Six Senior National Greco-Roman champions crowned, all qualifying for Pan American Olympic Qualifier

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Kamal Bey celebrates his Senior Nationals title at 77 kg. (Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors)

FORT WORTH, Texas – USA Wrestling held its Senior Nationals finals in the six Olympic Greco-Roman weight classes on Saturday night, and the action was outstanding.

The 2023 Senior Nationals is the qualifying event for the U.S. Greco-Roman team that will compete in the 2024 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico, February 28-March 1.

Under the qualifying procedures for the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier Team, any 2023 Senior World Team member who also won a medal at the 2023 Pan American Games were allowed to sit out until the Senior Nationals finals.

Those earning the sit out were Ildar Hafizov (60 kg), Kamal Bey (77 kg) and Cohlton Schultz (130 kg), all who won Senior National titles tonight and will compete in Mexico.

In a battle of past World Team members, Bey scored a sudden pin in 50 seconds over Benji Peak. Bey was put down for passivity, and when Peak tried to turn him, Bey stepped over and secured the sudden pin.

Schultz defeated long-time rival Adam Coon, 4-1 in the finals. Schultz scored a quick takedown and added a step out and a passivity point against Coon to lead 4-0. The only points scored in the second was a passivity against Schultz.

Hafizov did not even have to compete to win the title, as finals opponent Hayden Tuma did not compete due to an injury default. Hafizov, who won a gold at the Pan American Games, will get the right to return to try to qualify his weight class for the Olympics.

Also winning titles to advance to the Pan American Olympic Qualifier were 2020 Olympian Alejandro Sancho at 67 kg, Spencer Woods at 87 kg and Alan Vera at 97 kg.

In a battle of past World Team members, Sancho had an amazing comeback to edge Peyton Omania, 7-6. Omania hit a four-pointer early and led 5-0 at the break. Omania extended the lead to 6-0. Sancho nailed a four pointer, got a caution and two to tie it at 6-6. A failed Omania challenge made it 7-6.

Woods won a chippy 11-3 technical fall over Mahmoud Sebie, the Egyptian Olympian competing in his first major event as a U.S. team member. Sebie led 3-0, but Woods tied it at 3-3 at the break. Woods scored a second period takedown, and Sebie was hit with a pair of cautions with penalty points to give Woods the technical fall.

Another battle of past World Team members happened at 97 kg, where Alan Vera stopped Joe Rau, 12-5. Rau had a four-point throw early and led 5-1 at the break. Vera rallied with a four-point throw, two gut wrenches and a caution and two to blow the match open. Vera just recently moved up to 97 kg from 86 kg.

The top five finishers in each weight class have earned a berth in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Wrestling at Penn State, April 19-20.


At Fort Worth, Texas, December 15

Greco-Roman results

60 kg

1st - Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP) inj. dft. Hayden Tuma (New York Athletic Club), 0:00

3rd – Max Black (NMU-National Training Center)

4th – Dylan Gregerson (New York Athletic Club) inj. dft. Taylor LaMont (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) 0:00

6th – Randon Miranda (Greco-Roman National Team) and Sammy Jones (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) double forfeit

8th – Dylan Koontz (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) inj. dft. Brady Koontz (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC), 0:00

67 kg

1st - Alejandro Sancho (Army WCAP) dec. Peyton Omania (Michigan), 7-6

3rd – Robert Perez III (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) inj. dft. David Stepanian (New York Athletic Club) 0:00

5th – Patrick Smith (New York Athletic Club) dec. Duncan Nelson (Illinois), 6-3

7th – Xavier Johnson (Army WCAP) and Justus Scott (Army WCAP), double forfeit

77 kg

1st – Kamal Bey (Army WCAP) pin Benjamin Peak (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club), 0:50

3rd – Payton Jacobson (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)

4th – Danny Braunagel (Illinois RTC/Illini WC) inj. dft. Aliaksandr Kikiniou (California) 0:00

6th – Aydin Rix McElhinney (Northern Colorado Wrestling Club) inj. dft. RaVaughn Perkins (New York Athletic Club). 0:00

8th – Tyler Eischens (Tar Heel Wrestling Club) forfeit Riley Briggs (NMU-National Training Center)

87 kg

1st - Spencer Woods (Army (WCAP) tech fall Mahmoud Sebie (Florida), 11-3

3rd – Richard Carlson (Minnesota Storm) dec. Zachary Braunagel (Illinois RTC/Illini WC), 8-5

5th – Terrence Zaleski (Marines) forfeit John Stefanowicz (Navy Wrestling Club)

7th – Tommy Brackett (New York Athletic Club) dec. Andrew Berreyesa (New York Athletic Club), 3-2

97 kg

1st - Alan Vera (New York Athletic Club) dec. Josef Rau (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 12-5

3rd – David Tate Orndorff (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) forfeit Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)

5th – Michael Altomer (Curby 3 Style Wrestling Club) dec. Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm), 13-10

7th – Orry Elor (New York Athletic Club) dec. MacAron Kukowski (Minnesota Storm), 5-2

130 kg –

1st - Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Adam Coon (Cliff Keen Wrestling Club), 4-1

3rd – Courtney Freeman (Marines)

4th – Aden Attao (Beaver Dam Wrestling Regional Training Center) dec. Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm), 6-3

6th – Michael Rogers (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) forfeit West Cathcart (New York Athletic Club)

8th –  Kaleb Reeves (Big Game Wrestling Club) inj. dft. Donovan King (Olivet Wrestling Club)