2023 UWW Worlds Preview: 57k MFS, 55k GR, 50k WF

Updated: August 28, 2023

Photos: Zane Richards (men’s freestyle), Sarah Hildebrandt (women’s freestyle) and Brady Koontz (Greco-Roman) will compete in the lightest weight class of their wrestling style at the 2023 UWW Senior World Championships in September. (Photos by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

The 2023 UWW Senior World Championships — to be held Sept. 16-24 in Belgrade, Serbia, for a second-straight year — are less than three weeks away and WIN magazine is previewing all 30 weight classes — 10 each in men’s freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle — with one weight class per style each day between now and Sept. 11.

WIN Magazine will provide comprehensive coverage of the 2023 Worlds in the next issue of WIN, printed Sept. 28. Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe to WIN.

Today’s preview features the lightest weight class in each style.

Men’s Freestyle: 57k/125.5 lbs — Zane Richards (Illinois RTC / TMWC)

Competes Sept. 17-18

Age: 29 (born Feb. 4, 1994); Hometown: Carbondale, Ill.

Beat 2021 World champ and 2022 World silver medalist Thomas Gilman at Final X

International Experience: This is Richards’ first World/Olympic tournament. He did compete in both the 2019 and 2022 World Cups; winning matches against a Mongolian and Iranian last December.

Other: Richards was a three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time AA (4th in 2016 and 7th in 2017) for the University of Illinois.

Top International Competition: A pair of 2022 World champions are entered at this weight class, Albania’s Zelimkhan Abakarov, who defeated USA’s Thomas Gilman in last year’s 57k gold medal match and Japan’s Rei Higuchi, who won the 61k gold medal last year, but has moved down to the Olympic weight of 57k, where he earned a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics. Meanwhile, there are a pair of 2022 World bronze medalists in the fray: Mongolia’s Zanabazar Zandadbud at 57k and Armenia’s Arsen Harutyunyan at 61k.  Another past World medalist is Turkey’s Suleyman Atli (in 2018 and 2019), who also wrestled in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Meanwhile, Darian Cruz, a former NCAA champ from Lehigh, will represent Puerto Rico.


Greco-Roman: 55 k/121 lbs — Brady Koontz (Dubuque WC / Titan Mercury WC)

Competes Sept. 21-22

Age: 25 (born July 24, 1998; has a twin brother, Dylan); Hometown: Plover, Wisc.

Beat Dalton Duffield at Final X

International Experience: This is his first Senior-level World/Olympic tournament but did compete in the 2015 Cadet Worlds and 2018 Junior Worlds.

Other: Koontz originally competed at Ohio State before transferring to the University of Dubuque, where he finished seventh in the 2023 NCAA Division III Championships and will be a graduate student this winter.

Top International Competition: Three of four of the 2022 World medalists are expected to compete, including last year’s World champion Eldaniz Azizli of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, both 2022 World bronze medalists Nugzari Tsurtsumia of Georgia and Jasurbek Ortikboev of Uzbekistan also return.

Women’s Freestyle: 50k/110 lbs — Sarah Hildebrandt (USOPTC / NYAC)

Competes Sept. 19-20

Age: 29 (born Sept. 23, 1993); Hometown: Granger, Ind.

Beat Audrey Jimenez at Final X

International Experience: This marks the sixth time that Hildebrandt has earned a spot on the World Team and has twice earned a silver medal (2018 at 53k and 2021 at 50k) to go along with a bronze medal she earned last fall at 50k. She also competed in the 2016 (10th) and 2019 (9th) World Championships as well as the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021) in Tokyo, where she also claimed a bronze medal. Overall, her record is 13-8 (10-7 in five Worlds and 3-1 in the Olympics). She also wrestled in the 2012 and 2013 Junior Worlds.

Other: She was a two-time WCWA national champion for King University (2014 and 2015).

Top International Competition: Yui Susaki, a three-time World champ (2017, ’18, and 2022) and 2020 Olympic champ, returns as the favorite, while another past World champ is Mariya Stadnik (2019), whose last Senior-level World event was a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games in 2021.  In addition to Hildebrandt, another past silver medalist is Mongolia’s Otgonjargal Dolgorjav, who finished second to Susaki last fall after beating Hildebrandt, 6-2, in the 2022 World semifinals.

The following is a breakdown of WIN’s other daily World Championship previews (including pertinent information on the American who will wrestle at that weight class and style):

  • Tuesday, Aug. 29 — MFS 61k (Vito Arujau), GR 60k (Ildar Hafizov), WFS 53k (Dominique Parrish)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 30 — MFS 65k (Nick Lee), GR 63k (Xavier Johnson), WFS 55k (Jacarra Winchester)
  • Thursday, Aug. 31 — MFS 70k (Zain Retherford), GR 67k (Alejandro Sancho), WFS 57k (Helen Maroulis)
  • Friday, Sept. 1 — MFS 74k (Kyle Dake), GR 72k (Patrick Smith), WFS 59k (Jennifer Page)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 5 — MFS 79k (Chance Marsteller), GR 77k (Kamal Bey), WFS 62k (Kayla Miracle)
  • Wednesday, Sept. 6 — MFS 86k (David Taylor), GR 82k (Spencer Woods), WFS 65k (Macey Kilty)
  • Thursday, Sept. 7 — MFS 92k (Zahid Valencia), GR 87k (Zac Braunagel), WFS 68k (Emma Bruntil)
  • Friday, Sept. 8 — MFS 97k (Kyle Snyder), GR 97k (Joe Rau), WFS 72k (Amit Elor)
  • Monday, Sept. 11 — MFS (Gable Steveson), GR 130k (Cohlton Schultz), WFS 76k (Adeline Gray)