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Team USA Junior Wrestling holds training camp in Columbia


A group of some of the best junior wrestlers in the world are in Mid-Missouri this week, including three Tigers.

From August 1-5, the Team USA junior wrestling team is training at the Hearnes Center ahead of the United World Wrestling Junior World Championships.

MU's Keegan O'Toole, Rocky Elam and Colton Hawks will represent the Tigers in Ufa, Russia from August 16-22.

"I'm mostly fine tuning this close to competition," freshman Rocky Elam said. "I'm just trying to work smart and listen what my body is doing and at the same time, we're still improving here. We still have time to improve and sharpen some things up before we go overseas."

Elam and O'Toole both earned All-American honors at last year's NCAA Championships. Those two, along with Hawks, qualified for three of the ten spots on Team USA in May at the UWW Junior National Championships in Coralville, Iowa.

"I definitely feel the pressure of the moment because it's a world championship, so I lose a match, and I'm out of a world title," O'Toole said. "But, it's another opportunity, and I'm extremely grateful for it. If I just keep thinking like if this is my last opportunity - usually I end up being pretty good mentally."

Elam added, "I want to earn a gold medal for Team USA, and it's really special to me. It's not like you're representing one state or one university when you're going to compete - you're representing a whole nation, so it's really an exciting thing for me."

You can watch our full recap from training camp in the video player above.

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Andrew Kauffman

Andrew Kauffman is ABC 17’s sports director. He started working at the station in 2015.


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