USA's Betterman named Outstanding Wrestler in Greco-Roman at Dave Schultz Memorial International

By Craig Sesker

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Joe Betterman knows his weight class is stronger and deeper now.

But he’s more than ready for the challenge.

Betterman overcame an early deficit to knock off two-time Olympian Spenser Mango 4-2 in the Dave Schultz Memorial finals on Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Betterman fell behind 0-2 against his U.S. Army teammate who was ranked fifth in the world in 2013 in the Greco-Roman bout at 59 kg/130 lbs. Betterman came right back to score a quick takedown and two-point turn to take control in the opening period.

“We just make each other better,” Betterman said. “He scored first, so I knew I had to pick up the pace and score on my feet and get a turn. He’s a real strong wrestler and he’s tough to score on.”

Betterman won his fourth Dave Schultz title. Only Army teammate Dremiel Byers has won more with six Schultz titles. Betterman was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament on Thursday.

Mango and Betterman are now both in the same weight class after FILA, the sport’s international governing body, changed the lowest Greco class to 59 kilos.

The explosive Kendrick Sanders won his second Schultz title with a dominant 9-0 finals win over Bo Beckman at 71 kg/156 lbs. Sanders was named Outstanding Wrestler after winning this event in 2012.

“I wanted to come out aggressively on my feet and I did that pretty well in the finals,” Sanders said. “He keeps coming at you tough and I stayed in attack mode.”

Robby Smith, fifth in the World in 2013, held off fellow American David Arendt 3-2 in the finals at 130 kg/286 lbs. Smith won his first Schultz title. He was second here in 2009

Andy Bisek downed Jake Fisher 5-0 in a battle of Minnesota Storm teammate at 75 kg/165 lbs. Both wrestlers are past U.S. World Team members. Bisek won this event for the second time over Fisher, who won this tournament in 2010 and 2011.

2013 World Team member Jordan Holm earned his second straight Schultz title in topping Peter Hicks 5-0 in the finals at 85 kg/187 lbs.

Kazakhstan won the team title with China finishing second and the U.S. Army third.

China’s Penfei Yan recorded a first period pin over American Bryce Saddoris in the finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. China’s Di Xiao won the title at 98 kg/215.5 lbs.

Switzerland’s Jonas Bossert earned the championship at 80 kg/176 lbs.

Day 2 of the three-day event is set for Friday at the Olympic Training Center. The freestyle competition will be contested. 

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014
U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colo.

59 kg:  Joe Betterman (U.S. Army) dec. Spenser Mango (U.S. Army), 4-2
66 kg:  Penfei Yan (China) pin Bryce Saddoris (U.S. Marines), 2:20
71 kg:  Kendrick Sanders (New York AC/USOEC) dec. Bo Beckman (New York AC), 9-0
75 kg:  Andy Bisek (Minnesota Storm) dec. Jake Fisher (Minnesota Storm), 5-0
80 kg: Jonas Bossert (Switzerland) clinched title by going 4-0 in round robin
85 kg: Jordan Holm (Minnesota Storm) dec. Peter Hicks (U.S. Army), 5-0
98 kg: Di Xiao (China) dec. Iskakov Yerulan (Kazakhstan), 8-0
130 kg: Robby Smith (New York AC) dec. David Arendt (U.S. Marines), 3-2