OSLO, Norway – The Greco-Roman team from the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan Univ. entered the Kolbotn Cup, a challenging age-group international event held Oct. 29-30.
The team won six medals, competing in two different divisions, the Junior division and the 18 and Under division. Athletes from a number of competitive European nations were entered in each weight class.
“Overall, we had a great tournament with a lot of competitive wrestling,” said USOEC Assistant Greco-Roman Coach Willie Madison. “Even with the awesome results, we have a lot of room for improvement. This is a perfect tournament for the guys to gauge themselves against some very tough European wrestlers in their age division.”
In the Junior division, Jacob Mitchell (Portland, Ore.) won a gold medal at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. He won all three bouts in a four-athlete round-robin. A key victory came over his teammate Scott Helton (Elmhurst, Ill.), who finished with a 2-1 record and captured the silver medal.
Joining Helton as a silver medalist in the Junior division was Mark Stenberg (Lockport, Ill.) at 84 kg/185 lbs., who was defeated by Rasmus Tjorstad of Norway in the gold-medal finals. Stenberg won two matches in his pool to qualify for the finals.
Mitchell is a sophomore studying zoology, Helton is a sophomore studying physical education and coaching, and Stenberg is a sophomore studying industrial technology.
The USOEC was named best club in the Junior division.
The United States captured two silver medals in the 18 and under division, from Aaron Runzo (Virginia Beach, Va.) at 58 kg/127.75 lbs. and Marcus Finau (Oahu, Hawaii) at 85 kg/187.25 lbs.
Runzo was beaten by Dawid Tejchman of Poland in the finals, and Finau lost to Ronni Volthers of Denmark in the gold-medal finals.
Both wrestlers won four straight matches in their pool in order to qualify for their medal matches. Runzo’s key victory to win his pool came against Isak Selder of Sweden. Finau had to defeat Ryszard Mazur of Poland in order to win his pool.
Capturing a bronze medal at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. was Alan Alvarez (Miami, Fla.), who completed the tournament with a 3-1 record.
Runzo is a freshman studying sports science. Finau is a freshman studying pre-medicine. Alvarez is a freshman studying pre-chiropractic.
Four other USOEC athletes placed in the top six of their divisions. Placing fourth were Corey Hope (Carol Stream, Ill.) at Junior 74 kg/163 lbs. and Caleb Smith (Patoka, Ind.) at 18 and Under 76 kg/167.5 lbs. Joey Denova (Fortson, Ga.) was fifth at 18 and Under 58 kg/127.75 lbs., while Thrasher Porcher (Winter Springs, Fla.) was sixth at Junior 66 kg/145.5 lbs.
“I was very impressed with what I have seen in all of the incoming freshmen.” said Willie Madison. “Travelling overseas is not always an ideal situation and for being newcomers they handled themselves like professionals.”