Photo: Mark Hall becomes the fifth American to win two Junior World championships. Photo by Richard Immel.
TAMPERE, Finland – Mark Hall became only the fifth wrestler in U.S. history to win two Junior World titles and only the third to do it in men’s freestyle, when he pinned his opponent from Uzbekistan in the 74 kg/163 lbs. finals at the 2017 Junior World Championships in Tampere, Finland, on Tuesday.
After an incredible morning session that saw him pick up two technical falls and two decisions, Hall (Apple Valley, Minn./Nittany Lion WC) was put up against Uzbekistan’s Isa Shapiev, the 2017 Asian silver medalist.
It didn’t take long for Hall to earn his second-consecutive gold as he pinned Shapiev in 43 seconds.
“I don’t really even know how I got there,” Hall said. “I just got a front headlock. I know I’m comfortable with that left underhook on the side. You get there and you just try to rip it as hard as you can. If you get it, you get it. If not, I’m rolling all the way through anyway and only giving up two. I wasn’t really worried there.”
The quick pin came after defeating a slew of tough opponents just hours earlier, including Russia Nationals runner-up Radik Valiev of Russia and 2017 Asian champion Mohammad Mottaghinia of Iran.
Hall joins a short list of two-time American Junior World champions, which features women’s freestylers Ali Bernard (2003, 05) and Victoria Anthony (2009, 10) and men’s freestylers Tim Timok (1979, 80) Spencer Lee (2015, 16).
“It feels good,” Hall said. “Walking back, Coach Casey (Cunningham) just told me that was a great way to round out the last year. I won Junior Worlds and then pulling my redshirt and winning an NCAA championship and then coming back and winning another Junior World title is a pretty awesome feat.”
Mitchell McKee (Hanover, Minn./Minnesota Storm) finished his first Junior World Championships with a silver medal, coming up short in the 60 kg/132 lbs. finals.
McKee went head to head with 2017 Junior European bronze medalist Abdulla Akhmedov of Russia, who went up 8-0 early, thanks to a fireman’s carry that turned out to be the winning move for the Russian. He put McKee to his back and stuck the American in one minute.
The Minnesota Gopher had an impressive day filled with a lot of heart as he was tasked with overcoming big deficits in the morning session to earn his spot in the finals. When it was all said and done, McKee walked away with his first World medal.
“I wanted to get gold and didn’t get that. That was disappointing, but if you look at the day as a whole, it was a good day. It was just not the ending I wanted. I learned a lot about myself, too, and that I can battle back through a lot of adversity. It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that I’m second in the world at my weight and I’m right there.”
Kollin Moore (Burbank, Ohio/Titan Mercury WC) improved on his 2016 performance, claiming bronze on Tuesday at 96 kg/211 lbs. The Ohio State Buckeye wrestled Ilja Matuhin of Germany for bronze, a match he dominated.
Moore went up 5-0 after the first period and continued to roll in the second, picking up a quick takedown and gut for a 9-0 lead. He finished it off with a takedown on the edge for a tech fall win and some bronze hardware to bring back to the U.S.
“I feel great. I feel amazing,” Moore said. “I knew he was a big defense guy and didn’t attack a lot, so I just tried to set up stuff really well and pick my attacks. I went for a lace but I got to a gut off one of my takedowns, and that helped a lot because it was one less shot I had to take. It was nice.”
Two-time Cadet World team member Malik Heinselman ended his first Junior World Championships in eighth place, going 1-1. The Tuesday morning win over Horst Lehr of Germany was Heinselman’s first World victory as an age-group wrestler.
Four more U.S. men’s freestyle wrestlers (Daton Fix, Ryan Deakin, Zahid Valencia, Gable Steveson) seek individual glory as well as a team title on Wednesday. Wrestling starts with preliminary matches and repechage at 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time). A live stream of the event, as well as brackets, can be found at Trackwrestling.com.
2017 JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Aug. 1-6 in Tampere, Finland
50 kg/110 lbs.
Gold – Shahin Mukhtarov (Azerbaijan)
Silver – Karen Zurabyan (Armenia)
Bronze – Akbar Kenzhebck Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)
Bronze – Nasanuyan Narmandakh (Mongolia)
5th – Aslan Minkailov (Russia)
5th – Rakhat Kalzhan (Kazakhstan)
7th – Alireza Nosratolah Sarlak (Iran)
8th – Malik Heinselman (USA)
9th – Drilon Syla (Kosovo)
10th – Horst Lehr (Germany)
Gold – Shahin Mukhtarov (Azerbaijan) dec. Karen Zurabyan (Armenia), 7-5
Bronze – Akbar Kenzhebck Uulu (Kyrgyzstan) win by fall Aslan Minkailov (Russia), 5:51
Bronze – Nasanuyan Narmandakh (Mongolia) dec. Rakhat Kalzhan (Kazakhstan), 6-2
60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold – Abdulla Akhmedov (Russia)
Silver – Mitchell McKee (USA)
Bronze – Yones Emamichoghaei (Iran)
Bronze – Hiromu Sakaki (Japan)
5th – Eriglent Prizreni (Albania)
5th – Ravinder Ravinder (India)
7th – Utku Dogan (Turkey)
8th – Tsogbadrakh Tseveensuren (Mongolia)
9th – Abbos Rakhmonov (Uzbekistan)
10th – Ali Rahimzade (Azerbaijan)
Gold – Abdulla Akhmedov (Russia) win by fall Mitchell McKee (USA), 1:00
Bronze – Yones Emamichoghaei (Iran) tech. fall Eriglent Prizreni (Albania), 10-0
Bronze – Hiromu Sakaki (Japan) dec. Ravinder Ravinder (India), 9-6
74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold – Mark Hall (USA)
Silver – Isa Shapiev (Uzbekistan)
Bronze – Veer Dev Gulia (India)
Bronze – Mohammad Mottaghinia (Iran)
5th – Yajuro Yamasaki (Japan)
5th – Muhammet Kucukyildirim (Turkey)
7th – Radik Valiev (Russia)
8th – Nika Kentchadze (Georgia)
9th – Alberts Jurcenko (Latvia)
10th – Akhsarbek Gulaev (Slovakia)
Gold – Mark Hall (USA) win by fall Isa Shapiev (Uzbekistan), 0:43
Bronze – Veer Dev Gulia (India) dec. Yajuro Yamasaki (Japan), 8-5
Bronze – Mohammad Mottaghinia (Iran) tech. fall Muhammet Kucukyildirim (Turkey), 11-0
96 kg/211 lbs.
Gold – Shamil Musaev (Russia)
Silver – Givi Matcharashvili (Georgia)
Bronze – Ibrahim Ciftci (Turkey)
Bronze – Kollin Moore (USA)
5th – Sargis Hovsepyan (Armenia)
5th – Ilja Matuhin (Germany)
7th – Nishan Randhawa (India)
8th – Oleksandr Himishli (Ukraine)
9th – Monu Monu (India)
10th – Alisher Yergali (Kazakhstan)
Gold – Shamil Musaev (Russia) dec. Givi Matcharashvili (Georgia), 7-2
Bronze – Ibrahim Ciftci (Turkey) dec. Sargis Hovsepyan (Armenia), 7-0
Bronze – Kollin Moore (USA) tech. fall Ilja Matuhin (Germany), 11-0
U.S. men’s freestyle results
50 kg/110 lbs. – Malik Heinselman, Castle Rock, Colo. (Olympian WC), 8th
WIN Horst Lehr (Germany), 5-4
LOSS Rakhat Kalzhan (Kazakhstan), 8-2
60 kg/132 lbs. – Mitchell McKee, Hanover, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
WIN Edemi Bolkvadze (Georgia), 11-9
WIN Hiromu Sakaki (Japan), 10-0
WIN Utku Dogan (Turkey), 11-9
WIN Ravinder Ravinder (India), 16-14
LOSS Abdulla Akhmedov (Russia), fall 1:00
74 kg/163 lbs. – Mark Hall, Apple Valley, Minn. (Nittany Lion WC)
WIN Adlan Bataiev (Ukraine), 10-0
WIN Radik Valiev (Russia), 6-2
WIN Mohammad Mottaghinia (Iran), 10-0
WIN Muhammet Kucukyildirim (Turkey), 10-3
WIN Isa Shapiev (Uzbekistan), fall 0:43
96 kg/211 lbs. – Kollin Moore, Burbank, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Danyal Shariatinia (Iran), 10-5
WIN Alisher Yergli (Kazakhstan), 10-0
LOSS Givi Matcharashvili (Georgia), 16-4
WIN Ilja Matuhin (Germany), 11-0