2022 U17 Greco-Roman World Champion Joel Adams (photo courtesy of Kadir Caliskan; UWW)
Team USA recently wrapped up an overwhelmingly successful trip to the Cadet (U17) World Championships. Across the three Olympic styles, the team brought back five gold medals and 14 overall medals. The following looks at some of the best statistical performances and where the team separated itself from the world.
Across all three styles, Team USA outscored their opposition 562 to 326 in terms of match points. The biggest difference came in men's freestyle where the squad scored 332 points and allowed only 101 points. The women's freestyle team also edged their competition overall with a 142 to 134 advantage. The Greco team finished with fewer points across their combined matches as their opponents outscored them 91 to 86.
While it is harder to jump on an opponent early in the two-minute periods of UWW's Cadet level, Team USA did do a fair share of their scoring in the first period. 298 of their 562 points came in the opening period, while opponents managed to score only 162 first-period points.
Of the 562 points scored by Team USA, 358 of those points were scored via takedowns while 133 points came via exposures. Exposures in this case include all points with turns in par terre as well as neutral exposures such as head pinches and crotch lifts. The odd number is the result of Joel Adams' five-point throw in Greco, but there will be more on that later.
Once again men's freestyle led the way with 214 points coming with takedowns and another 76 coming via exposures.
The differences between folkstyle and the international styles of wrestling are often most evident in terms of mat wrestling. While there are some similarities between folkstyle ground wrestling and par terre, there is often a learning curve for those who come up wrestling folkstyle. Despite this, men's freestyle and women's freestyle did a solid job of defending against exposure points. The same can't be said for the Greco team. Nearly half of the points allowed by Team USA in the style were exposures, and they were the only team to allow more points on exposures than they scored.
On the individual side, Koy Hopke scored the most match points on the team with 56. He won the title at 110kg in freestyle and averaged 12 points per match. However, Hopke was at a bit of an advantage over his teammates considering he competed in multiple styles. 48 of his points came on his march to the title in freestyle, but he also added eight points in Greco where he finished eighth.
As far as competitors in only one style, Joe Sealey was the leading competitor for Team USA. He scored 55 points on his way to the title at 71kg. Sealey allowed only one point across his five matches. That one point was a step out early in the second period of his match against Alisher Zholdasbay (Kazakhstan). Sealey would go on to win the match by a 12-1 score. 36 of his 55 points came on takedowns, and he added another 14 points via exposures.
On the Greco side, the clear standout performer was Adams. He not only brought home a gold medal at 65kg, but he also accomplished this without surrendering a single point. Adams outscored his opposition 36-0. Interestingly enough, he was able to put points on the board despite only being awarded top position via passivity in two of his matches. At the highest level, Greco matches often come down to par terre. However, Adams scored 18 of his points via takedowns, which was far and away the most of the U.S. Greco team. Cody Merrill finished second with 10 points off takedowns.
When it comes to scoring in par terre, the top two performers on Team USA were Shelby Moore and Jax Forrest. Moore finished fifth at 57kg thanks in part to her work with the leg lace. She scored 16 points in par terre with 14 coming via the leg lace. She scored via the technique at least once in three of her five matches and racked up six points with the hold against both Alina Filipovych (Ukraine) and Michalina Ignaszak (Poland).
Forrest was also able to score 16 points via exposures on his way to finishing second at 55kg. His long and lanky frame was clearly an asset from the top position as 10 of those 16 points came on gut wrenches. Forrest also added another four points with crotch lifts and two with a cradle.