U.S. Greco-Roman team set for 2021 Junior World Championships in Russia
by Joe Wedra, Special to TheMat.com
The United States Greco-Roman Junior World Team features plenty of young talent that is set to compete at the 2021 Junior World Championships in Ufa, Russia, which will take place August 16-22. The team, highlighted by collegiate and high school standouts, was finalized in May at the 2021 UWW Junior Nationals in Coralville, Iowa.
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. Fans can watch all the action live on FloWrestling.
This year’s Junior Greco-Roman team is led by Braxton Amos at 97 kg, who has quickly made a name for himself on the national stage. Amos is no stranger to the Greco scene – he had an impressive run at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, making it to the finals against eventual Olympic team member G’Angelo Hancock. Amos was also a 2019 Junior Pan-American silver medalist in Greco-Roman. He will also compete in the freestyle division of Junior Worlds earlier in the week.
Also highlighting Team USA in Russia are a pair of former age-group world team members – Dominic Damon at 67 kg and Luke Luffman at 130 kg.
Damon, who was a 2018 Cadet world team member, wrestles at Northern Michigan University. He took third at the 2019 U.S. Open in the Junior Greco-Roman tournament. At Junior Nationals this year, Damon won a three-match finals series against college teammate Payton Jacobson to make the team.
Luffman, who competed for Team USA at 110 kg at the 2018 Cadet World Championships, is looking to add another accomplishment to his already-impressive resume. A two-time NCAA qualifier for the University of Illinois, Luffman is a three-time Fargo champion (two freestyle titles, one Greco-Roman title).
At 55 kg, Nevada’s Billy Sullivan will look to impress in Russia. The Legends of Gold Las Vegas wrestler has been impressive over the last couple of years on the Greco-Roman scene, taking second at the 2020 UWW Junior Nationals and the 2019 US Open in Junior Greco-Roman, both at 55 kg. Sullivan won a Fargo title in 2019, winning the Junior Greco-Roman championship.
Nic Bouzakis, a Pennsylvania standout who wrestles at Wyoming Seminary, earned the spot at 60 kg after winning a title in Coralville in May. Bouzakis earned the Outstanding Wrestler award at the 2019 16U Junior Nationals in Fargo.
Chayse Lajoie, a Cornell wrestler, will compete at 63 kg. Lajoie is a two-time Fargo junior Greco-Roman champion. He also posted an impressive performance at the 2020 UWW Junior Nationals, winning the Greco-Roman title at 60 kg.
Both Bouzakis and Lajoie dominated their way through their brackets at the 2021 Junior Nationals, posting back-to-back tech fall victories in both of their finals series.
Justus Scott, who wrestles collegiately at Baker University, is the Team USA representative at 72 kg. Scott, a Nevada native, will look to make an impact in Russia after posting two-straight wins in his Junior Nationals finals series against Colorado’s Noah Wachsmuth.
At 77 kg, Matthew Singleton will represent the USA. Singleton is a three-time Georgia state champion who recently committed to wrestle for N.C. State University. The highly touted high school standout was a finalist in Fargo in 2019 in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.
Jonathon Fagen, who is teammates with Lajoie at Cornell, is the U.S. representative at 82 kg. Fagen is a 2017 Fargo Greco-Roman champion, who took third at the 2019 U.S. Open in the Junior Greco-Roman 87 kg division. Fagen was a four-time Idaho state champion at Fruitland High School.
Oregon State wrestler Kodiak Stephens will compete for Team USA at 87 kg in Ufa. Stephens worked through a talent-filled bracket at the 2021 Junior Nationals to earn the spot, eventually defeating Wisconsin’s Tyler Hannah in a two-to-one finals series. Stephens is a native of Arnold, California.
The Greco-Roman action in Ufa will take place August 20-22 and can be watched live on FloWrestling.
2021 JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Aug. 16-22 | Ufa, Russia
U.S. Greco-Roman roster
55 kg: Billy Sullivan (Las Vegas, Nev./Legends of Gold Las Vegas)
60 kg: Nic Bouzakis (Shavertown, Pa./XCalibur Athletics)
63 kg: Chayse La Joie (Gaylord, Mich./Spartan Combat RTC)
67 kg: Dominic Damon (Seattle, Wash./NMU RTC)
72 kg: Justus Scott (Henderson, Nev./Legends of Gold Las Vegas)
77 kg: Matthew Singleton (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy)
82 kg: Jon Fagen (Fruitland, Idaho/Spartan Combat RTC)
87 kg: Kodiak Stephens (Arnold, Calif./Ebbetts Pass WC)
97 kg: Braxton Amos (Mineral Well, W.V./Wisconsin RTC)
130 kg: Luke Luffman (Urbana, Ill./Illinois RTC)
National Manager of Greco-Roman Programs: Gary Mayabb
Coach: Ike Anderson
Medical: Dr. Vermon Esplin
Medical: Chad Smidt
Official: Cody Goessl
Official: Brock Zollinger
Official: Cody Hesser
Communications: Taylor Miller
Team leader: Paul Kieblesz