2017 Junior Worlds Recap: USA golden moments

Updated: August 8, 2017

Photo: Members of the 2017 United States Junior World men’s freestyle team celebrated after they captured a team championship for the first time since 1984 last week in Tampere, Finland. (Andy Hamilton photo)

From Media Outlets (Quotes provided by TheMat.com)

The future of USA Wrestling definitely looks bright as a group of young Americans left Tampere, Finland, with nine medals, including five gold and — for the first time ever — claimed a championship in each of the three different styles.

And no group of wrestlers enjoyed a better Junior World Championships than the men’s freestyle team as seven of eight wrestlers medaled. Led by gold medalists Daton Fix (55k), Mark Hall (74k) and Gable Steveson (125k), silver medalists Mitchell McKee (60k), Ryan Deakin (65k), and Zahid Valencia (84k), and bronze medalist Kollin Moore (96k), the United States won the Junior World Team championship in men’s freestyle for the first time since 1984.

“The United States is in a great spot,” said Kevin Jackson, who coached the Junior freestyle team in Finland. “When we came in here, we never talked about winning the team championship as a group, but I’m sure they did with each other.”

Overall, the United States won 29 of 34 total matches to edge Russia by a one-point margin (68-67).

“These guys dominated this tournament,” said Jackson. “They laid it on the line each and every match.”

Mark Hall

Hall, who won an NCAA title as a true freshman at Penn State last March, pinned Isa Shapiev of Uzbekistan in 43 seconds to win his second straight Junior World title.

Hall became the fifth two-time American Junior World champion, joining women’s freestylers Ali Bernard (2003, 05) and Victoria Anthony (2009, 10) and men’s freestylers Tim Timok (1979, 80) and Spencer Lee (2015, 16).

“It feels good,” Hall said. “Walking back, Coach Casey (Cunningham) just told me that was a great way to round out the last year. I won Junior Worlds, then pulling my redshirt and winning an NCAA championship, and then coming back and winning another Junior World title is a pretty awesome feat.”

Fix, the future Oklahoma State wrestler, outscored his foes, 53-1, to improve on last year’s Junior bronze medal performance.

“It’s always something I’ve dreamed of doing, and it feels indescribable, really,” Fix said. “I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve dreamt of that moment and to accomplish that is really amazing.”

Steveson’s first Junior championship came after the Apple Valley (Minn.) High Sschool senior won Cadet titles the previous two years.

“It feels good,” Steveson said. “It feels better than last year. I’ve worked really hard for this, so it means a lot. I’m just happy I could come out here and win a team title with my team as well as my individual title.”

Maya Nelson

In the women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments that followed men’s freestyle, each style produced two medals each, led by gold medalists Maya Nelson and Kamal Bey.

Nelson, from Denver, Colo. defeated Bulgaria’s Yuliana Yaneva, 6-0, in the 63 kg/139-pound final to become the first American woman to claim a Junior title since 2010.

“I am so happy right now,” said Nelson, who claimed a bronze in last year’s Junior Worlds. “First and foremost, all the glory goes to God. Without Him and without my faith, I would not be here.”

Kamal Bey

Bey, of Colorado Springs, became the first Greco-Roman wrestler since 1999 to capture a Junior gold medal when he defeated 2016 Cadet World champion Akzhol Makhmudov from Kyrgyzstan in the 74k/163-pound final.

“This is something I’ve been training for,” Bey said. “It’s like it came full circle from last year when I finished eighth. I’m just happy I have the people that I do around me, and we’re really just going to enjoy this victory tonight, not just for me but for Greco-Roman wrestling as a whole in the country.”

The other medalists in Greco and women’s freestyle were silver medalist (50k/110 pounds) Cevion Severado of St. Peters, Mo., and bronze medalist Asia Ray of Arlington, Texas, at 44k/88 pounds.

UWW Junior World Championships

Aug. 1-6 • Tampere, Finland

Men’s freestyle

Top-5 Team Standings

Pl Country Pts
1st USA 68
2nd Russia 67
3rd Iran 49
4th Turkey 36
5th Azerbaijan 34

United States results

50 kg/110 lbs. – Malik Heinselman, Castle Rock, Colo. (Olympian WC), 8th

1st round — dec. Horst Lehr (Germany), 5-4
; 2nd round — lost to Rakhat Kalzhan (Kazakhstan), 8-2

55 kg/121 lbs. – Daton Fix (Sand Springs, Okla./Titan Mercury WC) – gold medalist

1st round — won by TF over Salah Eddi Kateb (Algeria), 10-0
; 2nd round — won by TF over Afgan Khashalov (Azerbaijan), 10-0
; Quarterfinal — won by TF over Gulomjon Abdullaev (Uzbekistan), 11-0
; Semifinal — won by TF over Nader Amir Nasrisamakoush (Iran), 10-0
; Championship — won by TF over Ismail Gadzhiev (Russia), 12-1

60 kg/132 lbs. – Mitchell McKee, Hanover, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), silver medalist

1st round — dec. Edemi Bolkvadze (Georgia), 11-9
; 2nd round — won by TF over Hiromu Sakaki (Japan), 10-0
; Quarterfinals — dec. Utku Dogan (Turkey), 11-9
; Semifinals — dec. Ravinder Ravinder (India), 16-14; Championship — lost by fall to Abdulla Akhmedov (Russia), 1:00

66 kg/145 lbs. – Ryan Deakin (Broomfield, Colo./Northwestern) – silver

1st round — won by TF over Oleksandr Rybalko (Ukraine), 13-0
; Quarterfinal — dec. Temuulen Enkhtuya (Mongolia), 7-6
; Semifinal — dec. Amirhossei Hosseini (Iran), 10-2; Championship — lost to David Baev (Russia), 10-0

74 kg/163 lbs. – Mark Hall, Apple Valley, Minn. (Nittany Lion WC)
, gold medalist

1st round — won by TF over Adlan Bataiev (Ukraine), 10-0
; 2nd round — dec. Radik Valiev (Russia), 6-2; Quarterfinals — won by TF over Mohammad Mottaghinia (Iran), 10-0; Semifinals — dec. Muhammet Kucukyildirim (Turkey), 10-3
; Championships — pinned Isa Shapiev (Uzbekistan), fall 0:43

84 kg/185 lbs. – Zahid Valencia (Bellflower, Calif./Sunkist Kids WC) – silver

1st round — dec. Gadzhimura Magomedsaidov (Azerbaijan), 11-2
; Quarterfinal —won by TF over Cheolyeon Lee (Korea), 10-0
; Semifinal — won by TF over Deepak Punia (India), 11-0; Championship— lost to Artur Naifonov (Russia), 7-5

96 kg/211 lbs. – Kollin Moore, Burbank, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC)
, bronze medalist

1st round — dec. Danyal Shariatinia (Iran), 10-5
; 2nd round — won by TF over Alisher Yergli (Kazakhstan), 10-0
; Quarterfinal — lost to Givi Matcharashvili (Georgia), 16-4
; Third place — won by TF over Ilja Matuhin (Germany), 11-0

120 kg/264 lbs. – Gable Steveson (Apple Valley, Minn./Minnesota Storm) – gold

1st round — won by TF over Khasanboy Rakhimov (Uzbekistan), 11-0
; 2nd round — won by TF over Umar Israilov (Azerbaijan), 13-0
; Quarterfinal — won by TF over Zuriko Urtashvili (Georgia), 11-0; Semifinal — won by TF over Zaur Kozonov (Russia), 21-10; Championship — dec. Naeiim Hassanzadeh (Iran), 5-1


Women’s Freestyle

Top-5 Team Standings

Pl. Country Pts
1st Japan 63

2nd Russia 44
3rd China 41

4th Ukraine 32

5th USA 29

U.S. results

44 kg/88 lbs. – Asia Ray (Arlington, Texas/Arlington Storm WC) – bronze

1st round — pinned Ersa Koc (Turkey), fall 0:48; Quarterfinal — pinned 
Beata Kosla (Poland), fall 3:52; Semifinal — lost by TF to 
Yumei Chen (China), 13-2
; Third place — dec. Alexia Seal (Canada), 10-2

48 kg/106 lbs. – McKayla Campbell (Wauseon, Ohio/Ohio National Team), did not place

1st round — lost by TF to Ankush Ankush (India), 12-2

51 kg/112 lbs. – Cameron Guerin (Yakima, Wash./Team Takedown) – 5th place

1st round — won by TF over Yeonseo Choi (Korea), 10-0; 2nd round — lost to 
Kseniia Nezgovorova (Russia), 3:52
; Repechage — dec. Jaydn Davis (Canada), 11-3; Third place — lost by TF to 
 Bolor Bat Orshikh (Mongolia), 12-2

55 kg/121 lbs. – Ronna Heaton (Brookings, S.D./Sunkist Kids WC), did not place

1st round — won by TF over Anastasiya Korzh (New Zealand), 10-0; 2nd round — 
lost to Viktoriya Vaulina (Russia), 12-2

59 kg/130 lbs. – Gracie Figueroa (Selma, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) – did not place

1st round — won by TF over Leanco Stans (South Africa), 10-0
; 2nd round — lost by fall to Ilona Prokopevniuk (Ukraine), 4:10

63 kg/139 lbs. – Maya Nelson (Denver, Colo./Sunkist Kids WC) – gold

1st round — won by TF over Ying Zhang (China), 12-1
; Quarterfinal — pinned Nicole Depa (Canada), 3:56
; Semifinal — dec. Maria Kuznetsova (Russia), 4-0
; Championship — dec. Yuliana Yaneva (Bulgaria), 6-0

67 kg/147 lbs. – Alex Glaude (West Sacramento, Calif./Bearcat WC) – did not place

1st round — dec. Hyeonyeong Park (Korea), 7-4
; 2nd round lost to Alexandra Anghel (Romania), 8-0

72 kg/159 lbs. – Rachel Watters (Ankeny, Iowa/Aires WC), did not place

1st round — dec. Natalia Strzalka (Poland), 3-2; 2nd round — lost to Hui-Tsu Chang (Taipei), 4-2



Top-5 Team Standings

Pl. Country Pts
1st Iran 58
2nd Russia 53
3rd Turkey 38

4th USA 29

5th Kyrgyzstan 28

U.S. results

50 kg/110 lbs. – Cevion Severado, (St. Peters, Mo./Xtreme RTC) – silver

1st round — dec. Maksym Vysotskyi (Israel), 6-1
; Quarterfinal — won by TF over Dominik Dudzinski (Poland), 8-0
; Semifinal — dec. Kensuke Shimizu (Japan), 8-3
; Championship — lost to Poya Marz (Iran), 6-0

55 kg/121 lbs. – Randon Miranda, (Palmdale, Calif./New York AC) – did not place

1st round — lost to Turabek Tirkashev (Uzbekistan), 6-5

60 kg/132 lbs. – Taylor LaMont, (Mapleton, Utah/Sunkist Kids WC) – 5th

1st round — dec. Maksim Nehoda (Belarus), 6-2; Quarterfinal — dec. 
Ardit Fazljija (Sweden), 8-3; Semifinal — lost to Oleksandr Hrushyn (Ukraine), 6-1; Third place — lost to Magomed Magomedov (Russia), 2-1

66 kg/145 lbs. – Dominick Demas, (Columbus, Ohio/Columbus WC) – did not place

1st round — lost by TF to Joilson de Brito Ramos Junior (Brazil), 10-2

74 kg/163 lbs. – Kamal Bey, (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids WC) – gold

1st round — won by TF over Pikeun Bong (Korea), 9-0
; 2nd round — won by TF over Karan Mosebach (Germany), 10-1
; Quarterfinal — dec. Nasir Hasanov (Azerbaijan), 7-4
; Semifinal — won by TF over Per Albin Olofsson (Sweden), 19-7
; Championship — dec. Akzhol Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan), 16-11

84 kg/185 lbs. – Wyatt Koelling, (Columbia, Mo./Missouri Wrestling Foundation) – did not place

1st round — lost to Aleksandar Stjepanetic (Sweden), 3-1

96 kg/211 lbs. – G’Angelo Hancock, (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/Sunkist Kids WC) – 7th

1st round — won by TF over WIN Damian Von Euw (Switzerland), 9-1; 2nd round — won by TF over Kiril Milov (Bulgaria), 10-0
; Quarterfinal — lost to Suleyman Erbay (Turkey), 4-3

120 kg/264 lbs. – Cohlton Schultz, (Parker, Colo./New York AC) – did not place

1st round — lost to Artur Vititin (Estonia), 4-3