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Facts, Trends, and Numbers from the 2022 U17 World Championships

Luke Lilledahl in the 2022 U17 World Champion gold medal match (photo courtesy of Martin Gabor/UWW)

Last week and into the weekend, the U17 (Cadet) World Championships took place in Rome, Italy. It was a memorable tournament for the American contingent as there were notable achievements across all three styles and plenty of room for optimism across the board. As we do with many big events, InterMat has gone back through the three tournaments and found notable facts and trends that have occurred, based on the final results. Some you may have read about along the way and others you may hear for the first time.

Greco-Roman

Joel Adams' gold medal at 65 kg is the first for the United States since Cohlton Schultz (100 kg) in 2017.

Adams was the only Greco wrestler to win without surrendering a single point in any of his matches. He outscored the competition 36-0.

With Adams and Cody Merrill winning medals, it marked only the second title since 2013 that the American team has brought home multiple medals in the same year. Cade Olivas and Jon Jay Chavez both previously got bronze medals in 2013.

Since the reinstatement of U17/Cadet Worlds (in 2011), the US has had only three finalists at this age group. With Adams' title and Cory Land's silver medal in 2021, it became the first time the American team has had a finalist in back-to-back World Championships.

For the second consecutive year, a wrestler from Ukraine defeated an opponent from Uzbekistan in the 45 kg world finals. This time it was Yevhen Pokovba over Shakhzod Ruziokhunov.

Ukraine is also the only nation to have a wrestler win a world title in each of the last three world championships. They had one in 2019 (Mykyta Alieksieiev), two in 2021 (Nikita Dementiev and Imed Khudzhadze), and one in 2022 (Pokovba).

India's Suraj won gold at 55 kg. He is the first Indian wrestler since the reinstatement to win a Greco world championship.

There were no repeat or previous champions at the Greco-Roman level.

Lucas LoGrasso (60 kg) became the first world finalist for France in this era of the tournament.

For the second consecutive year, Germany had a world runner-up. This year it was Darius Kiefer at 92 kg. Prior to 2021, the last time a German made a Cadet/U17 world final was in 2013, when Etienne Kinsinger won the 58 kg bracket.

Omar Mourad (60 kg - bronze) was the first Egyptian wrestler to medal at this event since Mohamed El Sayed did so in 2015 (63 kg - silver).


Women's Freestyle

The United States finished with three medals (all silvers), which was their lowest total since 2017, when both Emily Shilson and Alara Boyd took silver.

Erica Pastoriza joined a short list of multiple-time American Cadet/U17 world finalists. She joins Emily Shilson (2017-18), Ronna Heaton (2015-16), and Marina Doi (2011-12) in this exclusive group.

Illinois produced a pair of 2022 world medalists in Gabriella Gomez and Valerie Hamilton. The last Illinois native to place at this event was…Haley Augello in 2011. Coming full circle, Augello was in Gomez' corner last week.

Despite being an early adopter of girls high school wrestling and a traditional power, Washington had never put a woman on the Cadet/U17 world team until Shelby Moore did so this year. Moore finished fifth at 57 kg.

Conversely, California has had three on the women's squad for the past three years. This time it was Megan Valdez (40 kg), Elena Ivaldi (53 kg), and Kaiulani Garcia (73 kg).

India and Japan dominated the competition and accounted for eight of the ten gold medals. Japan also had four silver medalists.

The women's tournament saw a pair of wrestlers capture their second world championships, Mariia Yefremova (Ukraine - 53 kg) and Priya (India - 73 kg).

Since 2019, three Indian women have won multiple world titles: Priya, Komal (2019/2021), and Sonam (2017/2019).

India has produced multiple gold medalists in each of the last three tournaments. The 2022 winners were: Muksan (40 kg), Rikita (43 kg), Savita (61 kg), Harshita (69 kg), and Priya.

Japan's three champions was actually their lowest total since the return of the tournament in 2011.

For the first time since the tournament resumed, in 2011, Hungary had finalists in back-to-back years. Gerda Terek (2nd at 57 kg) this year and Enikoe Elekes (1st at 65 kg) in 2021.

Romania's Maria Pantiru fell in the 65 kg finals, 5-2. Her country is now 0-6 in the world finals since 2011. Her countrymate, Alexandra Voiculescu, lost in the 2021 finals at 40 kg.

Lilyan Cohen earned a bronze medal at 53 kg for France. In doing so, she became the country's first medalist since the great Koumba Larroque won a world title in 2015.

Reka Van Os was a bronze medalist at 65 kg representing the Netherlands. This was the first medal for the Dutch since this tournament was reintroduced in 2011.

The same goes for Croatia's Veronika Vilk who claimed a bronze medal at 69 kg.

Muskan (India - 40 kg), Ritika (India - 43 kg), Koko Matsuda (Japan - 46 kg) and Sowaka Uchida (Japan - 57 kg) all ran through their respective brackets without allowing a single point.


Men's Freestyle

The US men's team won their first world title in dominating fashion. Second place India was a distant 64 points behind. The 190 points amassed by the American squad set a new UWW record.

Nine of the ten US wrestlers left with a medal and the team went 34-6 overall at the tournament.

Of the six losses for the Americans, only Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan registered multiple wins against Team USA. The US was 1-2 against Azerbaijan and 3-2 versus Kazakhstan.

The American team is now 15-5 in bronze medal matches since 2017.

It was the second time since the reinstatement that Team USA has produced four champions. This time it was Domenic Munaretto (45 kg), Luke Lilledahl (51 kg), Joseph Sealey (71 kg), and Koy Hopke (110 kg). The only other group to hit that make was the 2017 team with Kurt McHenry, Will Lewan, Aaron Brooks, and Greg Kerkvliet.

Lilledahl joined a select group of multiple-time world finalists for the American team, since the return of this tournament. Kerkvliet, McHenry, Yianni Diakomihalis, and Gable Steveson all made two world finals.

Koy Hopke continued an incredible run for American heavyweights at the Cadet/U17 level. The US has had a finalist in seven of the last eight world championships. Jordan Wood started the run with a silver medal in 2014, Gable Steveson had back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016, Kerkvliet won gold and silver in 2017 and 2018, while Jim Mullan was a silver medalist last year.

Along those same line, the US has had the world champion at 45 kg in each of the last three World Championships. Munaretto, Bo Bassett (2021) and Marc-Anthony McGowan (2019).

The USA has had at least one champion in every year since the tournament was brought back in 2011.

Kazakhstan had a pair of world champions, Daryn Askerbek (55 kg) and Kamil Kurugliev (92 kg), for the first time since 2011. That duo was Vladimir Kudrin (46 kg) and Elkhan Assadov (76 kg).

India had six world medalists for the second consecutive year. From 2011-19, they had 24 combined.

Kyrgyzstan's Bilol Sharip Uulu (60 kg) became his country's first finalist since that magical 2011 date.

Host Italy also had a silver medalist in Raul Caso (71 kg). Italy did not previously have a finalist since 2011, either.

Usually more known for their Greco prowess, Hungary actually had a freestyle finalist in Musza Arsunkaev (92 kg). It's their first finalist in this era of the Cadet/U17 Championships.

France also had a similar situation. 110 kg world silver medalist, Levan Lagvilava, was its first finalist.

Ben Tarik (51 kg) won a bronze medal for Morocco. He is the first medalist for his country since the reintroduction of this tournament.

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