110 kg U17 World Champion Koy Hopke (photos courtesy of Kadir Caliskan/UWW)
It was more of the same for the men's freestyle team in session one of Saturday at the U17 World Championships from Rome, Italy. Three of the five wrestlers who started their tournaments this morning (Domenic Munaretto - 45 kg; Luke Lilledahl - 51 kg; and Joseph Sealey - 71 kg) all advanced to the gold medal match at their respective weights. This trio combined to win ten bouts on the day and only two of them went the full distance.
In the medal matches, things were a bit more difficult for the Americans as they lost three of their four gold medal contests. The lone winner for the USA was big man Koy Hopke at 110 kg. Hopke survived an early onslaught from Levan Lagvilava (France), who immediately registered a pair of points on step out's. As had been the case in the semifinals, Lagvilava ran out of steam as the match progressed. Once the French heavyweight started to slow, Hopke took over. After a takedown and exposure from a deep armbar, Hopke looked poised to seal the deal with a fall. However, the official stopped the hold as Lagvilava grimaced and grabbed at the injured appendage. From that point, it was all Hopke and he cruised to an 11-6 win.
Settling for the silver medal on the day were Christian Castillo (48 kg), Jax Forrest (55 kg), and Tyler Kasak (65 kg). The fifth member of the first day's worth of competitors, Zack Ryder, was the only one who didn't have a medal locked in at the start of the day. That changed as Ryder dominated Muhammadamin Abduloev (Tajikistan) physically in an 8-0 victory.
Before Saturday's medal rounds began, the United States team already had clinched the team title, a feat they had never accomplished since the reinstatement of Cadet Worlds in 2011. The last two teams (2019 and 2021) brought home silver.
The U17 World Championships will wrap up tomorrow as Munaretto, Lilledahl, and Sealey look to win gold medals, while Max McEnelly looks for bronze.
45 kg Men's Freestyle
Qualification - Domenic Munaretto (USA) over Ningappa Genannavar (India) 10-0
Quarterfinals - Domenic Munaretto (USA) over Arman Harutyunyan (Armenia) 10-0
Semifinals - Domenic Munaretto (USA) over Amirmohammad Navazi (Iran) 8-2
Gold Medal Match - Domenic Munaretto (USA) vs. Bashir Verdiyev (Azerbaijan)
48 kg Men's Freestyle
Gold Medal Match - Vasif Baghirov (Azerbaijan) over Christian Castillo (USA) 5-3
51 kg Men's Freestyle
Round of 16 - Luke Lilledahl (USA) over Ben Tarik (Morocco) 12-1
Quarterfinals - Luke Lilledahl (USA) over Dimitar Biserkov (Bulgaria) 10-0
Semifinals - Luke Lilledahl (USA) over Nurdanat Aitanov (Kazakhstan) 4-1
Gold Medal Match - Luke Lilledahl (USA) vs. Mohammad Asadi (Iran)
55 kg Men's Freestyle
Gold Medal Match - Daryn Askerbek (Kazakhstan) over Jax Forrest (USA) 11-10
60 kg Men's Freestyle
Round of 16 - Kyler Larkin (USA) over Vladimir Azaryan (Armenia) 5-2
Quarterfinals - Taiga Ogino (Japan) over Kyler Larkin (USA) 2-1
***Eliminated from medal contention***
65 kg Men's Freestyle
Gold Medal Match - Ilyas Isayev (Azerbaijan) over Tyler Kasak (USA) 5-3
71 kg Men's Freestyle
Qualification - Joe Sealey (USA) over Bleonit Bytyci (Kosovo) 10-0
Round of 16 - Joe Sealey (USA) over Alisher Zholdasaby (Kazakhstan) 12-1
Quarterfinals - Joe Sealey (USA) over Aslan Ozturk (Turkey) 10-0
Semifinals - Joe Sealey (USA) over Razmik Yepremyan (Armenia) 11-0
Gold Medal Match - Joe Sealey (USA) vs. Raul Caso (Italy)
80 kg Men's Freestyle
Bronze medal match - Zack Ryder (USA) over Muhammadamin Abduloev (Tajikistan) 8-0
92 kg Men's Freestyle
Round of 16 - Max McEnelly (USA) over Sherzod Poyonov (Uzbekistan) 11-1
Quarterfinals - Max McEnelly (USA) over Andriyan Valkanov (Bulgaria) 11-0
Semifinals - Kamil Kurugliyev (Kazakhstan) over Max McEnelly (USA) 12-2
Bronze Medal Match - Max McEnelly (USA) vs. Ibrahim Benekli (Turkey)/Sahil Jaglan (India) - Winner
110 kg Men's Freestyle
Gold Medal Match - Koy Hopke (USA) over Levan Lagvilava (France) 11-6