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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    US Women's Legends Add to Medal Count on Wednesday

    Wednesday’s medal round matches at the 2023 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia featured three of the most decorated women in American wrestling history. Each had the opportunity to add to their hard-to-fathom medal counts and each was successful in doing so. 

    Sarah Hildebrandt (50 kg), Helen Maroulis (57 kg), and Adeline Gray (76 kg) each suffered close losses on Tuesday, but brushed themselves off and got the next best thing as they rebounded in bronze medal-winning performances. 

    Hildebrandt had a ho-hum 5-0 victory over Evin Demirhan (Turkey) to get her hardware. Within the first minute and a half of the bout, Hildebrandt was on three takedown attempts but was stymied by Demirhan during each attack. She finally was able to break through and gain a takedown and added a shot clock violation point on Demirhan to lead 5-0 after a period. 

    In the second period, Hildebrandt added an insurance takedown to make the score 5-0. That was more than enough, as Demirhan was never close to generating any offense against the American star. 

    Hildebrandt’s bronze medal brings her career medal count up to five counting Olympic and World Championships. A medal from Hildebrandt also means that the United States has qualified for the 2024 Olympics at her 50 kg weight class. 

    Next up was Maroulis, who appeared to be cruising like Hildebrandt. She led Anhelina Lysak (Poland) 2-0 at the break after converting a picturesque swing single. Maroulis added another in the second period and transitioned into a leg lace for a 6-0 advantage. 

    As Maroulis appeared to be close to tacking on another takedown, Lysak was able to get on the scoreboard by exposing Maroulis. That wasn’t the only offensive attempt from Lysak, as she threw Maroulis to her back for four points during the last minute of the contest. Maroulis was able to stop the rally and added scores of her own to win, 10-6. 

    The bronze medal for Maroulis now gives her nine total World/Olympic medals. Her latest came 11 years after her first at the 2012 World Championships. Maroulis’ finish also earns a quota for the United States at the 2024 Olympics. 

    The last American to take the mat on Wednesday was Gray who was paired with fellow Pan-American wrestler Milaimys Marin Potrille (Cuba). Gray got on the board first, scoring with a snatch single, then quickly working into a pair of turns to grab a commanding 6-0 advantage. Marin Potrille wasn’t discouraged as she was able to get her first points by way of a huge double leg late in the first period. 

    Each would add a pair of two-point scores in the second period which led to a 10-6 victory for Gray. For Gray, she now has 10 World/Olympic medals to her name. This most recent one may be her most impressive considering she gave birth to twins just over a year ago. Like Hildebrant and Maroulis, Gray has qualified the United States for the Olympics at 76 kg. 

    In the first weight class contested during today’s medal round, Macey Kilty was in the 65 kg world finals opposite Nonoka Ozaki (Japan), a 2022 world champion at 62 kg. Ozaki got an early takedown and was able to pour it on and rolled to a tech fall in 60 seconds. For Kilty, she earned a silver medal in her first Senior World event and will get to advance to the Olympic Challenge Tournament semifinals at whichever weight she chooses. 

    Today also saw the final four women’s team members take the mat for the first time. 2022 U20/U23/Senior world champion Amit Elor took another step towards the top of the podium by making the 72 kg finals opposite Davaanasan Enkh Amar (Mongolia). Enkh Amar downed Elor’s 2022 Senior finals opponent Zhamila Bakbergenova (Kazakhstan) in the semis. Elor scored a huge win in the quarters over 2022 World Champion (65 kg) Miwa Morikawa of Japan. 

    Another first-time world team member, Emma Bruntil (68 kg), still has medal hopes alive. Bruntil defeated a pair of past world medalists in her first two matches (Alexandra Anghel - Romania and Feng Zhou - China). She then survived a 2-1 battle against Russian Vusala Parfianovich to make the semis. In the semis, Bruntil fell victim to Mongolia’s Delgermaa Enkhsaikhan via fall. She’ll have to await repechage to find her bronze medal opponent. In addition to her quest for a medal, Bruntil will have two opportunities to qualify the United States for the Olympics at 68 kg. 

    The United States also had a pair of 2022 world medalists who lost early in the tournament and were eliminated. Dom Parrish (53 kg) was edged in her first bout by India’s Antim Panghal, 3-2. Kayla Miracle (62 kg) got to Romanian Kriszta Incze’s legs multiple times, but wasn’t able to finish often enough or avoid exposure points in the process. Miracle fell 6-3. 

    Both Parrish and Miracle are at Olympic weights. They or another member of the team will head to the Pan-American Championships in early 2024 with the goal of placing top two and qualifying the US for the Olympics. 

    Tomorrow will mark the final day of the women’s competition in Belgrade. Elor and Bruntil will wrestle for medals, while the Greco-Roman team starts their tournament. 

    Final Results

    50 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Yui Susaki (Japan) over Otgonjargal Dolgorjav (Mongolia)  10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Ziqi Feng (China) over Alisson Cardozo Rey (Colombia)  10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Sarah Hildebrandt (USA) over Evin Demirhan (Turkey)  5-0


    Olympic Quota Wrestle-Off: Evin Demirhan (Turkey) over Alisson Cardozo Rey (Colombia)  4-1

    57 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Tsugumi Sakurai (Japan) over Anastasia Nichita (Moldova)  3-2

    Bronze Medal Match: Helen Maroulis (USA) over Anhelina Lysak (Poland)  10-6

    Bronze Medal Match: Odunayo Adekuoroye (Nigeria) over Elvira Kamaloglu (Turkey)  9-5

    Olympic Quota Wrestle-Off: Anhelina Lysak (Poland) over Elvira Kamaloglu (Turkey)  Fall 1:55

    65 kg 

    Gold Medal Match: Nonaka Ozaki (Japan) over Macey Kilty (USA)  10-0

    Bronze Medal Match: Mimi Hristova (Bulgaria) over Tatsiana Paulava (AIN - Belarus)  Fall 1:51

    Bronze Medal Match: Lili (China) over Kadriye Aksoy (Turkey)  3-2


    76 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Yuga Kagami (Japan) over Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan)  Injury Default

    Bronze Medal Match: Tatiana Renteria (Colombia) over Catalina Axente (Romania)  Fall 5:59

    Bronze Medal Match: Adeline Gray (USA) over Milaimys Marin Potrille (Cuba)  10-6

    Olympic Quota Wrestle-Off: Milaimys Marin Potrille (Cuba) over Catalina Axente (Romania)  Fall :50

    American Results

    50 kg

    Bronze Medal Match: Sarah Hildebrandt (USA) over Evin Demirhan (Turkey)  5-0

    53 kg

    Qualification: Antim Panghal (India) over Dom Parrish  3-2

    57 kg

    Bronze Medal Match: Helen Maroulis (USA) over Anhelina Lysak (Poland)  10-6

    62 kg

    Qualification: Kayla Miracle over Subeen Jo (South Korea)  12-2

    Round of 16: Kriszta Incze (Romania) over Kayla Miracle  6-3

    65 kg

    Gold Medal Match: Nonaka Ozaki (Japan) over Macey Kilty (USA)  10-0

    68 kg

    Qualification: Emma Bruntil over Alexandra Anghel (Romania)  2-2

    Round of 16: Emma Bruntil over Feng Zhou (China)  6-3

    Quarterfinals: Emma Bruntil over Vusala Parfianovich (AIN - Russia)  2-1

    Semifinals: Delgermaa Enkhsaikhan (Mongolia) over Emma Bruntil  Fall 2:45

    72 kg

    Round of 16: Amit Elor over Nesrin Bas (Turkey)  7-0

    Quarterfinals: Amit Elor over Miwa Morikawa (Japan)  6-0

    Semifinals: Amit Elor over Kendra Dacher (France)  12-2

    76 kg

    Repechage: Adeline Gray over Yuanyuan Huang (China)  Fall 2:54

    Bronze Medal Match: Adeline Gray over Milaimys Marin Potrille (Cuba)  10-6

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