The final act of the 2017 Cadet World Championships will be men's freestyle, just as it was for the Seniors in Paris two weeks ago. 46 kg, 54 kg, 63 kg, 76 kg, and 100 kg will be the final group of athletes to hit the mats with the first whistle scheduled for 3:30 am eastern on Saturday, September 9th. The semi-finals will begin at 10:30 am eastern on Friday while those still alive for medals will return on Saturday for the repechage (8:30 am) and the medal matches slated for 10:00 am.
Russia has not lost in this discipline at this event since its revival in 2011, winning all six team titles. Team USA is looking for the men's freestyle trifecta having won the team title at the Junior and Senior level this year, something the US has never done before. That sets up what could be an epic battle between the top two teams from last year when Russia eeked out a 69-67 victory over the Americans. Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Iran will all be looking to put themselves in that conversation as well. The 2016 version of Team USA made history by crowning the first two-time Cadet world champions in the country's history in Yianni Diakomihalis and Gable Steveson. Those two are gone, after Steveson opted not to cut down to 100 kg for his final year of eligibility, and with the injury to Travis Wittlake, Kurt McHenry is the only returning medalist for Team USA in this discipline after his 42 kg title a year ago. The US has crowned three champions in men's freestyle each of the past three years after winning just four medals, total, in the first three years after the return of this event from 2011-2013. The last men's freestyle team title at the Cadet World Championships for Team USA came in 1989 when the tournament was 16 and under, held in Warrensburg, Missouri, and the Soviet Union did not attend.
You can watch all the action live on TrackWrestling. Please join us as we go weight-by-weight through day four!
Want to read more of this article and others like it? Become a TOM Prime member today!