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L.A. native Aaron Pico excited about World Cup opportunity in his hometown



Teenager Aaron Pico has already compiled a 17-3 record and won two tournaments on the Senior level. USAW file photo.

LOS ANGELES – Aaron Pico is still just 18 years old.

But he’s already gone places in wrestling even he thought he wouldn’t be going at such a young age.

A Cadet World champion less than 20 months ago, Pico has landed a spot on the U.S. roster for this weekend’s World Cup. The event is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Forum in L.A.

Not only that, but the powerful American team will be wrestling in Pico’s backyard in Los Angeles. Pico grew up in this area, and still resides and trains in the L.A. area.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to wrestle in front of my friends and family here in L.A.,” Pico said. “It’s a great honor to be on a World Cup Team. Not a lot of people get to experience something like this. It’s great. Hopefully, I get to wrestle. I’m the No. 2 guy. I will be prepared and ready to go if they need me to wrestle. I just have to stay ready if I get that opportunity.”

Pico is the No. 2 U.S. wrestler at 65 kg/143 lbs. behind veteran Brent Metcalf, a three-time World Team member who went undefeated at last year’s World Cup.

Pico actually wrestled Metcalf in the AGON event one week ago in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Pico led 1-0 after the first period before Metcalf rallied for a 4-1 win.

Pico realizes he may not get on the mat to compete this weekend, but he knows he has to be ready if called on by U.S. coach Bruce Burnett.

Pico, a 2014 Junior World silver medalist, has already made a significant impact on the Senior level.

Pico is 17-3 on the Senior level over the past two years, winning two events and medaling in four of the five tournaments he’s competed in.

“Thinking about where I was two years ago, I never thought I would be in this position already,” he said. “It’s awesome to compete at this level and good to see how much I’ve progressed. I have an amazing coach in Valentin Kalika, who has given me a lot of great opportunities to improve. He’s done a great job with me. My confidence is great, and I know I’m up there with the best guys in the World. I just have to keep getting better.”

Read more here.