TOP TEN TITAN MERCURY STORIES FROM 2017
By: Jonny Ruggiano
2017 was a year that showed extensive growth from the young roster of Titan Mercury as well as vast potential for the TMWC squad and the sport of wrestling as a whole. As a team, Titan Mercury boasted 10 World medalists, at all levels. Along with multiple individual accolades, team members also contributed in USA winning two World team titles and making the finals in two World Cup events. With many of our wrestling stars in their early 20’s, the future looks bright. 2017 also witnessed to announcement of the 2028 Olympics to be held in Los Angeles. After Titan Mercury contributed to USA Wrestling hosting three Olympic caliber World Cup events in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the merits of work seemed to have assisted in L.A.’s bid for the Olympic Games; something that many of our wrestlers and future generations can look forward to.
Here is a look at the most memorable moments from 2017…
#1 Snyder wins “Match of the Century” as USA wins first team title in 22 years
Kyle Snyder’s World Championships held everything on the line for Team USA as well as personal glory. Dubbed “The Match of the Century,” Olympic Champion, Kyle Snyder faced off against previously undefeated Olympic Champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev, for both the team title and the 97 kg. individual championship. With 20 seconds remaining, Snyder was able to defeat Sadulaev with a final takedown to help Team USA win its first World Championships since 1995. Read the complete article here: http://tmwc1.com/2017/08/update-snyder-beats-sadulaev-burroughs-also-wins-gold-green-takes-silver-and-usa-is-world-team-champions/
#2 TMWC takes 2nd at the World Clubs Cup
The Titan Mercury Wrestling Club reached the World Clubs Cup Championships for an unprecedented 4th time in four consecutive years. After claiming the title in 2016, the TMWC roster faced a tough Iranian team in Easy Pipe that was padded with several international stars including World & Olympic Champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili and Geno Petriashvilli of Georgia, along with Russian star Vladislov Baitraev. With both World Champion Logan Stieber and 2x Olympic and World Bronze medalist J’Den Cox sidelined with injuries, TMWC’s squad had to persevere through last minute roster changes. In the finals, the team surged with a late comeback with Nazar Kulchytskyy, again igniting the rally. The team title came down to the heavyweight match up where World Champion Geno Petriashvilli scored late against Nick Gwiazdowski and fended off an onslaught off attacks to hand Iran’s Easy Pipe its first World title. Read the complete article here: http://tmwc1.com/2017/12/titan-mercury-wc-takes-second-at-freestyle-world-clubs-cup-in-iran/
#3 Thomas Gilman rises to World finalist after running through the last chance qualifier
In what was most likely the most unusual path to the 2017 Paris World Championships, Thomas Gilman ran the gauntlet through one of the toughest fields boasted at the 2017 World Team Trials. However, his journey began earlier in freestyle season. While faced with injuries at the end of his senior campaign for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Gilman’s camp decided to rest and hold off from competing at the U.S. Open. This decision left Gilman with one opportunity to make the World Team Trials: The last Chance Qualifier. Gilman won the qualifier, after trailing 0-6 against Daniel Deshazer, by an final score of 7-6.
Unseeded at the World Team Trials, Gilman’s first test would be against 2017 NCAA Darian Cruz. Gilman ran through Cruz and a gauntlet that consisted of #1 seed Tyler Graff, Nico Megaludis, and Nathan Thomasello. Nevertheless, Gilman’s focus was on a greater prize, taking on and defeating former Iowa teammate and former TMWC wrestler, 2X World team member Tony Ramos of the Sunkist kids. In the finals, Gilman’s relentless attacked earned his two straight wins against Ramos and a ticket to Paris. Gilman’s aggressive style continued to pay off as he earned a berth into the World finals in his first trip to a Senior World Championships.
#4 J’Den Cox earns back to back bronze medals along with fellow TMWC wrestlers Nick Gwiazdowski and Becka Leathers
J’Den Cox made his presence known on the international stage in 2016, where claimed bronze at the Rio Olympics. However it was his bronze medal in 2017, along with fellow teammate Nick Gwiazdowski’s that contributed to the team title for USA. Cox and Gwiazdowski’s bronze were two of a total of six medals from team USA: Champions: Kyle Synder (TMWC), Jordan Burroughs (SKWC), Runner Up: Thomas Gilman (TMWC), James Green ( then TMWC/ now SKWC), Bronze: J’Den Cox (TMWC) and Nick Gwiazdowski (TMWC).
On the Women’s side TMWC’s Becka Leathers also claimed bronze at the Paris World Championships. This was also Leather’s first Senior World Championships.
Other TMWC wrestlers competing at the 2017 Senior World Championships included 2016 World Champion Logan Stieber, Mallory Velte, Tamyra Mensah-Stock and Victoria Francis-Weiss .
#5 Daton Fix and Kollin Moore help team USA win their first Junior World Title since 1984
Things kicked off for team USA’s World title campaigns at the Junior World Championships. Two members of Titan Mercury were invaluable members of that team. World Champion Daton Fix set the tone of the Junior Worlds by winning his first title with a combined score of 53-1 against his opponents at 55 kg. Moore also contributed to the team title with a bronze performance at 96 kg., defeating Germany’s Ilja Matuhin 11-0.
At the cadet level, TMWC’s Emily Shilson also claimed a silver medal at the World Championships. TMWC’s Gracie Figueroa and Alex Glaude also competed at Junior World Championships.
#6 Ty Walz and Joey McKenna earn bronze at the U-23 World Championships. TMWC’s Amy Fearnside and Isaiah Martinez earns 5th at the U-23 World Championships.
The U-23 Championships saw several of the World best stars compete, not only stars at the University level, but several of the senior level’s best, including World Champion Geno Petriashvilli among others. Team USA’s sent many of our brightest and best at the college level including TMWC members, Daton Fix, Joey McKenna, Isaiah Martinez, Ty Walz, Cody Pfau and Amy Fearnside.
At the conclusion of the U-23 World Championships both McKenna and Walz had earned bronze medals, Fearnside and Martinez were one match short of medaling and both took 5th place.
#7 TMWC Fearnside, Winchester, Velte, Mensah-Stock, and Francis-Weiss all help in Team USA’s 2017 Women’s World Cup 4th place finish Stieber, Molinaro, Green, Taylor, Snyder and Gwiazdowski part of Team USA 2017 Men’s World Cup Runner Up finish.
Team USA earned silver at both the men’s and Women’s World Cups. The men’s team faced off against familiar opponents, Iran. After a potential travel ban that threatened the chances of team USA even competing, international wrestling efforts, primarily on the part of the U.S. and Iran, assisted in USA’s ability to compete in the annual event. Reigning champions, Iran claimed title once again with a 5-3 win over USA. However, the most notable win came at the hands of David Taylor, as he pinned reigning Olympic and World Champion Hassan Yazdani Chariti in front of a fervent group of Iranian wrestling fans in Tehran.
On the women’s side, Team USA made the consolation finals of the 2017 World Cup in Cheboskary, Russia after edging Russia 17-16 in the pool rounds as well as defeating Sweden. The women’s team was defeated by Mongolia in the bronze bout, 20-16.
#8 Kyle Snyder wins Team USA Man of the Year
Wrestling was well represented at this year’s 2017 Team USA Awards, held at UCLA. The annual awards presentation honors the nation’s top Olympians in all styles. Wrestling had three nominees in their prospective catagories: Coach of the Year: Bill Zadick, Female Athlete of the Year: Helen Maroulis, Male Athlete of the Year: Kyle Snyder. Both team USA’s coach Zadick and TMWC’s Kyle Synder won their respective awards. Read the complete article by USA Wrestling here: https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Wrestling/Features/2017/November/29/Snyder-Male-Olympic-Athlete-of-Year-and-Zadick-Olympic-Coach-of-the-Year-for-USOC
#9 TMWC wins the 2017 U.S. Open
The 2017 U.S. Open served as the Women’s World Team Trials. TMWC members Becka Leathers, Mallory Velte, Tamyra Mensah-Stock and Victoria Francis-Weiss all punched their tickets to the Paris World Championships in Las Vegas at the U.S. Open.
Winning the U.S. Open men’s division was Kendrick Maple, James Green, David Taylor and Nick Gwiazdowski. 33 TMWC members went on to qualify for the 2017 Men’s World Team Trials. Read the complete article here: http://tmwc1.com/2017/04/tmwc-wins-the-2017-us-open-with-four-world-team-members-and-four-national-champions/
#10 Snyder and Mensah- Stock win the 2017 Ivan Yarygin
3x Olympic and World Champion, Kyle Snyder continued to face all challengers as he traveled to Krasnoyarsk, Russia to compete is what has been labeled as, “The Toughest Tournament in the World,” the Ivan Yarygin. Synder claimed his first title by defeating Russia’s Rasul Magomedov in the Finals.
Tamyra Mensah became only the 6th U.S. women ever to win the prestigious tournament when she defeated Nasanburmaa Ochirbat of Mongolia in the finals. You can read the complete article here: http://tmwc1.com/2017/01/tmwc-wrestlers-mensah-and-snyder-claim-titles-at-the-toughest-tournament-in-the-world/