Monday, March 7, 2016

Holm qualifies USA at 85 kg with semifinal win at Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Texas

Jordan Holm of the USA battles Yorgen Cova of Venezuela in the Greco-Roman 85 kg semifinals at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors

FRISCO, Texas – Three-time U.S. World Team member Jordan Holm (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) earned a spot in the championship finals, earning Olympic qualification for the nation at 85 kg/187 lbs, during the morning session of the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier at the Dr Pepper Arena.

The top two wrestlers in each of the six Olympic weight classes contested have qualified their nation for the Olympic Games.

Holm was not scored upon in his two strong wins. He opened with a dominant 8-0 technical fall over Alexander Brown Thieriault of Canada. An early Holm takedown on a counter was followed with a pair of two-point gutwrench. Holm did an arm drag to a takedown to secure the first-period technical fall.

In the quarterfinals, Holm battled Yorgen Cova Pulido of Venezuela. Holm controlled the ties a majority of the match. When Cova was put down in par terre in the first period after a passivity call, Holm was able to score a two-point gutwrench. He added another point in the second period.when Cova was penalized with a caution and one point for passivity.

“I felt I wrestled OK; I could do a little better. Hopefully I’ll open up a little more in the final. To somebody who knows what they’re looking at, I think that they saw that I was comfortable throughout the match. I had a game plan and I followed through. I would like to have scored a little more but wasn’t worried about it. I needed the win and a win is a win no matter what,” said Holm.

Holm has competed on the last three U.S. World Team, and felt it was his job to get the weight qualified for the country.

“Making the decision to come back and wrestle in 2012, my expectation nothing less than what I’ve been able to do so far this quad so I’m very thankful for that. It doesn’t really matter how many people believe in me. It’s up to me to believe in myself. I’m really thankful to have my family here cheering me on. Really it’s just my job to get it done. I appreciate the people that do have faith in me and I’m motivated by those who don’t.” said Holm.

“Jordan is a great competitor, we know that. He’s been on three world teams. He’s a tough competitor; he came out there and did what he had to do. Bottom line, that’s what we came out here to do is qualify weights and Jordan got it done,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Matt Lindland.

The USA entered three other athletes in the competition who were unable to reach the championship finals.

2014 U.S. World Team member Joe Rau (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) was headlocked and pinned at the 1:35 mark of the first period of his semifinal match at 98 kg/213 lbs. by Cuba’s Yasmany Lugo Cabrera of Cuba.

He opened with a solid 6-0 win over Pan American Games silver medalist Kevin Mejia Castillo of Honduras. Rau scored a first-period takedown followed by a gut wrench, then had a pair of pushouts for the win.

Rau, a Div. III national champion for Elmhurst College, made his U.S. World Team at 80 kg/176 lbs. Rau moved up to 98 kg/215 lbs. this year with much success, including a 2016 U.S. Open title and a silver medal in Croatia.

At 59 kg/130 lbs. is 2008 Olympian Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) was defeated in the quarterfinals by Canada’s Steven Takahashi, 13-15 in a wide-open match. In the bout, Takahashi hit three four-point moves in the bout, including a takedown for four with just a few seconds left on the clock. Hafizov had a 13-8 lead early in the second period after a four-point throw, but Takahashi scored the last six points of the bout for the victory. Hafizov was eliminated when Takahashi lost in the semifinals.

In his first match, Hafizov defeated Ali Soto Mejias of Mexico, 9-2. Soto led 2-0 at the break on a takedown, but Hafizov turned it around in the second period with a takedown and a four-point throw to take a 6-2 lead which he added to later in the period.

Hafizov competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics for his native Uzbekistan. He received his U.S. citizenship this season and won the 2016 U.S. Open in Las Vegas.

RaVaughn Perkins (Omaha, Neb./New York AC) was defeated in his opening bout at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., falling by a 0-9 technical fall to Jair Cuero Munoz of Colombia. Cuero scored a takedown, a four-point throw and another turn for two points. The USA challenged the final turn, but it was denied, giving Cuero his final point. Perkins was not eligible for repechage after Cuero lost his next match to Miguel Martinez Palacio of Cuba.

“It was a tough day. In those matches, we just didn’t show up to wrestle. Ildar was winning and he let the gas off and let that guy back in the match. Joe Rau went out there and got caught in a head lock. It was real bad for RaVaughan this morning. He was dealing with a loss of a friend, so he had some emotional issues he was working through. We weren’t aggressive. That’s not how we wrestle as a team. We weren’t keeping the pressure on the guys,” said Lindland.

The United States has now qualified three of the six Greco-Roman weight classes for the Rio Olympic Games. The USA had already qualified at 75 kg/165 lbs. and 98 kg/215 lbs. after Andy Bisek won a bronze medal and Robby Smith placed fifth at the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev.

The U.S. will have three more weight classes left to qualify (59kg, 66 kg, 98 kg). First, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be held in Iowa City, Iowa, April 9-10. Then, the USA will have to more chances to qualify those four weight classes, in Ulaanbaattar, Mongolia, April 22-24 and in Istanbul, Turkey, May 6-8.

“The athletes need to prepare themselves for the trials to the best of their ability. Then two weeks later, we recover from the trials and head overseas. If we’re not ready by then it’s going to be tough. I don’t know what else we can do other than go over there and wrestle and get the job done,” said

Over the course of the three-day event, the USA qualified four more weight classes for the Olympic Games, one in women’s freestyle, two in men’s freestyle and one in Greco-Roman. Team USA came into the tournament with five weights qualified. Currently, the USA has nine weight classes qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, and still needs to qualify nine weight classes through the two last two qualifying events.

At Frisco, Texas, March 6, 2016

Greco-Roman medal match pairings

59 kilos/130 lbs.
Gold medal – Raiber Rodriguez Orozco (Venezuela) vs. Andres Montano Arroyo (Ecuador)
Bronze medal – Jose Magallanes Durand (Peru) vs. Jancel Pimentel Gonzalez (Dominican Republic)
Bronze medal – Steven Takahashi (Canada) vs. Diego Robeiro Romanelli (Brazil)

66 kilos/145.5 lbs.
Gold medal – Miguel Martinez Palacio (Cuba) vs. Wuileixis Rivas Espinoza (Venezuela)
Bronze medal – David Choc Huoc (Guatemala) vs. Jose Sanchez Betancourt (Ecuador)
Bronze medal – Jefrin Mejia Sambula (Honduras) vs. Jair Cuero Munoz (Colombia)

75 kilos/165 lbs.
Gold medal – Carlos Munoz Jaramillo (Colombia) vs. Yurisandy Hernandez Rios (Cuba)
Bronze medal – Maximillano Prudenzano (Argentina) vs. Renzo Garcia Mendoza (Peru)
Bronze medal – Angelo Marques Moreira (Brazil) vs. Juan Escobar (Mexico)

85 kilos/187 lbs.
Gold medal – Jordan Holm (USA) vs. Alfonso Leyva Yepez (Mexico)
Bronze medal – Yorgen Cova Pulido (Venezuela) vs. Alexander Theriault (Canada)
Bronze medal – Ronisson Brandao Santiago (Brazil) vs. Cristian Mosquera Mosquera (Colombia)

98 kilos/216 lbs.
Gold medal – Yasmany Lugo Cabrera (Cuba) vs. Luillys Perez Mora (Venezuela)
Bronze medal – Joe Rau (USA) vs. Davi Albino (Brazil)
Bronze medal – Oscar Loango Solis (Colombia) vs. Ivan Burtovoy (Argentina)

130 kilos/286.5 lbs.
Gold medal – Antoine Abou Jaoude (Brazil) vs. Erwin Caraballo Cabera (Venezuela)
Bronze medal – Andres Ayub Valenzuela (Chile) vs. Randy Lambert Martinez (Honduras)
Bronze medal - Edgardo Lopez Morell (Puerto Rico) vs. Jose Encarnacion Ovando (Dominican Republic)

U.S. Greco-Roman performances to date

59 kg/130 lbs. – Ildar Hafizov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
WIN Ali Soto Mejias (Mexico), 9-2
LOSS Steven Takahashi (Canada), 13-15

66 kg/145.5 lbs. – RaVaughn Perkins, Omaha, Neb. (New York AC)
LOSS Jair Cuero Munoz (Colombia), tech. fall 0-9

85 kg/187 lbs. – Jordan Holm, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
WIN Alexander Brown Thieriault (Canada), tech. fall 8-0
WIN Yorgen Cova Pulido (Venezuela), 3-0
Gold Medal Finals – Vs. Alfonso Leyva Yepez (Mexico)

98 kg/213 lbs. – Joe Rau, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
WIN Kevin Mejia Castillo (Honduras), 6-0
LOSS Yasmany Lugo Cabrera (Cuba), pin
Bronze Medal Match – Vs. Davi Albino (Brazil)

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