The unlikely Olympic run for York County’s John Stefanowicz ended shortly and with loads of frustration.
The Greco-Roman wrestler misplaced his opening match after a few robust early calls went in opposition to him in Tuesday night time’s opening spherical. He fell behind 5-0 to Ivan Huklek of Croatia — shedding one level by reportedly leaping an official’s whistle, then shedding two extra on a transfer the place he seemed to be out of bounds.
The Kennard-Dale grad rallied however couldn’t end late, as he is develop into recognized for over the previous couple of years.
He misplaced 5-3 and later was eradicated from the 87 kilogram weight class. If Huklek may have superior to the finals, Stefanowicz would have been given the prospect to wrestle once more and compete for a bronze medal in what is known as “repechage.”
As an alternative, Huklek misplaced within the semifinals to two-time World champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine. All 4 of the U.S. Greco-Roman entries have now been eradicated with out profitable a medal.
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It was an excruciating starting and fast exit for the Hopewell Township native. He was the discuss of the U.S. Greco-Roman contingent after by no means even a lot as qualifying for the state highschool event or wrestling in faculty.
Stefanowicz, who was unseeded within the 87 kilogram class, stalled in his comeback try within the match’s remaining 1:30. Huklek is a former U-23 World silver medalist who made these video games by means of a first-place end on the 2021 World Olympic Qualifier.
Stefanowicz, who turns 30 subsequent month, was the primary U.S. Marine to wrestle within the Olympic Video games since 1992. He is a employees sergeant who does intelligence work within the navy.
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He adopted fellow York County native Hali Flickinger, a Spring Grove Excessive grad, who received swimming bronze medals within the 400-meter particular person medley and the 200-meter butterfly to start the Olympic Video games.
The one York County native to win a gold medal was Dover’s Scott Strausbaugh, who did it in two-man canoeing almost 30 years in the past.
John Stefanowicz’s story
Stefanowicz’s movie-screen story start within the farm fields of southeastern York County, the place he would go on early morning coaching runs with youthful brother, Probability Marsteller, a future wrestling phenom.
However with no faculty curiosity, Stefanowicz gave up the game and joined the Marines after commencement. Greater than two years later, he started wrestling once more — all whereas rising 7 inches and placing on almost 75 kilos.
Regardless of extra time away from the game due to navy duties, he started progressing quickly after his return in 2017. He then shocked the wrestling world by profitable the 82 kilogram Greco-Roman division on the Ultimate X competitors in 2019 — regardless of a badly-pulled hamstring — and earned a spot on the U.S. World Workforce.
This previous spring, he stunned doubters once more. Shifting up in weight to 87 kilos, he was seeded solely fourth on the U.S. Olympic Workforce Trials in Texas. However he beat each favored opponent, typically in dramatic, comeback trend to qualify for Tokyo.
Even now, he is not thought to be one of many favorites within the smaller-than-usual 16-man Greco discipline.
Irrespective of, consultants think about him probably essentially the most harmful. He hopes to develop into the primary U.S. Greco-Roman wrestler to medal since Beijing, China, in 2008.
“John’s acquired one thing in him, when issues get more durable or he will get extra damage or odds are stacked greater, he will get higher. Nobody I met is best at their abilities when he is extra damaged,” mentioned Peyton Walsh, a fellow Marine and nationwide wrestling group member.
“There’s by no means a time, irrespective of how overwhelmed or battered he’s, the place’s he going to lose. That is what Marines actually pleasure themselves on, however he places that on steroids.”
Frank Bodani covers sports activities for the York Each day Document and USA In the present day Community. Contact him at email@example.com and comply with him on Twitter @YDRPennState.