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Maroulis bronze medal salvages bittersweet day for women at World Championships
Helen Maroulis just missed reaching the gold-medal match at 121 pounds at the World Championships on Wednesday. So the native of Rockville, Md., made sure she did not miss out on capturing a bronze medal by dominating Katarzyna Krawczyk of Poland for a third-place finish during the first day of women’s freestyle action in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Unfortunately, Alyssa Lampe could not enjoy the same feeling after the native of Wisconsin lost a close and controversial bronze-medal match at 105.5 pounds to Hyon Gyong Kim of North Korea.
These two wrestlers were among four Americans who competed in the Gymnastics Palace in the first of three days in women’s freestyle during the annual tournament hosted by United World Wrestling (formerly FILA). And while both Jenna Burkert (60k/132 pounds) and Randi Miller (69k/152 pounds) were dominated in their one and only bouts, both Lampe and Maroulis looked very strong to reach the medal round of their weight classes.
Lampe, a 2012 and 2013 World bronze medalist, scored falls in the three matches she won: vs. Elverine Jimenez (Nicaragua) and Hyun-Young Oh (South Korea) in the first two rounds and against Silvia Felice of Italy in a wrestleback after losing 14-4 to Japan’s eventual gold medalist Eri Tosaka in the quarterfinals.
And it appeared that Lampe would win her third consecutive World bronze medal when she scored a pair of takedowns in the second period to lead 4-2. Unfortunately, she gave up a match-deciding takedown to the North Korean with ten seconds left; leaving the American in disbelief as the bout ended with her opponent winning bronze on criteria despite the 4-4 score.
“It’s so heartbreaking,” Lampe told TheMat.com. “I had that match in the bag. It was my match to win. Unfortunately she scored at the end. I’m not disappointed with how I wrestled. I gave it my all.”
What made the loss even more tough for Lampe was seeing that officials did not give her any points at the end of the first period — when she put Kim on her back — or with a minute left when it appeared Lampe had scored another takedown off a counter.
There were definitely some calls that could’ve gone the other way, but that happens in competition,” U.S. National Team coach Terry Steiner told TheMat.com. “You’ve got to be able to rise above it. We had that match won. We made some mistakes tactically at the end. We need to make some improvements.”
Maroulis knows what Lampe felt after she led Japan’s eventual gold medalist Chiho Hamada, 2-0, in a semifinal bout before giving up six straight points in the final 70 seconds to lose 6-2.
Otherwise, Maroulis, a 2012 World silver medalist, scored falls against Elverine Jimenez of Nicaragua) and Junior World champion Battsetseg Altantsetseg of Mongolia in her first two matches, then scored 12 of her 14 points in the second period — off three takedowns, a pushout and a leglace — against Krawczyk in the bronze-medal match.
“I’ve been working on my mental game,” Maroulis told TheMat.com. “I was really disappointed I lost in the semifinals, but I tried to come back strong in the bronze-medal match. It was important to win that medal and I went after it.”
For both Burkert and Miller, neither American lasted a full match while competing in their first World Championships. Burkert lost a 10-0 technical fall to Japan’s Katsuki Sakagami in a match that lasted 3:23, while Miller was pinned by Agnieszka Wieszczek-Kordus of Poland in 2:27. Like her Polish opponent, Miller earned a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. The 2014 Worlds was her first World-level event since retiring after the Beijing Games.
Both Burkert and Miller were eliminated when their victors lost their next matches.
“I felt really good and I was ready to go,” Burkert told TheMat.com. “I felt strong. I just didn’t capitalize. I can’t make mistakes against someone like that.”
“I felt I had a great warm-up, but I just came out flat,” Miller told TheMat.com. “My nerves got the best of me today. I need to figure it out and make sure this never happens again.”
Three more American women – Whitney Conder (53k/116.5 pounds), Ali Ragan (58k/128 pounds) and Adeline Gray (75k/165 pounds) — will wrestle on Thursday (Sept. 11). Then 2012 World champion Elena Pirozhkova (63k/138.75 pounds) will compete on Friday, which is also the first day of Greco competition when Americans Andrew Bisek and Jordan Holm will wrestle.
2014 World Championships
Day 3 Action • Women’s Freestyle • Sept. 10
Gymnastics Palace, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Medal Results from Sept. 10
48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Gold Medal — Eri Tosaka (Japan) dec. Iwona Matkowska (Poland), 10-2
Bronze Medals — Mariya Stadnyk (Azerbaijan) won by TF over Emilia Vuc (Romania), 11-0
Hyon Gyong Kim (North Korea dec. Alyssa Lampe (United States), 4-4 (criteria)
55 kg/121 pounds
Gold Medal — Chiho Hamada (Japan) vs. Irina Ologonova (Russia)
Bronze Medals — Helen Maroulis (United States) won by TF over Katarzyna Krawczyk (Poland)
Iryna Khariv (Ukraine) won by TF over Karima Sanchez (Spain), 11-1
60 kg/132 pounds
Gold Medal — Tserenchimed Sukhee (Mongolia) dec. Yuliya Ratkevich (Azerbaijan), 12-3
Bronze Medals — Natalia Golts (Russia) won by TF over Petra Olli (Finland), 12-1
Taybe Yusein (Bulgaria) dec. Malin Mattson (Sweden), 3-0
69 kg/152 pounds
Gold Medal — Aline Focken (Germany) dec. Sara Dosho (Japan), 5-4.
Bronze Medals — Laura Skujina (Lativa) pinned Diana Gonzales (Mexico)
Natalia Vorobeva (Russia) pinned Jenny Fransson (Sweden)
U.S. women’s freestyle results from Sept. 10
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Alyssa Lampe, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
Pinned Narangel Erdenesukh (Mongolia), 5:50
Pinned Hyun-Young Oh (Korea), fall 3:48
Lost by TF to Eri Tosaka (Japan), 14-4
Pinned Silvia Felice (Italy), 1:15
Lost to Hyon Gyong Kim (North Korea), 4-4, in bronze-medal match
55 kg/121 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (Sunkist Kids)
Pinned Elverine Jimenez (Nicaragua), fall 2:12
Pinned Battsetseg Altantsetseg (Mongolia), 2:21
Lost to Chiho Hamada (Japan), 6-2
Won by TF over Katarzyna Krawczyk (Poland), 14-4 in bronze-medal match
60 kg/132 lbs. – Jenna Burkert, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
Lost by TF to Katsuki Sakagami (Japan), 10-0
69 kg /152 lbs. – Randi Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
Lost by fall to Agnieszka Wieszczek-Kordus (Poland), 2:27