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  • Photo: Martin Gabor/UWW

    Photo: Martin Gabor/UWW

    Gray Pins Her Way to Historic Sixth Title

    Six-Time World Champion Adeline Gray (Photo/Martin Gabor/UWW)

    50 kg

    Late takedown propels Yoshimoto over Hildebrandt.

    It had all the makings of a colossal clash. Far and away, the two best women in the 50 kg bracket separated themselves from the field and turned their attention to each other. Remina Yoshimoto (Japan) and Sarah Hildebrandt combined to give up one single point during seven matches before the finals. Something had to give. In the early going, it appeared that Sarah Hildebrandt would be able to capture that one Senior medal that has eluded her through her decorated career. She held a 3-2 lead over her Japanese counterpart at the break. Yoshimoto pushed hard in the final stanza and grabbed the winning takedown in the waning second of the last period to win the gold medal.

    The bronze medals at this weight were won by Nadezhda Sokolova (Russia) and Otgonjargal Dolgorjav (Mongolia). The win by the Mongolian was quite impressive as she teched two-time world silver medalist Alina Vuc (Romania).

    53 kg

    17-year-old phenom Fujinami completes remarkable run.

    It's incredible that 17-year-old Akari Fujinami (Japan) won a world title under any circumstances. What's more unbelievable is that she did so without surrendering a single point. 41-0 was her margin of victory over the field. This tournament should serve as a wake-up call for the rest of the world, as the 53 kg weight class has a new queen for at least the next couple of quads.

    Moldova's Iulia Leorda attempted to win her country's first Senior world title in women's freestyle. But came up short. Later in the day, one of her teammates who have a shot too.

    The bronze medals at this weight were awarded to Samantha Stewart (Canada) and Katarzyna Krawczyk (Poland). Both Stewart and Krawczyk are veterans that received their first Senior-level medal. Krawczyk wrestled for bronze on two prior occasions.

    57 kg

    Maroulis is back in the world finals.

    The only American woman with multiple Olympic medals took the first step in winning her third world championship Wednesday as Helen Maroulis also locked up her fourth world medal. Maroulis dominated her first two opponents to lock up a spot in the semifinals. There she engaged in one of the best bouts of the entire women's tournament against Sae Nanjo (Japan). Nanjo got out to an early lead and put Maroulis in a 4-0 hole. Maroulis grabbed a takedown in the last few seconds of the first period to trail by 4-3. In the second period, Maroulis kept up her relentless pace and eventually picked up the go-ahead takedown. Nanjo continued to pursue a winning takedown and got in on a single leg with just under :20 left in the bout. Maroulis deftly avoided giving up a score of any sort and held on to win 5-4.

    The other half of the bracket saw India's Anshu Malik prevail. Malik is only the sixth Indian wrestler to ever reach the world finals. She is also the first Senior Women's finalist. She crushed Solomiia Vynnyk (Ukraine) in the semis.

    59 kg

    Hanai battled to finals; Dudova dominates.

    In her first Senior World Championships, Maya Nelson advanced to the semifinals opposite Akie Hanai (Japan). Hanai grinded out a tough, 4-1 win over Nelson. She was stingy on defense and did enough to win in most of her bouts. The other finalist is Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria). It will be Dudova's second world final, as she was a silver medalist in 2018. She has had a great 2021 with wins at the Kolov-Petrov, European Championships, and the Yasar Dogu.

    Nelson will have the winner of Diana Kayumova (Kazakhstan) and Shoovdor Baatarjav (Mongolia) for a bronze medal. The other semifinal loser was Sarita (India). She'll face either Ineta Dantaite (Lithuania).

    65 kg

    Ringaci makes Moldovan history; Molinari breaks through.

    After her teammate Leorda fell in the 53 kg, the responsibility fell on Irina Ringaci to bring home a gold medal for Moldova. It wouldn't be the first one of the year for Ringaci, as she already has a Junior World title this summer. Ringaci made the finals after she logged a pin while trailing. In her gold medal match versus Miwa Morikawa (Japan), Ringaci got out to an early lead and held on to win. Ringaci never backed down and continued to attack. While leading, she hit a four-point throw to extend the margin.

    In one of the bronze medal matches, Forrest Molinari broke through and captured her first world medal after falling a match short on two occasions. Her opponent, Maryia Mamashuk (Belarus), has a long list of credentials, including a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. That didn't matter as Molinari wore out Mamashuk and controlled her in a 12-1 tech.

    An injury default in favor of Malin Mattsson (Sweden) gave her the bronze medal in the other half of the bracket.

    68 kg

    Mensah-Stock shocked in the semis.

    Perhaps the most shocking moment of the 2021 World Championships occurred in the 68 kg semifinals. Olympic champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock was looking to get off to a fast start and got in on Rin Miyaji's (Japan) legs. Miyaji caught Mensah-Stock off balance and locked up a cradle. She rolled the American over her own back and secured a fall in only :21 seconds.

    Opposing Miyaji in the finals will be Olympic bronze medalist Meerim Zhumanazarova (Kyrgyzstan). Just two years ago, Zhumanazarova was a Junior world finalist. She won a tight bout on criteria over Khanum Velieva (Russia) in the semifinals, 3-3.

    In one of the bronze medal matches, Mensah-Stock will face the winner of Adela Hanzlickova (Czech Republic) and Danute Domikaityte (Lithuania).

    72 kg

    Bakbergenova is Kazakhstan's lone finalist.

    American phenom, Junior World Champion Kylie Welker, fell in her opening match and was eliminated when her opponent Buse Tosun (Turkey) was dropped in the semis by Zhamilia Bakbergenova (Kazakhstan). Bakbergenova is the only woman from Kazakhstan to make the finals this year. She clinched her first world medal after falling in the bronze medal match in 2019. Her opponent will be Masako Furuichi (Japan). The Japanese finalist earned her spot after a hard-fought 6-2 win over Anna Schell (Germany).

    76 kg

    Gray rallies to win record sixth world title.

    The final match on Wednesday was one of the most excited and the most historically significant for Americans. Adeline Gray made history by becoming the first American to win six world titles (man or woman). Just two days ago, Jordan Burroughs joined John Smith as America's only two six-time World/Olympic champions. Now Gray is in the club.

    Not only did Gray get the win, but her match will be extremely memorable for the US wrestling community. After a lost challenge in the final seconds of the first period, Gray was down 4-0 to Epp Maee (Estonia). Gray, who typically opens up more in the second period, lived up to her reputation and finally was able to penetrate the defense of the Estonian. After getting a second takedown and leading on criteria, Gray locked up a trapped-arm gut to take the lead. Not content to just win on points, Gray continued pushing for a fall and got it, just before the final buzzer sounded.

    With the fall, Gray had successfully pinned her way through the world tournament, marking the first time she accomplished that feat. Not only does she now have six gold medals, but nine total.

    The remaining two medalists at the weight were Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan) and Samar Hamza (Egypt).

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