Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn./Nittany Lion WC) has been selected as TheMat.com Athlete of the Week on August 15, 2017.
Two weeks ago, Hall launched the U.S. into the Junior World Championships held in Tampere, Finland, by clinching his second-consecutive title at the event. He became the sixth American to earn two Junior World championships, joining Spencer Lee (2016-17) and Tim Timok (1979-80) as the only to do so in men’s freestyle.
The American prodigy began his 74 kg/163 lbs. conquest with a 10-0 win over Ukraine’s Adlan Bataiev and a 6-2 decision over highly-credentialed Russian Radik Valiev to qualify for the quarterfinals. Hall then made quick work of Junior Asian champion and eventual bronze medalist Mohammad Mottaghinia of Iran, 10-0. In the semifinals, he downed Junior European bronze medalist Muhammet Kucukyildirim of Turkey, 10-3.
Much like his gold-medal match from last year, Hall ended things in quick, emphatic fashion. Standing opposite Junior Asian runner-up Isa Shapiev of Uzbekistan, Hall struck with a cement mixer to get the win by pin in just 43 seconds.
Hall was a vital cog in the U.S. capturing its first men’s freestyle Junior World championship as a team since 1984. Seven of the eight team members secured a medal: three gold, three silver and one bronze.
The win in Finland adds even more depth to his already impressive list of freestyle accolades. Hall has been a member of three Junior World Teams, winning gold the past two years. In addition, he was a Cadet World champion in 2014 and a U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifier last summer.
Hall is coming off a sensational true freshman campaign for Penn State University, where he rolled to the 174-pound NCAA championship. His success at the NCAA Championships helped guide Penn State to its sixth team title in program history. After being pulled from redshirt midway through the season, Hall finished with a 31-3 record that included 21 bonus-point wins. He finished in first place at the Southern Scuffle and runner-up at the Big Ten Championships.
Prior to college, Hall was a six-time Minnesota high school state champion for powerhouse program Apple Valley, who also won six-straight team state championships with Hall in the lineup. He also earned three titles at the USA Wrestling Cadet Nationals held annually in Fargo, N.D.
Each week USA Wrestling will select an Athlete of the Week based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling from youth programs through the Senior level.
To nominate a wrestler for this honor please send the athlete’s name, wrestling program and weekly and career accomplishments to Richard Immel at email@example.com.