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LAS VEGAS — For the first time in her career, Helen Maroulis has to learn how to live and wrestle as the World’s best; once the women’s freestyler stunned the wrestling world by upsetting Japan legend Saori Yoshida in last summer Olympic gold medal match in Rio
In fact, there were some who wondered if Maroulis would even compete for a spot on the 2017 World Team that will compete in Paris in August.
So do did the native of Maryland and resident of Huntington, Calif., until she showed up in Las Vegas to claim another World Team slot.
“I struggled with that (decision) a lot,” said Maroulis who moved up two spots to easily dominate Kayla Miracle in a pair of bouts to claim the 58-kilogram weight class Saturday night in South Point Arena.
“I hope I am doing the right things for the right reasons. I felt I needed to come back and it’s different this time around. This year, it’s more about my character development and myself as a person. It is not so much about wrestling right now. I know that sounds weird. This is my profession and I give everything I have when I am doing it. Off the mat, I have to give everything I have as a sister, a daughter, a friend. There are a lot of things important to me right now,”
Maroulis was one of four women’s freestylers and four Greco-Roman wrestlers, who also won on the second night of the Trials and rounded out the American team in those two styles that will compete in the United World Wrestling World Championships, Aug. 21-26 in Paris, France. (Men’s freestyle, which held its U.S. Open champions at the same time this weekend in Las Vegas, will determine their World Team members on June 10 in Lincoln, Neb.)
Also earning trips to the upcoming Worlds in women’s freestyle were: 48-kilogram Victoria Anthony, who finished second in last year’s Olympic Trials and earned her first World appearance since 2013; Becka Leathers, who earned her first Worlds appearance at 55 kilograms after her Trials’ opponent Sarah Hildebrandt suffered an elbow injury in their first match; and Victoria Francis who rallied to beat Erin Clodgo for the 75-kilogram weight class.
Meanwhile in Greco-Roman, the four winners were: Ildar Hafizov (59 kilos), who immigrated from Uzebekistan, where he wrestled in the 2008 Olympics; Pat Smith (71 kilos) who finished second in both the 2015 World Team Trials and 2016 Olympic Trials; 19-year-old Mason Manville, who wrestled in the Cadet Worlds three years ago and took a year off from Penn State to focus on Greco; and Ben Provisor, the 2012 Olympian.
These eight champions will join eight other men and women wrestlers who won World Team Trials on Friday at the United World Wrestling World Championships,. They include in Greco-Roman: Ellis Coleman (66k), Cheyney Haight (80k), G’Angelo Hancock (98k) and Robby Smith (130k). In women’s freestyle, earlier winners were: Haley Augello (48k), Mallory Velte (63k), Alli Ragan (60k) and Tamayra Mensah (69k).
Saturday’s Women’s Freestyle Championship Finals
48 kg/105.5 lbs. Victoria Anthony, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Cody Pfau, Brush, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC), two matches to none
Bout One – Anthony pin Pfau, 0:38
Bout Two – Anthony tech. fall Pfau, 10-0, 0:57
55 kg/121 lbs. -. Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Sarah Hildebrandt, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), two matches to none
Bout One – Leathers won by inj. dft. over Hildebrandt, 3:50
Bout Two –Leathers wins by inj. dft. over Hildebrandt, 0:00
58 kg/127.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Kayla Miracle, Campbellsville, Ky. (Sunkist Kids)
Bout One – Maroulis tech. fall Miracle, 15-2, 5:45
Bout Two – Maroulis tech. fall Miracle, 10-0, 2:42
75 kg/165 lbs. Victoria Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), two matches to none
Bout One – Francis dec. Clodgo, 6-5
Bout Two –Francis dec. Clodgo, 6-3
Saturday’s Greco-Roman Best of 3 Championship Finals
59 kg/130 lbs.: Ildar Hafizov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP) dec. Hayden Tuma, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), two matches to none
Bout one – Hafizov dec. Tuma, 7-3
Bout two – Hafizov dec. Tuma, 7-1
71 kg/156 lbs.: Pat Smith, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Chris Gonzalez, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), two matches to none
Bout one – Smith dec. Gonzalez, 4-1
Bout two – Smith dec. Gonzalez, 6-0
75 kg/165 lbs.: Mason Manville, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP) dec. Kamal Bey, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), two matches to none Bout one – Manville dec. Bey, 9-8
Bout two – Manville tech. fall Bey, 8-0
85 kg/189 lbs.: Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Joe Rau, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), two matches to none
Bout one – Provisor dec. Rau, 4-1
Bout two – Provisor dec. Rau, 4-3