Arujau, Thomas, Lee, Brooks, Sloan receive draws for day one of freestyle at Junior Worlds

By USA Wrestling

TALLINN, Estonia – The first five U.S. men’s freestyle wrestlers have received their draws for the UWW Junior World Wrestling Championships, which begin on Monday.

2017 Cadet World champion and 2018 Junior World champion Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./Titan Mercury WC/EAP) leads off against 2018 Junior World silver medalist and 2016 Cadet World champion Abubakr Abakarov of Azerbaijan. Abakarov won his Junior World silver last year at 74 kg, while Brooks won his Junior silver medal at 79 kg.

If Brooks wins his opener, he could face Amkhad Tashukhadzhiev of Russia in the second round, a 2019 European Junior silver medalist.

2016 Cadet World silver medalist Vitali Arujau (Syosset, N.Y./Finger Lakes WC) opens his day at 57 kg/125.5 lbs against a three-time Cadet World medalist, Giorgi Gegelashvili (Georgia. Gegelashivili won a Cadet World silver medal in 2017, and won Cadet World bronze medals in 2016 and 2018.

Brooks is an incoming freshman at Penn State, while Arujau was fourth at the 2019 NCAA Championships for Cornell as a freshman.

Three U.S. athletes competing on Monday will have their age-group World Championships debut.

Northwestern wrestler Yahya Thomas (Chicago, Ill./Wildcat WC/Chicago RTC) will draw A Zhaparkulov of Kyrgyzstan, who has no previous international achievements at 65 kg/143 lbs.

Brayton Lee (Brownsburg, Ind./Minnesota RTC), who competes for the University of Minnesota, gets a bye in the first round at 70 kg/154 lbs. He faces the winner of the preliminary between Ashraf Ashirov of Azerbaijan and Raul Zarbaliev of Israel. Ashirov was eighth in the 2018 Cadet Worlds, while Zarbaliev was ninth in the 2019 European Championships.

2019 Pan American Junior champion Tanner Sloan (Alburnett, Iowa/Jackrabbit WC) faces another continental champion in the first round, as he battles 2019 European Junior champion Feyzullah Akturk of Turkey. Akturk was also a 2017 Junior World bronze medalist.

The action begins Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. in Tallinn, which is seven hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone. All of the action is broadcast live in the United States on Trackwrestling.

At Tallinn, Estonia

U.S. men’s freestyle draws for Monday

57 kg/125.5 lbs.: Vitali Arujau, Syosset, N.Y. (Finger Lakes WC)
Vs. Giorgi Gegelashvili (Georgia), 2nd in 2018 Youth Olympic Games, 2016 and 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist, 2017 Cadet World silver medalist

65 kg/143 lbs.: Yahya Thomas, Chicago, Ill. (Wildcat WC/Chicago RTC)
Vs. A Zhaparkulov (Kyrgyzstan), no data available

70 kg/154 lbs.: Brayton Lee, Brownsburg, Ind. (Minnesota RTC)
Winner of Ashraf Ashirov (Azerbaijan) and Raul Zarbaliev (Israel)
Ashirov – 8th in 2018 Cadet World Championships
Zarbaliev – 9th in 2019 European Juniors, 2016 and 2017 Israel Cadet World Team member

79 kg/174 lbs.: Aaron Brooks, Hagerstown, Md. (Titan Mercury WC/EAP)
Vs. Abubakr Abakarov (Azerbaijan), 2019 European Junior champion, 2018 Junior World silver medalist, 2016 Cadet World champion

97 kg/213.75 lbs.: Tanner Sloan, Alburnett, Iowa (Jackrabbit WC)
Vs. Feyzullah Akturk (Turkey), 2019 European Junior champion, 5th in 2018 Junior Worlds, 2nd in 2018 European Junior, 2017 Junior World bronze medalist