Sarah Hildebrandt gets her hand raised after a victory over Anzhela Dorogan of Azerbaijan (Photo/Larry Slater)
BUDAPEST, Hungary -- In a day that world and Olympic gold medalist Helen Maroulis faltered, there was a ray of hope for the U.S. women's wrestling team at the World Championships.
Both Sarah Hildebrandt and Mallory Velte wrestled their way to the semifinals in their respective weight classes.
Maroulis suffered a defeat in her opening match to Alonya Kolesnik of Azerbaijan. The match was tied at 2-2, shortly after the break with Kolesnik winning on criteria, before she used a takedown and put Maroulis to her back and pinned her early in the second period. Maroulis was stymied by an apparent shoulder injury that she suffered during the match.
An emotional Maroulis who did her post-match interview with her arm in a sling, also just recently resumed wrestling after having been out with a brain injury.
"I hate losing everyone here hates losing," Maroulis in tears said. "This time when I lost [I said] let me sit down and think about everything. I want to be the best support for the girls today. I feel really responsible to do the right thing to set an example I really believe that I can come back, if not I, then I believe that I will walk away with my head held high."
Hildebrandt, competing at 53 kilograms, began her day against Zhuldyz Eshimova, a multiple-time world medalist from Kazakhstan. Hildebrandt got on the board first with a step out, which turned out to be the only point scored in the first period. Coming back from the break Hildebrandt used a takedown and a turn to build a 5-0 lead. She eventually surrendered one point for a 5-1 victory.
To earn a semifinal match, Hildebrandt had to defeat Anzhela Dorogan of Azerbaijan. Dorogan got on the board first with a takedown, but Hildebrant stormed back, quickly taking the lead at 3-2. She then used a magnificent leg lace to build an insurmountable lead at 9-2. There were a few different exchanges in the scoring, before the final whistle, but it was Hildebrant who advanced with a 15-9 victory.
She will wrestle Diana Weicker of Canada in this afternoon's semifinals.
Mallory Velte advanced to the semifinals at 62 kilograms (Photo/Larry Slater)
Velte was powerful in both of her matches at 62 kilograms. Against two-time Olympic bronze medalist (2012, 2016) Jackeline Renteria Castillo of Colombia, Velte started quickly getting out a 6-2, with some exciting takedowns. She used a few more takedowns to cruise to a 14-6 victory.
In her quarterfinals match, Velte fell behind 2-0, before getting a takedown and turn to build a 4-2 lead at the break. She then used a series of takedowns and turns extend her lead and eventually get the 14-4 technical fall.
She will wrestle Taybe Yusein of Bulgaria in the semifinals this evening.
Whitney Conder suffered a tough loss to 2017 world bronze medalist Sonhyang Kim of North Korea at 50 kilograms. Kim got on the scoreboard with a takedown and led 2-0 at the break. Conder would get a takedown and even led on criteria with the score tied at 2, but Kim earned a few takedowns to come away victorious 7-2. Conder is waiting to see if she receives a repechage match as Kim is currently in the semifinals.
Forrest Molinari won her repechage match in Wednesday's first session and will wrestle for bronze. Facing Maria Kutnetsova of Russia, Molinari found herself in a 4-0 hole early. She cut the deficit to two on to occasions before Kutnetsova increased it to four. But it was a well-timed headlock by Molinari to make the match score 8-8 before she heard a whistle signifying the fall with 34 seconds remaining, advancing her to the bronze-medal match.