MARQUETTE, Mich.—The United States Olympic Education Center’s Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling teams competed at the New York Athletic Club’s Open Holiday International Wrestling Championships Nov. 17-19 in New York City. The athletes brought home eight medals.
Northern Michigan University sophomore Spencer Mango (St. Louis, Mo.) won gold at 55 kilograms. He defeated Jermaine Hodge (U.S. Army), 3-7, 3-0, 4-2, in the championship match. Senior Jacob Curby (LaGrange, Ill.) also took first at 66 kg, outmaneuvering Mike Ellsworth (New York Athletic Club), 3-1, 1-3, 1-1. Rounding out the USOEC’s first-place finishes was senior Jake Fisher (Platte City, Mo.) at 74 kg. He overtook teammate and NMU junior Cheney Haight (Drem, Utah), 4-0, 1-2, 1-1. Haight finished second overall.
Also medaling was junior Joe Betterman (Chicago, Ill.). He beat teammate and NMU junior Chris Iorio (Holbrook, N.Y.), 6-0, 4-1, at 60 kg for bronze. Other USOEC athletes earning bronze included junior Jacob Marquardt (Blair, Neb.), who pinned Dmitry Smolyakov (New York Athletic Club), 6-0, 0:19, at 120 kg; and sophomore Chas Betts (St. Michael, Minn.), who defeated teammate and NMU freshman Jake Plamann (Appleton, Wis.), 2-0, 2-1, at 85 kg. Plamann placed fourth overall.
“All of our guys dominated at this competition. Our guys took at least one-third of the overall top four finishes in each weight class,” said assistant Greco-Roman coach Jim Gruenwald.
Eight other USOEC Greco-Roman wrestlers competed, but fell short of medaling. Among them was sophomore Andy Bisek (Chaska, Minn.), who was one place shy of qualifying for the 74-kg finals. He was defeated by Fisher in the semifinals, 5-0, 1-1, 1-1.
Several team members fought back in consolation rounds. At 60 kg, senior Jake Swenson (Maroni, Utah) overtook Isaac Golubchin (Morgantown, W.Va.), 7-0, 3-0, and junior Kerry Regner (Darlington, Pa.) defeated Jason Cucolo (Atlas Wrestling Club), 3-0, 1-1. Senior Marco Lara (Long Beach, Calif.) fell to Mervin Ford (Miami, Fla.), 4-0, 10-0, and junior Tim Bleau (Ishpeming, Mich.) beat teammate and NMU freshman John Dibala (Silverton, Ore.), 4-0, 1-1, at 66 kg. Freshman Talon Knox (Salt Lake City, Utah) was overtaken by Hideki Goto (Japan), 4-2, 3-1, at 74 kg. Rounding out the USOEC men was freshman Jeff Courtney (Fairmont, W.Va.), who won by disqualification over Sharovisky Bronislav (Israel) at 96 kg.
On the women’s side, freshman Stefenie Shaw (Waterford, Conn.) won silver at 63 kg. She was overtaken by Alaina Berube (New York Athletic Club), 3-0, 5-0, in the championship match. Teammate and NMU graduate student Tina Pihl (Gilford, Conn.) fell short of the podium, placing fourth at 59 kg. She was defeated by Othella Lucas (New York Athletic Club), 4-1, 7-0.
Three USOEC women wrestled their way to the quarterfinals, but were unable to advance. Junior Sadie Kaneda (Honolulu, Hawaii) was outmaneuvered by Mary Kelly (New York Athletic Club), 6-0, 4-0, at 48 kg. Senior Liz Short (Lombard, Ill.) was also stopped at 48 kg. She was overpowered by Clarissa Chun (Sunkist), 4-1, 1-5, 3-1. Senior Amy Borgnini (Terre Haute, Ind.) was also defeated. She lost to Patricia Miranda (Sunkist), 1-0, 5-0, at 55 kg.
Sophomore Dany Hedin (Kailua, Hawaii) was pinned by Patricia Miranda (Sunkist) 53 seconds into the first period in the 55-kg weight class.
“It was a good tournament overall,” said assistant women’s wrestling coach Tony DeAnda. “There was tough competition. The girls are getting better. We’re learning what we need to work on in making improvements.”