Marc-Anthony McGowan celebrates after winning his world title (Photo/Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling)
SOFIA, Bulgaria -- For the ninth consecutive year, the United States has a Cadet world champion in freestyle.
Marc-Anthony McGowan captured a gold medal at the Cadet World Championships on Wednesday in Sofia, Bulgaria, beating Iran's Ali Firouzjaie 3-1 in the finals at 45 kilograms.
McGowan, the nation's No. 2 overall freshman, scored the first point off the activity clock and took a 1-0 lead into the break. With just over a minute remaining in the match, McGowan was placed on the activity clock but was unable to score, giving the Iranian a point. Trailing on criteria, McGowan shot a single leg with just under 30 seconds remaining, which Firouzjaie fended off. McGowan then snapped Firouzjaie to the mat and scored a takedown off a go-behind, which turned out to be the winning points.
It was McGowan's third straight come-from-behind victory at the Cadet World Championships. McGowan, who turned 15 years old in May, trailed after the opening period in both his semifinal and quarterfinal matches.
He becomes the 15th U.S. wrestler to win a Cadet world title in freestyle since 2011.
Alex Facundo won a bronze medal for the second straight year (Photo/Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling)
Also winning a medal in freestyle for the United States on Wednesday was Alex Facundo, who claimed his second straight bronze medal at the Cadet World Championships. The 17-year-old Michigan native came back to defeat 2019 Cadet European silver medalist Davit Kutchuashvili of Georgia 5-2 in the bronze-medal match.
Kutchuashvili scored a takedown in the first period and led 2-0 at the break. But Facundo scored a lightning-quick takedown off a duck under with 50 seconds remaining. The takedown was challenged and upheld, giving Facundo a 3-2 lead. He then added a second takedown in the closing seconds to win by three. Earlier in the day, Facundo picked up wins over Italy's Francesco Masotti (11-0) and India's Vijay in repechage.
The United States freestyle team finished fifth in the team competition.
Cristelle Rodriguez gets her hand raised after winning in the semifinals (Photo/Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling)
Rodriguez, Hattendorf reach finals in women's wrestling
Cristelle Rodriguez and Skylar Hattendorf advanced to the finals for the United States on the opening day of the women's wrestling competition at the Cadet World Championships. Both earned falls in the semifinals.
Rodriguez needed just 19 seconds to earn a fall over Yung Hsun Lin of Taipei in her semifinal match at 49 kilograms. She shot a single leg and locked up a standing cradle and drove Lin to her back for the fall. She won by scores of 10-5 and 7-2 in her first two matches of the day.
Hattendorf faced Birgul Soltanova of Azerbaijan in the semifinals at 57 kilograms. Soltanova scored the match's first point off a step out. Hattendorf responded with a four-point throw on the edge of the mat just over a minute into the match to take a 4-1 lead. A short time later, Hattendorf countered a shot and tossed Soltanova to her back to secure a fall late in the first period.
Both Rodriguez and Hattendorf will face Japanese wrestlers in the finals. Rodriguez meets 2018 U15 Asian champion Moe Kiyooka, while Hattendorf will battle 2018 Cadet Asian silver medalist Ruka Natami.
Alexandra Szkotnick and Lillian Freitas lost before the semifinals but remain alive in the competition. They will wrestle in repechage on Wednesday.
Szkotnick, a U15 world champion, dropped her first match of the day at 43 kilograms to Nagisa Harada of Japan, 2-0. Harada scored off a step out and activity clock. The Japanese wrestler then went on to reach the finals, keeping Szkotnick alive in the competition.
Freitas reached the quarterfinals at 65 kilograms before losing 7-1 to multiple-time world medalist Sonam of India, who then went on to advance to the finals. She edged Mexico's Sandra Menchaca 2-1 in her first match.
At 72 kilograms, Kennedy Blades, a Fargo champion in both the 16U and Junior division this summer, picked up a quick fall over Daria Klimovich of Belarus in her first match. She was then beaten by 2018 world silver medalist Julia Fridlund of Sweden 9-5 in the quarterfinals. Blades was eliminated from the tournament when Fridlund lost in the semifinals.
The final five women's wrestling weight classes will be contested on Thursday. Sterling Dias (40 kilograms), Sage Mortimer (46 kilograms), Adriana Dorado Marin (53 kilograms), Kylie Welker (61 kilograms) and Amit Elor (69 kilograms) will compete for the United States.
Thursday's medal matches are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET.