Mark Grey represented the United States at the Junior World Championships in 2011, taking fifth at 55 kg. After his stellar performance in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Sunday, he’ll once again aim for a Junior World title as he earned the 60 kg spot on Team USA with a perfect day in a loaded field.
Grey began with an 8-3 decision over Earl Hall, a 2012 World Team member who spent the last year at the Olympic Training Center. He followed with a hard fought 6-4 triumph over former Blair Academy teammate Joey McKenna, the eventual third place finisher.
That put Grey into the best-of-three championship series against Zane Richards of Illinois. At the recent FILA Junior Nationals in Las Vegas in the spring, the two grapplers met for bronze, with Richards coming away with a 2-0, 5-1 victory.
Grey turned the tables on Sunday, capturing the opening bout 5-4. In the second contest, Richards got off to a strong start, but Grey rebounded to win 6-4 and punch his ticket to Bulgaria, where the World championships will be held in August.
Grey will be a freshman at Cornell in the fall, as will three other wrestlers who placed at the event, including a pair at 74 kg/163 pounds.
Dylan Palacio went directly to the championship series after his FILA Junior National crown in Las Vegas. He faced Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State, who took third at the NCAAs in March. On Sunday, the Cowboy defeated Palacio in two matches to take the World Team slot.
In order to get to the championship series against Palacio, Dieringer squared off with another future Big Red wrestler in the title bout of the Challenge Tournament – Brian Realbuto. Realbuto had a strong showing with a 4-1 record. He started with a 7-0 win over McCoy Newburg and followed with a 6-4 decision over Yoanse Mejias. He then came out on top of two high scoring affairs, a 20-13 triumph over Dylan Reel and a 15-10 victory over Isaiah Martinez.
Another Cornellian, Gabe Dean, dropped his opener at 84 kg/185 pounds, but bounced back with three consecutive wins, by a combined score of 24-4, to get to the bronze bout before taking fourth in the Challenge Tournament.
Those weren’t the only Ivy Leaguers to have success on Sunday. Columbia recruit Garrett Ryan notched second in the 120 kg Challenge bracket after defeating the second seed, Brooks Black, 8-6 in the semifinals.
On the Greco side, a pair of New Yorkers took third place in the Challenge event. Jessy Williams, a Section 4 native, grabbed bronze at 60 kg, while Warsaw state champion Burke Paddock did the same at 74 kg. Paddock came back from a first round loss to score 22 points in his consolation matches on his way to third.
Hofstra’s Jamel Hudson recorded two technical falls at 60 kg in freestyle during a 2-2 day in which both setbacks came against third placer Joey McKenna.
For full results, see here.