For many years, the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix has been the most prominent Open freestyle tournament in the world. Now, decades after the United States began attending this prestigious event, the U.S. has a three-time Yarygin champion.
2018 World bronze medalist Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC) calmly stepped on the raised mat in the Yarygin Grand Prix finals for the third straight year. Her opponent in the 72 kg finals was one of the top young stars from the World champion Japanese team, two-time Cadet World champion Yuka Kagami.
Mensah-Stock struck first, scoring a takedown for a 2-0 lead. She got in on another leg attack, and after a slight scramble, came out on top, forcing Kagami to her back near the edge of the mat.
Kagami fought hard, trying to get off her back, but Mensah-Stock had most of the period and patiently adjusted the hold until the referees slapped the mat at the 2:43 mark. With a big smile on her face, Mensah-Stock had her hand raised in victory as she made American wrestling history.
In 2018, Mensah-Stock became the first American to win back-to-back Yarygin golds. The next day, men’s freestyle star Kyle Snyder matched her feat, winning his second straight title at 97 kg on the men’s side. Both Mensah-Stock and Snyder entered the 2019 Yarygin, and they were scheduled to compete on the same days.
Yesterday, Mensah-Stock beat two tough Russian opponents to make the finals, competing up a weight class from her normal 68 kg. Snyder was unfortunately defeated in his opening match and not pulled back into repechage. Mensah-Stock was the only American in the medal rounds on the final day of the tournament, as six weight classes were contest, four in men’s freestyle and two in women’s freestyle.
There have only been seven U.S. women to win the Yarygin, with another U.S. woman reaching the feat on Saturday when 2018 World silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt claimed the 53 kg gold medal.
The USA picked up five Yarygin medals this year, with bronze medals going to men’s freestylers Thomas Gilman (Iowa City, Iowa/Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC) at 57 kg and Alex Dieringer (Stillwater, Okla./Titan Mercury WC) at 79 kg, plus women’s freestyler Victoria Anthony (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) at 50 kg.
“Sarah and Tamyra come home as champions from this event, and continue to build on the success they had at the 2018 World Championships. That is very important. Vickie won her first medal here in Krasnoyarsk, which is also important. We must continue to grow and develop who we are as athletes. That is the most important thing at this point of the year,” said National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner.
We will update this story as the rest of the Yarygin medal rounds are completed. The event has been broadcast live and is archived on FloWrestling.
“As a coach, you are always looking to challenge your athletes and team in a positive way that is going to stimulate growth. The Yarygin Grand Prix is always a great test for us in so many ways. The competition itself, with great wrestlers from around the world and different styles of wrestling is only the beginning. Then you throw in the travel, the culture, the weather and the languages. Attending this competition will always promote growth in our team,” said Steiner.
IVAN YARYGIN GRAND PRIX
At Krasnoyarsk, Russia, January 27
Final group of athletes’ results
Women’s freestyle performances
72 kg: Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury) – GOLD
WIN Evgenia Zakharchenko (Russia), 10-0
WIN Tatyana Kolesnikova (Russia), 9-4
WIN Yuka Kagami (Japan), pin 2:43
U.S. Men’s freestyle performances
74 kg: Isaiah Martinez (Champaign, Ill./Titan Mercury)
LOSS Azamat Nurykau (Belarus), 11-10
86 kg: Sam Brooks (Iowa City, Iowa/Hawkeye WC/Titan Mercury)
WIN Ahmed Dudarov (Germany), 13-2
LOSS Vladislav Valiev (Russia), 11-3
97 kg: Kyle Snyder (Columbus, Ohio/Ohio RTC/Titan Mercury)
LOSS Rasul Magomedov (Russia), 6-5
By Gary Abbott
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