Returning World medalists Figueroa and Facundo lead men's freestyle into Cadet World Championships

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | July 22, 2019, 3:35 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Richard Figueroa at the 2018 Cadet World Championships. Photo by United World Wrestling.

Led by two World medalists and multiple others with international experience, the 2019 U.S. Men’s Freestyle Cadet World Team is set for the Cadet World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 29-Aug. 4.

Returning to the Cadet World Championships for Team USA is 2018 World silver medalist Richard Figueroa, 2018 World bronze medalist Alex Facundo and three-time Cadet World Team member Robert Howard.

Figueroa made his international debut last year at the 2018 Cadet World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, shocking the field with an exciting run to the finals. He wrapped up his tournament with a World silver medal at 48 kg.

This year, he will move up a weight class, representing the USA at 51 kg in Bulgaria.

Facundo, who finished third in the world last summer in his first international tournament at 71 kg, putting together an impressive performance, including a massive come-from-behind win in the bronze match.

Nationally, Facundo has shown his dominance in freestyle, Greco-Roman and folkstyle, winning and placing at major national and regional tournaments in all three styles.

This year, Facundo returns to the 71 kg weight class and looks to improve on last year’s finish.

Making his third appearance on the Cadet World stage is Howard, who took 13th at Cadet Worlds in 2017 and ninth in 2018. Despite having not medaled at Cadet Worlds, Howard is determined that the third time is a charm.

In late-2018, not long after falling short of his goals at the World Championships, Howard redeemed himself, becoming one of the first American wrestlers to win a Youth Olympic Games gold medal, dominating the 55 kg field in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Next week, he will also compete at 55 kg.

Three other members of the 2019 Cadet World Team come to Bulgaria with past international experience, including Marc-Anthony McGowan at 45 kg, Stevo Poulin at 48 kg and Jesse Mendez at 60 kg.

McGowan won freestyle and Greco-Roman titles at the 2018 U15 Pan American Championships in Villahermosa, Mexico.

Poulin competed in the 2018 Cadet Pan Am Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala, winning gold in freestyle and bronze in Greco.

Most recently, Mendez represented at the 2019 Cadet Pan Ams in Morelia, Mexico, where he won back-to-back golds in freestyle and Greco. In 2016, Mendez secured a U15 Pan Am bronze in freestyle.

Making their international debuts next week are Ryan Sokol at 65 kg, Clayton Ulrey at 80 kg, Kyle Haas at 92 kg and Hunter Catka at 110 kg.

All four athletes have proven themselves on the national scene and now they get the chance to show the world.

The men’s freestyle portion of the tournament is set for July 29-31. Fans can watch the action live on Trackwrestling.com and follow along on Twitter @USAWrestling.

2019 CADET WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Sofia, Bulgaria, July 29-Aug. 4

Monday, July 29
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (MFS 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)
5:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
6 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)

Tuesday, July 30
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)
10:30 a.m. – Repechage (MFS 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)
5:30 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (MFS 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)

Wednesday, July 31
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (WFS 43, 49, 57, 65, 73 kg)
10:30 a.m. – Repechage (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)
5:30 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 43, 49, 57, 65, 73 kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)

Thursday, Aug. 1
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (WFS 40, 46, 53, 61, 69 kg)
10:30 a.m. – Repechage (WFS 43, 49, 57, 65, 73 kg)
5:30 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 40, 46, 53, 61, 69 kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (WFS 43, 49, 57, 65, 73 kg)

Friday, Aug. 2
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (GR 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)
10:30 a.m. – Repechage (WFS 40, 46, 53, 61, 69 kg)
5:30 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (WFS 40, 46, 53, 61, 69 kg)

Saturday, Aug. 3
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (GR 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)
10:30 a.m. – Repechage (GR 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)
5:30 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (GR 48, 55, 65, 80, 110 kg)

Sunday, Aug. 4
4 p.m. – Repechage (GR 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)
6 p.m. Finals (GR 45, 51, 60, 71, 92 kg)

Men’s freestyle roster
45 kg: Marc-Anthony McGowan (Tampa, Fla./BLR)
48 kg: Stevo Poulin (Ballston Lake, N.Y./Journeymen WC)
51 kg: Richard Figueroa (Sanger, Calif./Sunkist Kids/Monster Garage)
55 kg: Robert Howard (Cranford, N.J./Titan Mercury WC/Bitetto Trained)
60 kg: Jesse Mendez (Crown Point, Ind./Bulldog Premier WC)
65 kg: Ryan Sokol (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley WC)
71 kg: Alex Facundo (Davison, Mich./Team Donahue)
80 kg: Clayton Ulrey (Grantville, Pa./TNWC)
92 kg: Kyle Haas (Maize, Kan./Kansas-USA Wrestling)
110 kg: Hunter Catka (Brookhaven, Pa./Lab Trained)

Coach – Brandon Slay, Philadelphia, Pa.
National Men’s Freestyle Developmental Coach – Kevin Jackson, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Medical – Dr. David Haight, Tampa, Fla.
Medical – Elizabeth Del Rae, Kempton, Pa.

Referee – Cody Goessl, Medford, Wisc.
Referee – Josh Grube, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Referee – Fidel Albelo, Miami, Fla.

Media – Taylor Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo.