2019 Senior Nationals: Greco Roman Preview

Written by: Jacob Hewgley – Tech Fall Fantasy Wrestling

It’s going to be a big one down in Fort Worth this weekend. Big throws, big points, and big matches. Everything sure is bigger in Texas this weekend.

There is a lot at stake for the competitors at the Men’s Greco Senior Nationals this week. The top five placers will earn a spot in the final US Olympic Trials tournament in April 2020. This is the most spots that will be up for grabs at a single tournament until the trials. So, grab a comfy seat and your snack of choice, because there are going to be some wars this weekend you don’t want to miss.

Before we get into the loaded field for this weekend, here are the wrestlers that are already qualified for the trials and their projected weights:

60 kg

2018 World Team member – Sam Hazewinkel 

2019 World Team member – Max Nowry 

2018 World Team member – Dalton Roberts 

2019 World Team member – Ildar Hafizov

2018 World Team member – Jesse Thielke 

2019 World Team member – Ryan Mango 

2019 Junior World bronze medalist – Alston Nutter  

67 kg

2019 World Team member – Ellis Coleman 

2019 Junior World bronze medalist – Peyton Omania 

2018 World Team member – RaVaughn Perkins 

2018 Final X champion – Jon Jay Chavez 

2019 World Team member – Raymond Bunker

77 kg

2019 World Team member – John Stefanowicz

2017 World Team member – Ben Provisor 

2017 World Team member – Mason Manville

2018 World Team member – Kamal Bey 

2019 World Team member – Pat Smith 

2017 World Team member – Cheney Haight

2018 World Team member – Geordan Speiller 

87 kg

2018 World Team member – Pat Martinez 

2019 World Team member – Joe Rau 

97 kg

2019 World Team member – G’Angelo Hancock 

130 kg

2017 World Team member – Robby Smith 

2019 World Team member – Adam Coon 

2019 Junior World silver medalist – Cohlton Schultz

All of the names above are qualified for the trials in April; however, they can still enter into any of the tournaments. If they are entered in this weekend and place top five, they will effectively block a spot to the trials.


60kg

The 60kg class starts this weekend off with a bang. There are a lot of potential contenders to place top five and earn a spot on the Olympic Trials in April. There are also two wrestlers that can potentially block spots (Ryan Mango and Sam Jones). We’re about to see all the fun unfold and get us one step closer to our 2020 Olympic Team.

Contenders:

Tyler Graff (TMWC) 

Ryan Mango (WCAP) 

Brady Koontz (TMWC) 

Taylor LaMont (SKWC)

Sam Jones (NYAC) 

David Stepanian (UA) 

Britain Longmire (UA) 

Dalton Roberts (NYAC)

Dalton Duffield (NYAC) 

Travis Rice (NYAC) 

Sean Sesnan (UA) 

Leslie Fuenffinger (WCAP) 

In a wild twist of events, 2019 Freestyle World Team Member and top five finisher, Tyler Graff, has entered the 60kg Greco bracket. It’s not often that veteran senior-level wrestler changes styles, especially in an Olympic year. This tells us a couple of things about Graff; first, he doesn’t believe he would make the Freestyle team at either 57kg or 65kg. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t believe in himself, just that he is more calculated and strategic in his decisions at this point in his career. Secondly, Graff is confident in his Greco skills. For a guy that has built his career in Freestyle, he must feel pretty confident to make the change. It is unknown at this point how he fits into 60kg Greco, but we’re about to find out.

Ryan Mango has also put his name in the hat this weekend. He is already qualified for the trials (being a 2019 World Team Member), but he can get more reps in while also blocking a spot to the trials this weekend. He will be the favorite going in, and that is a valid assumption.

Sam Jones is coming off a hot weekend at the Bill Farrell taking 3rd and punching his ticket to the trials. He looked great going 5-1 with a scoring margin of 38-0 in his five wins. His only loss coming to eventual champ Max Nowry 2-1. While there are other big names and savvy veterans in the bracket this weekend, don’t overlook Jones. He has been red hot lately with no signs of cooling down.

Other guys to keep your eye on are three former U23 World Team Members Brady Koontz, Dalton Duffield, Dalton Roberts (Qualified for Trials), Travis Rice, Junior World Bronze Medalist Taylor LaMont, and 2019 US Open Champ Leslie Fuenffinger. All of these guys are capable of making serious noise in Fort Worth. 

Hewgley’s Predictions:

  1. Ryan Mango
  2. Sam Jones
  3. Leslie Fuenffinger
  4. Travis Rice
  5. Dalton Roberts

67kg

There’s a lot to look forward to at the 67kg Greco US Senior Nationals. While 77kg has looked like the most exciting weight class, 67kg is a close second in terms of competition quality. 

Contenders:

Alejandro Sancho (WCAP) 

Michael Hooker (WCAP)

Xavier Johnson (Marines)

Peyton Omania (NYAC) 

Jamel Johnson (Marines) 

Chris Anderson (Rise Wrestling)

Nolan Baker (NYAC) 

Jessy Williams (NYAC)

Austin Morrow (NYAC) 

Taylor Zippe (Marines) 

Colton Rasche (Marines) 

Benji Peak (SKWC)

Erik Spence (BBWC) 

Joe Warren (NYAC) 

Colin Schubert (NYAC) 

Anthonie Linares (NYAC) 

The weight is packed with a combination of veterans and new blood this weekend. Guys like Nolan Baker and Peyton Omania are bursting onto the scene, while guys like 2006 World Champ Joe Warren are still in the mix. 

Alejandro Sancho will be the favorite on the weekend, being the only guy to beat returning World Team Member, Ellis Coleman, this quad. Sancho has gone 4-5 against Coleman over the past four years, coming up short in many important matches, but is back and looking poised to make a run at an Olympic Team spot. While Coleman has been far and away the best guy for the US, expect a strong push from Sancho this year. I expect to see him in the finals this weekend with relative ease.

Nolan Baker is the guy to watch this weekend. He has looked great recently; taking 3rd place at the loaded Bill Farrell tournament one month ago. He did matchup with Sancho there, losing 12-1, but he has the potential to blow the doors off any match. He could place anywhere from 1st to not placing, but the talent level has many Greco fanatics excited and I expect a strong showing from him.

Some guys that could bust up the bracket are Austin Morrow, Xavier Johnson, Jamel Johnson, Peyton Omania (Qualified for Trials), Michael Hooker, and 2006 World Champ Joe Warren. All possess the ability to place at this tournament. Although I am not predicting him to place, keep an extra eye on Austin Morrow. He is a monster on top, and that could cause some problems for the top guys in the field.

Hewgley’s Predictions:

  1. Alejandro Sancho
  2. Nolan Baker
  3. Jessy Williams
  4. Jamel Johnson
  5. Peyton Omania

77kg

Perhaps the biggest news at 77kg is two-time Olympian (2012, 2016), Ben Provisor, making the drop from 87kg to get in the mix. Although he is not going to be in Fort Worth this weekend, we have to keep in mind that he has now entered the weight as the likely favorite.

Back in April, USA Wrestling released its US Greco Rankings. The field at 77kg this weekend has two #1 ranked guys at their respective weights. Kamal Bey was ranked #1 at 77kg and RaVaughn Perkins #1 at 72kg. We all know things changed after, but still, these two guys are two of the top in Greco right now at 77kg. That, along with many other studs, will make for an exciting bracket.

Contenders:

Kamal Bey (SKWC)  

RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) 

Kendrick Sanders (NYAC) 

Jesse Porter (NYAC) 

Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC) 

Peyton Walsh (Marines)

Brandon Mueller (505WC) 

Tommy Bracket (UA) 

Alex Mossing (AFRTC)

Kamal Bey is coming off a loss in Final X – Rutgers to Pat Smith. If you were to poll Greco fans prior to the match, almost all would have told you it was Bey’s to lose. Unfortunately for Bey, that’s not always how the cookie crumbles. Tough loss, but we all have those in our career. The 2018 World Team Member is already qualified for the Olympic Trials, so the pressure is off. I fully expect to see him look rejuvenated this weekend and on a warpath that could cultivate a 2020 Olympic Team spot.

RaVaughn Perkins (Qualified for Trials) is a guy with the talent to beat Bey. He has battled injuries over this quad but is one of the most talented Greco wrestlers in the US when healthy, period. If he is healthy this weekend, expect to see him and Bey on a collision course that will most certainly end in fireworks.

Another guy that has battled plenty of adversity in his career is Kendrick Sanders. He is, without a doubt, one of the best in the US to never secure a team spot. He came up short again earlier this year at Final X – Rutgers falling in 2 straight matches against 2019 World Team Member John Stefanowicz. Look for him to try to rebound and earn a berth into the 2020 Olympic Trials.

While the weight class is pretty top-heavy, there are still many landmines to be aware of. Guys like Junior World silver medalist Andrew Berreyesa and three-time U23 Team Member Jesse Porter will have something to say about qualifying for the trials as well.

Hewgley’s Predictions:

  1. Kamal Bey
  2. RaVaughn Perkins
  3. Kendrick Sanders
  4. Jesse Porter
  5. Andrew Berreyesa

87kg

Fort Worth is a golden opportunity for all of the wrestlers entered at 87kg this weekend. Most of the top-ranked guys at the weight will not be in the mix this weekend. This, combined with the five spots up for grabs, offers a huge opportunity for wrestlers that might have a hard time qualifying for the trials to get in. Tune in on Flowrestling to see who takes advantage of the opportunity.

Contenders:

Richard Carlson (MS) 

Chandler Rogers (TMWC) 

Carter Nielsen (UA) 

Jon Anderson (WPWC) 

Vaughn Monreal-Berner (Marines) 

Barrett Stanghill (MS) 

Keaton Fanning (UA)

This is going to be a fun couple of days for wrestling fans. There is no exception at the 87kg weight class. The lack of big names makes it even more interesting. Who is the next contender at the weight? We are likely to get some answers this weekend.

No stranger to the spotlight, ex-Cowboy Chandler Rogers will bring the excitement to 87kg this weekend. A two-time All American for Oklahoma State, Rogers has transitioned to Greco quite well. Since diving into Greco full time he has placed 3rd at both the US Open and Bill Farrell, while also taking home gold for the US at the Pan American Championship. Anyone that has watched him wrestle knows his style, big moves. He’s a pinner and I am excited to see his results this weekend in Texas.

Aside from Rogers, there are many other guys at the weight with the ability to bring home the gold this weekend. One of them being 2018 U23 World Team Member, Carter Nielsen. Since competing at the U23 World Championships, Nielsen has been up and down. It all depends on which Nielsen shows up this weekend.

Another guy that has been right on the cusp of making a World Team is Jon Anderson. He has placed 2nd four times and 3rd twice at the World Team Trials in recent years. If there is a guy that has put in the work consistently and needs a break, it’s Anderson. I expect him to qualify this weekend, but how high will he place?

Other guys to watch are Richard Carlson, Vaughn Monreal-Berner, and Barrett Stanghill. All are capable wrestlers. I’m very interested to see how 87kg shakes out in the end.

Hewgley’s Predictions:

  1. Chandler Rogers
  2. Jon Anderson
  3. Richard Carlson
  4. Carter Nielsen
  5. Vaughn Monreal-Berner

97kg

In a weight that has been dominated in recent memory by G’Angelo Hancock, who will assert themselves as a contender? There are plenty of solid wrestlers in the field, but none have stepped up and separated themselves. That could change in Texas.

Contenders:

Eric Twohey (MS) 

Khymba Johnson (NYAC) 

Daniel Miller (Marines) 

Lucas Sheridan (WCAP) 

Roy Nash (UA)

Lucas Sheridan is the most likely to make that step towards an Olympic Team spot. He was a couple of matches away from becoming a member of the 2019 World Team but was beaten by Hancock 8-0 and 5-2. He will be ready to wrestle this weekend. Fort Worth is his first stop on a train that hopefully leads him to Tokyo in 2020.

There are many other worthy competitors in the 97kg bracket this weekend, but Daniel Miller is another one that stands out. Since joining the Marines after college and going Greco full-time, he has taken home many international medals and a 2018 US Open Championship. Keep an eye on the veteran; he is one that will challenge for that top spot on the podium.

Other guys to watch on the weekend are Khymba Johnson, Eric Twohey, and Roy Nash. These are two veterans that will likely end up on the podium as well.

Hewgley’s Predictions:

  1. Lucas Sheridan
  2. Daniel Miller
  3. Eric Twohey
  4. Khymba Johnson
  5. Roy Nash

130kg

In recent times 130kg has been viewed as Adam Coon’s world with everyone else just living in it. A weight that used to be dominated by four-time World Team Member (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017) and Olympian (2016). Along with these two guys, there are some young studs looking to make a push.

Contenders:

Cohlton Schultz (SKWC) 

West Cathcart (NYAC)

Toby Erickson (WCAP) 

Jacob Mitchell (WCAP) 

Cohlton Schultz is the cream of the crop this weekend at 130kg US Senior Nationals. The youngster that faced Coon in Final X – Lincoln is back even hungrier than before. The Cadet World Champion and Junior World Silver Medalist will be separated from the pack quite a bit. While he might have a match or two stay close, he should handle the competition.

Jacob Mitchell is a guy at 130kg that has quietly had good results. I say quietly because he has been overshadowed by the likes of Coon, Smith, and Schultz. However, don’t sleep on the guy that just took second at the Bill Farrell, qualifying for the Olympic Trials in April. Mitchell has the talent and ability to hang with almost anyone. If anyone can, he will be the one to hang with Schultz.

Lastly, keep an eye on Matthew Paeth. Paeth is coming off winning both the Greco and Freestyle 2018 U.S. Open Masters Championships. Since having success in the Masters division, he has decided to try his hand on the Senior circuit. It may end up biting me, but I am predicting him to get 5th and qualify for the trials. It sure would be a feel-good story if that came true. 

Hewgley’s Predictions:

  1. Colton Schultz
  2. Jacob Mitchell
  3. Toby Erickson
  4. West Cathcart
  5. Matthew Paeth

All the ways to qualify for the Olympic Trials

November 2019: U23 World Championshipsall medalists are automatically qualified

November 2019: 2019 Bill Farrell International Open – highest placing wrestler that is not previously qualified

December 2019: US Olympic Trials Qualifier – top 5 placers qualify

January 2020: Dave Schultz Memorial International – highest placing wrestler that is not previously qualified 

February 2020: Pan American Championshipsgold medalist

February 2020: Armed Forces Championships – highest placing wrestler that is not previously qualified

March 2020: Pan American Olympic Qualifier – a top-two finisher will earn an automatic berth in the final wrestle‐off at the corresponding weight

March 2020: NCAA Division I Championshipsthe D1 NCAA champion will earn automatic qualification into the weight of their choice 

April 2020: Final US Olympic Trials Qualifiergold medalist

Sam Herring

I am a 13 year-old wrestling fanatic from Memphis, TN. I love writing and talking about wrestling. I wrestle for Wave Wrestling Club.