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wrestlingnerd

2015 Junior Worlds - Huge Letdown

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First off, Spencer Lee is the best 16 year old wrestlers I've ever seen. Yes, younger wrestlers tend to do better at the lighter weights, and yes, Lee proved he is not infallible this year in losing fair and square to Fix not once but twice, but what Lee can do technically at his age when he is firing on all cylinders is simply incredible. He went through the notoriously difficult Junior Wolrds, a tournament that senior World rep Snyder didn't even win last year, like a friggin' missile blasting through a wall of butter. What a sight to behold.

 

Other than that... WTF?? Not to be harsh, but this was arguably one of the best Junior teams EVER in the history of American wrestling and two of our "top 10 ever" guys Hall and Pico lose before getting to the finals within a second of the match ending,  returning silver medalist doesn't even make weight, and the man who decisively beat the man who decisively beat the man (Micic > Fix > Lee) was looking so out of shape that my grandma might've beaten him in the second period of a match he literally gave away after building a massive, near-TF lead.

 

Given the amount of shared training with the Senior team, this does not bode well for Vegas....

 

When this many things go wrong, you have to look at the coaches. What happened? I am truly shocked at how we did. I was thinking a minimum of two golds were "in the bag" and four, maybe five, medals was about par this year.

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First off, Spencer Lee is the best 16 year old wrestlers I've ever seen. Yes, younger wrestlers tend to do better at the lighter weights, and yes, Lee proved he is not infallible this year in losing fair and square to Fix not once but twice, but what Lee can do technically at his age when he is firing on all cylinders is simply incredible. He went through the notoriously difficult Junior Wolrds, a tournament that senior World rep Snyder didn't even win last year, like a friggin' missile blasting through a wall of butter. What a sight to behold.

 

Other than that... WTF?? Not to be harsh, but this was arguably one of the best Junior teams EVER in the history of American wrestling and two of our "top 10 ever" guys Hall and Pico lose before getting to the finals within a second of the match ending,  returning silver medalist doesn't even make weight, and the man who decisively beat the man who decisively beat the man (Micic > Fix > Lee) was looking so out of shape that my grandma might've beaten him in the second period of a match he literally gave away after building a massive, near-TF lead.

 

Given the amount of shared training with the Senior team, this does not bode well for Vegas....

 

When this many things go wrong, you have to look at the coaches. What happened? I am truly shocked at how we did. I was thinking a minimum of two golds were "in the bag" and four, maybe five, medals was about par this year.

This was actually a very good performance.  The problem is with your expectations, not the execution of the team.  The best wrestling in the world is not in the US, and it hasn't been for a very long time.  Once in a while we get a guy like Smith, Sanderson, or Burroughs, who are world level talents.  The reality is that guys like Hall, Pico, Lee..They are elite talents domestically, but will be pushed by the best in the world. 

 

Pico is a 2nd year Junior, and was on the cusp of winning it.  Last year he got silver, but was the recipient of a fairly good draw and outclassed in the finals by yazdani.  I think his performance was an improvement over last year despite the lower finish.  

 

Hall is a first year junior and had a very close loss, but then wasn't pulled to the wrestle back.  Sometimes it goes like that.  He will learn and get better, but I don't necessarily see his performance as a letdown.  Losses like that happen, and it's not like he had shown dominance internationally at the junior level in the past.  

 

Micic wrestled well.  Not sure what you expected at 96kg or HWT.  

 

I believe this team finished fourth, behind Russia, Iran, and Aze.  That's without a 60kg guy who would have been a medal threat weighing in, and the best junior 96kg guy staying home due to making the senior team.  

 

Where was the letdown?  I don't see it.  It seems that our world teams have had a letdown every year for the past 15 years (with the exception of the 2012 olympics).  We aren't going to medal at every weight.  

 

1 Gold and 3 Bronze from 7 contested weights is a good showing.  

Edited by Billyhoyle

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A very good performance?? OK....

 

Hall and Pico are exceptionally rare talents. They could very credibly be discussed among the 10 best ever in their age group. Look at what Pico has done to senior world-level studs, including former World champs, and look at what Hall did to Marsteller, one of our best HS wrestlers ever with a year under John Smith, just a few months ago. To lose the way they did can absolutely not be categorized as very good--maybe very good choking.

 

McKenna not making weight by a quarter pound or less is unconscionable. Come on, the kid was having trouble with weight for a long time. How can the coaches not ensure he was down on the friggin' day of worlds? This sht does happen, but to call that part of a "very good performance" is the worst case of being a homer I've read here in a long time.

 

Micic... Without question, a medal is great. I didn't expect him to do more. But to lose the way he did... right as three of his team mates who were very serious gold medal contenders, if not favorites... NOT part of a very good performance. I was literally yelling at the screen as the Indian kid picked him apart after almost getting teched. That was the most frustrating match i've watched all year.

 

The expectations for more than what we did were extremely fair considering the pedigree of this superstar junior team. One of our best ever. Just didn't show up (Lee as an individual obviously excepted).

Edited by wrestlingnerd

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Well I agree, compared to last year, this was sort of a let down. Not sure what happened with McKenna but I believe the coaching staff needs to be all over that. Not sure how this team stacks up to last year, but we did send some pretty darn good kids. There was a post on one of these blogs, that said this tourney was tougher than last year's. I'm not sure I agree with that but maybe it was. All I can say that it was different, and it did feature a lot of tough guys/gals and some teams that really came to represent. Some maybe not so much, I feel that we we're very fortunate to have 3 guys get pulled back and were able to medal.

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I agree with Billyhoyle.  I think this was a very strong performance by Team USA.  If McKenna makes weight, we finish in the Top 3, easy-peasy, which is by definition, world-class. 

 

Added to which, Hall did not look like himself out there all day, even before he lost.  I really thought he got out-physicaled in the match he lost.  Another year of physical maturation, and it's a different story.

 

Beyond that, I like the skill sets we're developing as a country, thanks to Coach Slay.  Here I'm thinking of Lee's par-terre.  Usually, that's something that's really lacking in our freestyle repertoire. 

 

And I like the fact that a 285 I had never heard of before, and of whom not much was expected by Coach Slay, reading between the lines, takes Bronze.  To me that speaks of depth in our program.

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A very good performance?? OK....

 

Hall and Pico are exceptionally rare talents. They could very credibly be discussed among the 10 best ever in their age group. Look at what Pico has done to senior world-level studs, including former World champs, and look at what Hall did to Marsteller just a few months ago. To lose the way they did can absolutely not be categorized as very good--maybe very good choking.

 

McKenna not making weight by a quarter pound or less is unconscionable. Come on, the kid was having trouble with weight for a long time. How can the coaches not ensure he was down on the friggin' day of worlds? This sht does happen, but to call that part of a "very good performance" is the worst case of being a homer I've read here in a long time.

 

Micic... Without question, a medal is great. I didn't expect him to do more. But to lose the way he did... right as three of his team mates who were very serious gold medal contenders, if not favorites... NOT part of a very good performance. I was literally yelling at the screen as the Indian kid picked him apart after almost getting teched. That was the most frustrating match i've watched all year.

 

The expectations for more than what we did were extremely fair considering the pedigree of this superstar junior team. One of our best ever. Just didn't show up (Lee as an individual obviously excepted).

Hall and Pico may be among the 10 best ever in their age group for wrestlers in the united states.  But realistically, they probably are not.  Just in the past couple of years, Snyder was definitely better than those two.  Stieber was beating guys on the senior circuit while in high school (and stieber "only" got silver at jr worlds in his third year), and so was Cejudo.  How many junior world champions have we produced in our history?  Last year we had none.  

 

There is no excuse for 60kg missing weight.  That was definitely a let down.

 

Another consideration is the fact that only recently has there been this huge emphasis on cadet and junior worlds.  This is probably one of our best finishes ever at junior worlds.  You say they were filled with superstars, but who had done well on the junior level prior to this other than Pico (and 60kg who missed weight)?

 

I know valencia won a tournament, but I'm not sure what the competition level was there.  

Edited by Billyhoyle

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Hall and Pico may be among the 10 best ever in their age group for wrestlers in the united states.  But realistically, they probably are not.  Just in the past couple of years, Snyder was definitely better than those two.  Stieber was beating guys on the senior circuit while in high school, and so was Cejudo.  How many junior world champions have we produced in our history?  Last year we had none.  

 

There is no excuse for 60kg missing weight.  That was definitely a let down.

 

Pico has beaten a senior world champ, among other very impressive foes. He kicked ass last year at this same tournament, losing only to a guy who has proven to be incredible even as a senior. Other than for one second, he was PROVING that he was one of the best guys not just in the US, but the entire world. What the hell do you mean "for wrestlers in the united states"? You think Pico hasn't done enough to be considered legit outside the US? Get outta here.... He has done more than almost any HS kid ever including the legends you noted in your previous post at the same age.

 

Snyder was not obviously better than those two last year. Those two were right up there with Snyder, especially Pico. Snyder is better in retrospect after he surprised everyone against Varner. But that's neither here nor there. This year's expectations were set from last year's performances and Snyder was not who he is today a year ago while wrestling juniors.

 

Stieber is also one of those guys who could be fairly discussed as one of our best ever. Not sure what the point of bringing him up is... yeah, he's very, very good. What a news flash.

 

Anyway, who cares what we've done in the past? My point was about THIS team THIS year. This was absolutely not a very good performance. We had Lee and Hall, cadet world champs, Pico and McKenna, junior silver medalists. ONE of those four guys lived up to very fair expectations. The others underperformed expectations. 

Edited by wrestlingnerd

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On one hand, it's a very tough tournament and the US had a young team. Got to be disappointing to lose a winnable match though, especially for Pico. The guys in the finals looked pretty beatable.

 

I don't really follow wrestling pre-junior and this was my first exposure to Lee. I was impressed. That rare blend of physical and technical aggression that is just awful to wrestle against; not an easy bracket either.

 

It was really cool to see another medal for Canada. Great bronze medal match at 96.

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Very good performance by USA

 

Lee showed no one outside the USA can beat him

 

Micic wins bronze and that has to be considered a plus.   

 

Yes McKenna missing weight is a huge disappointment but is it on him?  From what I read, there was a scale issue beyond his control

 

Pico looked the best I've ever seen him.  Was I disappointed he didn't win the tournament?  Sure, but it's not like other guys aren't getting better also.   We saw the best Pico we've seen to date, it just was not enough to get it done.  No shame in that.   

 

Hall as stated above is a first year junior and probably wasn't as mentally focused as he will be with more experience.   He wrestled well and competed hard.   It's a big world out there, there are better guys than Hall, despite you not having seen them.  

 

There was an injury to the NJ wrestler who was really rolling and although that's disappointing, it's not like he ddin't perform.   He got injured. 

 

Zahid I thought should have medaled.   A better draw and he gets the bronze medal.   Those are the breaks.   

 

 

Bronze at 265 and that seems pretty good to me.

 

Sure I'd love to see gold at every weight but lets be realistic, there are some great wrestling countries out there wanting to win too.   

 

 

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Pico has beaten a senior world champ, among other very impressive foes. He kicked ass last year at this same tournament, losing only to a guy who has proven to be incredible even as a senior. Other than for one second, he was PROVING that he was one of the best guys not just in the US, but the entire world. What the hell do you mean "for wrestlers in the united states"? You think Pico hasn't done enough to be considered legit outside the US? Get outta here.... He has done more than almost any HS kid ever including the legends you noted in your previous post at the same age.

 

Snyder was not obviously better than those two last year. Those two were right up there with Snyder, especially Pico. Snyder is better in retrospect after he surprised everyone against Varner. But that's neither here nor there. This year's expectations were set from last year's performances and Snyder was not who he is today a year ago while wrestling juniors.

 

Stieber is also one of those guys who could be fairly discussed as one of our best ever. Not sure what the point of bringing him up is... yeah, he's very, very good. What a news flash.

 

Anyway, who cares what we've done in the past? My point was about THIS team THIS year. This was absolutely not a very good performance. We had Lee and Hall, cadet world champs, Pico and McKenna, junior silver medalists. ONE of those four guys lived up to very fair expectations. The others underperformed expectations. 

Snyder is still a Junior.  First Year junior he won gold. Second year junior silver.  Third year, competing on senior team. 

 

Pico:  First Year: Silver.  Second year: Bronze  (Very good so far).

 

Hall: First year: no medal.  Hopefully big things in the next two years. 

 

Snyder is the best of those three in every measurable standard from first year junior onward. 

 

I brought up stieber because three guys in the past 10 years are as good, of which only Snyder won gold at junior worlds.  I think Cejudo lost to kudukhov at jr. worlds and took silver. 

 

It's extremely hard to perform well at the jr. level division. 

Edited by Billyhoyle

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Very good performance by USA

 

Lee showed no one outside the USA can beat him

 

Micic wins bronze and that has to be considered a plus.   

 

Yes McKenna missing weight is a huge disappointment but is it on him?  From what I read, there was a scale issue beyond his control

 

Pico looked the best I've ever seen him.  Was I disappointed he didn't win the tournament?  Sure, but it's not like other guys aren't getting better also.   We saw the best Pico we've seen to date, it just was not enough to get it done.  No shame in that.   

 

Hall as stated above is a first year junior and probably wasn't as mentally focused as he will be with more experience.   He wrestled well and competed hard.   It's a big world out there, there are better guys than Hall, despite you not having seen them.  

 

There was an injury to the NJ wrestler who was really rolling and although that's disappointing, it's not like he ddin't perform.   He got injured. 

 

Zahid I thought should have medaled.   A better draw and he gets the bronze medal.   Those are the breaks.   

 

 

Bronze at 265 and that seems pretty good to me.

 

Sure I'd love to see gold at every weight but lets be realistic, there are some great wrestling countries out there wanting to win too.   

 

This is exactly why it wasn't a very good performance. There's an excuse at every weight other than Lee and heavy. 

 

McKenna. It's the scale's fault, not his.

Pico. Other guys got better.

Hall. He's young.

Cassar. He got injured.

Zahid. it wasn't his fault, it was the draw.

 

Your post reminds me of the Ronald Reagan quote, "if you're explaining, you're losing" (Might've been his only good quote.) You're explaining too much, and we all know what that means.

Edited by wrestlingnerd

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This is exactly why it wasn't a very good performance. There's an excuse at every weight other than Lee's. 

 

McKenna. It's the scale's fault, not his.

Pico. Other guys got better.

Hall. He's young.

Cassar. He got injured.

Zahid. it wasn't his fault, it was the draw.

 

Your post remind me of the Ronald Reagan quote, "if you're explaining, you're losing" (Might've been his only good quote.) You're explaining too much, and we all know what that means.

You say this is a letdown, but this year we got 1 gold and 3 bronze.  Other than last year, how many performances were better as a team at jr. worlds?  How many times have we won more than 1 gold at Jr. worlds.  Back up this argument that this performance is a letdown with some facts, rather than just your gut feeling that this was a great team that under performed. 

 

Here is a fact:  we had two returning junior medalists on this team.  1 missed weight, while the other put in a good showing and got bronze. 

 

Missing weight at 60kg was a letdown.  Other than that, nobody really under performed compared to realistic expectations.  Obviously they under performed compared to what we hoped they would do (Gold in every weight). 

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Snyder is still a Junior.  First Year junior he won gold. Second year junior silver.  Third year, competing on senior team. 

 

Pico:  First Year: Silver.  Second year: Bronze  (Very good so far).

 

Hall: First year: no medal.  Hopefully big things in the next two years. 

 

Snyder is the best of those three in every measurable standard from first year junior onward. 

 

I brought up stieber because three guys in the past 10 years are as good, of which only Snyder won gold at junior worlds.  I think Cejudo lost to kudukhov at jr. worlds and took silver. 

 

It's extremely hard to perform well at the jr. level division. 

 

Snyder is no more a junior than Pico is a high school folkstyler. They both "graduated"" early. Snyder didn't even attempt to make the junior team since he is on to bigger and better things. Again, last year, it is very arguable who had the better resume--Pico or Snyder. Snyder had a little shinier hardware, but Pico had better marquee wins by a mile. How is that better by any measurable standard? Again, I am not talking about Snyder, the Senior world team rep this year. I did specifically mention last year, when expectations for this year's tournament were set. The time before this summer falls under "lhe last couple of years", the time frame you proclaimed Snyder was clearly better than Pico by every measurable standard. He wasn't. Until this summer.

 

Pico: first year silver, second year bronze. Yes, absolutely very good. But very good performance? I beg to differ. going from 2 to 3 is never a "very good" performance, even though any medal is by definition "very good" in isolation. The type of mental lapse that allowed his opponent to win is what separates the best from the rest at the world level, and we already know Pico was good enough to make the finals last year. Pico is an exceptionally good junior wrestler, that much is certain. He absolutely did not deliver a "very good" performance" this year relative to what he can do. 

Edited by wrestlingnerd

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You say this is a letdown, but this year we got 1 gold and 3 bronze.  Other than last year, how many performances were better as a team at jr. worlds?  How many times have we won more than 1 gold at Jr. worlds.  Back up this argument that this performance is a letdown with some facts, rather than just your gut feeling that this was a great team that under performed. 

 

Here is a fact:  we had two returning junior medalists on this team.  1 missed weight, while the other put in a good showing and got bronze. 

 

Missing weight at 60kg was a letdown.  Other than that, nobody really under performed compared to realistic expectations.  Obviously they under performed compared to what we hoped they would do (Gold in every weight). 

 

1 gold, 3 bronzes. Very good.

4th place: NOT very good.

 

Sorry, you can spin it any way you want, but if you were to poll all the knowledgeable freestyle people on this board and asked them how they'd feel about a 4th place performance out of a team that had Lee, Pico, Hall, McKenna, Micic, and a bunch of other guys who all had a puncher's chance of doing very well, you wouldn't hear "very good." It would be much more titled towards "letdown."

 

For me, a team this I described as arguably one of the best ever in terms of talent getting 4th is a letdown. 

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Didn't Pico get thrown, and pushed out at the buzzer? Can't do those things and be a world champion. I haven't seen the match yet but from the found of things he's wrestled better against tougher opponents. Criticism is fair; he is good enough to win gold and he didn't.

 

The other guys- I won't comment as like I said I don't really know them or how good they are.

 

Btw Cejudo: lost to Kudukov in the semis one year (was 4th I think), lost to Otarsultanov in the finals in the other. Just read over those names. That's dm indication of how tough this tournament is.

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some good and some bad. this may have been our best junior team ever but it shouldnt surprise anyone that Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan did better. they have better wrestling in those countries. 

 

i enjoyed the freestyle tournament, there was a ton of talent competing. 

 

And that's what disappointed me. Of course they have better wrestling in those countries. I just thought one of our best ever teams could outscore at least one of those countries on an off year. But we didn't. I'm sure I'm coming off as a sore loser, but that was my only real point. 4th place with a team this loaded? Fck. I thought we were going to make a legit run for gold, although I didn't think we'd win it, I was certainly hoping for 2nd.

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And that's what disappointed me. Of course they have better wrestling in those countries. I just thought one of our best ever teams could outscore at least one of those countries on an off year. But we didn't. I'm sure I'm coming off as a sore loser, but that was my only real point. 4th place with a team this loaded? Fck. I thought we were going to make a legit run for gold, although I didn't think we'd win it, I was certainly hoping for 2nd.

I guess the difference in our opinions is as simple as a difference in expectations.  I'm convinced we will never be able to compete with those top countries until we abandon folkstyle and switch to free.  Until then, we have some elite athletes that can succeed at both, but will overall remain behind these other countires.

 

I don't expect even our top guys to win at the junior stage because they waste so much time competing in folkstyle, but i'm very happy when they do succeed.   

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This was a VERY young team with 5 of the 8 eligible to return next year including 3 of the 4 medalists(not sure on Butler).

 

Micic was a minute from making the finals

Pico was a second from the finals

Hall was a second from the semi-finals, don't forget Nagy won bronze

Cassar got hurt while winning

 

The margin for error is so minute it isn't funny at this level. Sometimes the ball bounces your way, sometimes it doesn't. It was a solid performance, but by no means great.

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As a coach, you look for trends.  Several guys fading at the end of key bouts in a major meet is an identifiable trend and not likely a coincidence.  A really nice (not great) performance by our team.  If I'm the coach, I'm looking hard at the last second/late stage lapses, why they happened, and what can be done in future training to make sure they don't happen again.

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Well said.

 

Regarding Pico, the Azeri took a good late shot and Pico back pedalled. Not a bad response in most situations but with one second left, probably best to meet the shot with the hips and make the Azeri take him down. I don't doubt he would but there is a good chance it takes more that I've second. Pico wrestling instinctively there instead of thinking tactically about the time.

 

(Of course if he can keep the guy off his legs,even better.)

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USA produced 12 Junior medals in the last 3 years. the 3 years before that we produced just 3 medals. 

 

not to be panglossian about it but i think there's plenty on the bright side to look at. 

A reader of Voltaire!  I think teams have to be evaluated year by year, based upon their potential (and also taking into account rough draws and injury--NOT failing to make weight).  I've coached stacked teams that underachieved and teams full of overachievers who exceeded expectations.  The basic question for this team is:  Did it meet its potential?

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A reader of Voltaire!  I think teams have to be evaluated year by year, based upon their potential (and also taking into account rough draws and injury--NOT failing to make weight).  I've coached stacked teams that underachieved and teams full of overachievers who exceeded expectations.  The basic question for this team is:  Did it meet its potential?

 

Ding ding ding!! Exactly what I meant. This team is one of our best ever. I really expected more than 4th. I thought 1st was 25%, 2nd was 50%, and 3rd was 99% sure.

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Ding ding ding!! Exactly what I meant. This team is one of our best ever. I really expected more than 4th. I thought 1st was 25%, 2nd was 50%, and 3rd was 99% sure.

 

That's part of the problem though.  Maybe this team underachieved given their immense talent, but 99% chance we definitely place ahead of either Azerbaijan, Russia or Iran?  That's crazy.

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