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Braxton Amos wins Gold; O’Toole & Elam in Gold Medal match at World Juniors

Braxton Amos

In what’s shaping up to be a fantastic performance from the USA Wrestling Junior contingent, Braxton Amos became the first American to win a gold medal in Ufa, Russia. While Bryce Andonian and Beau Bartlett both won Bronze medals in Tuesday competition. The story of the tournament has been the relentless pressure from the Americans. 

Amos earned his spot in the Gold Medal match after three victories on Monday. The Freshman at the University of Wisconsin faced Polat Polatci of Turkey. In the first period, Amos scored four separate 1-point step-outs to take a 4–0 lead. Polatci gave up a caution point after fleeing the hold. Amos snapped Polatci to the mat and went to spin around for the takedown, but Polacti countered. Amos forced a throw and landed on his back, surrendering four points, narrowing the score to 5–4.

After the break, Amos again went through Polacti. This time, Amos secured a tight body lock and popped his hips, hitting a beautiful 5-point throw, extending his lead to 10–4. After earning another step out, Amos won the match 11–4, giving the US their first Gold Medal of the tournament.

In the first Bronze Medal match at 65 kg, Beau Bartlett of Penn State faced Mustafo Akhmedov of Tajikistan. Akhmedov took an early 4–0 after a takedown and a leg lace. In the second period, Bartlett turned up the intensity, which Akhmedov had difficulty matching. Akhmedov was put on the thirty-second shot clock but could not score, giving Bartlett his first point of the match. Bartlett again pushed up the pace and hit a huge four-point double leg to take the lead 5–4. In the closing seconds, the Nittany Lion’s ferocity was too much. He scored another takedown and won the Bronze with a 7–4 victory.

Bryce Andonian from Virginia Tech won the US’s second Bronze medal after defeating Stanislav Novac of Moldova. Novac scored first with a 4-point inside trip. Andonian attacked but unfortunately stepped out of bounds twice, extending Novac’s lead to six. At the close of the period, Andonian scored his first takedown of the match. In the second, Andonian shout a double leg but was again countered for a takedown. With an 8–2 score, it seemed Novac would cruise to the medal. However, that American folkstyle pace came into play again, as Andonian notched three second-period takedowns. The score was 8–8, but Novac held criteria with a four-point takedown. With less than a minute to go, Andonian continued his unrelenting pace, scoring a takedown to take the lead. Andonian forced Novac to shoot but countered for another takedown and followed up with a gut wrench to build a 16–8 lead. With seconds ticking away, the Hokie scored one more takedown to finish with an 18–8 technical superiority. A remarkable second-period comeback earned Andonian his medal.

In Tuesday’s preliminary competition, the University of Missouri’s Keegan O’Toole and Rocky Elam secured births into the Gold Medal round Wednesday. The Air Force Academy’s Wyatt Hendrickson will wrestle for Bronze.

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