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  • Photo: Kadir Caliskan

    Photo: Kadir Caliskan

    Fowler and Turner Win U17 World Championships Thursday

    Thursday marked the first day that medals were awarded in women’s freestyle at the U17 World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey and the American team left with three. That total matched the number that the 2022 squad accumulated across all ten weights. The 2022 team put three in the finals but did not win any gold medals. That wasn’t the case today as not one, but two, US women struck gold. 

    Morgan Turner (43 kg) kicked off the festivities with a clutch performance to claim the first world title. Piper Fowler finished off the session with another gold medal at 73 kg. In the interim, Heather Crull was dominant in a bronze medal-winning effort. 

    The US women’s freestyle team will finish with multiple world champions for only the third time (2018 and 2021) since the Cadet/U17 World Championship event was reinstated in 2011. 

    Turner’s gold medal bout started out in methodical fashion. She got on the scoreboard against Mona Ezaka (Japan) via a shot clock violation, which accounted for the only scoring in the opening stanza. Ezaka would take the lead with a shot clock point of her own in the second. With Turner trailing, she picked up the pace, but was pushed out of bounds for Ezaka to extend her lead to 2-1. 

    With only :11 seconds remaining and a fresh restart, Ezaka dove in on a leg attack. Turner stuffed the attempt and spun almost all the way around her Japanese opponent for a takedown while sinking in a half-nelson along the way. The clock expired as the official gave Turner two points, which was later white-paddled.

    Though she appeared defeated, Ezaka was initially ruled the victor. The US corner challenged the ruling which was overturned and Turner was given the two points and declared the winner, 3-2. 

    With Turner’s triumph, it snapped a seven-match losing streak by U17 women against Japan in gold medal matches. Ronna Heaton, in 2015, was previously the most recent American to defeat Japan for gold. 

    Right after Turner’s heart-stopping win, there was a less-dramatic medal-winning performance from Crull. Needing less than :30 to secure her first takedown, Crull added another and a pair of points from exposure to lead 6-0 over Lonisa Reka (Kosovo) within the first minute. After pushing the bout to technical superiority territory, Crull got the fall and clinched a bronze medal at 49 kg. 

    Like Turner, Fowler’s gold medal match started off slowly as a shot clock violation from Lotta Englich (Germany) accounted for the first point of the bout. Fowler appeared to be in trouble later in the first as she was extended underneath the German after a shot attempt. The American managed to build up into a better position, locked up a double leg, and finished a takedown to lead 3-0 at the break. 

    In the second period, Fowler found herself on the shot clock and forced Englich into a front headlock. Fowler locked up a cradle and exposed the German to lead 5-0. The cradle wasn’t particularly tight and allowed Englich to slip out and catch Fowler on her back. After a few tense seconds, Fowler was able to bridge and turn off of her back out of danger. Englich could not get any closer to scoring, which meant Fowler was a 5-2 victor and a world champion. 

    There may be more medals on the horizon with the second half of the women’s team, who started their tournament Thursday morning.  The American squad saw three women advance to the semifinals and all ended up with opponents from India. Unfortunately, all suffered the same fate. They were beaten by their Indian counterparts and will have to rebound and try again for a bronze medal tomorrow. 

    At 40 kg, Jaclyn Bouzakis struck first as she secured a takedown against India’s Rachana. Frequently, Rachana would use her length advantage to tie up Bouzakis’ wrists in a front headlock position. In the first of these exchanges, Bouzakis came out on top. Late in the first, in that same predicament, Rachana managed to get exposure to take a 2-2 lead. 

    After the break, Bouzakis got a takedown after a sequence that mirrored her first; however, Rachana wrestled through the position and got a reversal to inch within a point at 5-3. The pair got into the familiar front headlock position late in the contest and again it was Rachana who scored to take a 5-4 lead. With less than :10 remaining in the bout, Bouzakis was left to look for a reversal to go ahead on criteria. She was dangerously close at the final whistle, but ultimately came up short, 5-4. 

    Bouzakis will wrestle for a bronze medal tomorrow against the winner of a repechage match between Ainaz Abdykadyrova (Kyrgyzstan) and Nurana Asadli (Belarus - Individual Neutral Athlete). 

    At 61 kg, the defending U17 world champion, Savita, made her presence felt early and often. Haylie Jaffe attempted to get off to a fast start but was hit with a takedown down early in the first period. Savita never let up and led 6-0 at the halfway point. The Indian star continued her onslaught and the match was stopped via tech fall in the second period with a 10-0 score. 

    Jaffe will have to wait for repechage to generate a bronze medal opponent as she’ll face either Beyza Nur Akkas (Turkey) or Sofya Zmazneva (Kazakhstan). 

    After two dominating performances, Jasmine Robinson met the Asian U17 champion Srishti (India) at 69 kg. Srishti looked ready for Robinson’s blast double from space and even retaliated with her own, for four points, in the first period. 

    The second period saw Robinson adjust her strategy and go upper-body, tossing Srishti in a lateral throw for four points, taking the lead. A similar throw at the edge did not warrant the full four points but extended Robinson’s advantage to 5-4 after a step out. Down by a point, Srishti turned up the pace and worked her way into a takedown to take a late 6-5 lead. Desperate, Robinson tried a headlock in the waning seconds, which did not connect and led to a final score by Srishti. The Indian will advance to the world finals after an 8-5 victory.

    Robinson will have to wait to see who emerges from repechage to challenge for a bronze medal. She’ll take on the winner of Viktorija Irkle (Latvia) and Elif Sevval Kurt (Turkey). 


    Final Results

    43 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Morgan Turner (USA) over Mona Ezaka (Japan)  3-2

    Bronze Medal Match: Nilufar Nurmukhammadova (Uzbekistan) over Alina Mazharouskaya (Belarus - Individual Neutral Athlete)  10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Aleksandra Berezovskaia (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Maria Gkika (Greece)  5-1


    49 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Rinka Ogawa (Japan) over Sviatlana Katenka (Belarus - Individual Neutral Athlete)  11-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Heather Crull (USA) over Lonisa Reka (Kosovo)  Fall 1:29

    Bronze Medal Match: Tana Tiuliush (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Drishti (India)  4-4

    57 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Sowaka Uchida (Japan) over Eylem Engin (Turkey) 10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Neha (India) over Yeo Jin Min (South Korea)  10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Viktoria Boynova (Bulgaria) over Aziza Keldibekova (Kyrgyzstan)  5-4

    65 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Chisato Yoshida (Japan) over Duygu Gen (Turkey)  5-1

    Bronze Medal Match: Mouda Hamdoun (Egypt) over Maryia Makarchanka (Belarus - Individual Neutral Athlete)  Fall 3:48

    Bronze Medal Match: Margarita Salnazarian (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Mukhayyo Rakhimjonova (Uzbekistan)  Fall 3:43

    73 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Piper Fowler (USA) over Lotta Englich (Germany)  5-2

    Bronze Medal Match: Elmira Yasin (Turkey) over Asaloy Amangeldieva (Uzbekistan)  6-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Aliaksandra Kazlova (Belarus - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Ako Uchiyama (Japan)  2-0

    US Results

    40 kg

    Quarterfinals: Rachana (India) over Jaclyn Bouzakis (USA)  5-4


    43 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Morgan Turner (USA) over Mona Ezaka (Japan)  3-2

    46 kg

    Qualification: Valeria Tsitova (Belarus - Individual Neutral Athlete) over Rianne Murphy (USA)  Fall 1:06

    49 kg

    Bronze Medal Match: Heather Crull (USA) over Lonisa Reka (Kosovo)  Fall 1:29


    53 kg

    Round of 16: Karlee Brooks (USA) over Elmira Saparbekova (Kazakhstan)  12-1

    Quarterfinals: Sakura Onishi (Japan) over Karlee Brooks (USA)  6-0

    61 kg

    Round of 16: Haylie Jaffe (USA) over Emilia Swierczewska (Poland)  11-0

    Quarterfinals: Haylie Jaffe (USA)  over Ekaterina Radysheva (Russia - Individual Neutral Athlete)  7-0 

    Semifinals: Savita (India) over Haylie Jaffe (USA)  10-0

    69 kg

    Round of 16: Jasmine Robinson (USA) over Ai Sakai (Japan)  12-0

    Quarterfinals: Jasmine Robinson (USA) over Nigina Rajabova (Uzbekistan)  Fall 1:34

    Semifinals: Srishti (India) over Jasmine Robinson (USA)  8-5

    73 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Piper Fowler (USA) over Lotta Englich (Germany)  5-2

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