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U.S. to seek its first Senior-level Beach gold at 2022 Beach World Series Final in Romania, September 3-4

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Jabari Irons tosses an opponent at the 2022 U.S. Beach Nationals
Jabari Irons tosses an opponent at the 2022 U.S. Beach Nationals. Photo by Robbert Wijtman.

Beach Wrestling was launched as an international style of wrestling in 2007. Since then, the United States has been a regular participant in Senior-level international beach wrestling competitions.

In the 16 years that the USA has participated on the Senior level, it has won 19 different Senior international medals, either at a UWW Beach World Championships, ANOC World Beach Games or a UWW Beach World Series event.

There have been no gold medals.

The breakdown of medals include four silver medals and 15 bronze medals. Six of the medals have been in the Beach World Series events, which began in 2019. One medal came at the inaugural World Beach Games in 2019. The other 13 medals were at the Senior Beach World Championships, held from 2007-2018.

Only two athletes won a pair of Beach medals, pioneers Jeff Funicello (2007 and 2008) and Carlos Dolmo (2007 and 2010), both who competed at the Beach World Championships during their careers. Here are the 17 athletes who have won 19 Beach World medals.

UWW Senior Beach World Series Medals from the USA
(Beach World Series held 2019-present)

Tim Box, Oceanside, Calif. (2019 Silver at 70 kg, Odessa, Spain)
Reece Humphrey, Princeton, N.J. (2019 Bronze at 70 kg, Rio de Janiero, Brazil)
Michael Peters, Quincy, Ill. (2019 Bronze at 70 kg, Zagreb, Croatia)
Laura White, Duanesburg, N.Y. (2022 Bronze at 50 kg, Saint Laurent du Var, France)
Kristal Betanzo, Hillsborough, Calif. (2019 Silver at 50 kg, Zagreb, Croatia)
Diana Betanzo, Hillsborough, Calif. (2019 Silver at 70 kg, Zagreb, Croatia)

ANOC World Beach Games Medals from the USA
(ANOC World Beach Games held 2019-present)

Shauna Kemp, Jamestown, N.D. (2019 Bronze at 60 kg, Doha, Qatar)

UWW Senior Beach World Championships Medals from the USA
(Senior World Championships held 2007-2018)

Jeff Funicello, Mesa, Ariz., 2 medals (2007 Bronze at Under 85 kg, 2008 Bronze at Under 85 kg)
Carlos Dolmo, Bronx, N.Y, 2 medals. (2007 Bronze at Over 85 kg, 2010 bronze at Over 85 kg)
Donovan DePatto, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (2011 Silver at 70 kg)
Jeff Jacobs, Belmar, N.J. (2016 Bronze at 80 kg)
Ike Okoli, Rome, Ga. (2014 bronze at Over 90 kg)
Ray Downey, Babylon, N.Y. (2006 bronze at Under 85 kg)
Angelo Borzio, Stroudsburg, Pa. (2006 bronze, Over 85 kg)
Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo. (2006 bronze at Under 70 kg)
Bethany Harris, Valley Center, Calif. (2007 Bronze at Under 70 kg)
Tanya Miyasaki, Kaneohe, Hawaii (2007 Bronze at Under 70 kg)

Will the USA break this streak of no Senior champions? The largest U.S. Beach World Series delegation will attempt to do just that at the Beach World Series Final in Constanta, Romania, September 3-4.

There are five U.S. athletes who are registered for the Beach World Series Final in Constanta who are currently in the UWW Beach World Series Rankings: Jamal Morris (No. 10 at 80 kg), Mitchell Cook (No. 11 at 50 kg), Laura White (No. 12 at 50 kg), Mia Macaluso (No. 14 at 60 kg) and Maren Anderson (No. 17 at Over 70 kg). The Beach World Series Final receives additional weight in the Beach World Series ranking system.

Morris has not competed in a Beach World Series event this year, but placed seventh at the 2021 Beach World Series Final. Morris, who competed at NC State in college, has won a medal at the last two U.S. Beach National Championships. He is the only member of the 2021 U.S. Beach World Series Final team to compete again this year.

Cook has been the most active U.S. wrestler at the Beach World Series, wrestling in three previous stops on the tour in Spain, France and Greece. Of the U.S. team members, he will be the most battle tested.

Laura White, who competes at 50 kg, is the only Beach World Series Final team member who has won an international medal, claiming a bronze medal in Saint Laurent du Var, France earlier this year. Three of the women athletes have competed on previous stops on the Beach World Series, with Mia Macaluso (60 kg) and Erin Kremer (Over 70 kg) also having competed in Europe this summer. Macaluso, who was fourth for East Stroudsburg University as a freshman at the NCWWC (NCAA) Nationals this year, placed fifth and seventh in her two World Series stops (Greece and France respectively).

The 2022 Senior Beach World Team includes 13 athletes, seven women and six men. Among the team members are 2022 U.S. Senior Beach National men’s champions Jabari Irons (90 kg) and Mark Bonilla (Over 90 kg), plus women’s champions Laura White (50 kg), Mia Macaluso (60 kg) and Isabeau Shalack (Over 70 kg). Jamal Morris (80 kg) was a 2021 U.S. Senior Beach Nationals champion.

Shalack competes for Colorado Mesa University, Bonilla wrestles for Life University, Irons wrestled at Brewton-Parker.

Bella Hoffman, who like Macaluso will also be competing in the U20 Beach World Championships on Friday, was eighth in the 2021 U17 Beach World Championships, the only athlete from last year’s age-group World Team to move up to the Seniors this year.

With 13 Senior wrestlers in the sand this weekend in Romania, including a number with Beach Wrestling experience, and others with college wrestling backgrounds, Team USA is hoping to break through with its first Senior Beach international gold medal.

Action will be broadcast live on FloWrestling. Constanta is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone.

At Constanta, Romania, September 3-4

U.S. Senior women
50 kg – Laura White, Duanesburg, N.Y. (Curby 3 Style WC)
60 kg – Mia Macaluso, Otisville, N.Y.
60 kg – Bella Hoffman, Tega Cay, S.C. (Fort Mill High School)
60 kg – Josephine Wearmouth, St. Charles, Iowa
Over 70 kg – Isabeau Shalack, Oak Lawn, Ill. (Evergreen Park Stallions WC)
Over 70 kg – Maren Anderson, Tinley Park, Ill. (Natural Athlete WC)
Over 70 kg – Erin Kremer, Covington, Wash. (Bombers WC)

U.S. Senior men
70 kg – Mitchell Cook, Orland Park, Ill. (Natural Athlete WC)
70 kg – Mike Clark. Louisville, Ky. (Cardinal WC)
80 kg – Jamal Morris, Miami, Fla. (Cardinal Gibbons High School)
80 kg – Ty Loethen, Columbia, Mo. (Purler Wrestling Academy)
90 kg – Jabari Irons, Fort Myers, Fla. (Irons Elite Wrestling)
Over 90 kg – Mark Bonilla, Marietta, Ga. (Victory Wrestling)

Age-Group Worlds Team Leader – Rusty Davidson, Grants, N.M.
Senior World Series Team Leader – Ed Duncan, Spruce Pine, N.C.
Coach – Britney Carrington, Dayton, Ohio
Coach – Steve Baynard, Naples, N.C.
Coach – Cheryl Baynard, Naples, N.C.
Referee – Jay Watkins, Temecula, Calif.

Complete Event Schedule
seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone

Saturday, September 3
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Beach World Series Group Rounds
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Beach World Series Group Rounds

Sunday, September 4
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Beach World Series Group Rounds
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Beach World Series Elimination Rounds and Finals
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