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Coloradoans in International Competition

27 Sep 2017

By Tom Blair – ICW Staff

With the spring and summer International competition in Freestyle and Greco in the books, let’s look at how our Colorado wrestlers did during these events. Colorado was well represented by not only ten male wrestlers and two female wrestlers but also had two coaches packing their bags and going overseas to take on the world. Between all the Colorado wrestlers entered in the International tournaments the talented group brought home six gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals. A good indicator of how much Colorado wrestling has improved and the strides that have been taken by the wrestlers in the state to get there. Colorado had four wrestlers in the Junior World Championship, four wrestlers in the Maccabiah Games, two wrestlers in the Pan American Games, one in the Cadet World Championship and one in the Medved Internationals.

Angel Rios (Roosevelt HS) was one of six female wrestlers to claim a gold medal at the Pan American Cadet Championship held July 7th – 9th in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Traveling outside of the county for the first time Rios wrestled in the 46 kg / 101 lb weight class. Rios recorded three pins and a tech fall in her run for the gold medal. Her wins came over opponents from Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Ecuador. This 16-year old sophomore is in her 13th year of wrestling, in which she mostly wrestled against boys. So, when she is in an all-girl tournament she dominates her opponents.

Maya Nelson (Denver East HS) became the first American women to win the Junior World Championship since 2010 in the tournament held in Tampere, Finland on August 1st – 6th.  Nelson defeated Yuliana Yaneva (Bulgaria) 6 – 0 in the championship finals in the 63 kg/139 lb weight class to go undefeated with a 4 – 0 record. She defeated wrestlers from China, Canada and Russia in route to the finals.

 Matt and Mitch Finesilver (Cherry Creek HS / Duke University) wrestled in the Maccabiah Games in Israel July 4th – 18th. Representing USA at 74 kg / 163 lbs was Matt Finsilver and at 70 kg / 154 lbs was Mitch Finesilver. The Maccabiah Games are the competition of Jewish athletes from all over the world assemble for this international tournament in both Freestyle and Greco. Matt and Mitch both won gold medals in their weight class for USA, which also had a total of 12 members win gold medals in Freestyle. In the Greco division both Finesilvers wrestled up a weight class with Mitch at 75 kg / 163 lbs placing 4th and Matt at 80 kg / 176 lbs taking bronze in the round robin format.

Bo Schlesser (Franktown, CO) took home a silver in Greco at the 20th Maccabiah Games in Beersheva, Israel. While wrestling in the 66 kg / 145.5 lb weight class in both divisions, Schlesser also came home with a bronze medal in Freestyle.

Moshe Schwartz (Franktown, CO / Wyoming Seminary) wrestled at 57 kg / 125 lbs for Team USA at the Mcccabiah Games. Schwartz is a past USA Wrestling Cadet Triple Crown winner lost in the first round of the Greco division to Andrey Tsaryuk, Israel and was knocked out of the tournament.

Ryan Deakin (Legacy HS / Northwestern University) wrestled in the Junior World Championship in Tampere, Finland August 1st – 6th. Wrestling at 66kg / 145 lbs in the Freestyle division Deakin went 3 – 0 putting him in the finals. His wins were against Oleksandr Rybalko, Ukraine 13 – 0; Temuulen Enkhtuya, Mongolia 7- 6 and Amerhossei Hosserni, Iran 10 – 2. Deakin wrestled David Baev, Russia and lost in the first period 10 – 0 to take a silver medal. The ending was not what Deakin was looking for but taking on the best in the world at this level and coming home with a silver in his first international competition earned him the right to be call one of the best in the world.

Malik Heinselman (Castle View HS) was on Team USA that traveled to the Junior World Championship in Tampere, Finland in August. Heinselman would make his Junior World debut against Horst Lehr, Germany (Junior European Champion) in the 50 kg / 110 lbs weight class in the freestyle division. Heinselman would end up going 1 – 1 and was unable to place but gained valuable international experience against world class competition.

G’Angelo (Tracy) Hancock (Fountain – Ft. Carson HS) was among the team members that traveled to Tampere, Finland for the Junior World Championship in August. Wrestling in the 96 kg / 211 lbs weight class in the Greco division of the tournament. Hancock fell short of medaling and ended up with a 2 – 1 record for the tournament. Hancock would also travel to the Senior World Championship in Paris, France weeks later to compete in the Greco division. He would start the tournament with a win over Fatih Baskoy, Turkey 3 – 0. But the next two matches is where he would be on the losing side and finish with a 1 – 2 record.

Tyler Graff (Loveland HS / Wisconsin University / Southeast RTC) traveled to the Medved International in Minsk, Belarus to represent Team USA in the Freestyle division. He was one of two wrestlers that Team USA had entered in the 57 kg / 125.5 lb weight class which included 17 total entries in this year weight class. Graff went 2 – 2 in the tournament to finish in 5th place, winning his first two rounds and then suffering losses in the semi and in the bronze medal finals. 

Cohlton Schultz (Ponderosa HS) traveled to two international tournaments this summer by representing Team USA in the Junior World Championship in Tampere, Finland on August 1st – 6th; then staying overseas and wrestling in the Cadet World Championship in Athens, Greece; being held in Sept. 4th – 10th. Wrestling in the Greco division of the Junior World, Schultz had a narrow lost in the first round to Artur Vititin, Estonia 4 – 3 at the 120 kg / 264 lbs weight class. He was one of the lightest wrestler in that weight class (20 kg underweight) and took the challenge head on. Although he only wrestled once match, he left Finland with valuable experience and lessons that would help him in the future. Schultz used that knowledge well as he struck gold at the Cadet World Championship at 100 kg / 220 lbs in the Greco division. His win in the finals against Balint Varzi, Hungary 3 – 1, allowed him to become the first Cadet Greco World Champ for USA since 1997.  To get to the finals Schultz beat wrestlers from Mexico, Russia, Iran and ended the tournament with a undefeated 4 – 0 record.

Vance VomBaur (Windsor HS) took home two medals for Team USA at the Schoolboy Pan American Championship held in Santiago, Chile August 17th – 19th.  VomBaur would wrestle at 53 kg / 116 lbs and walked thru his opponents to take home a gold medal in freestyle. He was part of the team that went undefeated in the finals of the freestyle division and swept all 10 gold medals, plus taking the team title with the maximum 100 points. For his efforts and domination of the weight class VomBaur was also named the Outstanding Wrestler in the freestyle division. But he did not stop there as all of Team USA wrestled in the Greco division of the tournament and VomBaur finished in second place to earn a silver medal.

Adeline Gray (Bear Creek HS / 3X World Champion / Olympic Wrestler) coached the School Girl USA team that went to the Pan American Schoolboy / Girls Championship in Satiago, Chile in August. The team placed first with six gold medal wrestlers.

Troy Nickerson (Northern Colorado Head Coach) coached the USA Cadet Freestyle Team at the Cadet World championship in Athens, Greece. He enjoys helping as a volunteer each year with the USA Wrestling teams. The Cadet team members are made high school junior or seniors. The Cadet team finished the tournament with four gold medals, two bronze medals and took home 2nd place in the team title.