photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com
The second day of the UWW Cadet World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria proved a bit troublesome for the boys team.
The day started out with repechage competition where Pennsylvania’s Clayton Ulrey fell short of reaching a medal match, losing to France’s Rakhim Magamadov, 13-0.
We then switched to preliminary round action at the five weights that didn’t compete on Monday.
Tuesday’s lone bright spot came from Florida native and Blair Academy product Marc-Anthony McGowan. The top-ranked prospect in the class of 2023 went 3-0 on Tuesday at 45 kilograms and will wrestle for gold on Wednesday. He topped Suraj Annikeri of India, 7-2, and Edik Harutyunyan of Armenia, 5-3, before edging out Turkey’s Tolga Ozbek 2-2 on criteria in the semifinals. He’ll face Ali Arab Firouzjaie of Iran in tomorrow’s gold-medal match. The Iranian’s currently lead the team competition.
It was a disappointing showing for returning world silver medalist Richie Figueroa, as the California native an Arizona State pledge fell to Japan’s Ato Maruyama 10-0 at 51 kilos and was not pulled back into repechage.
Indiana’s Jesse Mendez started off strongly at 60 kilos with a fall in 1:22 over Osama Abdellattif of Egypt, but lost his second match to Farhad Karimli of Azerbaijan 8-1 and was not pulled back in.
Returning world bronze medalist Alex Facundo of Michigan rolled to a 9-0 win over Shokhrukh Juraev of Uzbekistan in his first match. He then had a showdown with Russia’s Soslan Tigiev in round two and a dubious call resulted in a 5-4 loss for Facundo. He’ll face Italy’s Francesco Masotti tomorrow in repechage action and is still alive for bronze.
Lastly, Kyle Maize of Kansas started off his tournament with some dominating par terre work en route to a 12-0 tech of China’s Er Hurilebate. In his second match, however, Haas fell to Bekzat Tazhi of Kazakhstan in a narrow 6-5 encounter. He was not pulled back into repechage.
A pair of American’s went for bronze to finish the day.
First up was New York’s Stevo Poulin at 48 kilograms. Poulin jumped out to a 6-0 lead against Yuto Nishiuchi of Japan, but Nishiuchi stormed back with eight points in the second period to pick up the victory.
Next up was New Jersey’s Robbie Howard, who was looking to pick up his first world medal at the Cadet level after two previous attempts. Howard, like Poulin, got out to an early lead against his Japanese opponent, Riku Suganuma. He led 4-0 early, but just 4-3 at the break after an exposure and a failed challenge. Suganuma was able to pick up a takedown midway through the second period and held on for a 5-4 win.
The United States currently sits on 70 points, its lowest total since 2013 when Aaron Pico’s world championship was the only medal the team picked up.
Wednesday marks the beginning of the girl’s portion of the tournament and the first five United States representatives received their draws on Tuesday. Those matchups are as follows:
43 kg: Alexandra Szkotnicki (Maryland) vs. Nagisa Harada (Japan),
49 kg: Cristelle Rodriguez (California) vs. Antim Antim (India)
57 kg: Skylar Hattendorf (New Hampshire) vs. Alina Kasabieva (Russia)
65 kg: Lillian Freitas (California) vs. Sandra Escamilla Menchaca (Mexico)
73 kg: Kennedy Blades (Illinois) vs. Daria Klimovich (Belarus)
Wrestling begins at 3:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday on TrackWrestling.