Hosts USA announces FS/WW World Cup teams

By Gary Abbott

CORALVILLE, Iowa (November 15) --- USA Wrestling announced its lineups for both its men’s and women’s freestyle teams which will compete at the Freestyle and Women’s Freestyle World Cup at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, December 10-11.

The World Cup is the annual international dual meet championships. The top five teams in men’s freestyle and the top five teams in women’s freestyle from the 2022 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September have confirmed their participation. There is also an All-World Team in each discipline, featuring the top available athlete from the World Championships in each weight class that were not from a nation that qualified for the World Cup.

The U.S. World Cup teams will feature two Olympic champions, four world champions and 10 past world medalists. It will also include a number of talented young stars who are making an impact internationally.

The freestyle team will feature a pair of Olympic and world champions, Jordan BURROUGHS at 79kg and Kyle SNYDER at 97kg. Burroughs is a 2012 Olympic champion, a six-time world champion and has won 10 career world and Olympic medals. Burroughs is the first U.S. wrestler to win seven world and Olympic titles. Snyder is a 2016 Olympic champion, 2020 Olympic silver medalist, a three-time world champion and has won eight career world and Olympic medals.

Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS, a 2022 world silver medalist, will compete at 65kg. Two other members of the 2022 world team are on the USA lineup, Seth GROSS at 61kg and Hayden ZILLMER at 125kg. Nick GWIAZDOWSKI, a two-time world bronze medalist, is also on the U.S. freestyle team at 125kg. 

The United States, which won the 2022 world team title, will be joined in the World Cup by second-place Iran, third-place Japan, fourth-place Mongolia and fifth-place Georgia, in addition to the All-World Team.

In women’s wrestling, a pair of world champions are on the team, 2019 world champion Jacarra WINCHESTER at 55kg and 2022 world champion Amit ELOR at 72kg. Winchester was also a member of the 2020 Olympic team. Elor became the first USA wrestler to win three world titles in the same year, also capturing a U20 world title and a U23 world title.

The team also features two-time world silver medalist Kayla MIRACLE at 62kg, two-time world bronze medalist Alyssa LAMPE at 50kg, two-time world bronze medalist Mallory VELTE at 65kg and 2021 world bronze medalist Jenna BURKERT at 55kg. Also competing on the U.S. team is 2022 World Team member Dymond GUILFORD at 76kg. 

The women’s team features a local athlete, Felicity TAYLOR at 53kg, who is a member of the women’s wrestling team at the University of Iowa and is a native Iowan. 

The United States, which was second at the 2022 World Championships in women’s wrestling, will be joined in the World Cup by World champion Japan, third place China, fourth place Mongolia and fifth place Ukraine, in addition to the All-World Team. 

Ticket packages for the 2022 Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup are currently on sale. The seating capacity for Xtream Arena for the World Cup will be approximately 5,300. Ticket packages include a Gold package for $275, a Silver package for $200 and All-Session tickets for $90.

A special presentation of teams and Team USA Meet & Greet will also be held on Friday, December 9, with tickets available at $10. Fans can receive a free youth ticket for the Friday night event, with the purchase of an adult general admission ticket.

Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup tickets -> https://worldcupiowacity.com/tickets/

USA's Freestyle World Cup Team:
57kg – Zane RICHARDS 
57kg – Nick SURIANO 
61kg – Seth GROSS 
61kg – Daniel DESHAZER 
65kg – Yianni DIAKOMIHALIS 
65kg – Evan HENDERSON|
70kg – Tyler BERGER
70kg – Alec PANTALEO 
74kg – Jason NOLF 
74kg – Vincenzo JOSEPH
79kg – Jordan BURROUGHS 
79kg – Chance MARSTELLER 
86kg – Zahid VALENCIA 
86kg – Mark HALL
92kg – Nathan JACKSON
92kg – Jay AIELLO 
97kg – Kyle SNYDER 
97kg – Kollin MOORE 
125kg – Hayden ZILLMER 
125kg – Nick GWIAZDOWSKI 

USA's Women's Wrestling World Cup Team:
50 kg – Alyssa LAMPE 
50 kg – Erin GOLSTON 
53 kg – Felicity TAYLOR
53 kg – Ronna GROSS
55 kg – Jacarra WINCHESTER 
55 kg – Jenna BURKERT
57 kg – Alexandra HEDRICK
57 kg – Amanda MARTINEZ
59 kg – Lexie BASHAM 
59 kg – Michaela BECK 
62 kg – Kayla MIRACLE 
62 kg – Jennifer ROGERS 
65 kg – Mallory VELTE
68 kg – Sienna RAMIREZ
68 kg – Solin PIEARCY 
72 kg – Amit ELOR 
72 kg – Skylar GROTE 
76 kg – Dymond GUILFORD 
76 kg – Yelena MAKOYEV 


With World Cup history on mind, Ukraine arrives in US

By Vinay Siwach

CORALVILLE, Iowa (December 2) -- In the last 10 months, Ukraine women's team has finished on the podium at the European Championships, U23 and U17 World Championships and qualified for the World Cup by finishing in the top five at the World Championships in Belgrade.

The wrestlers achieved this with little to no training before the Euros and with no training base for the rest of the year. A few trained in Budapest while another group was in Warsaw. If anyone was relatively lucky, they could train in western Ukraine.

So it was a commendable gesture from USA Wrestling to invite the Ukraine team to the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs two weeks before the December 10-11 World Cup despite being two of the strongest teams out there.

Throughout the year, United World Wrestling, along with Olympic Solidarity, the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine and the USOC, provided technical assistance to the Ukraine Wrestling Federation for the participation of Ukraine women’s team in major UWW events.

The World Cup was also part of the same plan the UWW Development Department and local organizing committees provided technical support for Ukraine.

“We remain committed and devoted to supporting all our national federations around the world," UWW President Nenand LALOVIC said. "Despite the current political problems, we remain one family through wrestling.”

Ukraine has been preparing for the World Cup with a full-strength team and will be heading to Iowa from Colorado for the competition.  

"The American team welcomed us very kindly," Oksana LIVACH (UKR) said. "We are in the Olympic Center in Colorado, there are very good conditions for training and we enjoy spending time here."

Amidst all the difficulties the team has faced, the wrestlers have held together, switching between wrestling and coaching during various tournaments. The World Cup will see them rise to the challenge once again when Ukraine takes on Japan and Mongolia in the group stages of the tournament.

After the World Championships, the wrestlers did participate in the U23 Worlds in Spain before arriving in the United States last week. The 26-member delegation was welcomed with open arms and are provided with the best facilities and training.

"There are many sparring sessions, the training is very interesting, you can learn something new, exchange experience," Oksana said.

The World Cup will not only be a way to show the strength of the Ukraine team, it will also mark the return of Ukraine's two biggest stars. Former world champion and three-time Olympian Yulia TKACH (UKR) is entered for the tournament, her first in almost three years.

Another wrestler who will be returning in over a year is Tokyo bronze medalist Iryna KOLIADENKO (UKR) at 62kg. She has skipped all tournaments in between.

Both Tkach and Koliadenko will be leaders of the team which also comprises Oksana LIVACH (UKR), Alina HRUSHYNA (UKR), Alla BELINSKA (UKR) and other youngsters.

At the World Cup, Ukraine will open its campaign against Mongolia on Saturday afternoon and will fancy its chances of winning the dual and setting up a virtual final against Japan. As the best country in women's wrestling is sending a depleted squad with no senior world medalist, Ukraine will look to pull off an upset win if it wants to reach the final from Group A.

With the team already acclimatized to the US and the return of its senior wrestlers, Ukraine winning will not be a surprise.

"Japan is the strongest team in the world in women's wrestling," Tkach said. "I think the young team will also be strong and it will be interesting for us to compete with them. Our team is also quite young and strong.

"We believe in our team. We will see a good fight on the mat and it will show who wins."

Apart from the chance to win the World Cup, the team is motivated and united by the tough times everyone faced this year. The emotions ran high at the European Championships when it crowned three champions in Budapest despite the uncertainty of the lives back home. A big relief came when it qualified for the World Cup finishing fifth in Belgrade with three medals.

"This year was really very difficult for our team. Our girls performed really well," Livach said. "I think this season will remain in history and in our memory. The World Cup is the final point for this year and we want to end it on a good note. All the teams are very strong and everyone can and has a chance to win, just like our team."

The World Cup win will make the year even more historic for the country as it has never finished on the podium before at the competition. But that can change in Coralville.

"Our team has many young wrestlers who have the opportunity to prove themselves," Livach said. "Expect a worthy fight."