MARQUETTE, Mich. – The U.S. Olympic Education Center Greco-Roman wrestling team defeated Team Japan in the Japan vs. USOEC Duals Friday in Vandament Arena at Northern Michigan University. By the end of the evening, the USOEC out-wrestled Japan nine matches to zero.
Ono Mitsuhiko of Oura Maebashi, Japan, opened and closed the competition, wrestling in two different weight classes. He fell to Bo Beckman (Orem, Utah) 2-0 in the 66-kilogram weight class. Later in the competition, he took on Thrasher Porcher of Chuluota, Fla., at 60 kg. The match went a full three periods, but, in the end, Porcher secured the win for the USOEC team 2-1.
The competition was primarily in the Greco-Roman style, but one freestyle match was wrestled at 60kg. Kobayashi Shinya of Oura District, Japan,hit the mat against USOEC women’s freestyle team member Jenna Burkert of Rocky Point, N.Y., as the USOEC doesn’t have a men’s freestyle program. The match became one of the competition’s highlights as Burkert pinned Shinya, winning by technical fall.
“It has been four years since I’ve wrestled a male. I was nervous to begin with, but I was able to settle down,” said Burkert. “I view this as extra help to get ready for the Olympic Trials. I am thankful to the coaches of both teams for letting me wrestle.”
At 55 kg, Max Nowry (Wheeling, Ill.) defeated Kanazawa Seiya (Maebashi, Japan) 2-0 and Paul Tellgren (Anoka, Minn.) beat Ito Yu (Shimabara, Japan) 2-0. In the 60-kg weight class, Dmitry Ryabchinskiy (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was victorious over Masakane Kota (Maebashi, Japan) 2-0. At 74 kg, Josh Castellano (Wood Dale, Ill.) overtook Inada Takashi (Maebashi, Japan) 2-0 and Aaron Briggs (Tuscon, Ariz.) won against Fukuda Tsubasa (Kanra, Japan) 2-0. Toby Erickson (East Helena, Mont.) triumphed over Yoneyama Yoshitugu (Oura District, Japan), earning the victory by technical fall.
The competition served as the conclusion of a week-long visit by the Japanese team. According to Japanese coach Yanagawa Yoshimaro, the team has visited the USOEC annually for the last several years.
“We keep coming back because the training center has a good Greco team and it’s very good practice [for the team],” said Yoshimaro.
Team Japan was originally invited by the USOEC’s former coach Ivan Ivanov and current coach Rob Hermann continued the tradition. Japanese team members will spend a week at a wrestling club in Oshkosh, Wis., prior to returning home.