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The following article can be originally found at www.themat.com

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – One of the world’s top young wrestling stars, 19-year-old Aaron Pico (Whittier, Calif./Titan Mercury WC), will compete in his native Southern California for the United States at the 2016 Men’s Freestyle Wrestling World Cup at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., June 11-12.

The Freestyle Wrestling World Cup is one of the most important international events each year. Alongside Pico, members of the U.S. Olympic freestyle team will be on the U.S., in their final competition before heading to the Rio Olympic Games.

“I am super excited to be competing on the World Cup team. Anytime you can represent your country internationally is an honor,” said Pico.“The fact that this will be held in the USA is awesome. I will be part of a great team which will have members of the Olympic Team on it. I am going to focus on getting ready for the World Cup and putting on a great show.”

The World Cup is the annual international dual meet championships, as the eight best men’s freestyle teams will compete against each other. At the 2016 World Cup, the United States will be up against (alphabetically): Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Iran, Mongolia, Russia and Turkey.

Pico has been one of the nation’s best young stars, winning a Cadet World title in 2013, a Junior World silver medal in 2014 and a Junior World bronze medal in 2015. He has also won numerous medals on the Senior level, competing against many of the best Olympic-caliber wrestlers in the world. Pico also boasts USA Wrestling age-group national titles on the Cadet and Junior levels.

Pico is coming off an impressive second-place finish at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowaat the 65 kg/143 lb. weight class. Seeded seventh, Pico knocked off three of thetop wrestlers – Jayson Ness, Jordan Oliver and Reece Humphrey – to reach the finals. He dropped an extremely close three-match Championship Series to Frank Molinaro (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) to finish as the runner-up.

“I came up short at the Olympic Trials, butI wrestled my heart out and put on a great show,” said Pico.“I still have Olympic goals. As the Olympic alternate, I am ready to go at all times. I will stay in great shape and be ready, in case something happens and I get to go to Rio.”

Pico will compete at 70 kg/154 lbs. at the World Cup, a non-Olympic weight class where he has won a number of international medals. This will be his first World Cup appearance, although he was a member of the U.S. team and trained for the tournament at the 2015 World Cup also held at the Forum in Inglewood.

This will be Pico’sfirst competition in California since 2013, when he won the California state high school title for St. John Bosco High School. Following the 2013 season, Picoceased competing in high school wrestling to concentrate full-time on international freestyle wrestling and his Olympic dream.

“This is in my backyard. I’m a local kid, and it will be great to have my family and friends here to support me. I am excited to compete,” said Pico.“I have so many fans in California. I have done a lot of clinics all across the state. I expect a lot of these fans to be there to support me and the USA team.”

The rest of the U.S. team is being finalized at this time, and will be announced when available.

This is the last chance forfans to see these world-class athletes in action one more time before the Summer Olympics. Attendees can purchase tickets for the popular international competition through Ticketmaster.

Teams will be randomly drawn into the two pools, which will be announced prior to the start of the competition. For more information, visit: www.wrestlingworldcup.com 

The local organizing committee benefits from the talent and membership of Beat the Streets Los Angeles, California USA Wrestling, the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club and other premiere Los Angeles-based sports organizations.

The Freestyle World Cup was developed in 1973 in the United States, which has hosted the event 28 times since its inception – more times than any other nation.

FREESTYLE WRESTLING WORLD CUP SCHEDULE

Saturday, June 11
Session I – Round 1 &2 of Pools (3p.m.-7:30p.m.)

Sunday, June 12
Session II – Round 3 of Pools, 5th& 7th Place Matches (11a.m.-2:30p.m.)

Session III – 3rd Place Match, followed by 1st Place Match (5p.m.-7:30p.m.)

General admission for both the Saturday and Sunday sessions are just $60 total or $35 for individual days. Preferred seating options are available for $85 for both Saturday and Sunday, or $55 individually.

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