| Spencer Lee and Mark Hall after winning Junior World gold.
Photo: Justin Hoch, JHoch.com.
MACON, France – It was a golden night for the U.S. men’s freestyle team at the 2016 Junior World Championships with Spencer Lee and Mark Hall both claiming gold medals and hoisting the American flag at night’s end.
The American duo gave the U.S. its first two gold medalists at the Junior Worlds this week, and both achieved the monumental feat in thrilling fashion.
Lee entered the 50 kg/110 lbs. gold medal match as the defending champion in the weight class and heavy favorite to repeat, but the American received all he could handle from Kyrgyzstan’s Khurshid Parpiev who was competing in his first international tournament.
Right off the bat, Lee charged in with a body lock maneuver and was hip tossed for four points. Lee returned to score a takedown and step out to cut the lead to 4-3. The American soon found himself down by five after giving up two exposures off his own takedown attempt. Lee reeled off eight straight points in the waning moments of the match to win it in dramatic fashion, 11-9.
“I just overcame a lot,” an emotional Lee said after his finals win. “I felt like he was just very counter offensive. I’m getting in places where I’m normally comfortable, and next thing you know it I’m giving up exposure points and four’s. I didn’t know what to do. I just kept wrestling I guess.”
Lee has now won three World titles in a row, two in the Junior division and one as a Cadet. He will be a senior at Franklin Regional High School this year with a chance to win his fourth Pennsylvania state title. Lee has committed to wrestle collegiately at Iowa.
It was a very different story for Hall in the 74 kg/163 lbs. finals against 2016 Junior Asian champion Ahmad Bazrighaleh of Iran. Hall shot in on a low level single right away, secured the takedown, and struck with four leg laces to end the match, 10-0.
“After last year, that feeling’s been in my heart for a while, and this just takes it and crushes that feeling I had last year. That’s the first time I’ve ever had tears of joy. It feels good, and it helps me know that I have step that I’m on now, and I’ve just got to keep climbing the others. This is big, but there are bigger and better things that I can get to,” said Hall.
Hall adds Junior World champion to a resume that already included 2014 Cadet World champion, three-time age-group World Team member, three-time USAW Cadet Nationals champion and six-time high school state champion. He will attend college powerhouse Penn State in the fall.
Today marks the first time the U.S. has won two Junior World gold medals in men’s freestyle since Stephen Abas and Donny Pritzlaf did so under the Red, White and Blue banner in 1998.
Americans Seth Gross and Kollin Moore showed promise in their first time competing at the Junior Worlds, but were unable to qualify for a medal match. Gross finished in eighth place at 60 kg/132 lbs. and Moore wound up in 12th place at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.
“A true champion, winners know how to win. Whether they take somebody down and tech them in thirty seconds or whether they come from six-zero to win, winners know how to win. I think it gives them confidence in their future. It lets them know that if I can win a Cadet World title and a Junior World title then I can win a Senior World title and an Olympic gold medal,” said U.S. coach Brandon Slay.
The final day of action from France will begin tomorrow at 4 a.m. (ET) with the qualification rounds and repechage followed by the medal matches at 12 p.m. (ET). Going tomorrow for the U.S. are Daton Fix at 55 kg, Alec Pantaleo at 66 kg, Zahid Valencia at 84 kg and Jordan Wood at 120 kg.
Flowrestling is providing a live stream of the Junior World Championships at flowrestling.org. Viewers must purchase a FloPro membership to watch the competition live.
For complete brackets and match-by-match results visit unitedworldwrestling.org.
2016 JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Aug. 30 – Sept. 4 in Macon, France
50 kg/110 lbs.
Gold – Spencer Lee (United States)
Silver – Khurshid Parpiev (Kyrgyzstan)
Bronze – Aliabbas Rzazade (Azerbaijan)
Bronze – Yerbulan Sarkytbayev (Kazakhstan)
5th – Engin Cetin (Turkey)
5th – Roberti Dingashvili (Georgia)
7th – Viktor Khan (Russia)
8th – Ryo Matsui (Japan)
9th – Razvan Kovacs (Romania)
10th – Valentin Damour (France)
Gold – Spencer Lee (United States) dec. Khurshid Parpiev (Kyrgyzstan), 11-9
Bronze – Aliabbas Rzazade (Azerbaijan) dec. Engin Cetin (Turkey), 2-0
Bronze – Yerbulan Sarkytbayev (Kazakhstan) dec. Roberti Dingashvili (Georgia), 12-6
60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold – Peiman Biabani (Iran)
Silver – Selim Kozan (Turkey)
Bronze – Kezhik Chymba (Russia)
Bronze – Shmagi Todua (Georgia)
5th – Temurjon Usmonohunov (Uzbekistan)
5th – Ilman Mukhtarov (France)
7th – Sharvan (India)
8th – Seth Gross (United States)
9th – Takumi Yoshimura (Japan)
10th – Ulukbek Zholdoshbekov (Kyrgyzstan)
Gold – Peiman Biabani (Iran) dec. Selim Kozan (Turkey), 3-1
Bronze – Kezhik Chymba (Russia) tech. fall Temurjon Usmonohunov (Uzbekistan), 10-0
Bronze – Shmagi Todua (Georgia) dec. Ilman Mukhtarov (France), 11-6
74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold – Mark Hall (United States)
Silver – Ahmad Bazrighaleh (Iran)
Bronze – Nikita Suchkov (Russia)
Bronze – Tariel Gaphrindashvili (Georgia)
5th – Gheorghi Pascalov (Moldova)
5th – Murad Suleymanov (Azerbaijan)
7th – Samy Moustafa (Egypt)
8th – Alexander Moore (Canada)
9th – Yajuro Yamasaki (Japan)
10th – Muhammet Kucukyildirim (Turkey)
Gold – Mark Hall (United States) tech. fall Ahmad Bazrighaleh (Iran), 10-0
Bronze – Nikita Suchkov (Russia) tech. fall Gheorghi Pascalov (Moldova), 10-0
Bronze – Tariel Gaphrindashvili (Georgia) fall Murad Suleymanov (Azerbaijan), 2:39
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold – Hossein Shahbazigazvar (Iran)
Silver – Erik Thiele (Germany)
Bronze – Znaur Kotciev (Russia)
Bronze – Kristof Wittmann (Hungary)
5th – Mandeep (India)
5th – Simone Iannattoni (Italy)
7th – Aliaksei Rudzianok (Belarus)
8th – Takashi Ishiguro (Japan)
9th – Maulitkhan Tashbol (Kazakhstan)
10th – Abdalla Algizawee (Egypt)
Gold – Hossein Shahbazigazvar (Iran) dec. Erik Thiele (Germany), 7-1
Bronze – Znaur Kotciev (Russia) dec. Mandeep (India), 7-0
Bronze – Kristof Wittmann (Hungary) dec. Simone Iannattoni (Italy), 7-2
U.S. men’s freestyle results
50 kg/110 lbs. – Spencer Lee, Murraysville, Pa. (Young Guns), Gold
WIN Engin Cetin (Turkey), 11-0
WIN Valentin Damour (France), Fall 0:27
WIN Razvan Kovacs (Romania), 12-0
WIN Aliabbas Rzazade (Azerbaijan), 12-0
WIN Khurshid Parpiev (Kyrgyzstan), 11-9
60 kg/132 lbs. – Seth Gross, Rosemount, Minn. (Jackrabbit WC), 8th
LOSS Selim Kozan (Turkey), 11-10
LOSS Ilman Mukhtarov (France), 16-11
74 kg/163 lbs. – Mark Hall, Apple Valley, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), Gold
WIN Yajuro Yamasaki (Japan), 3-2
WIN Roman Zinchenko (Ukraine), Fall 3:51
WIN Tariel Gaphrindashvili (Georgia), 12-1
WIN Murad Suleymanov (Azerbaijan), 5-5
WIN Ahmad Bazrighaleh (Iran), 10-0
96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Kollin Moore, Burbank, Ohio (Ohio RTC/Titan Mercury WC), 12th
WIN Emil Ashyraliev (Kyrgyzstan), 10-0
LOSS Znaur Kotciev (Russia), 11-0