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Winchester becomes world champ, Gray advances to finals

Jacarra Winchester with the American flag after winning a world title at 55 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan -- Last year, Jacarra Winchester left the World Championships heartbroken after having match-winning takedown overturned in the semifinals. She called it a "painful but necessary" moment in her life. On Wednesday, she showed why.

Winchester defeated Japan's Nanami Irie, 5-3, to capture the gold medal at the 2019 World Championships at 55 kilograms, becoming America's first gold medalist in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

"I'm just excited because I've worked to hard for so many years," said Winchester. "It all just paid off."

Jacarra Winchester with her medal and championship belt (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

The 26-year-old American scored the first points of the match off a takedown with a minute remaining in the first period and took a 2-0 lead into the break.

Irie came out strong in the second period, shooting a double leg thirty seconds into the period and scoring a takedown, which was initially called a four-point takedown before being changed to two. Irie then scored with a step out to go up 3-2. Winchester battled back, scoring a takedown off a single leg midway through the period to retake the lead, 4-3. Irie continued to press forward, but Winchester fended her off and won by two after a late failed challenge by Japan.

Victoria Francis finished fifth at 72 kilograms after losing in the bronze-medal match to China's Paliha, 2-1. Francis scored the first point of the match off the activity clock, but Paliha came back in the second period, scoring first off the shot clock before getting a step out.

Adeline Gray gets her hand raised after winning in the semifinals at the World Championships (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Gray to wrestle for fifth world title, Molinari edged in semifinals

Adeline Gray will wrestle for her fifth world title after notching a 5-2 victory over Germany's Aline Focken, a 2014 world champion, in the semifinals at 76 kilograms. Gray trailed 1-0 at the break after surrendering a point off the activity clock. In the second period, Gray scored her own point off the activity clock to take the lead on criteria. With just under a minute remaining, Focken fired off a shot, which Gray countered and scored two points to go up 3-1. She extended her lead with an exposure before Focken came behind for a late reversal. Gray would hold on to win by three.

The 28-year-old reigning world champion will face Japan's Hiroe Suzuki for the gold medal on Thursday.

Gray was untested before the semifinals picking up three 10-0 technical superiorities. She opened her day by first beating Italy's Elani Pjollai, then Kazakhstan's Elmira Syzdykova (Kazakhstan) and Chinese Taipei's Hui Tsz Chang in the quarterfinals.

Forrest Molinari attempts to counter a shot from Ukraine's Iryna Koliadenko in the semifinals (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Forrest Molinari, a fifth-place finisher at last year's World Championships, reached the semifinals before losing to Ukraine's Iryna Koliadenko, 6-5. She will wrestle for bronze.

Molinari scored the first point of her semifinal match off the activity clock and led 1-0 after the opening period. In the second period, Koliadenko got in on a single leg and drove Molinari out of bounds for a step out. Molinari responded with a takedown and then added a point off a caution to go up 4-1. The Ukrainian came back with a takedown to cut the deficit to 4-3, and then nearly had a step out, but the call was challenged and upheld, giving Molinari a 5-3 lead. With just over 30 seconds remaining in the match, Koliadenko took a shot and caught Molinari's ankle before a scramble ensued. Koliadenko was able to expose Molinari with just under 15 seconds left in the match and hang on for the win.

Earlier in the day, Molinari shut out two-time world bronze medalist Johanna Mattsson of Sweden, 3-0, in the quarterfinals. Molinari scored a point in the first period off the activity clock before adding a takedown in the second period. She started her day by getting a fall over Thi Vinh Nguyen of Vietnam.

Jenna Burkert and Alli Ragan, were eliminated in Wednesday's first session.

Jenna Burkert after getting a win in her first match (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Burkert opened her tournament at 57 kilograms by shutting out Lenka Martinakova of Czechia, 8-0. She then lost by fall to Russia's Marina Simonyan in her second match. Simonyan led 7-2 after the first period. In the second period, Simonyan countered a shot from Burkert and drove her to her back and secured the fall.

Simonyan was defeated by world champion Ningning Rong of China in her next match, eliminating Burkert from the tournament.

Alli Ragan locks up with Anzhelina Lysak of Ukraine (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Ragan, a two-time world silver medalist, lost by fall in her first match at 59 kilograms to Anzhelina Lysak of Ukraine. The 27-year-old American scored a takedown off a single leg 30 seconds into the match to go up 2-0. Midway through the period, Lysak threw Ragan to her back and picked up a fall.

Sarah Hildebrandt gets in on a shot against Vinesh in a repechage match at 53 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Hildebrandt defeated in repechage

A day after losing to Japan's Mayu Mukaida in the quarterfinals, world silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt dropped her first repechage match at 53 kilograms to India's Vinesh Phogat, 8-2.

Vinesh, a gold medalist at the Asian Games, controlled the match from start to finish, scoring two first-period takedowns and adding two more in the second period before Hildebrandt scored a takedown in the closing moments of the match. It marks the second time Vinesh has defeated Hildebrandt this year. The first victory came by fall in February at the Dan Kolov in Bulgaria.

Four U.S. wrestlers will begin their tournaments on Thursday. Kayla Miracle (62 kilograms) and Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kilograms) will compete in women's wrestling, while Daton Fix (57 kilograms) and Zain Retherford (65 kilograms) will wrestle on the first day of freestyle competition.

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coolbeans (1) about 2 months ago
Wow Great job Jacarra Winchester ! She is a spitfire with a great future ahead of her. Very physically impressive.and easy on the eyes

The lady's are showing the men how to get it done