Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! November 13, 2018

By Eric Olanowski

Reviewing Tuesday's U23 Greco-Roman finals and Olympic champion Ramonov's recent back surgery. Also looking at the American Wrestling League's matchups and the final point-base rankings of the year. 

1. Cartaraga and Pataridze Return to U23 World Finals in #BuchaWrestU23
The first day of the 2018 U23 World Championships have come to a close, but not before two wrestlers earned their second-consecutive U23 World finals bids.

2017 U23 World champion at 71 kg Daniel CARTARAGA (MDA) made his second-straight U23 World finals, this time at 77 kg, pinning 2018 Junior World silver medalist and 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Sajan SAJAN (IND) in the first period.

In the finals, Cartaraga will meet 2018 U23 European champion Rajbek BISULTANOV (DEN), who knocked off reigning U23 World champion Fatih CENGIZ (TUR) with a 4-1 decision.

Also advancing to his second U23 World finals was Zviadi PATARIDZE (GEO), who is a five-time age-group World champion, winning three Junior World titles and two Cadet World titles.

To earn a spot in the finals, the Georgian finished off 2017 U23 World bronze medalist Konsta MAEENPAEAE (FIN) with an 8-0 technical fall in 56 seconds.

Pataridze looks to improve on his silver-medal finish from last year. To do so, he will have to go through 2016 Junior World silver medalist and two-time Junior World bronze medalist Osman YILDIRIM (TUR) in the 130 kg finals.

The Greco-Roman finals begin on Tuesday at 18:00 local time.

Click HERE to see all Greco-Roman finals matchups. 

Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) carries his regional flag along with the Russian flag after winning the 2016 Rio gold medal. (Photo by Gabor Martin) 

2. Olympic Champion Ramonov Undergoes Back Surgery 
Rio Olympic champion Soslan RAMONOV (RUS) is expected to miss three to six months after undergoing spinal surgery to correct a back issue that has long troubled him. Ramonov said, “It’s true that I had an operation on my back last week, but I’ve already got back to work and started physical therapy.”

The timing of the surgery could not have come at a worse time for the two-time world medalist, as it’ll sideline him for two of Russia’s most significant tournaments, the 2018 Alans and next January’s Ivan Yarygin. 

“I expect to return to the mat in January, and hopefully enter a tournament at 65kg closer to the fall.” 

This statement should raise eyebrows of wrestling fans because Ramonov was arguably the most dominant wrestler in the world during his run to the 65kg Rio Olympic gold medal. After that win, he bumped up to 70kg and failed to make it back on the Russian world team in back-to-back years after earning medals at three consecutive medals at the World Championships and Olympic Games. 

David Taylor carries the American flag around the mat after winning the 2018 world championship.(Photo by Gabor Martin) 

3. Starting Line-ups announced for November 30 American Wrestling League 
Reigning world champions Kyle DAKE (USA) and David TAYLOR (USA) drafted their teams two weeks for the inaugural “American Wrestling League I The Beginning,” and this weekend, the pair of gold-medal winners finalized their rosters for the event that will take place on for November 30 at U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

The premier bout of the ten match card comes at 65kg where Jordan OLIVER (USA) will meet Zain RETHERFORD (USA). Team Dake’s Oliver is coming back from a year-long suspension, while Team Taylor’s Retherford returns after sitting out the 2017 season. 

This will not be the last time these two meet, as they are expected to both compete for the 2019 world team spot at 65kg. 

Each of the starters from Team Dake and Team Taylor will pick up $2,500 to show, and $5,000 to win. Fans can follow all of the AWL action live on trackwrestling.com on November 30.

AWL I Matchups
Team Dake vs. Team Taylor 
57kg - Frank PERRELLI vs. Nico MEGALUDIS 
61kg - Tony RAMOS vs. Cory CLARK 
65kg - Jordan OLIVER vs. Zain RETHERFORD 
70kg - James GREEN vs. Brandon SORENSEN 
74kg - Richie LEWIS vs. Tommy GANTT 
79kg - Isaiah MARTINEZ vs. Alex DIERINGER 
86kg - Nick HEFLIN vs. Sam BROOKS 
92kg - Deron WINN vs. Mike MACCHIAVELLO 
97kg - Jacob KASPER vs. Kyven GADSON 
125kg - Dom BRADLEY vs. Adam COON 

RONG Ningning (CHN), this year's 57kg world champion is entered at 59kg. (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne) 

4. Women’s Wrestling at the U23 World Championships Begins Tomorrow 
Greco-Roman wrestling at the U23 World Championships is wrapping up and women’s wrestling is next in line to shine at the Polyvalent Hall in Bucharest, Romania. 

Highlighting the women’s wrestling field is Yukako KAWAI (JPN), RONG Ningning (CHN), and Khanum VELIEVA (RUS). 

Rong, who will be up 2kg from her world championship weight of 57kg, will try to cap off 2018 with another world title. Last month, Rong grabbed the senior-level gold medal, adding to her impressive twelve-month run where she reached the top of the podium at the Asian Championships, China Open, Ivan Yarygin, and Poland Open. 

Another 2018 world champion that’ll be competing this week is Russia’s junior world champion Khanum Valieva. Two months ago, Valieva captured her fourth age-level when she won her second straight junior world gold medal at the 2018 Junior World Championships in Trnava, Slovakia. 

Though she fell short in the 2018 senior-level gold-medal bout, Japan’s Kawai is fresh off a second-place finish at the senior-level World Championship two weeks ago in Budapest, Hungary. In the finals, Kawai lost to Bulgaria's Taybe YUSEIN (BUL), 6-2 in the 62kg gold-medal bout, improving on her 2017 eighth-place finish.

Click here for the full schedule.

 Bajrang BAJRANG (IND) fist-pumps after making it to the gold medal bout of the 2018 World Championships. (Photo by Max Rose-Fyne) 

5. Post World Championship Rankings Published 
The final point-base rankings of the 2018 calendar year are posted on www.unitedworldwrestling.org. 

In freestyle, eight different nations finished the year with a top-ranked wrestler, as Russia led the way with a trio of No. 1 ranked guys. Of the ten wrestlers who own a freestyle top ranking, Zavur UGUEV (RUS) is the only one who claimed a gold medal at the 2018 World Championships. 

In Greco-Roman, seven different nations have a wrestler ranked in the top position to end the season. Hungary is the front-runner, having three wrestlers in the first spot. The two Greco-Roman world champions that end the season as the top-ranked wrestler are Sergey EMELIN (RUS) and Artem SURKOV (RUS). 

Ukraine and Turkey lead the way in women's wrestling with a pair of wrestlers sitting atop of the final rankings. Of the ten world champions, only Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR), Petra OLLI (FIN) and Ningning RONG (CHN) end the year in the top spot of the final 2018 point-base rankings. 

Freestyle
57kg - Zavur UGUEV (RUS)
61kg - Gadzhimurad RASHIDOV (RUS)
65kg - Bajrang BAJRANG (IND)
70kg - Andriy KVYATKOVSKYY (UKR)
74kg - Frank CHAMIZO MARQUEZ (ITA)
79kg - Akhmed GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (RUS)
86kg - Fatih ERDIN (TUR) 
92kg - Alireza KARIMIMACHIANI (IRI) 
97kg - Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO) 
125kg - Nicholas Edward GWIAZDOWSKI (USA)

Greco-Roman 
55kg - Ekrem OZTURK (TUR)
60kg - Sergey EMELIN (RUS) 
63kg - Elmurat TASMURADOV (UZB) 
67kg - Artem SURKOV (RUS) 
72kg - Balint KORPASI (HUN) 
77kg - Tamas Lörincz (HUN) 
82kg - Viktar SASUNOUSKI (BLR) 
87kg - Islam ABBASOV (AZE) 
97kg - Balazs KISS (HUN) 
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) 

Women's Wrestling 
50kg -  Mariya STADNIK (AZE) 
53kg - Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) 
55kg - Zalina SIDAKOVA (BLR) 
57kg - Ningning RONG (CHN) 
59kg - Elif YESILIRMAK (TUR) 
62kg - Yuliia TKACH OSTAPCHUK (UKR) 
65kg - Petra OLLI (FIN) 
68kg - Alla CHERKASOVA (UKR) 
72kg - Nasanburmaa OCHIRBAT (MGL) 
76kg - Yasemin ADAR (TUR) 

Weekly FIVE! In Social Media 

1. Mihut (ROU) is an arm throw wizard 🤼‍♂️. #unitedworldwrestling #uww #wrestling
2. Who do you think wins the race? Comment👇1, 2, 3 or 4!
3. Highlights from the Greco-Roman qualification round at #buchawrest2018
4. You’re rubbing off on the kids, @aligaraii!
5. Kozliuk (UKR) makes his way to the next round 🇺🇦 🤼‍♂️ . #wrestling #uww #unitedworldwrestling

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Who do you think wins the race? Comment👇1, 2, 3 or 4!

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You’re rubbing off on the kids, @aligaraii!

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Weekly FIVE!

Weekly FIVE! March 17, 2020

By Eric Olanowski

Discussing Valencia Escoto and Destribats' historic performances at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifiers. Also looking at Cuba's GR team qualifying every weight for #Tokyo2020 and Olympic champs Maroulis and Wiebe qualifying their nation's for the Tokyo Games.

1. Valencia Escoto First Mexican Woman to Qualify for Olympic Games
Alma Jane VALENCIA ESCOTO (MEX) became the first-ever Mexican women's wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games after winning the 57kg gold medal at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. She won all four of her bouts in Ottawa – including a win by fall over world champion Linda MORAIS (CAN) and a victory via forfeit over Helen MAROULIS (USA).

Valencia Escoto opened her day up with a pair of decisive wins over Betzabeth SARCO COLMENAREZ (VEN) and Nes RODRIGUEZ TIRADO (PUR), which inserted her into the semifinals against Canada's reigning world champion, Linda Morais. 

In her semifinals meeting with the current 59kg world-title holder, Valencia Escoto stopped an early open double-leg attempt with a counter-offensive throw. She snuck in an underhook on the Canadian's right side during her shot attempt and tossed her to her back for the early 4-0 lead. 

Valencia Escoto's opponenet fought off her back and nearly scored a takedown of a slide by attempt. Still, somehow, the newly-minted Olympian had the world champion fighting off her back for the second time in the opening period. 

The tides turned quickly, and Valencia Escoto was the one fighting off her back. She got saved by the period-ending whistle and carried the 6-2 lead into the closing period.

In the final period, Valencia Escoto halted a left side high crotch attempt and flattened Morais for the fall – becoming the first-ever Mexican women to wrestle at the Olympic Games.

Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) finished in second place at 65kg at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier and qualified Argentina for the Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

2. Destribats Ends 24-year Argentinean Freestyle Olympic Drought
Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) ended a 24-year Argentinean freestyle Olympic drought and qualified his nation for the Tokyo Olympics after he pinned American Zain RETHERFORD (USA) in the 65kg semifinals. With his semifinal victory via fall, Destribats became the first Argentinean freestyle wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games since Paulo IBIRE (ARG) did so at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

In his meeting with the Retherford, Destribats conceded an open double leg and nearly gave up an ankle lace but was able to fend off the turn and catch the American on his back. He held Retherford on his back for 25 seconds before picking up the opening period fall to secure his spot at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Helen MAROULIS (USA) qualified the United States for the Olympic Games at 57kg with her silver-medal finish at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. (Photo: Tony Rotundo)

3. Olympic Champs Maroulis and Wiebe Qualify Nation's for Olympic Games 
Olympic champions Helen MAROULIS (USA) and Erica WIEBE (CAN) qualified their nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing in the top-two of their respective weights at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier. The pair remained on course to defend their gold medals from the Rio Olympic Games. 

Maroulis, who was wrestling in her first international competition since the 2018 World Championships, won four matches before injury defaulting out of the finals after locking up the United States' spot at 57kg for the Olympics.

In her first match, Maroulis easily handled Canada's Linda Morias, 10-2, in the battle of Olympic champion and world champion. 

Maroulis defeated Giullia RODRIGUES (BRA) and Lissette ANTES (ECU) in the next two rounds and was one win away from earning a second berth to the Olympic Games for the United States. 

In the semifinals, Maroulis crushed Nes RODRIGUEZ (PUR), 10-0, and qualified the Stars and Stripes for the Olympic Games at 57kg. 

She'll now have to win the Olympic Trials to become the United States' Olympic representative at 57kg.

Canada's Erica Wiebe was the second Olympic champion who qualified for the Olympic Games over the weekend. Wiebe, who was wrestling in her hometown of Ottawa, won the 76kg bracket and locked up her shot at repeating as Olympic champion. 

She opened up her day with a narrow 2-1 win over Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA). She tacked on dominant wins over Milaimys de la Caridad MARIN POTRILLE (CUB) and Andrimar LAZARO (VEN), setting up a semifinals match with Genesis REASCO (ECU).

Wiebe shutout Reasco Valdez, 6-0, in their semifinals meeting and earned her berth to the Olympic Games. She injury defaulted out of the gold-medal match against Aline Da Silva Ferreira and finished with a silver medal.

Wiebe won the Canadian Wrestling Trails in December and will represent Canada at 76kg at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) is one of six Cuban Greco-Roman wrestlers who will wrestle at the Tokyo Olympic Games. (Photo: Tony Rotundo) 

4. Cuba Sending All Six GR Wrestlers to Olympics 
Cuba’s Greco-Roman team came into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier searching for four qualification spots after earning two Olympic berths from the Nur-Sultan World Championships from Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB). Over the weekend, they had three wrestlers win gold medals and one individual finish in second place at the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier – which took their qualification total to all six weight categories. 

Their three champions were Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB), Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) and Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB), while Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) finished in second place.

In addition to their Greco-Roman success, Cuba's women's wrestling team also shined in Ottawa. 

Coming into the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier, Katherine VIDIAUX (CUB) was the lone Cuban woman who ever wrestled at the Olympic Games. She'll now be joined in the history books by Lianna MONTERO (CUB) and Yusneylis GUZMAN (CUB), who won gold medals at 50kg and 53kg, respectively, and qualified for the Olympic Games. 

Greco-Roman Qualifying Weights/Athletes
60kg - Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold 
67kg - Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) – World Championships gold 
77kg - Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
87kg - Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier silver
97kg - Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) – Pan-Am OG Qualifier gold
130kg - Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB) World Championships silver

5. European, World 'Last Chance' Olympic Qualifiers Postponed
The European Qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled for March 19-22 in Budapest, along with the World "Last Chance" Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for April 30-May 3, have been postponed.

The events will be rescheduled, with the European Qualifier expected to take place in mid-May and the World "Last Chance" Qualifier held at the beginning of June.

"We are closely monitoring the governmental response to COVID-19 and will continue to provide updates to our wrestlers, coaches, and fans with more information as it becomes available," said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic.

"The process for determining our Olympic participants will happen on the field of play, but we need to remain patient and vigilant as the worldwide community battles this pandemic. The health and well-being of the athletes is an absolute priority."