USA Wrestling EAP athletes Moran, ...

EAP athletes Moran, Saunders, Elam plus U15 World champ Valencia set for Flatz Open in Austria

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Jan. 28, 2020, 9:34 a.m. (ET)

Josh Saunders of the USA secures a single leg on Ravinder of India at the 2018 Cadet World Championships. UWW photo by Martin Gabor.

A small delegation of talented age-group freestyle wrestlers will compete at the Flatz Open in Wolfurt, Austria on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Three talented athletes from the Elite Accelerator Program (EAP) at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center will wrestle in the men’s freestyle UWW Junior division of the tournament: Jacob Moran (Portage, Ind./EAP) at 57 kg, Josh Saunders (St. Louis, Mo./Titan Mercury WC/EAP) at 61 kg and Rocky Elam (Kansas City, Mo./EAP) at 86 kg.

Saunders, a Cornell commit, is coming off an impressive eighth-place finish at 65 kg at the Senior Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas in December. In 2018, Saunders represented Team USA on both the Cadet World Team and the Junior World Team. Saunders was a 2019 Junior Nationals freestyle champion, and a 2017 Cadet Nationals freestyle champion. He won three Missouri state titles for Christian Brothers College High School.

Moran, who has signed with Indiana, also competed at the Senior Nationals this year. Moran was fourth in the 2017 Junior Nationals. He was an Indiana state champion for Portage High School.

Elam, who is committed to Missouri, was a 2018 Cadet National freestyle champion and a 2019 Junior National folkstyle champion. He was fourth in the 2019 Junior Nationals. Elam was a Missouri state champion for Staley High School.

Competing in the UWW Cadet division will be 2019 U15 World champion Aden Valencia (Morgan Hill, Calif.) at 50 kg. Valencia won U15 World titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. Likewise, he won USA Wrestling’s U15 National Championships in both styles.

The tournament will feature men’s and women’s freestyle. The men’s competition will have both Cadet and Junior divisions. The women’s competition will feature a Cadet division and a combined Junior/Senior division. This year, no U.S. wrestlers are expected in the women’s tournament.

Wolfurt is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone

At Wolfurt, Austria,

U.S. Junior men’s freestyle entries

57 kg – Jacob Moran, Portage, Ind. (EAP)
61 kg – Josh Saunders, St. Louis, Mo. (Titan Mercury WC/EAP)
86 kg – Rocky Elam, Kansas City, Mo. (EAP)

U.S. Cadet men’s freestyle entry
50 kg – Aden Valencia, Morgan Hill, Calif.

National Freestyle Developmental Coach – Kevin Jackson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach: Joel Valencia, Morgan Hill, Calif.
Referee: Wyatt Booth, Pueblo West, Colo.
Medical: Trinity Parris, Aberdeen, Wash.

Event Schedule
(local time is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone)

Saturday, Feb. 1
9:30 a.m. – conclusion – All weights and divisions completed