USA Wrestling Six defending champs...

Six defending champs in hunt for repeat bid at Junior Greco-Roman Nationals

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | July 18, 2016, 10:31 p.m. (ET)

 
 Junior World Team member Kamal Bey in the 2015 Junior
Greco-Roman finals. Photo: John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com.
FARGO, N.D. – Junior Greco-Roman began competition in Fargo on Monday with a remarkable 970 entries, up from 895 one year ago, headlined by six returning champions and three 2016 Junior World Team members.

All six defending champions and two of the three Junior World Teamers have advance to the Round of 16 set for 9 a.m. (CT) Tuesday morning at the Fargodome. Each of these wrestlers have won their respective matches by either fall or technical fall as the first day of competition has come to a close.

The ever-electric Kamal Bey returns to the top high school competition in the land at 170 pounds. Bey has made the finals in Fargo four times before, three times at the Cadet level and once in the Junior division. His only finals victory came last year over Andrew Berreyesa of Nevada in the Junior Greco finals.

Bey previously competed for Illinois before transitioning to Colorado this year. Fargo will serve as Bey’s final tune up before the Junior World Championships in Macon, France this September.

Fans have grown used to seeing Utah’s Taylor LaMont and Minnesota’s Mitchell McKee do battle on the largest of stages. However, the two are not competing at the same weight this year in Fargo after facing off in both the Greco-Roman and freestyle finals in 2015.

LaMont, who joins Bey on the Junior World Team, remains at 132 pounds in this his third attempt for Junior Greco-Roman Nationals title number two. He has wrestled in the Fargo finals a total of four times entering this week.

McKee took the Junior Greco crown in 2015 by defeating LaMont in the finals. He finished in second place to the Utah standout in the Junior Freestyle finals last year, in addition to the UWW Junior Nationals last April with the Junior World Team berth on the line.

Other returning champions in the mix for a stop sign tomorrow include Jaret Lane of Pennsylvania (106), Dack Punke of Illinois (113), Dalton Duffield of Oklahoma (120) and Gabriel Townsell of Illinois (126).

2016 Cadet World Team member Quentin Hovis of Arizona was on the wrong side of the day’s biggest upset by falling to Ohio’s Colt Yinger, 1-1, in the opening round at 152 pounds.

There are nine wrestlers who fell just short of the championships last year still alive for a redemption trip to the finals in 2016. 2015 Junior Greco-Roman runners-up entered in this year’s field include LaMont, Berreyesa, Elijah Varona of Florida (106), Dylan Koontz of Wisconsin (113), Jordan Martinez of Colorado (120), Matthew Schmitt of Missouri (126), Riley Jaramillo of Oregon (170), Sam Shields-Colbray of Oregon (220) and Carter Isley of Iowa (285).

Action from the Fargodome will resume tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. (CT) with the Junior Greco-Roman and Junior women’s freestyle competitions. The Junior Greco finals are set for 2:15 p.m. (CT).

All matches from the 2016 ASICS/Vaughan Cadet and Junior National Championships can be viewed live on Flowrestling.com with a FLO PRO account. Complete brackets, results and team scores can be found on Trackwrestling.com.