2022 World Champions Tamyra Mensah-Stock (left) and Amit Elor (photo courtesy of Kostadin Andonov/UWW)
History was made for Team USA in the very last match of the women's freestyle tournament at the 2022 World Championship. 18-year-old Amit Elor became the youngest American wrestler to win a Senior world championship when she disposed of returning world silver medalist Zhamila Bakbergenova (Kazakhstan) in just over :70 seconds. The previous mark was held by Kyle Snyder who won his 2015 world championship as a 19-year-old.
Bakbergenova was the offensive wrestler, but was stymied by Elor on her only shot attempt. Elor patiently improved her position until she was able to swiftly go behind for a takedown. She quickly transitioned into a leg lace and that was the match. Four turns later, Elor was a world champion.
The numbers are staggering for Elor. In her four matches in Belgrade, Elor downed three of the four returning world medalists, including both finalists. Her other contest was a win over the 2021 U23 world champion. Although, Elor outscored the field 23-2 and that doesn't include a fall in the quarterfinals.
Elor now has two world titles in 2022 (U20 and Senior) and will seek a third next month at U23's.
The American squad crowned another gold medalist at the weight class before Elor's, as Tamyra Mensah-Stock prevailed at 68 kg. Mensah-Stock faced Japan's Ami Ishii, another U20 world champion from earlier this year. After a brief "feeling-out" process, Mensah-Stock hit a big blast double to get on the scoreboard, 2-0. Shortly after, Mensah-Stock got a second takedown and then sucked Ishii back for exposure. She didn't stop at the point, instead increasing the pressure and eventually picking up the fall at 2:10 in the opening period.
Throughout the tournament, Mensah-Stock did not surrender a single point and never was pushed to the fourth minute of any bout. She tallied three 10-0 techs before the fall in the finals.
The gold medal gives Tamyra three World/Olympic titles and five medals overall. She has left every World/Olympic event with some form of hardware since 2018.
Also adding to her medal collection was Helen Maroulis at 57 kg. Maroulis was held in check by Japan's Tsugumi Sakurai, 3-0 in the gold medal match. Sakurai was a world champion in 2021 at 55 kg, who moved up this year. Maroulis had to settle for silver for the second time in her illustrious career.
For her career, Maroulis now has eight World/Olympic medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).
The US women's freestyle team finished the tournament in second place, behind Japan. Seven American women won medals and three were crowned world champions; two being first-time champs. The US team also had three champions in 2019 when Mensah-Stock, Jacarra Winchester (55kg) and Adeline Gray (76 kg) won.
2022 Senior World Championships US Results
57 kg Women's Freestyle
Gold Medal Match: Tsugumi Sakurai (Japan) over Helen Maroulis 3-0
68 kg Women's Freestyle
Gold Medal Match: Tamyra Mensah-Stock over Ami Ishii (Japan) Fall 2:10
72 kg Women's Freestyle
Gold Medal Match: Amit Elor over Zhamila Bakbergenova (Kazakhstan) Fall 1:12