U.S. sending strong teams to UWW Junior World Championships in Salvador, Brazil, Aug. 11-16

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Aug. 06, 2015, 12:01 p.m. (ET)
Aaron Pico will be seeking an age-group World medal for the third straight year when he wrestles in freestyle at the UWW Junior World Championships in Brazil.

The United States is sending talented and experienced teams in all three Olympic styles to the UWW Junior World Championships in Salvador, Brazil, August 11-16.

The competition will feature the best 17-20 year old wrestlers in the world, and has been a major stepping stone for athletes who go on to win World and Olympic medals at the Senior level.

All three U.S. teams feature past Junior World medalists, and the teams have set high goals for themselves in the team race.

The U.S. Junior World men’s freestyle team placed second in the team standings in 2014, led by four medalists. Two 2014 UWW Junior World silver medalists return, Joey McKenna (Towaco, N.J./Lehigh Valley AC) at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Aaron Pico (Whittier, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Pico was also a UWW Cadet World champion in 2013. McKenna will attend Stanford in the fall.

A pair of 2014 UWW Cadet World champions move up to the Junior level this year, Spencer Lee (Murraysville, Pa./Young Guns) at 50 kg/110 lbs. and Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 74 kg163 lbs. They were among the top high school wrestlers in the nation in 2015, members of the ASICS First Team.

Competing on his first U.S. World team is 2015 ASICS High School Wrestler of the Year, Zahid Valencia (Pico Rivera, Calif./Sunkist Kids) at 84 kg/185 lbs. Valencia begins his college career at Arizona State this fall.

Valencia and Hall won medals in their first Senior-level international event this summer at the Grand Prix of Spain, with Valencia taking a silver and Hall a bronze.

The U.S. men’s freestyle team competes August 15-16.

The U.S. Junior World women’s freestyle team placed fifth in the Junior World Championships last year led by three medalists, and looks to challenge for the team title this year.

This year’s team features a pair of 2014 Junior World bronze medalists, Marina Doi, Kingsburg, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) at 44 kg/97 lbs. and Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville, Ky./Sunkist Kids) at 59 kg/130 lbs. Both return at the same weight classes that they wrestled last summer in Croatia. Both were also World medalists on the UWW Cadet level.

Two other members of the 2014 UWW Junior World Team return, Cody Pfau (Brush, Colo./Gator OKCU RTC) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. and Becka Leathers (Choctaw, Okla./Gator OKCU RTC) at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Pfau, who was a WCWA college national champion for Oklahoma City, is competing on her third straight UWW Junior World Team. She was fifth at the 2013 Junior World Championships.

Leathers, who will begin her career at Oklahoma City in the fall, was eighth in the Junior World Championships last year, and was seventh in the 2013 UWW Cadet World Championships.

The U.S. women’s freestyle team competes August 13-14.

The U.S. Greco-Roman Team will be led by 2013 UWW Junior World bronze medalist Sam Stoll of Minnesota at 264 pounds. Stoll competes for the University of Iowa.

Two members of the 2014 Junior World Greco-Roman team are returning, Josiah Seaton of Kansas at 121 and Jon Jay Chavez of Idaho at 163. Seaton is moving up one weight from 110 pounds, where he wrestled last year. Chavez, who returns at the same weight class, is a past Cadet World medalist in Greco-Roman.

Also with past World Championships experience is Hayden Tuma, who was eighth in the 2013 UWW Junior World Championships and ninth in the 2012 UWW Cadet World Championships and a member of the 2011 UWW Cadet World Team.

The U.S. Greco-Roman team competes August 11-12.

The international wrestling federation United World Wrestling is expected to stream the competition on its website, www.UnitedWorldWrestling.org

Follow the action daily on TheMat.com and through USA Wrestling’s social media outlets.

At Salvador, Brazil, August 11-16

U.S. Greco-Roman roster

50 kg/110 lbs. – Dalton Roberts, Fowlerville, Mich. (NMU-OTS)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Josiah Seaton, Bonner Springs, Kan. (unattached)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Travis Rice, Washington, Ill. (NMU-OTS)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Hayden Tuma, Boise, Idaho (Suples WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jon Jay Chavez, Boise, Idaho (Titan Mercury WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Nick Corba, Beavercreek, Ohio (NEORTC)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – G’Angelo Hancock, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Front Range WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Sam Stoll, Kasson, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
Coach - Mark Halvorson, Concord, Calif.
Coach – Zac Dominguez, Papillion, Neb.

Women’s Freestyle roster
44 kg/97 lbs. – Marina Doi, Kingsburg, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Cody Pfau, Brush, Colo. (Gator OKCU RTC)
51 kg/112.25 lbs. – Marizza Biruetta, Grandview, Wash. (Gator OKCU RTC)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Gator OKCU RTC)
59 kg/130 lbs. – Kayla Miracle, Campbellsville, Ky. (Sunkist Kids)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Simon Fraser)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. – Forrest Molinari, Benicia, Calif. (King University)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Rachel Watters, Ankeny, Iowa (Gator OKCU RTC)
Assistant National Women’s Coach – Emma Randall, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Archie Randall, Mustang, Okla.
Coach – Sam Schmitz, Lebanon, Ill.

Men’s Freestyle roster
50 kg/110 lbs. – Spencer Lee, Murraysville, Pa. (Young Guns)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Stevan Micic, Cedar Lake, Ind. (Chicago RTC)
60 kg/132 lbs. – Joey McKenna, Towaco, N.J. (Lehigh Valley AC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – Aaron Pico, Whittier, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
74 kg163 lbs. – Mark Hall, Apple Valley, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Zahid Valencia, Pico Rivera, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Anthony Cassar, Bridgewater, N.J. (Nittany Lion WC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Nathan Butler, Leavenworth, Kan. (California RTC)
Assistant National Freestyle Coach – Brandon Slay, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Mike Duroe, Marion, Iowa
Coach – Troy Nickerson, Greeley, Colo.
Coach – Cael Sanderson, State College, Pa.
Coach – Valentin Kalika, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Additional Coach – Jamill Kelly, Stanford, Calif.
Additional Coach – Ray Blake, Stanford, Calif.
Additional Coach – Melissa Simmons, Raleigh, N.C.

Team Leader – Elison Dantas, Salvador, Brazil
Medical – Dr. Bryan Warme, Ames, Iowa
Medical – Terry Grindstaff, LaVista, Neb.
Referee – Kevin Maxwell, Utica, N.Y.
Referee – Umberto Fasolino, Cutchogue, N.Y.

UWW Junior Worlds Schedule
Listed is local time in Salvador, which is one hour before U.S. Eastern time

Tuesday, August 11
Greco-Roman, 50 kg, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg (Roberts, Rice, Chavez, Hancock)
10:00 a.m. – Preliminaries
7:00 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
7:30 p.m. – Finals

Wednesday, August 12
Greco-Roman 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg (Seaton, Tuma, Corba, Stoll)
10:00 a.m. – Preliminaries
6:00 p.m. – Finals

Thursday, August 13
Women’s Freestyle 44 kg, 51 kg, 59 kg, 67 kg (Doi, Birrueta, Miracle, Molinari)
10:00 a.m. – Preliminaries
6:00 p.m. – Finals

Friday, August 14
Women’s Freestyle 48 kg, 55 kg, 63 kg, 72 kg (Pfau, Leathers, Velte, Watters)
10:00 a.m. – Preliminaries
7:30 p.m. – Finals

Saturday, August 15
Men’s Freestyle 50 kg, 60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg (Lee, McKenna, Hall, Cassar)
10:00 a.m. – Preliminaries
6:00 p.m. – Finals

Sunday, August 16
Men’s Freestyle 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg (Micic, Pico, Valencia, Butler)
10:00 a.m. – Preliminaries
6:00 p.m. – Finals