TAMPERE, Finland — Mitch McKee spent weeks brainwashing himself to believe a day like Tuesday would happen.
He continually told himself that his mind and wrestling skills were sharp enough to win a Junior World title, that he could overcome anybody and any situation thrown in front of him in the 60-kilogram freestyle bracket.
McKee passed the first four tests Tuesday to reach the gold medal match, winning three down-to-the-wire bouts with dramatic comebacks Tuesday morning inside the Tampere Exhibition and Sports Centre.
The soon-to-be Minnesota sophomore will be joined in Tuesday night’s finals by fellow Minnesota high school legend Mark Hall, who will aim to become the second two-time Junior World champion in American men’s freestyle history. Ohio State All-American Kollin Moore will wrestle for bronze at 96 kilograms.
“We came to battle today,” McKee said after an 11-2 opening session by the Americans and an 8-0 mark by the Minnesota preps.