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Nickal caps off dominant run to gold at U23 World Championships

Bo Nickal with the American flag after winning gold at the U23 World Championships (Photo/Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling)

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Bo Nickal capped off a dominant run to a world title at the U23 World Championships on Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary.

The 23-year-old Nickal cruised to a 12-2 technical superiority over Russia's Batyrbek Tsakulov in the gold-medal match at 92 kilograms.

Nickal scored first off a step out and then followed it up with a takedown to go up 3-0 at the break. He pulled away in the second period, scoring two takedowns to extend his lead to 7-0. Tsakulov would get on the scoreboard with a takedown in the final minute. With just under 30 seconds remaining in the match, Nickal fired off a shot and scored a feet-to-back takedown for four points to go up 11-2. Russia challenged the call, which was upheld, giving Nickal an additional point and the technical superiority.

He finished the tournament with two technical superiorities, a fall and a 9-1 victory.

Greg Kerkvliet, the nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019, was edged in his bronze-medal match at 125 kilograms by Mongolia's Lkhagvagerel Munkhtur, 4-4 on criteria. Kerkvliet held the 3-3 criteria lead after the opening period. He added to his lead with a step out to go up 4-3. With eight seconds left, the Mongolian drove Kerkvliet out of bounds, which was initially ruled a step out. However, Mongolia challenged the call. The call was overturned and ruled a caution and one, which gave Munkhtur the victory on criteria.

Macey Kilty gets her hand raised after winning in the semifinals (Photo/Sachiko Hotaka, United World Wrestling)

Kilty cruises to finals at 68 kilograms; Shilson, Parrish earn spots in repechage

Macey Kilty went unscored upon en route to reaching the finals in women's wrestling at 68 kilograms. In the semifinals, Kilty dominated Yingying Wang (China), 11-0. Earlier in the tournament she had a pair of 10-0 technical superiorities over Alexia Sherland of Canada and Alina Rudnytska of Ukraine.

It marks the fourth straight age group world championship event in which Kilty has reached the finals. She was a gold medalist at the Cadet World Championships in 2018 and has been a silver medalist at the Junior World Championships in each of the past two years.

Two other American women, Emily Shilson (50 kilograms) and Dominique Parrish (55 kilograms), lost prior to the semifinals but will have a chance to wrestle back for bronze on Thursday.

Shilson, a Junior Olympics gold medalist, was defeated in her opening match at 50 kilograms by three-time age group world champion Kika Kagata of Japan, 8-3. Kagata would go on reach the finals, keeping Shilson's medal hopes alive. She will wrestle in repechage on Thursday.

Parrish opened her tournament by shutting out India's Rana Rani, 6-0. She was edged in her next match by Japan's Saki Igarashi, a U23 and Junior world champion, 4-3. Against Igarashi, Parrish led 3-0 at the break, but the Japanese wrestler scored two late takedowns to steal the match. Igarashi advanced to the finals, giving a Parrish a spot in repechage.

Abby Nette and Precious Bell also competed on Wednesday but were eliminated from the competition when the wrestlers who defeated them failed to make the finals.

Nette received a forfeit to start her tournament. She then fell to Yulia Pisarenka of Belarus, 4-1.

Bell blanked India's Pooja 4-0 in her first match before losing by fall in her next match to Hui Tsu Chang of Taipei.

Five more American women will open their competitions on Thursday. Those wrestlers include Felicity Taylor (53 kilograms), Arian Carpio (57 kilograms), Kayla Miracle (62 kilograms), Maya Nelson (65 kilograms) and Alyvia Fiske (72 kilograms).

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