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U.S. to send strong teams to FILA Junior World Championships in Thailand, Sept. 4-9

American Alli Ragan (blue) and Erin Golston are two members of the FILA Junior World Team looking to win medals for the second time next week in Pattaya, Thailand. Tony Rotundo photo.

The United States will send an experienced team to the 2012 FILA Junior World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, September 4-9.

To be eligible for the FILA Juniors, athletes must be 17-20 years old and cannot turn 21 during the 2012 calendar year.

The most experienced among the wrestlers in the field is four-time Junior world teamer Jesse Thielke (Germantown, Wis./Sunkist Kids). Thielke will compete at 60 kg/132 lbs. and is in search of his first Junior world medal. The Greco-Roman competition is set for Sept. 4-5.

Other returning members on the Greco side are Mike Fuenffinger (Hibbing, Minn./Minnesota Storm), and Marcus Finau (Ewa Beach, Hawaii/USOEC. Thielke spent the last year at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., while Fuenffinger wrestles for Augsburg College in Minneapolis and Finau trains at Northern Michigan and is a part of the U.S. Olympic Education Center Greco-Roman program.

Isaiah Varona will make his first apperance at the Junior Worlds at 50 kg/110 lbs. Varona, a recent high school graduate from South Dade H.S. in Homestead, Fla., qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials earlier this year.

Two other Floridians will be a part of the Greco-Roman team as Miami native and Northern Michigan student Nick Alvarez (Miami, Fla./USOEC) will compete at 66 kg/145.5 pounds and recent high school graduate Geordan Speiller (Boca Raton, Fla./Florida Jets) will represent the squad at 74 kg/163 lbs.

Lucas Sheridan (Concord, Calif./Hoosier WC/CYC) will represent the team at 84 kg/185 lbs. and Wyatt Baker (Anaheim Hills, Calif./NYAC) will man the spot at 120 kg/264 lbs. Both are currently wrestling in college, as Sheridan wrestles for Indiana University and Baker for Columbia University.

In 2011, Thielke was 19th, Finau was 14th and Fuenffinger was 12th.

On the women's freestyle side, three wrestlers have previous experience at the Junior world level and two wrestlers are returning bronze medalists. The women’s competition will be held Sept. 6-7.

Erin Golston (Lake in the Hills, Ill./USOEC) will look to improve upon last year's bronze-medal finish at 44 kg/97 lbs., while King College's Alli Ragan (Carbondale, Ill.) will also look to do the same at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. This will be Golston's third apperance at the Junior Worlds.

Also returning is Jenna Burkert (Rocky Point, N.Y./USOEC) at 59 kg/130 lbs. Burkert was eighth at the weight a year ago in Romania.

King College boasts the most representatives on the 2012 team with Sarah Hildebrandt, Ragan and Julia Salata.

Hildebrandt (Granger, Ind./King College) will compete at 55 kg/121 lbs., while Salata (Canton, Mich./King College) will compete at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Oklahoma City University has two representatives on the women's freestyle team, Kristi Garr (Goodrich, Mich./OCU/Gator WC) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., and Jennifer Page (Orangevale, Calif./OCU/Gator WC) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. Page has had a busy summer, wrestling for Team USA at the World Cup in Tokyo, Japan, and as a training partner for the U.S. Olympic Team in London, England.

Recent high school graduate Haley Auguello (Lockport, Ill./NYAC/Team Overtime) will compete in her first Junior World Championships at 51 kg/112.5 lbs. Augello was the only high school athlete to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials in women's freestyle. Auguello moves up to the FILA Junior age group level after winning the 2011 Cadet World Championships in Hungary last year.

Capping off the tournament will be the men's freestyle competition, set for Sept. 8-9, where Tanner Hall (Meridian, Idaho/NYAC) is the only wrestler on the squad who previously competed at the Junior Worlds. Hall was fourth at the 2011 Junior World Cup and is looking to improve upon a 20th-place finish in Romania last year.

The rest of the team is a mix of current college wrestlers, Olympic Training Center resident athletes and high school state champions.

The two lowest weights will be manned by rising high school seniors -- Adrian Cordova of Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. and Joey Dance of Christiansburg (Va.) High School.

Cordova will compete at 50 kg/110 lbs., and will be the second Coronado Cougar to wrestle at the Junior World Championships in the last decade. Cordova's uncle, Henry Cejudo, was a silver medalist at the 2006 Junior Worlds in Guatemala. Cordova trains often at the Olympic Training Center.

Dance is already committed to wrestle for Virginia Tech, will put off the quest to become a four-time high school state champion, at least temporarily, by competing at 55 kg/121 lbs. Dance is a 2011 Junior Freestyle National Champion and has long been successful on the USA Wrestling age-group circuit.

Along with Tanner Hall and Adrian Cordova, three other athletes who train at the Olympic Training Center will be on the team. Earl Hall (Homestead, Fla./NYAC) will move up to 60 kg/132 lbs., after he competed at the 2012 Olympic Trials at 55 kg. Hall is joined by Destin McCauley and Pat Downey on this year's squad.

McCauley (Burnsville, Minn./Sunkist Kids) comes from Minnesota powerhouse Apple Valley High School and will compete at 66 kg/145.5 pounds. Downey decided to put off college wrestling for a year and it's paid off, making the Junior World Team at 84 kg/185 lbs.

A pair of Oklahoma State Cowboys round out the team, as Alex Dieringer (Port Washington, Wis./Cowboy WC) will compete at 74 kg/163 lbs., and Austin Marsden (Crystal Lake, Ill./Cowboy WC) will compete at 120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Dieringer redshirted this past season at Oklahoma State, while Marsden was pulled into the varsity lineup late in the season and qualified for the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships.

Updates from the event will be posted on and video on TheMat.TV

At Pattaya, Thailand, September 4-9, 2012


50 kg/110 lbs. - Isaiah Varona, Miami, Fla. (USOEC)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Mike Fuenffinger, Hibbing, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Jesse Thielke, Germantown, Wis. (Sunkist Kids)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Nick Alvarez, Miami, Fla. (USOEC)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Geordan Speiller, Boca Raton, Fla. (Florida Jets)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Lucas Sheridan, Concord, Calif. (Hoosier WC/CYC)
96 kg/211 lbs. - Marcus Finau, Ewa Beach, Hawaii (USOEC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Wyatt Baker, Anaheim Hills, Calif. (NYAC)
Coaches – National Greco-Roman Developmental Coach Ike Anderson, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Shawn Sheldon, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Women’s freestyle
44 kg/97 lbs. – Erin Golston, Lake in the Hills, Ill. (New York AC/USOEC)
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Kristi Garr, Goodrich, Mich. (OCU/Gator WC)
51 kg/112.25 lbs. – Haley Augello, Lockport, Ill. (NYAC/Team Overtime)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Sarah Hildebrandt, Granger, Ind. (King College)
59 kg/130 lbs. – Jenna Burkert, Rocky Point, N.Y. (New York AC/USOEC)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Alli Ragan, Carbondale, Ill. (New York AC/King College)
67 kg/147.5 lbs. – Jennifer Page, Orangevale, Calif. (OCU/Gator WC)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Julia Salata, Canton, Mich. (King College)
Coaches – National Women's Freestyle Coach Terry Steiner; Jason Moorman, Bristol, Tenn.; Link Davis, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Men’s freestyle
50 kg/110 lbs. - Adrian Cordova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Coronado H.S.)
55 kg/121 lbs. - Joey Dance, Christiansburg, Va. (Christiansburg H.S.)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Earl Hall, Homestead, Fla. (NYAC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Destin McCauley, Burnsville, Minn. (Sunkist Kids)
74 kg/163 lbs. - Alex Dieringer, Port Washington, Wis. (Cowboy WC)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Pat Downey, Baltimore, Md.
96 kg/211 lbs. - Tanner Hall, Meridian, Idaho (NYAC)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Austin Marsden, Crystal Lake, Ill. (Cowboy WC)
Coaches – National Freestyle Development Coach Bill Zadick, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Bruce Burnett, Annapolis, Md.; Mike Hagerty, Blue Springs, Mo.

Junior World Team Leader – Louis Rosbottom, Jeffersonville, Ind.
Medical – Dr. A.J. Monseau, Morgantown, W.Va.; Dave Grossman, Bloomington, Ind.
Officials – Casey Brennan Goessl, St. Paul, Minn. Danny Blackshear, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Rusty Davidson, Grants, N.M.

Event Schedule
Tuesday, September 4
Men's Greco-Roman - 50kg, 60kg, 74kg, 96kg

Wednesday, September 5
Men's Greco-Roman - 55kg, 66kg, 84kg, 120kg

Thursday, September 6
Women's Freestyle - 44kg, 51kg, 59kg, 67kg

Friday, September 7
Women's Freestyle - 48kg, 55kg, 63kg, 72kg

Saturday, September 8
Men's Freestyle - 50kg, 60kg, 74kg, 96kg

Sunday, September 9
Men's Freestyle - 55kg, 66kg, 84kg, 120kg

U.S. Junior World Champions*

1971 – Berney Gonzales, 60 kg
1981 – Mark Fuller, 48 kg
1993 – Jason Gleasman, 130 kg
1999 - Garrett Lowney, 97 kg

Women's Freestyle
1998 - Kristie (Stenglein) Davis, 75 kg
2000 - Dominique Smalley, 75 kg
2003 - Ali Bernard, 67 kg
2005 - Ali Bernard, 72 kg
2006 - Nicole Woody, 44 kg
2007 - Whitney Conder, 51 kg
2008 - Adeline Gray, 67 kg
2009 - Victoria Anthony, 44 kg
2010 - Victoria Anthony, 48 kg

Men's Freestyle
1969 – Bill Brundage, 100 kg
1969 – Bill Bragg, 90 kg
1969 – Richard Binek, 82 kg
1969 – Larry Morgan, 57 kg
1969 – Bill Martin, 52 kg
1971 – Mark Bittick, Over 87 kg
1973 – Jimmy Carr, 57 kg
1977 – Dan Severn, 90 kg
1977 – Mark Churella, 74 kg
1977 – Randy Lewis, 57 kg
1987 – Joe Pantaleo, 74 kg
1991 – Alan Fried, 62 kg
1993 – Jeff Walter, 100 kg
1998 - Donny Pritzlaff, 70 kg
1998 - Stephen Abas, 56 kg
1999 - T.J. Hill, 50 kg
2007 - Bubba Jenkins, 66 kg
2009 - Dom Bradley, 120 kg

*This is the 17-20 years old age division, and also includes the previously entitled Espoir World Championships.
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