Going for Gold

One World Class School, Two World Class Champions


Ally Seevers, Editor-In-Chief

To win a world championship is something most can only dream of, but for seniors Joel Adams and Cam Kozeal, their dreams became a reality. The road to a world championship title started in Las Vegas for Adams, where he competed in the world team trials. Here, he dominated his field to earn himself a spot in the 2022 World Cadets Wrestling Championships.
“I was very happy to win trials,” Adams said. “It was a relief to win that last match, but I knew that wasn’t the end of the road. I didn’t want to just make the team, I wanted to win the entire thing, so I went right back to work.”
Once in Rome, Adams had a tough slate ahead of him, but his preparation for this moment gave him the upper hand advantage.
“One of the reasons why I won in the fashion I did was because of my preparation,” Adams said. “I was grinding my butt off every single day leading up to that point, but it was all worth it.”
Adams made it through each round at the tournament, leaving without a scratch. He defeated Switzerland 8-0, Japan 10-0, and Georgia 6-0 to get to the semifinals against Petro Shafranskyi of Ukraine. There, he put up 6 points against to secure himself a spot in the finals where he would face Ahoura Bouveiri of Iran.
“I get nervous before every wrestling match,” said Adams, “But walking out that day, I was extremely calm. I was motivated to win. With my preparation, everything leading up to this, I was okay with the path that I’d chosen to lead up to this. I knew I hadn’t messed up anything. I was ready to go out there and bang.”
And that he did. Adams went out onto the mat and finished his business, outscoring his opponent 6-0 to become the 65kg U17 World Champ.
“It was definitely a great experience,” Adams said. “Winning gold, I felt like I was on top of the world. I’m just so thankful for everyone who has helped me get to this point.”
CamAs for Kozeal, his journey began back in July, when he was sent an invitation to try out for the trials team.
“When I first figured out that I was invited to tryout for the team, I was going to the zoo with my family,” Kozeal said. “When I saw the email saying I was invited to trials in Florida, I got super, super excited. It’s just an honor to be even invited, only the top 40 in the nation are selected, so I was just super excited.”
During the trials, the Vanderbilt commit focused on being the best on and off the field, prioritizing sportsmanship and his outlook on the game.
“I was doing really well down there. I was hitting really well off the best pitchers in the country and playing really good defense,” Kozeal said. “I always tried to be a really good teammate because that’s something they’re really looking for when they’re selecting a team, so I kind of put that number one and gave it everything I had.”
So when the name Cam Kozeal was called, no one was surprised to see him make the roster.
“My brain kind of went blank when I heard my name,” he said, “but when it sunk in, I was just super excited. To
even have the opportunity to try out was an honor, so to make the team felt amazing.”
From that moment on, Kozeal’s life was changed forever. The team went on to defeat teams from all over the world, finally defeating the Chinese Taipei to become the 18U World Champs.
“When that last pitch was thrown and we became world champions, we were on top of the world,” Kozeal said,
“so the only thing you could really do is dogpile. We all ran out there on the pitcher’s mound and just kind of hugged and shared that moment with each other, realizing we had just won a world championship title.” In the tournament, Cam had 3 runs, 4 hits, and 3 RBIs, playing well at the plate and out in the field.
“It was definitely hard. You’ll step in the box and a kid from Japan or Taiwan will throw some weird pitches we’ve never seen before in America,” Kozeal said. “It’s definitely a challenge but it makes you a better player.”
As the high school season for both these athletes quickly approaches, many are excited to have the opportunity to watch these two continue to grow.
“It’s exciting times,” Activities Director, Steve Throne, said. “It’s just fun to watch them on a global scale. We get to see them on the local and state level, but to be able to see them go against some of the best athletes in their sport from around the world, it’s just awesome. It’s great to see our kids do well at all levels, but especially at that level, it’s truly special.”