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Gray wins fifth world title, Mensah-Stock advances to finals

Adeline Gray with the American flag after claiming her fifth world title (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan -- Adeline Gray made history on Thursday at the World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The 28-year-old American defeated Japan's Hiroe Suzuki in the gold-medal match at 76 kilograms, becoming the first American wrestler across all three styles to win five world titles. It's Gray's second straight gold medal at the World Championships after not competing in 2017.

Suzuki scored the first point of the match off the activity clock. Gray came back late in the first period, getting a takedown off a double leg and then an exposure to go up 4-1 at the break. The score stayed that way until late in the match when Suzuki scored a point off a step out. But it would be too little, too late and Gray would take the 4-2 victory.

Gray becomes the second world champion for the United States at the 2019 World Championships, joining Jacarra Winchester, who won gold in women's wrestling on Wednesday.

Forrest Molinari, who lost in the semifinals on Wednesday, wrestled in the bronze-medal match at 65 kilograms, falling to China's Xiaoqian Wang, 10-0. Wang scored a takedown 30 seconds into the period before locking up a gut wrench and scoring with four turns to get the first-period technical superiority. It marks the second straight year in which Molinaro has finished fifth at the World Championships

Tamyra Mensah-Stock gets her hand raised after winning in the semifinals (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Mensah-Stock reaches finals in dominant fashion

Tamyra Mensah-Stock was dominant en route to reaching the finals at 68 kilograms, securing her second straight world medal.

Mensah-Stock, a returning world bronze medalist, started her tournament with a 10-0 technical superiority over Michelle Montague of Great Britain. She then defeated Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu, 6-1, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with Olympic champion Sara Dosho of Japan.

The 26-year-old American proved to be too much for Dosho. Mensah-Stock picked up two takedowns in the first period to take a 4-0 lead into the break. Dosho found her first point 40 seconds into the period after getting a step out. With just under a minute left, Mensah-Stock shot a double leg and scored a takedown before transitioning to a lace, scoring another two off a turn, to make the score 8-1. Mensah-Stock scored a fourth takedown with 15 seconds remaining in the match and advanced with 10-1 win over the reigning Olympic champion.

Mensah-Stock punched her ticket to the finals with a 10-0 technical superiority over Germany's Anna Schell in the semifinals. She fired off a single leg and took the German to her back, nearly securing a fall before settling for a 4-0 lead. Mensah-Stock built her lead to 8-0 after a takedown and exposure. She then put the match away with a takedown off a double leg late in the first period.

Her finals opponents will be Sweden's Jenny Fransson, a 2012 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.

Kayla Miracle works for a lace against Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Kayla Miracle, a three-time age-group world medalist, went 2-1 at 62 kilograms on Thursday and was eliminated in the first session. She opened her day with dominant 11-0 technical superiority over Nabira Esenbaeva of Uzbekistan. Miracle advanced to the round of 16 by getting another technical superiority, beating Laís Nunes of Brazil, 15-4.

In the round of 16, Miracle faced Jong Sim Rim of North Korea, and was edged on criteria, 6-6. Miracle looked strong early, getting her first point off the activity clock before getting an exposure to take a 3-0 lead. Late in the period, Rim took a shot and scored a takedown to make the score 3-2 in favor of Miracle at the break.

Early in the second period, Miracle countered a shot and scooted behind Rim. She was initially awarded two points. However, the call was challenged and reversed. Rim was given two points for an exposure and Miracle a point for a reversal, making the score 4-4 and giving the North Korean wrestler the lead on criteria. Midway through the period, Rim took a shot and secured a takedown to go up 6-4. Miracle came back with a takedown of her own in the final minute, but still trailed on criteria. She was unable to score again and Rim moved on.

Rim was defeated in the semifinals by Kyrgyzstan's Aisuluu Tynybekova, which ended Miracle's tournament.

Daton Fix with coaches Derek Fix and Kevin Jackson (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Fix, Retherford eliminated in first session

The American freestyle team got off to a tough start as both wrestlers competing on Thursday, Daton Fix (57 kilograms) and Zain Retherford (65 kilograms), were eliminated in the opening session.

Fix opened with a 12-1 technical superiority over Vladimir Egorov of North Macedonia. He was dominant on his feet, scoring three takedowns in each of the two periods while only giving up a point off a step out.

Next, Fix met 2017 world champion Yuki Takahashi of Japan and was defeated narrowly, 4-2. Takahashi scored the only point of the first period off the activity clock and led 1-0 at the break. Fix came out aggressively in the second half, getting a takedown in the first 10 seconds to grab a 2-1 lead. Later in the period, Fix went back on the shot clock and failed to score, giving Takahashi a point with a minute left. With under 20 seconds left, Takahashi forced Fix out of bounds for a step out, giving the Japanese wrestler the lead. The United States challenged the call, but it was upheld, and Takahashi held on for the win.

Takahashi lost his next match to India's Kumar Ravi, eliminating Fix from the tournament.

Zain Retherford dropped his first match to Alejandro Valdés Tobier of Cuba (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Retherford was edged in his first match by two-time world bronze medalist Alejandro Valdés Tobier of Cuba, 10-9. The Cuban raced out to a 6-0 lead after a takedown two gut wrenches. Retherford came back with a takedown late in the first period before adding another one early in the second period to cut the deficit to two. With just under a minute remaining, there was a 2-and-2 exchange, which still gave Valdés the two-point lead at 8-6. After another 2-and-2 exchange in the final 15 seconds, Retheford came behind for a reversal to get within a point in the final 10 seconds. But he was unable to get a turn and Valdés claimed the victory.

Valdés Tobier picked up a win in his next match before losing to Bahrain's Haji Ali, ending Retherford's hopes of getting a pulled back into repechage.

Stevan Micic gets his hand raised after picking up a victory over Chakir Ansari of Morocco (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Stevan Micic, competing for Serbia, remains alive in the competition at 57 kilograms. He picked up a pair of wins to reach the quarterfinals before losing to Turkey's Suleyman Atli, 5-4. Atli kept Micic in the tournament by defeating Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev in the semifinals.

Another Michigan wrestler, Malik Amine, competing for San Marino, notched two victories at 65 kilograms before losing in the quarterfinals to Hungary's Iszmail Muszukajev. Amine was eliminated when the Hungarian wrestler failed to make the finals.

David Habat, a former collegiate standout at Edinboro who trains with the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club and competes for Slovenia, fell to India's Bajrang Punia, 3-0, in the round of 16 at 65 kilograms. He was eliminated when Bajrang lost in the semifinals to Kazakhstan's Daulet Niyazbekov.

United States freestyle wrestlers James Green (70 kilograms), Jordan Burroughs (74 kilograms), J'den Cox (92 kilograms) and Nick Gwiazodwski (125 kilograms) will open their tournaments on Friday.

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