USOEC: Greco-Roman wrestler Varona takes eighth at Junior World Championships in Bulgaria

MARQUETTE – U.S. Olympic Education Center Greco-Roman wrestler Isaiah Varona finished in eighth place at the Junior World Championships held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Wednesday.

Competing in this event for the second straight time, Varona won his first two matches before losing in the quarterfinals at 55 kilograms (121 pounds).

The Northern Michigan University freshman opened with an 8-0 technical fall over Daniel Kocar of Slovakia, finishing it at 2:20 of the first period.

Varona, 20, then won on a tiebreaker in match two after his protest was upheld of the winning point being awarded to his opponent, Ahmadjon Mahmudov of Uzbekistan.

Mahumdov had a pair of one-point lifts in the first period, but Varona tied it in the second period on a caution point and pushout. As time ran out, Mahmudov was initially awarded a winning takedown before the protest was upheld that time ran out before the point was secured.

Varona then lost on a technical fall, 7-0, in the second period to Nika Tsetskhaladze of the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

Tsetskhaladze, who was eighth in the 2011 Junior World Championships, lost in his semifinal match, which knocked Varona out of further contention.

High school star Sam Stoll of Kasson, Minn., had the top U.S. finish as he won a bronze medal at 120 kg (265 lbs.).

With Russia winning the meet with 65 points, the U.S. tied for ninth with 14 points.