By Jason Bryant, MTC Storm
New York City – In 2014, Joe Rau made a sacrifice to work his way down to 80kg to make a U.S. World Team. With 80kg no longer a weight class and with the Storm’s Jordan Holm the incumbent at 85kg, Rau decided he could feast again, but on Friday at the New York Athletic Club in New York, Rau’s feast was against the opposition. The Illinois native and past Division III national champion topped three-time World Teamer Caylor Williams of the U.S. Army 5-4 in the championship final to win his fourth medal of 2015 and third gold.
Rau jumped out to a 5-1 lead at the end of the first and that’s all he’d need en route to the victory. His path to the finals included a fall in one minute over Ruslan Mukhamadiyarov, a 10-1 tech over Tracy Hancock and a 5-0 win in the semifinals over Yong-Nam Kim of Korea.
Jake Clark, a graduate of South St. Paul High School and past two-time World teamer, returned to competition for the first time since the 2012 Olympic Trials, finished with a bronze medal at 85kg.
For Clark, it was his first international-level medal since the 2012 Dave Schultz Memorial International. Clark opened up with a 7-0 loss to eventual silver medalist Masato Sumi of Japan before winning five straight matches in the consolations to finish third. Clark, now based in Hawaii, had wins over his training partner J.K. Kaminangu (Micronesia), Mark Stenberg and Thomas Barreiro (Canada) before meeting up with Patrick Martinez.
Clark topped Martinez, who was an 80kg World Teamer this past year in Las Vegas, and then beat Korea’s Geon-Ho Kim 4-0 to claim bronze.
Seven other Storm/MTC wrestlers competed but were unable to bring home any medals. Brian Graham and Dylan Ness both went 3-2 at 66kg, while Jake Fisher went 2-2 at 75kg. Also at 66kg, Devin Scott went 1-1 before injury defaulting out of the tournament. Julian Gunnels traveled to New York only to wrestle a pair of Storm teammates. Gunnels fell to Graham and Ness in back-to-back matches.
Justin LaValle went 1-2 at 57kg. The North Dakota State alum is a past Junior National Greco-Roman champion.
Fisher reached the semifinals after wins over Ryosho Kamei of Japan and Barrett Stanghill of the U.S. Eventual champion Kendrick Sanders defeated Fisher 4-2 in the semis. In consolation rounds, Fisher was eliminated from medal contention by Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim.
Alec Ortiz also competed at 75kg, falling to Ibrahim and Corey Hope of the U.S.
Men’s freestyle action begins on Saturday at the NYAC with Zach Sanders, Nick Dardanes, Jayson Ness, Chris Dardanes, Scott Schiller and Tony Nelson set to compete. Bebeto Yewah will also compete, representing Cameroon.
Complete results can be found at http://www.trackwrestling.com/ and a live stream is available via Flowrestling.com’s FloPro subscription package.
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