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Strong men's freestyle squad set for Junior Worlds in Russia, Aug. 16-22

by Joe Wedra, Special to

The USA is sending a strong men’s freestyle squad to the 2021 Junior World Championships in Ufa, Russia, which is set for Aug. 16-22. Fans can watch all the action live on

The tournament begins with men’s freestyle Aug. 16-18, followed by women’s freestyle Aug. 18-20 and closing out with Greco-Roman Aug. 20-22.

Full schedule with ET for Team USA

The men’s freestyle team came together in April at the UWW Junior World Team Trials, where the winners of each bracket earned a bid to the Championships.

At 57 kg, California standout Richard Figueroa II kicks off the Team USA lineup after an impressive performance in Iowa. A two-time Cadet World Team member, Figueroa won a Cadet World silver medal in 2018. 

Jesse Mendez, an Indiana high school standout who will hold down the spot at 61 kg, won the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at Junior Nationals. Mendez, a 2019 Cadet World Team member and 2019 Cadet Pan-American champion, also earned a runner-up finish at the 2021 UWW U23 Nationals in May. 

Penn State’s Beau Bartlett will be the United States representative at 65 kg. Bartlett, a 2018 Cadet Pan-American champion, looks to make an impact in his first international competition since that event, where he also took second in Greco-Roman at 60 kg.

Virginia Tech’s Bryce Andonian, at 70 kg, earned his first spot on a World Team after defeating ACC rival Ed Scott of the Wolfpack Wrestling Club at Junior Nationals. Andonian, a two-time NCAA qualifier and two-time ACC runner-up, took second at the 2020 Junior Nationals. The two-time Ohio state champion won a Fargo freestyle national title at 145 pounds in 2018.

At 74 kg, rising star Keegan O’Toole was dominant at Junior Nationals to earn his Junior World Team spot. The Missouri standout took third place at 165 pounds at the 2021 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. O’Toole also won the 2020 UWW Junior Nationals at 70 kg.

Indiana wrestler Donnell Washington secured the spot at 79 kg to represent the United States in Russia. Washington was a 2021 NCAA qualifier, earning the No. 9 seed going into the tournament after a standout dual meet season for the Hoosiers.

Missouri student-athletes Colton Hawks (86 kg) and Rocky Elam (92 kg) join O’Toole as three Tiger Style WC athletes on the United States Junior World Team roster. Hawks, who was a freshman at Missouri this year, swept his finals series at Junior Nationals over Oklahoma’s Darren Roberts to earn the spot. Elam, who took fifth at NCAAs at 197 pounds, was the 2021 U23 runner-up at 92 kg and a 2020 Junior Nationals runner-up. He also placed fifth at the 2020 Senior Nationals at 86 kg.

Rising star Braxton Amos of the Wisconsin RTC will compete at 97 kg for Team USA. Amos won the Junior freestyle and Greco-Roman titles in May, earning his way onto both teams for the Junior World Championships in Ufa. He also reached the finals of April’s 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at 97 kg in Greco-Roman. 

Rounding out the United States lineup at 125 kg is Air Force wrestler Wyatt Hendrickson, who defeated Oklahoma’s Joshua Heindselman in three matches in the best-of-three finals to make the 2021 Junior World team. Hendrickson is a two-time Kansas high school state champion who just finished his freshman year at the Air Force Academy.

The 2021 Junior World Championships can be watched live on FloWrestling August 16-22.


Aug. 16-22 | Ufa, Russia

U.S. men’s freestyle roster
57 kg: Richard Figueroa (Sanger, Calif./Sunkist Kids)
61 kg: Jesse Mendez (Crown Point, Ind./Region Wrestling Academy)
65 kg: Beau Bartlett (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC)
70 kg: Bryce Andonian (Blacksburg, Va./SERTC)
74 kg: Keegan O’Toole (Hartland, Wisc./Tiger Style WC)
79 kg: Donnell Washington (Portage, Ind./Indiana RTC)
86 kg: Colton Hawks (Wentzville, Mo./Tiger Style WC)
92 kg: Rocky Elam (Kansas City, Mo./Tiger WC)
97 kg: Braxton Amos (Mineral Wells, W.V./Wisconsin RTC)
125 kg: Wyatt Hendrickson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Force RTC)

National Men’s Freestyle Development Coach: Kevin Jackson (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Medical: Dr. Vermon Esplin
Medical: Chad Smidt

Official: Cody Goessl
Official: Brock Zollinger
Official: Cody Hesser

Communications: Taylor Miller

Team leader: Paul Kieblesz