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2021 USMC Junior & 16U Nationals smashes participation record with combined 5,900 entries in six tournaments

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

View of the Fargodome during the 2021 Junior & 16U Nationals by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

During the same year that USA Wrestling celebrated its 50th Junior Nationals, the combined U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals set a new record with a total of 5,900 entries across its six tournaments.

This was an increase of 526 athletes over the previous record set during the 2019 event held in Fargo, which had 5,374 wrestlers. This continued the upward trend, going back to 2018 which had 4,999 athletes.

This was achieved in spite of the challenges faced by the wrestling community during the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the sport for a considerable time starting in March 2020.

The breakdown of participants in the individual tournaments were:

• Junior Men’s Freestyle Nationals – 1,584

• Junior Greco-Roman Nationals – 1,044

• Junior Women’s Freestyle Nationals – 663

• 16U Men’s Freestyle Nationals – 1,317

• 16U Greco-Roman Nationals – 943

• 16U Women’s Freestyle Nationals - 349

“USA Wrestling is proud and excited that the 2021 USMC Junior & 16U Nationals has smashed the previous participation record. This is a testament to the great efforts of our state association leadership. The entire wrestling community banded together during the challenges of the pandemic and found a way to bring wrestling back as strong as ever. We thank all of the volunteers who helped conduct the greatest USMC Junior & Cadet Nationals in our organization’s history,” said Pete Isais, USA Wrestling National Events Director.