2021 U23 World Championships

Shilson and Welker Shine at U23 Worlds in Serbia, Earning Spots in the Semifinals Later Today

Pictured: Emily Shilson. She earned a tech and a pin to clinch a spot in the 2021 U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Nov.3, 2021. Photo by Tony Rotundo /UWW. 

Session five at the U23 World Championships Wednesday morning in Belgrade was a busy one for Team USA. Three Greco competitors and five women’s freestylers took to the mats for the Red, White, and Blue.

Team USA began the women’s freestyle tournament Wednesday. With that, the first five women’s freestyle weights (Emily Shilson – 50kg,  Alex Hedrick – 55kg,  Michaela Beck – 59kg,  Alyvia Fiske – 68kg,  and Kylie Welker – 76 kg) started the competition.

So far, two of the five women’s freestylers are still on the championships side of their respective bracket in Shilson and Welker. Hedrick, Beck, and Fiske must hope to be brought back in via repechage after suffering losses.

Inside the Women’s Freestyle Bouts

As 50kg, Junior World champion Emily Shilson has been as dominant as it gets. In her opener, she stormed to a 10-0 technical fall over Germany’s Lisa Ersel. Ersel competed at the 2021 Senior World Championships and is a 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist.

Shilson used a pair of takedowns to create an early 4-0 lead. From there, she grabbed a third takedown, then a trap-arm gut that transitioned to a lace for two turns. Shilson won 10-0.

In her second bout, Shilson got a 48-second fall over Romania’s Stefania Priceputu thanks to a takedown and cradle at the edge.

High schooler Kylie Welker was also quite impressive for Team USA. She prevailed in a tight 6-5 contest over Russia’s Evgeniia Zakharchenko, a two-time Junior World Silver medalist.

After giving up a big four-pointer, the American trailed 5-2 with less than two minutes to go. However, at the 1:15 mark, Welker rallied with offense of her own (a takedown and a lace) to take a 6-5 lead. Welker hung on to win by that same score.

In her second bout of the session, Welker followed Shilson’s lead and got a quick fall of her own. She pinned Lithuania’s Kamile Gaucaite less than 90 seconds into the bout. Welker used a takedown at the edge before transitioning to a cradle to lock up the W and fall against Gaucaite.

The other American to win during the morning session was four-time age-level World Teamer, Alyvia Fiske. She also notched a huge pinfall of her own over Turkey’s Nesrin Bas in the first round. Bas won a bronze medal at the 2021 Junior World Championships earlier this year.

Tied at 1-1 on a pair of activity points each, Fiske countered a Bas shot attempt and put her on her back. Fiske got the fall with two seconds remaining. However, in the quarterfinals, 2020 Olympian and two-time Senior World medalist Koumba Larroque (France) earned a 12-0 tech over Fiske. Fiske now awaits Larroque’s semifinal result later today.

At 59kg, after a medical forfeit win, Beck fell 6-1 to Krystsina Sazykina of Belarus. Sazykina is a 2017 Cadet bronze medalist, a 2019 Junior Worlds eighth-place finisher, and a ninth-place finisher earlier this year at 2021 Senior Worlds.

At 55kg, Hedrick lost a back-and-forth 11-8 decision to 2019 U23 Senior Asian Championships silver medalist Anju of India.

Both Beck and Hedrick are now left to hope for repechage re-entry.

Inside the Greco-Roman Repechage Bouts

On the Greco side, Dylan Gregerson (60kg), Nate Moore (72kg), and Nicholas Boykin (97kg) all suffered repechage defeats matches to end their respective tournaments.

Gregerson got pinned by the 2019 Junior Asian Championships gold medalist Mukhammadkodir Yusupov of Uzbekistan. Moore was teched by Erik Persson of Sweden, 10-1. Lastly, Boykin lost a close 4-3 decision to Czech Republic’s Ondrej Dadak, a fifth-place finisher from this year’s Matteo Pellicone.

With that, the Greco portion of the 2021 U23 Championships has officially come to a close for Team USA. The Americans earned a combined five wins, including two forfeit victories. At 55kg Taylor LaMont earned two wins and wrestled for World bronze but fell short. At 97kg Nick Boykin won his tournament opener but lost in his next two bouts. The remaining eight Greco competitors were winless in Serbia.

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