Aden Valencia, pictured at the 2023 U.S. Senior Nationals, earned the 65 kg gold medal at the Henri Deglane Grand Prix.
Aden Valencia named USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week presented by U.S. Air Force Special Warfare
by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling
Aden Valencia (Morgan Hill, Calif./Titan Mercury WC/California RTC) has been named the USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week, presented by U.S. Air Force Special Warfare, on Jan. 24, 2024.
The 18-year-old surged to an international breakout on the Senior-level with a masterful gold medal performance at the Henri Deglane Grand Prix held in Nice, France. Valencia went 5-0 at the event with three technical falls and a pair of come-from-behind wins in the semis and finals to top the 65 kg men’s freestyle bracket.
Valencia popped through a head pinch at the buzzer to take out Canada’s Peiman Biabani, formerly a U20 World champion for Iran, in the semifinals. He added to the dramatics with a finals-clinching takedown at the 15-second mark to beat 2022 U20 World bronze medalist Khamzat Arsamerzouev of France, 3-2.
To add further scope on Valencia’s title run, his bracket in France included two past NCAA champions, Nahshon Garrett and Anthony Ashnault, plus NCAA All-American and U.S. Open finalist Matthew Kolodzik. All three veteran competitors were unable to make the podium.
Valencia was one of four men’s freestyle gold medalists at the Henri Deglane Grand Prix for Team USA—Hayden Zillmer, Michael Macchiavello and Camden McDanel joined Valencia with the distinction.
The California native has impressed with two top-eight placements at the U.S. Senior Nationals while still in high school. He earned seventh place honors at the 2023 U.S. Open in Las Vegas and was the eighth-place finisher last month’s Senior Nationals in Fort Worth.
Valencia is currently training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., as part of USA Wrestling’s Elite Accelerator Program. He is committed to wrestle for Stanford University next season.
To nominate a wrestler for this honor please email the athlete's name, wrestling program, weekly accomplishments, and career accolades to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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