Ufa, Russia – The past six months have been nothing short of a whirlwind for Bryce Andonian: competing in his first NCAA National Championship tournament, finishing up the academic year, winning a spot on the US World Team, months of training camp, then all capped off by traveling across the world to Russia. Despite the hectic nature of the times, the Tech wrestling junior is beyond grateful for the opportunity to live out his dream.
“This is an awesome opportunity, I’ve been trying to make Team USA since I was a kid so it’s been a dream to put a USA singlet on,” Andonian said.
Andonian is headed to Ufa, Russia as part of the Junior Men’s Freestyle contingent competing in the 2021 Junior World Championships from August 16-22. He is the lone Hokie and just one of 10 American wrestlers to qualify for the international event. He will be competing at 70Kg/154lbs for Team USA.
With his explosive, electrifying style having fans ever on the edge of their seats whenever he takes the mat, it’s no secret why Andonian has become a household name since strapping up for the Hokies. That style is what makes him must-see TV and what carried him to a dominating performance en route to making his first World Team this past April. He put on a show at Junior Nationals – dispatching his first three opponents via technical fall. He then met Georgia native Caleb Henson in the quarterfinals and went on to win 16-9 to face South Dakota State’s Jack Thompson for a spot in the finals. Andonian would pick up another technical fall just over a minute into the match thus advancing to the finals to toe the line against familiar ACC foe, Ed Scott of NC State.
The finals featured a best-of-three format in which Andonian would take care of business – launching and pinning Scott in the first bout followed by a 12-9 victory in the second match. The sweep placed Andonian on the US squad for the Junior World Championships.
By garnering a spot on Team USA, Andonian adds to the short but storied lineage of Hokies donning the red, white, and blue on the international stage.
“Being able to be along the same path as Mekhi, Ty Walz, Dave McFadden, and everyone on my team who has competed internationally…it’s a pretty great opportunity, it’s exciting to know that I came in looking up to these guys, followed their lead, and finally being able to live my dream that I’ve been wanting to do since I was a little kid. It’s pretty awesome.”
While Andonian hasn’t reached the NCAA podium in his young career yet, the trip to the World Championships could very well act as a springboard for the upcoming college season’s aspirations.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for him to go win a world title and compete on that stage…but even beyond that I think what he’s gained from this summer with his training and his focus has been tremendous and is going to catapult him…to be a legitimate NCAA title contender,” Head Coach Tony Robie said.
The lights are on and the stage is set; Bryce Andonian is ready to turn his dream into fruition.
Competition begins with Preliminary and Quarterfinals rounds on Monday, August 16 at 2AM – 6AM EST followed by the Semifinal round at 9AM – 10:30 AM EST. Action continues with Repecharge rounds on Tuesday, August 17 at 2AM – 6AM EST. Medal matches to conclude will take place at 5:45AM – 9:30AM EST.
The Junior World Championships will be streaming live on Flowrestling with a subscription. Follow @HokiesWrestling on Twitter for live updates throughout the tournament.