STMA’s McKee wins 4 of 5 matches at world juniors

Comeback was the storyline for Mitch McKee in Tampere, Finland, during the Junior World Championships held in Tampere Exhibition and Sports Centre.

McKee finished as the silver medalist in the tournament, with three comeback victories on his way to the title match.

McKee, wrestling in the 60-kilogram freestyle bracket, won four matches on the first way his way to the title match. It was his first appearance in the Junior level, Mitch had previously competed in the Cadet World Championships when he was 14 years old.

In his first match, McKee was able to take down Edemi Bolkvadze, who hails from the country of Georgia. Tied 9-9 in the waning seconds, McKee scored a two-point exposure in the closing moments to win 11-9.

The St. Michael, Minn. native and University of Minnesota wrestler regrouped after the first match, and won by technical fall, 10-0, in his second round match against Hiromu Sakaki. Sakaki went on to obtain the bronze medal for Japan.

In the quarterfinal, McKee rallied back to beat Turkey’s Utku Dogan 11-9 by decision in an odd back-and-forth match in which McKee found himself down early and had to battle back to advance to the semifinals.

Against India’s Ravinder Ravinder, McKee had to pull out all the stops to obtain the victory. A challenge review on a bodylock position by his opponent was overturned, which put McKee back in control of the match. McKee was able to outscore Ravinder in the remaining moments of the match and win 16-14 to reach the gold medal match.

In the gold medal match, McKee faced Abdula Akhmedov of Russia, who had reached the final by winning three matches after a bye in the first round.

Akhmedov took down McKee early in the match, and raced to a quick 6-0 lead before he turned McKee to his back and was able to obtain the fall.