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Bey is first U.S. Junior Greco world champ since '99

Kamal Bey with the American flag after winning gold at the Junior World Championships (Photo/Richard Immel)

TAMPERE, Finland -- Kamal Bey was just a year old when the U.S. last crowned a Junior world champion in Greco-Roman … entering today.

On Saturday, Bey snapped the 18-year gold medal drought for the United States, capturing a gold medal in Greco-Roman at 74 kilograms on the opening day of the Greco-Roman competition at the Junior World Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Kamal Bey nearly secured a fall in the first period (Photo/Richard Immel)

Bey, a Chicago native, dazzled all day with big moves match-after-match. In the gold-medal match, Bey met 2016 Cadet world champion Akzhol Makhmudov of Kyrgyzstan. The two wrestlers traded step out points in the first 20 seconds. Fifteen seconds later Bey locked up a throw and put Makhmudov on his back for four points, nearly securing the fall. The Kyrgyzstan scored a reversal and then attempted a throw of his own, but Bey countered and scored two points, making the score 7-2 in favor of the American.

Makhmudov inched closer with a takedown and gut wrench to make the score 7-6. The two wrestlers then came to their feet and Bey threw Makhmudov to his back for four points to go up 11-6, which is how the opening period would end.

Bey and Makhmudov battled for the first two minutes of the final period with no scoring. Then with 45 seconds left Makhmudov threw Bey to his back, but the American quickly reversed the action and a flurry ensued, which resulted in the scoring being 13-11 in favor of Bey with just over 30 seconds remaining. Bey would add a late takedown and win by five, giving the U.S. its first Junior world champion in Greco-Roman since Garrett Lowney accomplished the feat in 1999.

Cevion Severado also wrestled for a gold-medal on Saturday, but was blanked 6-0 in the finals at 50 kilograms against Iran's Poya Dad Marz. The Iranian scored early with a step out, picked up a takedown midway through the first period and added a point off passivity to grab a 4-0 lead at the break. Dad Marz would add a takedown in the final period while preventing Severado from scoring.

Taylor La Mont, a Junior world bronze medalist in 2016, was defeated in the bronze-medal match at 60 kilograms by Russia's Magomed Magomedov 2-1.

Sunday is the final day of the Junior World Championships with the remaining four weight classes in Greco-Roman being contested. Randon Miranda (55 kilograms), Domonick Demas (66 kilograms), Wyatt Koelling (84 kilograms) and Cohlton Schultz (120 kilograms) will compete for Team USA.

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coolbeans (2) about 2 weeks ago
Congratulations Bey, Outstanding tournament!! Thank you for putting USA back on the radar in the Greco Roman world. Obviously you had a great tournament and it sounds like a wild finals match. I appreciate that you picked the road less traveled and created your own success. I have a feeling that the colleges will recognize your drive and spirit. Excellent inspiring interview. You Sir sound like a Tyrannosaurus Rex who is a unstoppable meat eater. I look very much forward to tracking your success as you have made your country proud. Maybe some of the other sheep .... I mean Wrestlers will be inspired to follow in your footsteps. Great job and keep up the great work !!! :)