72 kg US Open champion Justus Scott (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
On Thursday evening at the Southpoint Casino, ten Senior Greco-Roman wrestlers clinched berths in Final X. Without a returning, 2022 Senior World medalist in the mix, the winners at all ten weights would move on to Newark, New Jersey for Final X, while their opponent will be decided at the World Team Trials.
The final wrestler to get his hand raised, Cohlton Schultz, was the showstopper as Schultz needed just over two minutes to spoil Adam Coon's return to the wrestling world with an 11-0 tech. Schultz wowed the crowd within the first :30 with a four-point throw to take a commanding lead. He ended the match with a four-point head pinch after Coon started a flurry. Across four matches, Schultz did not surrender a single point and was not pushed into the second period.
The Army WCAP team won the team portion of the competition and there was no doubt about the "race" as they crowned four champions and had three other finalists. One of those losses came with WCAP teammates squared off against one another.
Three of the Army champions could have been classified as underdogs. Dalton Roberts was one of them as he downed teammate Ildar Hafizov. Roberts jumped out to a fast 7-0 lead, but his win wasn't without some drama. Hafizov headlocked Roberts to his back late in the bout and the clock expired with him still fending off the fall. Roberts would win 7-6.
Maybe the biggest surprise for the WCAP team was Justus Scott's win at 72 kg. Wrestling in from of his home crowd and his own cheering section, Scott knocked off two-time world team member Patrick Smith 6-4.
At 82 kg, Spencer Woods turned the tables on his Final X opponent Ben Provisor with a 4-3 win.
Schultz wasn't the only wrestler with a dominating performance on the big stage, Brady Koontz (57 kg), Robert Perez III (67 kg), Kamal Bey (77 kg), Alan Vera (82 kg), and Joe Rau (97 kg) all were victorious via tech. Perez III used a trapped-arm gut to end his finals bout with Olympian Jesse Thielke in an instant. Bey had one of the standouts from day one, 44-year-old Aleksandr Kikiniou. Bey wasn't phased and only needed :33 seconds to rack up nine points and land a perfect backflip.
The other result from the finals was a 3-1 victory by Hayden Tuma over two-time World Team member Sammy Jones. Tuma took advantage of a second-period passivity call and exposed Jones with a gut wrench.
2023 US Open Senior Men's Greco-Roman Championship Results
55 kg - Brady Koontz (Titan Mercury) over Dalton Duffield (Army WCAP) 9-0
60 kg - Dalton Roberts (Army WCAP) over Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP) 8-7
63 kg - Hayden Tuma (Suples WC) over Sammy Jones (Sunkist Kids) 3-1
67 kg - Robert Perez III (Sunkist Kids) over Jesse Thielke (Army WCAP) 8-0
72 kg - Justus Scott (Army WCAP) over Pat Smith (Minnesota Storm) 6-4
77 kg - Kamal Bey (Army WCAP) over Aliaksandr Kikiniou (Poway) 9-0
82 kg - Spencer Woods (Army WCAP) over Ben Provisor (NYAC) 4-3
87 kg - Alan Vera (NYAC) over John Stefanowicz (Navy WC) 9-0
97 kg - Joe Rau (TMWC) over Nick Boykin (Sunkist Kids) 10-1
130 kg - Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids) over Adam Coon (NYAC) 11-0