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Hancock Makes World Semis; Will Wrestle for Bronze Saturday

G'Angelo Hancock in the 2021 World Quarterfinals (Photo/Kadir Caliskan)

The second day of Greco-Roman competition from the 2021 World Championships saw a trio of young American stars hit the mat. As of the semifinals, all three (Dalton Roberts - 60 kg, G'Angelo Hancock - 97 kg, and Cohlton Schultz - 130 kg) still had shots at claiming medals. The round proved to be brutal towards the Americans and Hancock fell in the championship bracket, while repechage hopes for Roberts and Schultz were dashed in stunning fashion.

Hancock started his tournament in the round of 16 and left Ibrahim Tigci (Turkey) no avenue to score in a 5-0 shutout. It was more of the same in the quarterfinals as Hancock never let 2018 World silver medalist Kiril Milov (Bulgaria) get any offense going in a 6-0 win. Hancock blew the match open after he was awarded a point for Milov's passivity. The American lifted Milov near the boundary and cartwheeled out of bounds in order to expose a squirming Milov.

After a break, the semifinals resumed and Hancock found himself against 2020 Individual World Cup silver-medalist Alex Szoke (Hungary). Like his previous bouts, Hancock jumped out to an early lead. He was given the opportunity to work from par terre first and responded with a gut wrench to extend his lead to 3-0. That's where it would be after one period. As often is the case, the official reciprocated the passive ruling and put Hancock down early in the second stanza. Hancock deftly avoided a turn, but the Hungarian got on the board, 4-1. Late in the bout, the official deemed Hancock passive again and Szoke was able to take advantage with a turn to tie the match up, though he owned criteria. Hancock would push until the final whistle, but was not able to find any sort of scoring hold.

Roberts and Schultz both fell in the opening matches, but watched as their opponents compiled wins and advanced to the semis. Though Roberts fell to Gevorg Gharibyan (Armenia), 8-4, his pace and physicality wore down the Armenian late in the contest. Gharibyan ended up on the wrong side of a wild, 9-6 shootout with Victor Ciobanu (Moldova) in the semifinals, which eliminated Roberts.

In his first Senior World bout, Schultz had an unfortunate draw meeting 2020 Olympic silver medalist Iakobi Kajaia (Georgia). Ultimately, the veteran came out on top with a 5-3 win. Kajaia ended up on the wrong side of a tactical 2-1 loss to Zurabi Gedekhauri (Russia) in the semis.

Also in action for the American's on Friday was two-time Olympian Ben Provisor at 82 kg. Provisor went 1-1 on Thursday, but was pulled into repechage after Burhan Akbudak (Turkey) made the finals. This morning, Provisor was edged by Laszlo Szabo (Hungary), 2-1 and was eliminated. He'll go on to finish in the top-eight.

Tomorrow morning, Sam Jones (63 kg), Peyton Omania (67 kg), and Alan Vera (87 kg) will start their tournaments.

Jones will have Deniz Menekse (Germany). Deniz has competed at the World Championships twice, never finishing higher than 12th.

Omania takes on Hasrat Jafarov (Azerbaijan), a 2021 Junior World Champion and a bronze medalist at the 2021 European U23 Championships.

Vera's first opponent is Turpan Bisultanov (Denmark), a fifth-place finisher at the 2021 European Championships.

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