USA’s Helen Louise Maroulis reacts after defeating Mongolia’s Khongorzul Boldsaikhan in their women’s freestyle 57kg bronze-medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images).
Yesterday, we saw the men’s freestyle portion of the 2021 Worlds come to an end with Team USA taking second overall behind Russia (Tuesday). The U.S. won seven World medals along the way.
As day five (session 9) got underway today (Wednesday), inside Jordal Amfi Arena from Oslo, Norway, the final four women’s freestylers for the Red, White, and Blue began their brackets. With that, Helen Maroulis (57kg), Maya Nelson (59kg), Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68kg) and, Kylie Welker (72kg) finally got to compete.
Inside the Preliminary-Round Bouts
The 17-year-old Junior World gold medalist Kylie Welker got things started for Team USA, but it didn’t go the high schooler’s way against No. 4-seeded 2018 World bronze medalist and two-time European Championships bronze medalist (2016, 2018), Buse Tosun of Turkey. Welker fell 8-1, with just an early activity point to her credit. Tosun pulled away in the second with a pair of takedowns and a four-pointer.
Also making her Senior-level World debut this morning, Maya Nelson got the opening-round win over Turkey’s Ebru Dagbasia, 7-0. Nelson, clearly the aggressor in the match, led 3-0 on a pair of activity points and a step-out. Then, Nelson added a big feet-to-back four-pointer at the buzzer to extend her margin of victory.
Team USA’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games gold medalist Helen Maroulis started her quest for her fifth World medal with a solid first-period pinfall in her opening bout over Austria’s Jeannie Kessler. Maroulis led 5-0 at the time of the fall after picking up a step-out point and a big feet-to-back takedown that turned into a pin shortly after that.
Inside the Quarterfinal Bouts
Tamyra Mensah-Stock was the last of the Americans to wrestle their first match. She had a bye directly in the quarterfinals. It was worth the wait. The Tokyo 2020 gold medalist recorded an 8-0 shutout over No. 8 Anastasiia Lavrenchuk of Ukraine. TMS used four takedowns to get the job done.
Helen punched her ticket to a World semifinal after No. 4 Maroulis took out No. 5 Veronika Chumikova of Russia with a convincing 10-1 decision over Russia’s 2021 European silver medalist.
After surrendering the match’s first point on a step-out, Maroulis hit a trip for a takedown. Then a bar arm nearly gave her the fall. Up 4-1 at this point, Helen added three takedowns throughout the match to win 10-1 and advance.
In the final match of the session for the USA, Maya Nelson was able to advance to the semifinals later today after pinning 2021 U23 Senior European Championships bronze medalist of Krystsina Sazykina of Belarus.
Much like Nelson’s earlier bout, the fireworks came at the end. Nelson took a 2-1 lead deep into the second. Then, Maya forced a step-out to extend the lead to 3-1 with under a minute to go. A failed challenge for Belarus and a step-out had the match at 4-2 with under 10 seconds to go. Maya blocked a last-second throw from Sazykina and turned it into a pin with three seconds left on the clock.
Looking ahead, Team USA has advanced Maroulis, Nelson, and Mensah-Stock to the semifinals later today. Welker awaits Buse Tosun’s semifinal results to see if she will be brought to repechage at 72kg tomorrow.
OTHER TOM COVERAGE FROM THE 2021 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Session 1 Recap here
Session 2 Recap here
Session 3 Recap here
Session 4 Recap here
Session 5 Recap here
Session 6 Recap here
Session 7 Recap here
Session 8 Recap here
USA Wrestling’s Session Nine Recap