photo courtesy of Andy Hamilton; TrackWrestling.com
The second day of the Junior World Championships was a stark contrast from the first for the US men’s freestyle team. Yesterday, four of the five competitors were eliminated without hopes of even a bronze medal through the repechage. Tuesday was a new day however as the Americans won their first 12 matches of the day and all five wrestlers advanced to the semifinals. Three of those five were able to push through and earn a spot in tomorrow’s gold medal match and the other two will compete for bronze medals.
The first American to punch a ticket to the finals was David Carr at 74 kg. The road that Carr traveled to the gold medal match was about as difficult of a path as could be drawn up. His first bout was against a returning Junior World bronze medalist from Russia, Devid Betanov. Carr wrestled a tactical match and got by with a 4-0 decision. Next up was 2019 Asian Senior bronze medalist Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (Iran). Carr jumped out to a big lead and survived a late rally from the Iranian to move on after a 14-7 win. In the semifinals, David had to face the defending Junior World Champion at 70 kg, Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev (Azerbaijan). Carr quickly got in on a low leg attack and locked up a leg lace which he used to expose Gadzhiyev at least four times before the action was stopped only 43 seconds into the match. In those 43 seconds, David had racked up ten points on the defending champion and registered a 10-0 win on technical superiority. Carr will face Japan’s Jintaro Motoyama in the 74 kg gold medal match. Motoyama is a two-time Cadet World medalist and a 2018 U23 World bronze medalist.
Lucas Davison looked like he was going to match Carr’s quick finish when he earned a takedown early in his 92 kg semifinal then proceeded to turn Mongolia’s Batmagnai Enkhtuvshin three times to take an 8-0 lead. Enkhutuvshin scored himself and was attempting to earn exposure points of his own. That’s when Davison caught the Mongolian on his back and held him there for the fall. Lucas had breezed by his first opponent Julien Choquette (Canada) 10-0 and then was able to control the pace of his quarterfinal match against India’s Viky Viky, 7-1. Earlier this year, Viky was an Asian Senior silver medalist. In tomorrow’s gold medal match, Lucas will face off with Alan Bagaev (Russia), a 2017 Cadet World Champion.
The last finalist was arguably the most impressive in Mason Parris at 125 kgs. Parris earned matching 10-0 wins on technical superiority in his first two bouts of the day. In the semifinals, against Pasa Karabulut (Turkey) Parris got ahead with a pair of impressive takedowns. He appeared to end the match by another 10-0 score, however, upon review, the Turk was given a set of exposure points gained during a scramble situation. If that affected Mason, he sure didn’t show it, as he proceeded to get another quick takedown after the reset which ended the match at 13-2. With the win by Parris, it gave the state of Indiana two world finalists (with Davison) tomorrow.
The only wrestler from day one that advanced to Tuesday’s medal round matches was Vito Arujau at 57 kg. Vito took on Japan’s Toshiya Abe for the gold medal. Neither wrestler was able to penetrate the defense of the other for most of the bout. The only scoring for the first five and a half minutes was a shot clock violation on each wrestler. Arujau had criteria. Knocking this Abe was pushing the pace and ended up securing a takedown with just under 20 seconds left in the match to lead 3-1. Abe then was refusing to engage with Arujau which drew a caution and one point with four seconds left in the bout. That was not enough and Vito would have to settle for silver after losing 3-2. This is his second world silver medal, as he earned one as a Cadet back in 2016.
The only 2019 high school graduate on the squad Gabe Tagg sure didn’t look like the least experienced member of the freestyle team. The 61-kilo star Tagg, earned three wins on the day before getting tech by Japan’s Kaiki Yamaguchi in the semis’. After a pair of techs of his own, in the first two rounds, Gabe needed to gut out a low-scoring 2-1 victory over Iran’s Mahdi Shirazi, a 2019 Asian Champion. Tagg will have to wait for two rounds of repechage to find out who he will face in tomorrow’s bronze medal match.
Also competing for the bronze tomorrow is Trent Hidlay. Trent started his tournament was a pair of 10-0 technical superiority wins at the 86 kg weight class before facing an Iranian in the quarters. Hidlay logged a tough 6-1 win with catapulted him into the semis against Russia’s Alik Shebzukhov. The Russian had impeccable balance and was able to stonewall a pair of Hidlay’s early attacks and was holding onto a 2-1 lead with under a minute remaining in the bout. The two went outside of the cylinder and it was deemed that Trent stepped out, resulting in a point for the Russian. The US corner threw an ill-advised challenge brick which was lost, making the score 4-1. Had it remained 3-1, a two-point score by Hidlay would have placed him in the lead. Trent made a final push and was able to get a takedown that brought the score to 4-3, but was unable to get any further. Like Tagg, Hidlay will have to wait for two rounds of repechage for his bronze medal opponent to emerge.
Tomorrow marks the first day of competition in women’s freestyle. Here are the five American women who will be in action on Wednesday along with their first-round opponent.
50 kg: Alleida Martinez vs. Lucia Yepez Guzman (Ecuador)
55 kg: Alex Hedrick vs. Anastasia Blayvas (Germany)
59 kg: Michaela Beck vs. Anne Nuernberger (Germany)
68 kg: Jayden Laurent vs. Gulsezim Bukhayeva (Kazakhstan)
76 kg: Korinahe Bullock vs. Soeun Kim (South Korea)