2021 Junior World Championships

Team USA Advances Three to Semifinals as 2021 Women’s World Championships Begins

Team USA’s Kylie Welker (76 kg) earns a fast tech fall over Laura Kuehn (Germany) in the Round of 16 at the 2021 World Championships in Ufa, Russia on Aug. 18. Courtesy of the American Women’s Wrestling Twitter Page (@AWWnewsfeed).

As day number three (sessions five) of the 2021 Junior World Championships kicked off, a new tournament began inside Ufa Arena in Ufa, Russia. as well.

Early Wednesday morning, Aug. 18, the women’s freestyle tournament began five of its ten brackets. With that, Emily Shilson (50 kg), Payton Stroud (55 kg), Mia Macaluso (59 kg), Amit Elor (68 kg), and Kylie Welker (76 kg) were among those in the first USA women’s freestyle grouping to begin their brackets in session five.

These five American women looked to carry the momentum created by the USA men’s freestyle squad, which had a stellar day two performance. One that saw the Red, White, and Blue earn five if not even six World medals so far in Ufa.

Well, the USA women’s squad picked up right where the men left off and came out firing on all cylinders to begin the day!

In Round of 16 action, Team USA won four of its five matches, including two shutouts via 10-0 technical superiority decision by Welker and Elor over Laura Kuehn (Germany/76 kg) and Arju Arju of India at 68 kg. For Welker, the tech took just 51 seconds thanks to a takedown-to leg lace sequence with four turns. In Elor’s case, the tech required a pair of step-outs, a four-pointer, another exposure, and a leg lace to finish it with 3:48 remaining in the first.

Other American opening-round wins included Shilson’s 6-3 nail-bitter over Natalia Varakina (Belarus). Here, Shilson held off a late rally by Varakina. Shilson used two takedowns and an exposure to get it done. The American only gave up an early reversal and one takedown late in the second herself. Shilson’s strong scrambling helped secure the win late in the bout.

Stroud also won her 2021 Junior Worlds opener after getting two takedowns and a step-out against Chile’s Antonia Valdez Arriagada to score the 5-2 decision thanks to five unanswered points.

The lone loss of the first round came at 59 kg as Turkey’s Ebru Dagbasi pinned Macaluso in 1:25. Dagbasi then went on to lose in the quarterfinals ending Macaluso’s Championships after just one bout.

In the quarterfinals, the USA was 2-1. Once again, 2020 Olympic Team Trials finalist Kylie Welker won via tech, 11-0. The high schooler took a 5-0 lead into the break against Mariia Silina (Russia). Welker added a takedown and gut wrench to end the bout early and advance to the semifinals later today.

Shilson won a high-scoring 10-7 affair with Viktoriia Aleksandrova of Russia. Despite trailing 4-0 at the break, Shilson exposed Aleksandrova then turned her with a gut to tie it at 4-4. Then, a wild scramble in which both women scored, ended with Shilson on top of the Russian, securing the win. Shilson is advancing to the next round.

Unfortunately, Stroud fell Kalmira Bilimbek Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan 10-0 in the second round and is now awaiting semifinals results to see if she will compete in 55 kg repechage.

With that, the USA has three athletes (Shilson, Elor, and Welker) in the semifinals at 7:45 am ET later today.

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