What American man will join Helen on gold medal stand at Worlds?

Updated: August 24, 2017

Led by Helen Maroulis’ second World championship and her third gold medal in as many years, the American Senior Women’s  Freestyle World Team has collected three medals as men’s freestyle begins Friday in Paris, France.

Among the four American men to compete on the fifth day of the six-day World tournament are 2016 World champion Logan Stieber at 61 kilograms and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox at 86 kilos. Stieber, the former four-time NCAA champion from Ohio State, will open up with either Gadzhimurad Rashidov of Russia, or Jozsef Molnar of Hungary. Cox, a three-time NCAA champ from Missouri, will take on Germany’s Ahmed Dudarov in a first-round match.

The other U.S. men’s freestylers to wrestle at their first World Championships on Friday will be Thomas Gilman (57k), the former NCAA finalist from Iowa and Nick Gwiazdowski (125k), the former two-time NCAA champ from NC State. Gilman will face Ukraine’s Andrey Yatsenko and Gwiazdowski meets Andrei Romanov in a first-round bout.

The final day of this year’s Worlds will take place Saturday when World/Olympic champs Jordan Burroughs (74k) and Kyle Snyder (97k) will join Worlds rookie Zain Retherford (65k) and 2015 World bronze medalist James Green (70k).

Maroulis, who surprised many in the international wrestling world last summer at the 2016 Olympics in Rio with a gold-medal victory over Japan legend Saori Yoshida at 53 kilos, moved up two weights to 58 kilos in Paris.

She steam-rolled the weight class, getting technical falls in all five bouts, including an 11-0 first-period gold medal victory over Tunesia’s Marwa Amri. Overall, the 25-year-old native of Maryland outscored her foes, 52-0, and used a slick foot sweep in the first 30 seconds of her finals bout for a quick 4-0 lead and never looked back.

“I reminded myself that I love this and I was healthy for another year,” said Maroulis, who also won a World title at 55 kilograms in 2015. “I had a lot of injuries after taking seven months off before coming back. To be here and to be healthy, it’s amazing. The women’s program with Terry Steiner trusted me to take time off when I needed it and to come back when I was ready. I am really grateful for everyone’s support.”

Also earning a spot in the women’s freestyle finals was Alli Ragan, who settled for a second straight silver medal when she lost 13-0 to Japan’s Olympic champion Risako Kawai at 60 kilograms.

Before that, the American native of Carbondale, Ill., won three bouts, including a pin against Anastasija Grigorjeva of Latvia in the semifinals after trailing.

“I knew every match for me would be a grinder,” said Ragan. “In my semifinals match, I was down and she kept banging on my head. I said if she does that one more time, I am going to throw you with a headlock. She did it one more time, and I hit the headlock.”

Both Victoria Anthony (48k) and Becka Leathers (55k) wrestled for bronze medals but only Leathers was successful as the native of Choctaw, Okla., defeated Bilyana Dudova of Bulgaria, 4-2.

“It is a lot of work put in, a lot of time put in by my coaches and my teammates,” said Leathers, competing in her first Worlds. “As soon as I moved to the OTC, I was going to make that World Team and medal, and that is what I did.”

Overall, the United States finished second as a team in women’s freestyle.

In the Greco-Roman tournament, which was held the first two days (Monday-Tuesday) of this Worlds, the eight Americans combined to win just 5 of 14 matches and for the first time since 2013 the U.S. failed to win a medal in this style at a full World championship.

The five wins were by five different wrestlers — Ildar Hafizov (59k), Ellis Coleman (66k), Pat Smith (71k), Mason Manville (75k), G’Angelo Hancock (98k) and Robby Smith (130k) — in their first matches, but lost their second matches. The only American to earn a second chance to medal (if their victor reached the finals) was Hancock, but the 20-year-old from Colorado Springs lost his repechage (consolation) bout, 3-1, to Seyedmosta Salehizadeh of Iran.

A frustrated Robby Smith answered reporter’s questions after the USA Greco-Roman Team failed to place at the 2017 UWW Worlds in Paris. (Justin Hoch photo)

“It is hard. It’s rough,” said Smith, who was competing on his fourth straight World/Olympic team. “Greco had a tough tournament. It didn’t seem anything would go our way. Everybody wrestled hard. We have to keep our heads up. It is a hard blow right now. We have to get back to the drawing board and figure it out, change it up.”

United States’ Women’s Freestyle Results

48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Victoria Anthony, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)

Round 1 — won by TF over Miran Cheon (Korea), 10-0

Round 2 — pinned Vinesh Vinesh (India), 5:08

Quarterfinal — lost by TF to Yui Susaki (Japan), 11-0

Repechage — pinned Julie Martine Sabatie (France) 4:23

Bronze Medal — lost by TF to Sonhyang Kim (People’s Republic of Korea), 11-1

53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Haley Augello, Lockport, Ill. (New York AC)

Round 1 — won by TF over Thi Hang Vu (Vietnam), 10-0

Round 2 — dec. Lannuan Luo (China), 3-0

Quarterfinal — lost to Roksana Marta Zasina (Poland), 8-2

55 kg/121 lbs. – Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC), Bronze

Round 2 — pinned Ramona Galambos (Hungary), 1:13

Quarterfinal — lost to Haruna Okuno (Japan), 8-0

Repechage — won by TF over Carola Rainero (Italy), 13-2

Bronze Medal Finals – dec. Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria), 4-2

58 kg/127.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids), Gold

Round 1 — won by TF over Hanbit Kim (Korea), 11-0

Round 2 — won by TF over Elin Nilsson (Sweden), 10-0

Quarterfinal — won by TF over Yessica Ovieda Perez (Dominican Republic), 11-0

Semifinal — won by TF over Michelle Fazzari (Canada), 10-0

Gold Medal Finals – won by TF over Marwa Amri (Tunisia), 11-0

60 kg/132 lbs. – Alli Ragan, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), Silver

Round 2 — won by TF over Gabriella Sleisz (Hungary), 10-0

Quarterfinal — dec. Luisa Helga Gerda Niemesch (Germany), 4-0

Semifinal — pinned Anastasija Grigorjeva (Latvia), 4:43

Gold Medal —lost by TF to Risako Kawai (Japan), 13-0

63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)

Round 1 — lost to Blessing Oborududu (Nigeria), 10-2

69 kg/152 lbs. – Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC)

Round 2 — won by TF over Alla Belinska (Ukraine), 12-2

Quarterfinal — lost to Yue Han (China), 5-2

75 kg/165 lbs. – Victoria Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)

Round 1 — lost to Gulmaral Yerkebayeva (Kazakhstan), 10-3


United States’ Greco-Roman Results

59 kg/130 lbs. – Ildar Hafizov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)

Round 1 — lost to Vazgen Khachatryan (Armenia), 8-3

66 kg/145 lbs. – Ellis Coleman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)

Round 2 — won by TF over Diego Ribeiro Romanelli (Brazil), l 8-0

Round 3 — lost to Mate Nemes (Serbia), 3-1

71 kg/156 lbs. – Pat Smith, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)

Round 2 — dec. Matous Morbitzer (Czech Republic), 5-0

Round 3 — lost to Nurgazy Asangulov (Kyrgyzstan), 8-2

75 kg/165 lbs. – Mason Manville, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)

Round 1 — dec. Manfred Edsberg (Sweden), 4-2

Round 2 — lost to Mindia Tsulukidze (Georgia), 4-2

80 kg/176 lbs. – Cheney Haight, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC/OTC)

Round 1 — lost by fall to Laszlo Szabo (Hungary), 5:37

85 kg/187 lbs. – Ben Provisor, Stevens Points, Wis. (New York AC)

Round 2 — lost to Oleksander Shyshman (Ukraine), 6-2

98 kg/215.5 lbs. – G’Angelo Hancock, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids/New York AC/OTC)

Round 2 — dec. Fatih Baskoy (Turkey), 3-0

Round 3 — lost by TF to Artur Aleksanyan (Armenia), 10-1

Repechage — lost to Seyedmosta Salehizadeh (Iran), 3-1

130 kg/286 lbs. – Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC/OTC), 10th

Round 1 — pinned Tamas Soos (Slovakia), 1:54

Round 2 — lost to Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (Chile), 3-1

Note: Quotes for this story were provided by TheMat.com.