Fix, Gross, Hall, Valencia earn spots on UWW Junior World Team in freestyle with wins in Texas

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | May 22, 2016, 8:32 p.m. (ET)
Daton Fix controls Austin Gomez in the finals series at 55 kg at the UWW Junior World Team Trials. Jim Thrall photo.

IRVING, Texas – The final four members of the 2016 U.S. Junior World Freestyle Team were determined, as the UWW Junior World Team Trials concluded on Sunday at the Irving Conventional Center.

A best-of-three Championships Series was held in each weight class, with the 2016 UWW Junior Nationals champion advancing directly to the finals, where he faced the winner of Sunday morning’s Challenge Tournament. Three of the UWW Junior National champions won their series on Sunday.

Two members of the 2015 U.S. Junior World Team earned repeat trips to the Junior World Championships, Mark Hall of the Minnesota Storm at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Zahid Valencia of the Sunkist Kids at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Hall, also a 2014 Cadet World champion defeated Penn State All-American Jason Nolf of the Nittany Lion WC in the finals series at 74 kg/163 lbs. in two straight matches.

In match one, Hall scored three takedowns, including a four-point move on the edge of the mat, for a 10-0 technical fall. In match two, Hall trailed 6-4 to Nolf in the second period, then scored a takedown and two high gut wrenches to win the match, 10-6.

Hall has signed with Penn State and will be Nolf’s teammate in the upcoming year.

Valencia, a freshman who redshirted this year at Arizona State, also scored a two-match sweep over Penn State All-American Bo Nickal of the Nittany Lion WC in the finals series. In the first match, Valencia jumped to a 6-0 lead and went on to win 8-2. In the second match, Valencia scored two points in the first period and held on for a tight 2-1 decision.

Fix, a bronze medalist at the 2015 UWW Cadet World Championships, was dominant in his two-match sweep over Austin Gomez of the Gomez Wrestling Academy, winning both of his matches with 10-0 technical falls. Fix was dominant on his feet and from the top position, where he scored multiple turns on Gomez.

Hall, Valencia and Fix were all champions at the UWW Junior Nationals in Las Vegas in April, and had advanced directly to the finals series.

The 60 kg/132 lbs. finals series went the full three matches, as South Dakota State star Seth Gross of the Jackrabbit WC defeated UWW Junior Nationals champion Mitchell McKee of the Minnesota Storm, two matches to one.

Gross won the first match, 8-5, after leading 6-2 after the first period. McKee rebounded with a 10-6 win in bout two, scoring eight points in the second period.

The deciding third match was a barnburner, with both athletes scoring multiple times. McKee led 8-2 in the first, and had a 10-5 edge at the break. In the second period, McKee had a 12-11 lead late in the bout, when Gross scored in the final seconds to secure a 15-12 victory.

They join Saturday’s champions Spencer Lee of the Titan Mercury WC at 50 kg/110 lbs., Alec Pantaleo of the Michigan – RTC at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Kollin Moore of the Ohio RTC-Titan Mercury WC at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. and Jordan Wood of the Lehigh Valley WC at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. on the U.S. team which will compete in Macon, France, August 30-September 4.

UWW JUNIOR FREESTYLE JUNIOR WORLD TEAM TRIALS
At Irving, Texas, May 22, 2016

Best-of-three Championship Series

55 kg/121.25 lbs. – Daton Fix (Team BIG) dec. Austin Gomez (Gomez Wrestling Academy), 2 matches to 0
Match 1 – Fix tech. fall Gomez, 10-0
Match 2 - Fix tech. fall Gomez, 10-0

60 kg/132 lbs. –Seth Gross (Jackrabbit WC) dec. Mitchell McKee (Minnesota Storm), 2 matches to 1
Match 1 – Gross dec. McKee, 8-5
Match 2 – McKee dec. Gross, 10-6
Match 3 – Gross dec. McKee, 16-12

74 kg/163 lbs. –Mark Hall (Minnesota Storm) dec. Jason Nolf (Nittany Lion WC), 2 matches to 0
Match 1 – Hall tech. fall Nolf, 10-0
Match 2 – Hall dec. Nolf, 10-6

84 kg/185 lbs. – Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids) dec. Bo Nickal (Nittany Lion WC), 2 matches to 0
Match 1 – Valencia dec. Nickal, 8-2
Match 2 – Valencia dec. Nickal, 2-1

Challenge Tournament results

55 kg/121 lbs.
1st Place - Austin Gomez of Gomez Wrestling Academy
2nd Place - Austin Assad of Michigan - RTC
3rd Place - Nick Piccininni of St..James
4th Place - Gavin Teasdale of Young Guns/OTC
1st Place Match - Austin Gomez (gomez wrestling academy) won by tech fall over Austin Assad (Michigan - RTC) (TF 10-0)
3rd Place Match - Nick Piccininni (st.james) won by tech fall over Gavin Teasdale (Young Guns/OTC) (TF 12-2)

60 kg/132 lbs.
1st Place - Seth Gross of Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
2nd Place - Nick Lee of MCWC/Miron
3rd Place - Taylor Lamont of Champions Wrestling Club
4th Place - Joshua Terao of DCAC
1st Place Match - Seth Gross (Jackrabbit Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Nick Lee (MCWC/Miron) (TF 12-2)
3rd Place Match - Taylor Lamont (Champions Wrestling Club) won by decision over Joshua Terao (DCAC) (Dec 8-7)

74 kg/163 lbs.
1st Place - Jason Nolf of Nittany Lion Wrestling Club
2nd Place - Vincenzo Joseph of Nittany Lion Wrestling Club
3rd Place - Logan Massa of Michigan - RTC
4th Place - Jordan Kutler of Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club
1st Place Match - Jason Nolf (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) won by decision over Vincenzo Joseph (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) (Dec 5-2)
3rd Place Match - Logan Massa (Michigan - RTC) won by decision over Jordan Kutler (Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club) (Dec 7-0)

84 kg/185 lbs.
1st Place - Bo Nickal of Nittany Lion Wrestling Club
2nd Place - Bobby Steveson of Minnesota Storm
3rd Place - Emery Parker of Illinois Regional Training Cen
4th Place - Hunter Ritter of Badger Wrestling Club
1st Place Match - Bo Nickal (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Bobby Steveson (Minnesota Storm) (TF 12-2)
3rd Place Match - Emery Parker (Illinois Regional Training Cen) won by tech fall over Hunter Ritter (Badger Wrestling Club) (TF 10-0)

True Third for National Team

55 kg/121 lbs. - Nick Piccininni (St.James) won by decision over Austin Assad (Michigan - RTC) (Dec 11-7)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Logan Massa (Michigan - RTC) won by fall over Vincenzo Joseph (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) (Fall 5:50)
84 kg/185 lbs - - Emery Parker (Illinois Regional Training Cen) won by tech fall over Bobby Steveson (Minnesota Storm) (TF 14-3)