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Kodiak Stephens pulled into Greco-Roman repechage at 2021 Junior Worlds

by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling

Photo of Kodiak Stephens by Sam Janicki.

UFA, Russia – USA Greco’s Kodiak Stephens will wrestle in repechage tomorrow after getting pulled back in at 87 kg on Friday night of the 2021 Junior World Championships in Ufa, Russia.


Kodiak Stephens fell in the first round, 8-0, to Tyrone Sterkenburg of the Netherlands, who is a 2017 Cadet European bronze medalist. Sterkenburg defeated his next three opponents to advance to the finals, giving Stephens another shot at a medal.

Ultimately, Stephens will have to win three bouts on Saturday to secure the bronze. In his first repechage match, Stephens will face 2019 Cadet World bronze medalist Maksat Sailau from Kazakhstan. Should the American win, he will take on Oleksandr Prymachenko from Ukraine in the second repechage bout, and in the bronze match, he will battle 2019 Cadet World champion Lachin Valiyev of Azerbaijan.

The four other Americans that competed today were knocked out of the competition on Friday.

At 55 kg, 2019 Junior Pan Am bronze medalist Billy Sullivan lost in his competition opener to 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist Iskhar Kurbayev from Kazakhstan, 11-2. Kurbayev did advance to the semifinals, but there, he dropped a 6-0 match to Iran’s Amirreza Dehbozorgi, a 2019 Cadet World champion, ending Sullivan’s 2021 Junior World Championships.

In the first session, three athletes were eliminated from competition: Chayse LaJoie at 63 kg, Matthew Singleton at 77 kg and Luke Luffman at 130 kg.

Cornell wrestler Chayse LaJoie lost in the first-round, 8-0, to 2018 Youth Olympics Games silver medalist Iman Mohammadi of Iran, who then fell in the quarterfinals to Said Bakaev of Russia.

At 77 kg, Matthew Singleton dropped a 7-0 match to Andreas Vasilakopoulos from Greece, who was 15th at the 2019 Cadet World Championships. The Greek lost in the round of 16 to Yuksel Sariciek from Turkey, which ended Singleton’s tournament.

At heavyweight, 2018 Cadet World Team member Luke Luffman fell in a hard-fought battle against 2019 Cadet World silver medalist Razmik Kurdyan from Armenia. Kurdyan’s quarterfinal loss to 2018 Cadet World champion and 2019 Junior World bronze medalist Muhammet Bakir of Turkey ended the tournament for Illinois wrestler Luffman.

Greco-Roman competition continues tomorrow with repechage and five other U.S. athletes beginning their tournaments, including 2021 Junior World champion in men’s freestyle, Braxton Amos. Action begins at 11 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) live on FloWrestling.


Aug. 16-22 | Ufa, Russia

U.S. Greco-Roman results
55 kg: Billy Sullivan (Las Vegas, Nev./Legends of Gold Las Vegas) – eliminated
LOSS Iskhar KURBAYEV (Kazakhstan), 11-2

63 kg: Chayse La Joie (Gaylord, Mich./Spartan Combat RTC) – eliminated
LOSS Iman MOHAMMADI (Iran), 8-0

77 kg: Matthew Singleton (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy) – eliminated
LOSS Andreas VASILAKOPOULOS (Greece), 7-0

87 kg: Kodiak Stephens (Arnold, Calif./Ebbetts Pass WC) – repechage
LOSS Tyrone STERKENBURG (Netherlands), 8-0
vs. Maksat SAILAU (Kazakhstan)

130 kg: Luke Luffman (Urbana, Ill./Illinois RTC) – eliminated
LOSS Razmik KURDYAN (Armenia), 6-1