Daton Fix celebrates winning the men's freestyle 57 kg. wrestling final at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 9, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
The United States has a long and storied history of wrestlers faring well in their first trip to the world championships.
Kyle Snyder won a gold medal in his first appearance in 2015, and Thomas Gilman captured a silver medal in his debut two years later. Just last year, Kyle Dake and David Taylor struck gold for the U.S. in their first time at worlds, too.
Who will make a big splash this year?
A number of American wrestlers are looking to land spots on the podium when the world championships are held Sept. 14-22 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Here is a closer look at the eight U.S. newcomers who will compete at their first world championships.
Daton Fix, men’s freestyle, 57 kg.
Fix is just 21, but he knocked off Gilman to make his first senior-level team. Fix has been a fixture on age-group world teams, medaling at the Youth Olympic Games, then cadet worlds before winning a junior world title. He’s made a U.S. world team on some level every year since 2014, so wrestling on the big stage shouldn’t faze him too much. Fix is a tough, hard-nosed wrestler who could surprise some people in this tournament. He was a gold medalist at the Pan American Games last month.
Tyler Graff, men’s freestyle, 61 kg.
Graff is a veteran who at age 30 has made his first senior-level team. Graff has made junior and university world teams. He knocked off 2018 world bronze medalist Joe Colon to make the American squad. Colon had defeated returning world champion Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba this season. Graff is an offensive-minded wrestler who has waited a long time for this opportunity. He has the ability to medal in a weight class the U.S. has fared well in internationally.
Pat Downey, men’s freestyle, 86 kg.
Downey landed the spot here when Taylor suffered an injury at the Beat the Streets event earlier this season. Downey is a talented and capable wrestler who owns a world silver medal at the junior level. The key for Downey will be if he can put matches together consistently. He is a confident wrestler who won’t back down from anybody.
Kayla Miracle, women’s freestyle, 62 kg.
Miracle was a talented young star who was expected to reach this level. She’s medaled in age-group world events and has the ability to contend for a medal in Kazakhstan. She is coming off a gold-medal showing at the Pan American Games and is wrestling at a high level.
Max Nowry, Greco-Roman, 55 kg.
Nowry is someone who certainly has paid his dues. Stuck behind Spenser Mango for a number of years in the lightest weight class, Nowry, 29, is a past university world champion. He’s a veteran who has placed in numerous international events.
Ryan Mango, Greco-Roman, 63 kg.
Mango has been knocking on the door to make a senior world team for several years now and he finally has his opportunity. Coming off a second-place finish at the Pan American Championships in April, he’s an explosive athlete with a huge arsenal of moves. He’s a difficult matchup who can put big points on the board. Ryan is the younger brother of two-time Olympian Spenser Mango.
Raymond Bunker, Greco-Roman, 72 kg.
Bunker has come on strong in the past few years. He’s placed in two international tournaments this season in addition to winning the Final X to make his first senior world team. Bunker won the Dave Schultz Memorial International at the start of this calendar year and has kept it rolling ever since.
John Stefanowicz, Greco-Roman, 82 kg.
Stefanowicz also has burst onto the Greco scene in the last two years. He’s medaled in two international events before coming through to earn a trip to Kazakhstan. He’s part of an American Greco team that is looking to make a big splash at the world championships. He placed third in an international event in Poland last month.