
125: Mason Parris (Cliff Keen WC) dec. Tony Nelson (Gopher WC), 8-2

Cliff Keen WC df. Wolfpack RTC, 3-3 (Criteria)
57: Seth Gross (Cliff Keen WC) tech. Darian Cruz (Wolfpack RTC), 13-2
65: Alec Pantaleo (Cliff Keen WC) dec. Kevin Jack (Wolfpack RTC), 7-2
74: Logan Massa (Cliff Keen WC) dec. Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack RTC), 8-8
86: Trent Hidlay (Wolfpack RTC) dec. Domenic Abounader (Cliff Keen WC), 10-6
97: Michael Macchiavello (Wolfpack RTC) dec. T.J. Dudley (Cliff Keen WC), 5-4
125: Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack RTC) tech. Mason Parris (Cliff Keen WC), 18-8

Gopher WC df. Wolfpack RTC, 3-3 (Criteria)
57: Jakob Camacho (Wolfpack RTC) dec. Sean Russell (Gopher WC), 12-6
65: Mitch McKee (Gopher WC) dec. Kevin Jack (Wolfpack RTC), 15-6
74: Tommy Gantt (Wolfpack RTC) dec. Evan Wick (Gopher WC), 7-2
86: Trent Hidlay (Wolfpack RTC) dec. Brett Pfarr (Gopher WC), 6-2
97: Hayden Zillmer (Gopher WC) dec. Michael Macchiavello (Wolfpack RTC), 8-4
285: Gable Steveson (Gopher WC) dec. Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack RTC), 4-1

Pool B

The Spartan Combat RTC finished undefeated in Pool B, picking up wins over the Ohio RTC and the NJRTC/SERTC.

The Spartan Combat RTC opened its day by winning a hard-fought battle over the Ohio RTC in a dual meet that came down to criteria after the teams split the six matches.

Vito Arujau picked up two wins on Friday (Photo/Sam Janicki,

Cornell stars Vito Arujau and Yianni Diakomihalis kickstarted the Spartan Combat RTC as both picked up technical superiorities at 57 kilograms and 65 kilograms respectively. Arujau won 11-0 over Jack Mueller, while Diakomihalis earned a 12-2 win over Sammy Sasso.

Ohio State freshman Carson Kharchla got the Ohio RTC on the board with a 6-0 shutout over Jevon Balfour at 74 kilograms. Kharchla, the 2019 InterMat High School Wrestler of the Year, finished the day 2-0, outscoring his two opponents by a combined score of 15-2.

Sammy Brooks came from behind to defeat Drew Foster (Photo/Sam Janicki,

The most thrilling match of the dual meet came at 86 kilograms, where former Hawkeye Sammy Brooks, competing for the Ohio RTC, came from behind late to defeat Drew Foster. Foster dominated the first half of the match and appeared to be on the verge of a technical superiority when he went up 8-0. But Brooks battled back, getting a step out, three takedowns and an exposure in the second period for a 9-8 come-from-behind victory. Brooks' win evened the dual at 2-2.

At 97 kilograms, Kollin Moore turned in a dominant performance, scoring a 10-0 technical superiority over Jacob Cardenas in just 25 seconds.

In the final match of the dual meet, Dom Bradley came from behind late to defeat . Amar Dhesi 5-2, which gave both teams three wins. With both teams also tied on classification points, it came down to the second criteria, with Spartan Combat RTC winning on the strength of two technical superiorities.

The Spartan Combat RTC then capped off its day with a 4-2 win over the NJRTC/SERTC.

The dual meet opened with Cornell All-Americans Arujau and Nahshon Garrett going head-to-head at 57 kilograms. Arujau, a junior world silver medalist, dominated the early part of the match and built an 11-2 lead. Garrett battled back late, cutting the deficit to two points, but Arujau held on for the 14-9 victory.

In one of the most anticipated matchups of Day 1, Diakomihalis, a two-time NCAA champion, edged two-time world medalist James Green 3-3 on criteria at 65 kilograms to give the Spartan Combat RTC a 2-0 lead. Green led 1-1 on criteria after the opening period. He extended his lead to 3-1 with a takedown in the second period. But Diakomihalis responded with a takedown of his own and held on for the criteria victory.

Junior world champion Mekhi Lewis gave the NJRTC/SERTC its first win of the dual meet as he dominated Balfour 12-2.

In one of the pivotal matches of the dual, Foster scored a late takedown to edge Nate Jackson 4-3, which gave the Spartan Combat RTC a 3-1 lead.

Ty Walz kept the NJRTC/SERTC's hopes alive as he cruised to a 10-1 win over Cardenas. With the match coming down to the final match, Bradley blanked Jordan Wood 6-0, giving the Spartan Combat RTC a 4-2 victory.

In the opening match of Pool B, the Ohio RTC claimed a 4-2 victory over NJRTC/SERTC.

Mueller kicked it off with a 6-4 victory over Garrett.

Green evened the dual at 1-1 after picking up a 14-4 technical superiority over Anthony Echemendia. Green found himself trailing in the second period before getting a takedown and locking up a lace, which he used to turn Echemendia five times and earn the technical superiority.

Carson Kharchla defeated junior world champion Mekhi Lewis at 74 kilograms (Photo/Sam Janicki,

The most impressive performance of the dual meet came from Kharchla, who earned a 9-2 victory over the junior world champion Lewis at 74 kilograms. Kharchla led 1-0 after the first before turning it up in the second period, scoring two takedowns and two turns off a gut wrench.

At 86 kilograms, Jackson of the NJRTC evened the dual at 2-2 with a 14-4 technical superiority over Brooks.

At 97 kilograms, Moore made short work of Walz, earning a first-period 10-0 technical superiority.

With the dual meet on the line, past junior world champion Dhesi topped Wood 4-2, giving the Ohio RTC the victory.

The Ohio RTC finished the day 1-1, while the NJRTC/SERTC went 0-2.

Competition will resume Saturday with quarterfinal action at 1 p.m. ET. The Cliff Keen WC and the Spartan Combat RTC receive byes into the semifinals. The Gopher WC will face the NJRTC/SERTC, while the Ohio RTC will face the Wolfpack RTC.

Pool B Results

Ohio RTC df. NJRTC/SERTC, 4-2
57: Jack Mueller (Ohio RTC) dec. Nahshon Garrett (NJRTC/SERTC), 6-4
65: James Green (NJRTC/SERTC) tech. Anthony Echemendia (Ohio RTC), 14-4
74: Carson Kharchla (Ohio RTC) dec. Mekhi Lewis, 9-2
86: Nate Jackson (NJRTC/SERTC) tech. Sammy Brooks (Ohio RTC), 14-4
97: Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC) tech. Ty Walz (NJRTC/SERTC), 10-0
125: Amar Dhesi (Ohio RTC) dec. Jordan Wood (NJRTC/SERTC), 4-2

Spartan Combat RTC df. Ohio RTC, 3-3 (Criteria)
57: Vito Arujau (Spartan Combat RTC) tech. Jack Mueller (Ohio RTC), 11-0
65: Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan Combat RTC) tech. Sammy Sasso (Ohio RTC), 12-2
74: Carson Kharchla (Ohio RTC) dec. Jevon Balfour (Spartan Combat RTC), 6-0
86: Sammy Brooks (Ohio RTC) dec. Drew Foster (Spartan Combat RTC), 9-8
97: Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC) tech. Jacob Cardenas (Spartan Combat RTC), 10-0
125: Dom Bradley (Spartan Combat RTC) dec. Amar Dhesi (Ohio RTC), 5-2

Spartan Combat RTC df. NJRTC/SERTC, 4-2
57: Vito Arujau (Spartan Combat RTC) dec. Nahshon Garrett (NJRTC/SERTC), 14-9
65: Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan Combat RTC) dec. James Green (NJRTC/SERTC), 3-3
74: Mekhi Lewis (NJRTC/SERTC) tech. Jevon Balfour (Spartan Combat RTC), 12-2
86: Drew Foster (Spartan Combat RTC) dec. Nate Jackson (NJRTC/SERTC), 4-3
97: Ty Walz (NJRTC/SERTC) dec. Jacob Cardenas (Spartan Combat RTC), 10-1
125: Dom Bradley (Spartan Combat RTC) dec. Jordan Wood (NJRTC/SERTC), 6-0


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ban basketball (1) about a month and a half ago
Don't like to see Goblee Steveson beat anyone, let alone our lead man at heavyweight internationally. We'd feel even more proud as American to have that classless goof "represent" us on the world stage.

The Mullet Brooks/Foster match was rigged, by the way. A review of the match, all pernts awarded to Mullet Brooks needs to be reviewed. If National Champion Foster doesn't win after this review, initiate another one until we get the result that is just.