Kennard-Dale grad John Stefanowicz learns first-round Olympic foe in Greco-Roman wrestling

STEVE HEISER
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  • Kennard-Dale High School graduate John Stefanowicz will wrestle in the Olympics.
  • Stefanowicz will compete in the Greco-Roman 87-kilogram division.
  • Stefanowicz is scheduled to have his first match between 10-12 p.m. Monday.
Clockwise from top left, Team USA Olympic athlete and U.S. Marine Corps SSgt. John Stefanowicz, poses for a photo with wife Samantha, and sons Colton, 3, and Connor, 6, all of Jacksonville, N.C., as community members prepare to celebrate Stefanowicz during the Hometown Olympic Sendoff parade beginning in Hopewell Township, Saturday, July 10, 2021. The Olympic athlete will leave next week for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York County’s John Stefanowicz will begin his quest for Olympic gold on Monday night.

The Kennard-Dale High School graduate is competing in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 87-kilogram (192-pound) weight class during the Tokyo Summer Games. In Greco-Roman wrestling, only upper-body moves are permitted.

The Greco-Roman wrestling is scheduled to be telecast on the Olympic Channel (locally, Channel 822 on Comcast and Channel 569 on DirecTV).

Multiple matches will be held simultaneously, so not all bouts will air live at the same time. USA Wrestling, however, has said some split screen will be used.

All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.

His first-round match is slated for between 10 p.m. and midnight Monday.

The draw for the 87-kilogram division was released Monday.

In his first-round match, Stefanowicz will face Croatia’s Ivan Huklek of Croatia. Huklek is a 2017 under-23 world championship silver medalist. He qualified for the Olympics through a first-place finish at the 2021 World Olympic Qualifier.

Stefanowicz, a Marine, enters the event unseeded. Competing in Stefanowciz’s half of the 16-man bracket is No. 2 seed and reigning world champion Zhan Beleniuk of Ukraine and No. 3 Rustam Assakalov from Uzbekistan. Beleniuk is a 2015 and 2019 world champion as well as the 2016 Olympic silver medalist. Assakalov is a 2015 world silver medalist and a 2019 World bronze medalist.

Competing in the other half-bracket is top-seeded and two-time World medalist Viktor Lorincz of Hungary and No. 4 seed Daniel Gregorich Hechevarria of Cuba, who is a two-time under-23 world medalist.

Stefanowicz is a two-time Pan American champion and has won numerous medals at the Armed Forces Championships.

Kennard-Dale High grad John Stefanowicz gets sendoff from family, friends before Olympics

If he wins his first-round match, Stefanowicz will advance to a quarterfinal contest a little before midnight Monday.

With a win there, he’d advance to the semifinals, which are set for 5 a.m. until 9 a.m. Tuesday. A semifinal loss would put Stefanowicz in one of the two bronze-medal finals. A semifinal win would put him in the gold-medal match.

The medal matches for both gold and bronze are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

If Stefanowicz loses to an eventual finalist in the first or second round, he’ll likely wrestle in the repechage round at 10 p.m. Tuesday for a possible berth in a bronze-medal match.

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Stefanowicz is ranked No. 4 in his weight class by United World Wrestling and is not projected by The Associated Press to receive a medal.

To watch live online, visit www.nbcolympics.com/schedule and log in through your TV provider.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.