2022 53 kg World Champion Dom Parrish (photo courtesy of Kadir Caliskan/UWW)
Wednesday afternoon saw the "Star Spangled Banner" being played for the first time as Dom Parrish captured the gold medal and a first world title at 53 kg. Parrish got on the board with a double leg early in the first period against Khulan Batkhuyag (Mongolia). That's how the first period would end.
In the second, Batkhuyag retaliated with a takedown of her own to even the score, though she was ahead on criteria. After the takedown, the Mongolian attempted to corral Parrish's legs for a lace; however, Parrish was able to deny the move. Shortly after, Batkhuyag attempted to extend her lead with a trip attempt, a move that Parrish avoided and then she dropped to a leg for a shot of her own. Parrish quickly finished to lead 4-2. The rest of the bout featured strong defensive tactics from Parrish as she did not allow any more scoring.
Parrish got her hand raised and became only the 11th American woman to win a world title. This title came in only her first appearance at a Senior world tournament.
Before Parrish took the mat, Sarah Hildebrandt won her fourth world/Olympic medal at 50 kg, when she defeated Emilia Vuc (Romania), 10-0. Despite the score, there was plenty of drama surrounding this bout. Hildebrandt had a 4-0 lead in the opening stanza on the strength of two takedowns. As she was attacking and looking for a third, Vuc sunk in a deep head pinch and tried to roll Hildebrandt to her back. The move turned into a choke and Hildebrandt went unconscious and rolled flat onto her back with Vuc covering her. At that point, the official stopped the bout and waited for Hildebrandt to come to. Initially, two points were awarded to Vuc; however, those were waved off.
Just minutes after lying unconscious in the center of the mat, Hildebrandt got back to her feet collected three more takedowns and gathered the win and her third bronze medal.
After the Parrish victory, fellow Simon Fraser alum Mallory Velte took the mat competing for bronze at 65 kg. Velte was ready to go from the opening whistle and applied constant pressure on Mimi Hristova (Bulgaria) throughout their match. Velte took control with four points in the opening period. Hristova briefly made things interesting with a takedown of her own in the second, but Velte reeled off seven unanswered points to prevail, 11-2.
The win gives Velte two world bronze medals in her three Senior world appearances.
The Wednesday morning session was favorable to the women's world team. The athletes used that momentum during the second session as three athletes wrestled in the semifinals and three others were in medal matches.
Helen Maroulis continued her dominance at 57 kg with a fall over Davaachimeg Erkhembayar of Mongolia. During the earlier portion of the bout, Erkhembayar and Maroulis were tied up with little action. Maroulis led by a score of 3-0 after a period. She was able to break open that match in a big way during the second period, using her trademark footsweep into a fall.
Japan's Tsugumi Sakurai is all that's standing between Maroulis and her fifth world/Olympic gold medal. Sakurai is the returning world champion at 55 kg.
The next American to compete in the semis was Tamyra Mensah-Stock at 68 kg. Mensah-Stock was paired with 2021 Senior/U20 Irina Ringaci (Moldova). You wouldn't know it from the action itself as it was all-Tamyra from the opening whistle. Mensah-Stock only needed :25 to get her first takedown and then snowballed from there with a 10-0 tech in less than two and a half minutes.
Mensah-Stock advanced to the finals with three identical 10-0 tech falls. She'll need to get by Japan's Ami Ishii to win her second world title. Ishii was a U20 world champion earlier this year.
Speaking of 2022 U20 champions, there was one in action for the United States at 72 kg with Amit Elor. The 18-year-old faced 2021 world champion, Masako Furuichi (Japan), in a tactical affair. The veteran, Furuichi blinked first and attempted a headlock early in the first period, a maneuver that Elor avoided and countered for a takedown. That proved to be pivotal as Furuichi was never able to score until the last :15 seconds, when she got a takedown to narrow the gap to 3-2. Overall, Elor proved to be too stout defensively and controlled the ties and center of the mat for much of the contest. 3-2 was the final score for Elor, who clinched her first Senior medal with a finals berth.
In order for Elor to claim her second world title this year, she'll have to defeat Kazakhstan's Zhamila Bakbergenova in tomorrow's final. Bakbergenova was a silver medalist at the 2021 World Championships and a two-time Asian champion.
The American women finished the day with 12 straight victories and have clinched at least seven medals for a second consecutive year. Tomorrow, with three finalists, we'll determine what color those medals will be.
2022 Senior World Championships US Results
Bronze Medal Match: Sarah Hildebrandt over Emilia Vuc (Romania) 10-0
Gold Medal Match: Dom Parrish over Khulan Batkhuyag (Mongolia) 4-2
Semifinals: Helen Maroulis over Davaachimeg Erkhembayar (Mongolia) Fall 5:19
Bronze Medal Match: Mallory Velte over Mimi Hristova (Bulgaria) 11-2
Semifinals: Tamyra Mensah-Stock over Irina Ringaci (Moldova) 10-0
Semifinals: Amit Elor over Masako Furuichi (Japan) 3-2