Freestyle newcomer Lewis caps off Junior Worlds with gold in men’s freestyle

Updated: September 24, 2018

(Editor’s Note: provided quotes for this story. WIN magazine will provide more coverage of this event in our next issue, printed Oct. 30. Click to subscribe to WIN.)

Mehki Lewis was perhaps the least experienced of the young Americans who competed in the 2018 UWW Junior World Championships, Sept. 17-23, but the native of Somerset, N.J., made sure the United States left Trnava, Slovakia, with a gold medal when he captured the 74-kilogram championship in men’s freestyle

“I feel great,” said Lewis, a Virginia Tech wrestler, who has only wrestled in freestyle for a year and capped off four straight wins with a 5-1 victory over Abubakr Abakarov of Azerbaijan. “I thought I could do it, but being in the moment and accomplishing that goal feels amazing.

“After all the hard work I put in this summer to learn freestyle and now to be a World champion is the best feeling in the world.”

The individual championship by Lewis helped the United States finish second in the team standings as five of the 10 Americans claimed medals and the overall group finished 19-11 over three days.

Other Top 3 finishes came from silver medalists Aaron Brooks (79k) and Zach Elam (97k) while Daton Fix (57k) and Brady Berge (70k) settled for bronze medals. Fix was a defending Junior World champ as was heavyweight Gable Steveson, who won two bouts before losing in the quarterfinals.

Prior to the men’s freestyle tournament, 20 other Americans wrestled in the Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle tournaments, where Andrew Berreyesa (82k) and Macey Kilty earned silver medals and Cohlton Schultz (130k) claimed bronze in Greco-Roman. These were the only medalists in those two styles.

“The mind is a powerful thing,” said Berreyesa, who wrestles at Cornell and won three matches, including a 2-2 criteria win over Turkey’s Muhutdin Saricicek in the semifinals before losing in the final to Russia’s Aleksander Komarov. “I wasn’t expected to be in the World finals. It was all my mindset to get there. I learned that whatever I put my mind to and whatever I train for morning and night is going to happen.”

While he did not win gold, Berreyesa was a part of history as his finals appearance marks the first time since 1999 and 2000 that the U.S. has had back-to-back Junior World Greco-Roman finalists. Last year Kamal Bey won a Junior World title and Cevion Severado finished with silver in Tampere, Finland. Bey settled for fifth place in Slovakia at 77 kilograms.

Kilty, who claimed a Cadet World championship earlier this summer, won three bouts with bonus points — including a 50-second fall against Ukraine’s Alina Rudnytska — before losing 7-0 in the finals

“I think throughout this year, I’ve made a big jump in my wrestling and my training,” said Kilty, a native of River Falls, Wisc. “Just the pressure I put on my opponents and staying in good position has jumped levels for me. I’ve seen a big difference. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I’ve had this summer and getting to compete.”

Schultz, a native of Parker, Colo., pinned his first two foes at 130 kilograms, before losing 2-1 to David Ovasapyan of Armenia in the semifinals. He ended his Junior World experience with a 7-1 victory over Ante Milkovic.

Overall, the United States finished 8-11 from 10 individuals and claimed seventh place in the women’s freestyle tournament, and tenth in Greco-Roman as the 10 Americans finished 11-11 overall.

Sept. 17-23, at Trnava, Slovakia

Men’s Freestyle

Top 10 Team standings

Pl. Country Pts
1. Russia 182
2. United States 115
3. Iran 98
4. Azerbaijan 91
5. India 84
6. Kazakhstan 66
7. Moldova 65
8. Turkey 62
9. Georgia 57
10. Ukraine 48


U.S. men’s freestyle results

57 kg: Daton Fix (Sand Springs, Okla./Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC) – BRONZE 
1stround — won by TF over Ahmet Tas (Turkey), 10-0
Quarterfinal — won by TF over Andrey Dzhelep (Ukraine), 10-0
Semifinal — lost to Naveen Naveen (India), 5-4
Bronze Medal Match — won by TF over Bekbolt Myrzanazar (Kyrgyzstan), 10-0

61 kg: Joshua Saunders (St. Louis, Mo./Titan Mercury WC) – dnp
1stround — pinned Nurahamed Mukhudzinau (Belarus), fall 3:29
Quarterfinal — lost to Abasgadzhi Magomedov (Russia), 10-0
Repechage — lost to Kodai Ogawa (Japan), 3-0

65 kg: Domonick Demas (Dublin, Ohio/OKRTC) – dnp 
1stround — won by injury default over Ikhtiyor Normurodov (Uzbekistan), 10-4
Quarterfinal — lost to Gegham Galstyan (Armenia), 8-4

70 kg: Brady Berge (Mantorville, Minn./Nittany Lion WC) – BRONZE
1stround — lost to Razambek Zhamalov (Russia), 13-3
Repechage — won by TF over Aleksander Kuryshta (Belarus), 13-2
Bronze Medal Match — dec. Arman Andreasyan (Armenia), 1-1 criteria

74 kg: Mekhi Lewis (Somerset, N.J./Southeast RTC) – GOLD
1stround — won by TF over Erik Reinbok (Estonia), 10-0
Quarterfinal  — pinned Matthew Bartlett (South Africa), fall 1:04
Semifinal — won by TF over Bat-Erdene Byambasuren (Mongolia), 12-1
Gold Medal Match — dec. Abubakr Abakarov (Azerbaijan), 5-1

79 kg: Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./USOTC) – SILVER
1stround — won by TF over Daniar Meldebek (Kazakhstan), 12-1
Quarterfinal — dec. Andrian Grosul (Moldova), 9-4
Semifinal — def. Orhan Abasov (Azerbaijan), by cautions
Gold Medal Match — lost to Hayato Ishiguro (Japan), 11-10

86 kg: Lou Deprez (Hilton, N.Y./Bearcat WC) – dnp
1stround — dec. Mher Markosyan (Armenia), 7-0
Quarterfinal — lost to Arif Ozen (Turkey), 6-1
Repechage — lost to Alik Shebzukhov (Russia), 9-5

92 kg: Jacob Warner (Washington, Ill./Hawkeye WC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Askhab Hamzatov (Azerbaijan), 6-6, criteria

97 kg: Zach Elam (Kansas City, Mo./Team Central WC) – SILVER 
1stround — pinned Kunai Nurdavletov (Kyrgyzstan), fall 3:37
Quarterfinal — won by TF over Han Hyunsu (Korea), 13-2
Semifinal — won by TF over Serik Bakytkhanov (Kazakhstan), 12-1
Gold Medal Match — lost to Magomedkhan Magomedov (Russia), 11-0

125 kg: Gable Steveson (Apple Valley, Minn./Minnesota Storm)  – dnp
1stround — dec. Lkhagvegerel Munkhtur (Mongolia), 7-4
2ndround — won by TF over Haroon Abid (Pakistan), 13-2
Quarterfinal — lost by fall to Khasanboy Rakhimov (Uzbekistan), 1:18


Women’s Freestyle

Top 10 Team standings

Pl. Country Pts
1. Japan 215
2. Russia 160
3. China 127
4. Ukraine 73
5. Mongolia  67
6. India 58
7. United States 48
8. Kazakhstan 47
9. Uzbekistan 40
10. Sweden 34


U.S. women’s freestyle results

50 kg: Alleida Martinez (Selma, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) – dnp
1stround — pinned Yazaman Majidli (Azerbaijan), fall 4:57
2ndround — pinned Victoria Apalonik (Belarus), fall 2:34
Quarterfinal — lost by fall to Marina Zakshevskaya (Kazakhstan), 1:41

53 kg: Alisha Howk (River Falls, Wisc./Sunkist Kids) – FIFTH
1stround — pinned Nina Kollarova (Slovakia), fall 0:29
Quarterfinal — pinned Ellada Makhyaddinova (Kazakhstan), 2:09
Semifinal — lost to Aktenge Keunimyaeva (Uzbekistan), 8-6
Bronze Medal Match — lost to Enkhtsetseg Batbaatar (Mongolia), 11-0

55 kg: Ronna Heaton (Brookings, S.D./Sunkist Kids) – dnp 
1stround — dec. Anne Nuernberger (Germany), 8-2
Quarterfinal — lost to Ekaterina Verbina (Russia), 11-4

57 kg: Alex Hedrick (Fair Oaks, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Viktoria Vaulina (Russia), 10-0

59 kg: Brenda Reyna (Mount Vernon, Wash/Bearcat WC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Hwan Sung (Korea), 6-6, criteria

62 kg: Alexandria Liles (Allen, Texas/Musky WC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Hedda Strand (Norway), 3-3, criteria

65 kg: Jayden Laurent (Green Bay, Wisc./Musky WC) – dnp
1stround — lost by fall to Yue Zhang (China), 2:52

68 kg: Macey Kilty (River Falls, Wisc./Sunkist Kids WC) – SILVER 
1stround — won by TF over Tindra Sjoeberg (Sweden), 12-0
Quarterfinal — pinned Alina Rudnytska (Ukraine), 0:50
Semifinal — won by TF over Yan Wang (China), 11-0
Gold Medal Match —  lost to Khanum Velieva (Russia), 7-0

72 kg: Alyvia Fiske (Napa, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) — dnp
1stround — lost by fall to Zsuszanna Molnar (Slovakia), 1:04

76 kg: Dymond Guilford (Lancaster, Calif./Missouri Baptist) – dnp
1stround — lost by fall to Yahua Matsuyaki (Japan), 4:54



Top-10 Team standings

1. Iran 136
2. Russia 131
3. Armenia 83
4. Turkey 79
5. India 73
6. Georgia 60
7. Hungary 59
8. Kyrgyzstan 50
9. Ukraine  47
10. United States 45

U.S. Greco-Roman results

55 kg: Brady Koontz (Plover, Wisc./Ohio RTC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Florin Tita (Romania), 7-6

60 kg: Taylor LaMont (Mapleton, Utah/Sunkist Kids) – dnp
1stround — dec. Galym Kabdunassaro (Kazakhstan), 5-1
Quarterfinal — lost to Ararat Manucharyan (Armenia), 7-3

63 kg: Alston Nutter (Fennimore, Wisc./NMU-OTS/Combat WC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Erbol Bakirov (Kyrgyzstan), 10-0
Repechage — lost to Hrachya Poghosyan (Armenia), 8-0

67 kg: Peyton Omania (Concord, Calif./CYC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed (Egypt), 10-0

72 kg: Tyler Dow (Stoughton, Wisc./Badger RTC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Gergely Bak (Hungary), 9-2

77 kg: Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) – FIFTH
1stround — dec. Beka Guruli (Georgia), 9-1
2ndround — pinned Konstantino Vachlas (Greece), fall 0:15
Quarterfinal — pinned Zahari Zashev (Bulgaria), fall 2:47
Semifinal — lost to Islam Opeiv (Russia), 7-1
Bronze Medal Match — lost to Akzhol Makhmudov (Kyrgyzstan), 8-1

82 kg: Andrew Berreyesa (Reno, Nev./New York AC/Finger Lakes WC) – SILVER
1stround — dec. Simone Fidelbo (Italy), 4-1
Quarterfinal — dec. Abubakr Alimov (Uzbekistan), 3-0
Semifinal — dec. Muhutdin Saricicek (Turkey), 2-2 criteria
Gold Medal Match — lost to Aleksander Komarov (Russia), 10-0

87 kg: Barret Hughes (Coweta, Okla./Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC) – dnp
1stround — lost to Kumar Sunil (India), 11-0

97 kg: Chad Porter (Phoenix, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) – dnp
1stround — lost to Ilija Laurynovich (Belarus), 11-0

130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Parker, Colo./New York AC) – BRONZE
1stround — pinned Lingzhe Meng (China), 4:50
Quarterfinal — pinned Oleg Agakhanov (Russia), 1:19
Semifinal — lost to David Ovasapyan (Armenia), 2-1
Bronze Medal Match — dec. Ante Milkovic (Croatia), 7-1