2x U20 World Champion Amit Elor (photo courtesy of Kadir Caliskan; UWW)
Following the success of the U17 World Team, Team USA sent a strong team to the U20 edition of the event. The squad finished with 11 medals across all three styles. The following looks at the team's performance overall and some of the top performers.
Collectively, Team USA outscored their opposition 578 to 404 in terms of match points. The highest-scoring wrestler on the team was Bennett Berge. On his path to a silver medal at 86kg. He scored at least nine points in his first four matches prior to the finals. Even in the final match, which he ultimately lost against Rakhim Magamadov (France), he scored five points on a pair of takedowns and a reversal.
Men's freestyle scored the most points for Team USA across all three styles. They outscored their opposition 273 to 186. Women's freestyle was next with a 205 to 111 edge. On the women's side, the top scorer was Amit Elor who put up 41 points on her march to the title at 72kg. Perhaps more impressively, she only allowed her opponents to score a single point. The only score she allowed came in her 12-1 semifinal victory over Reetika (India) who managed to score an early step out before Elor broke things wide open and finished with over 30 seconds left in the first period.
The USA Greco team was slightly outscored by their opposition. They scored 100 match points in the tournament but allowed their opponents to score 107 points. The top scorer on the USA squad was Aden Attao. The heavyweight scored 30 points and finished with a bronze medal. He was the only member of the team to medal on the Greco side.
Team USA scored the majority of its match points off takedowns. 312 of the 578 points came off takedowns (54%), while opponents scored 212 of their 404 via takedowns as well (52%). One might expect a U20 team from the U.S. to excel in the takedown department since it is the element of freestyle and Greco that meshes best with the folkstyle. However, Team USA also outscored their opponents on exposure points. Collectively Team USA outscored their opponents 190 to 128 on exposures.
The women's team led the way on this front. The squad scored 74 points via exposures while allowing only 22. Katie Gomez who brought home a bronze medal at 53kg scored the most exposure points on the team with 20. All 20 of her exposure points came via her leg lace. Reese Larramendy had perhaps the most diverse exposure offense. She scored 10 points via exposures, but she scored with a pair of chest wraps, a crotch lift, a gut wrench and even a bow and arrow.
The Greco team had some trouble in this area. The squad only scored 40 points on exposure, collectively, with 14 coming from Attao at heavyweight. The team allowed 50. Given the importance of par terre wrestling in Greco, it can be hard to be successful with that type of ratio. On the other hand, there could be signs of development on this front. While the 40 to 50 exposure ratio is not ideal, it is a sizable improvement over this year's U17 Greco team. That squad was outscored 44 to 25 on exposure points.
Ben Kueter, who won the title at 97kg in freestyle, was right behind Berge for the most points scored on the team. He finished with 45 in under 18 minutes for 2.56 points per minute rate. He scored 24 points off takedowns and 20 points off exposures. Interestingly enough, Kueter only scored the first points in one of his four matches. Despite this, he still outscored his opposition 31 to 12 in the first period and 14 to five in the second.
Team USA's other men's freestyle champion, Jore Volk, was the only American wrestler in the style to score more points via exposures than takedowns. He scored 30 points overall on his campaign to the title at 57kg with 10 points scored on takedowns and 16 points scored by exposures. Volk scored via exposures in all three of his matches leading to the finals, but against Merey Bazarbayer (Kazakhstan), he took the 3-2 victory on the back of a takedown and a step out.