2021 Junior World Championships

Junior Worlds = NCAA Stars

Junior Worlds = NCAA Stars

See how Junior Worlds results since 2010 helps predict NCAA and International success for men's American freestyle wrestlers.

Aug 10, 2021 by Jon Kozak
Junior Worlds = NCAA Stars
The 2021 Junior World Championships will be held in Ufa, Russia from August 16-22. This event has become the premier competition for the world’s top talent under the age of 20. In this article, we’ll explore how America’s best wrestlers have performed at Junior Worlds in men’s freestyle since 2010 and how that has translated into NCAA and Senior level success.

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The 2021 Junior World Championships will be held in Ufa, Russia from August 16-22. This event has become the premier competition for the world’s top talent under the age of 20. In this article, we’ll explore how America’s best wrestlers have performed at Junior Worlds in men’s freestyle since 2010 and how that has translated into NCAA and Senior level success.

Junior World Medalists Have Insane NCAA Success

Since 2010, there have been 29 individuals who have won a medal at the Junior World Championships. Of those 29 individuals, 24 have gone on to earn All-American honors at the NCAA Division 1 level. On top of that, 12 of the 27 medalists have gone on to win an NCAA Championship and 6 of those won multiple NCAA titles. Take a look below to see all of the junior world medalists since 2010 with their NCAA success:


Junior Worlds FinishNCAA Career
Chris Perry 2010 Bronze2X NCAA champ and 3X All-American
Logan Stieber2011 Silver4x NCAA Champ 
Pat Downey2012 SilverAll-American
Kyle Snyder2013 Gold & 2014 Bronze3x NCAA champ/4X All-American
Alex Dieringer2013 Silver & 2012 DNP3x NCAA champ 4X All-American
Adam Coon2014 Bronze3x All-American
Thomas Gilman 2014 Bronze & 2013 DNP3X All-American
Joey McKenna2014 Silver & 2015 DNP3X All-American
Gabe Dean2014 Bronze2x NCAA Champ, 4X All-American
Aaron Pico2014 Silver & 2015 BronzeDid not wrestle in College
Spencer Lee2015 & 2016 Gold3x NCAA Champ
Stevan Micic2015 Bronze3X All-American
Nathan Butler2015 Bronze4X National Qualifier
Mark Hall2016 and 2017 Gold, 2015 DNPNCAA Champ, 4X All-American
Daton Fix2016 & 2018 Bronze 2017 Gold2X NCAA Finals
Mitch McKee2017 SilverAll-American
Ryan Deakin2017 Silver2X NCAA All-American
Zahid Valencia2017 Silver & 2015 and 2016 DNP2x NCAA champ, 3x AA 
Gable Steveson2017 Gold & 2018 DNPNCAA Champ, 2x All-American
Kollin Moore2017 Bronze & 2016 DNP4X All-American
Brady Berge2018 BronzeNational Qualifier
Mekhi Lewis2018 GoldNCAA champ
Aaron Brooks2018 Silver, 2019 DNPNCAA champ
Zach Elam2018 Silver2X National Qualifer - R12 & R16
Vito Arujau2019 SilverAll-American
David Carr2019 GoldNCAA champ
Trent Hidlay2019 BronzeNCAA Finalist
Lucas Davison2019 Silver2X National Qualifer - R16
Mason Parris2019 GoldNCAA Finalist


Beyond the clear NCAA success that junior world medalists have, seven athletes have gone on to wrestle at the world/Olympic level. Logan Stieber, Pat Downey, Kyle Snyder, Adam Coon, Thomas Gilman, Daton Fix, and Gable Steveson have all made a senior team for USA. Stieber (2016 World Champ), Snyder (Olympic Gold, 2X World Gold, World/Olympic Silver, World Bronze), Coon (2018 World Silver in Greco), Gilman (2017 World Silver, 2020 Olympic Bronze) and Steveson (2020 Olympic Gold) are the only ones to bring home world/Olympic hardware of this list.

What About The Non-Medalists?

Junior Worlds is, of course, an age-level competition and many of the competitors are still in the development stage of their careers. With that in mind, it’s clear to see how Junior Worlds played a huge role in those who failed to medal. 22 wrestlers who competed at Junior Worlds since 2010 (and did not medal) went on to earn All-American honors at the NCAA division 1 level. More than that, 4 of those who failed to place at junior worlds went on to win an NCAA title. Take a look at those who didn’t find success at Junior Worlds but did went on to find success on the D1 level:


Junior Worlds FinishNCAA Career
Matt McDonough2010 DNP2x NCAA Champ, 3X All-American
Jason Chamberlain2010 5th2X All-American
Conrad Polz2010 DNP2X All-American
Jeremy Johnson2010 5th2X All-American
Josh Kindig2011 5thNCAA Finalist
Tanner Hall2011 & 2012 DNPAll-American
Joey Dance2012 DNP2X All-American
Earl Hall2012 DNP2X All-American
Austin Marsden2012 and 2013 DNP2X All-American
Ethan Lizak2012 and 2013 DNPNCAA Finalist, 3X All-American
Jason Tsirtsis2013 DNPNCAA Champ, 3X All-American
Sammy Brooks2013 DNP2X All-American
Anthony Valencia2014 DNPAll-American
Anthony Cassar2015 DNPNCAA Champ
Seth Gross2016 DNPNCAA Champ
Alec Pantaleo2016 DNP3X All-American
Jordan Wood2016 DNPAll-American
Dom Demas 2018 DNPAll-American
Lou Deprez2018 DNP2X All-American
Jacob Warner 2018 DNP2X All-American
Yahya Thomas2019 DNPAll-American
Brayton Lee2019 DNPAll-American

This Year’s Squad

You can view the full list of this year’s Junior World team in all styles for Team USA by clicking here. On the men’s side, only Rocky Elam and Keegan O’Toole have already earned All-American status (both for Missouri). The rest of the squad has many years of NCAA eligibility left and are sure to become household names for American collegiate fans. The Junior World Championships are the perfect opportunity to get an early look at those wrestlers who will be competing for NCAA titles and world/Olympic team spots for years to come.  

Some Other Fun Junior World Facts

  • Every Men’s Freestyle Olympian competed at Junior Worlds (David Taylor DNP’d in 2007 and Kyle Dake DNP’d in Greco in 2008)
  • 65 of the 84 reps went on to earn All-American Status at the D1 Level
  • Every Junior World Gold Medalist has made the NCAA Finals (6 of 8 have won NCAA Titles)
  • 2017 Most Medals - 3 Golds, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze
  • 2017 Best Team Finish - Gold
  • Daton Fix, Zahid Valencia, and Mark Hall were the only wrestlers to make 3 Junior World teams
  • Daton Fix is the only American to win 3 Junior world medals