State pair get call to represent country
Smith, Fedalen on US roster for world juniors in Bulgaria
The upcoming 2022 World Junior Wrestling Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, will have a Maryland tinge to it.
Jaxon Smith, who redshirted his freshman season this past winter at Maryland, and Richard Fedalen, who completed his senior year in June at McDonogh, will represent the United States at the world championships from Aug. 15 to 21 — albeit in different disciplines. Smith is a member of the freestyle team, while Fedalen will compete for the Greco-Roman squad.
Even though the pair don’t know each other, each wrestler expressed pride at being able to bring some Maryland flavor to a destination almost 5,000 miles away on another continent.
“It’s pretty cool because Maryland is not necessarily known as a big wrestling state,” Fedalen said. “Last year, we had a Cadet World Champ from Maryland [Woodbine’s Meyer Shapiro] and then we’ve had two Olympic champs from Maryland [Woodbine’s Kyle Snyder and Rockville’s Helen Maroulis]. We may not have a ton of depth as a state, but we definitely have the talent that brings back gold medals.”
Added Smith: “We’re on the rise, for sure. In previous years, we’ve kind of been in a little bit of a slump, but you can see the new kids coming around Maryland, and we’re starting to see a little bit more success, and I feel like this is just the start of it.”
Here is a look at each wrestler and their paths to this position.