Matteo Pellicone day three finals set

By Vinay Siwach

ROME, Italy (June 24) -- The third day of the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series will feature six women's wrestling weight classes and two from freestyle. Ukraine dominated day two, winning three out of the four women's wrestling gold medals. Azerbaijan clinched the Greco-Roman title with ease.


An absolutely thrilling session of wrestling comes to an end in Rome. Here are the final match-ups for the evening session. Action begins 1800 hours local time:

Women's wrestling

50kg: Madison PARKS (CAN) vs. Agata WALERZAK (POL)
53kg: Mariana DRAGUTAN (MDA) vs. Liliia MALANCHUK (UKR)
55kg: Mariia VYNNYK (UKR) vs. Katarzyna KRAWCZYK (POL)
59kg: Grace BULLEN (NOR) vs. Jowita WRZESIEN (POL)
65kg: Nordic style -- Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) won gold
72kg: Nordic style -- Skylar GROTE (USA) won gold


125kg: Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) vs. Robert BARAN (POL)

13:30: Quick 2-0 lead for Grote and she then gets on a single leg and adds two more to lead 4-0 at the break against Schell. Another shot from Grote and she gets two more. Schell adds a takedown with 41 seconds left. Grote defends and takes the gold at 72kg 

13:20: Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) absolutely thrashes Veronica BRASCHI (ITA) in the Round 5 bout at 65kg and seals the gold medal. What a performance from the European champion. On Mat A now, the Round 5 bout, with the gold medal on the line, between Anna SCHELL (GER) and Skylar GROTE (USA) 

13:10: Is that another upset? Mariia VYNNYK (UKR) scored a takedown in the final 20 seconds against European champion Andreea ANA (ROU). Even as Ana got on a two-on-one, Vynnyk hangs on for the win and enter the 55kg final 

13:00: Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) in trouble against Jowita WRZESIEN (POL). She warned for fleeing in danger and is trailing 3-0 at the break in the 59kg semifinal. A double leg to begin the second period and she gets on the scoreboard with a takedown. Adekuoroye gets on another double leg but the series of exposures scored to Wrzesien. Challenge from Adekuoroye. She wins it but the exposures are for Wrzesien while Adekuoroye gets a point for negative from Wrzesien. She has 10 seconds to overturn a 9-3 score. She cannot and she will be wrestling for a bronze later. 

12:45: Grace BULLEN (NOR) is on a roll. She is in the final at 59kg after a 10-0 win over Abigail NETTE (USA). This is the first time in two years that Bullen has managed to reach a final at an international competition.

12:43: Anna SCHELL (GER) and Skylar GROTE (USA) both dominate their Round 4 bouts and have set up a clash for the gold in Round 5. They will wrestle in the evening session for the 72kg gold.

12:35: Batyrbek TCAKULOV (SVK) has a strong leg lace and he uses it to perfection. He reaches his second straight Ranking Series final after beating fellow European bronze medalist Zbigniew BARANOWSKI (POL) 11-0 in the 97kg semifinal 

12:25: A rivalry that goes four years back. Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) vs. Kriszta INCZE (ROU) are on Mat B for their virtual gold-medal bout. Both are the only unbeaten wrestlers at 65kg. Rizhko once again gets exposure to lead 2-0 but Incze with a reversal. Incze circles around and get behind Rizhko in standing but the Ukrainian tosses her for four. It's 6-1 for Rizhko as Incze rues a missed opportunity. No points were scored in the second period. European champion Rizhko once again beats Incze

12:20: Talk about comebacks! Emma BRUNTIL (USA) was down 6-0 but worked her way to a 7-6 lead before giving up 2 for a trip. But she scores a takedown to lead 9-8 with a minute left. Kateryna ZELENYKH (UKR) tried hard and desperately for a point but failed. Bruntil won 11-8

12:10: Pan-Am champion Skylar GROTE (USA) has picked up two wins at 72kg. After getting past compatriot Marilyn GARCIA (USA) 11-0 in Round 2, she beats Alexandra ANGHEL (ROU) 6-3 in Round 3 to strengthen her position for the gold. 

11:45: A minute and 10 seconds is all Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) needs to upset European champion Magomedkhan MAGOMEDOV (AZE). Strong performance so far from him after beating BAITCAEV (HUN) in the opening round. He will face Erik THIELE (GER) in the semifinal after the German defeated Nishan RANDHAWA (CAN) 10-0.  

11:40: Odunayo ADEKUOROYE (NGR) and Solomiia VYNNYK (UKR) squaring off in the 59kg quarterfinals. A stepout for Adekuoroye to begin proceedings before she adds a takedown to lead 3-0 at the break. Vynnyk with a four and looks to pin Adekuoroye. Exposure sequence and it's 2 each with Vynnyk lead 6-5. Adekuoroye manages to go behind in the same sequence. She leads 7-6. She wins 10-6

11:30: Big match up at 65kg. Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) up against Kateryna ZELENYKH (UKR). She gets two takedowns before working a leg turk. Zelenykh survives the fall. She then tries to reach Rizhko's far leg but ends up in a cradle and gives up two more. 8-0 for Rizhko. Zelenykh drives Rizhko out to make it 8-1. Rizhko with some crafty defence and puts Zelenykh on her back to secure the fall

11:15: European bronze medalist Batyrbek TCAKULOV (SVK) began with two takedowns against Elizbar ODIKADZE (GEO). But he survived a cradle before securing an 8-4 win  

11:05: Winning start for Romania. First, European champion Andreea ANA (ROU) pins Alice BEVILACQUA (ITA) at 55kg and then Kriszta INCZE (ROU) controls the bout against Kateryna ZELENYKH (UKR) for a 4-1 win at 65kg  

10:55: Vladislav BAITCAEV (HUN) was up 7-2 but fails to keep the intensity and suffers a 14-9 loss to Givi MATCHARASHVILI (GEO) at 97kg. Not the start the European Championships silver medalist would have hoped for. 

10: 50: Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) with a composed 11-0 win over Gennadij CUDINOVIC (GER). He did not waste too much energy and let the bout stroll into the second period.

10:45: We are moving very quickly. At 97kg, Batyrbek TCAKULOV (SVK) got an injury default win over Radoslaw BARAN (POL) while European champion Magomedkhan MAGOMEDOV (AZE) uses a gut wrench to secure a technical superiority win over  Radu LEFTER (MDA).

Grace BULLEN (NOR)Grace BULLEN (NOR) throws Nikolett SZABO (HUN) in their opening round bout at 59kg. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

10:41: What a start for Grace BULLEN (NOR)! She leg laces Nikolett SZABO (HUN) before securing a fall with a huge five at the end.

10:40: Emma BRUNTIL (USA) held off Tetiana RIZHKO (UKR) for a few moments but the European champion secures a first-period fall over the American. Big result for Rizhko as she looks to add a gold  

10:35: World bronze medalist Anna SCHELL (GER) with a series of go behinds and she secures an 11-0 win in Round 1 at 72kg.

10:30: Ukraine won four gold medals Thursday and Kateryna ZELENYKH (UKR) begins the new day like her teammates. He wins 11-0 over Veronica BRASCHI (ITA) at 65kg. 


USA closes out U17 Worlds with 3 golds, historic FS title

By Vinay Siwach

ROME, Italy (July 31) -- James GREEN (USA) was part of the USA team which won the freestyle team title for the first time in 22 years at the 2017 World Championships. The two-time world medalist won a silver medal in that edition.

Five years later, Green got another chance to hold the team trophy, this time as the chief coach of the USA team at the U17 World Championships in Rome on Sunday.

USA won a historic first U17 freestyle world title in Rome with nine out of their 10 wrestlers winning medals including four golds. It finished with 190 points which was more than enough to exchange places with defending champions India which finished with 126 points.

Azerbaijan, a nation that won the European team title, finished third with 122 points.

USA became the fourth nation to win the U17 world freestyle title after Russia, Iran and India since the U17 Worlds were reinstated in 2011. Russia won the title every year until 2018 when Iran broke that streak.

Russia won again in 2019 before India became only the third country to win the title in 2021.

USAUSA coach James GREEN, center, with the team title trophy. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

"It feels like it's straight out of a movie," he said. "It's like a reminiscent of 2017 when I was part of the world team that won the title for the USA after 22 years."

After finishing with a gold, three silver and a bronze medal on day six, the USA rocked again on the final day with three gold and a bronze to close out the tournament.

"I know how these guys are feeling," he said. "I am so excited to win this on my first trip and looking forward to more coaching."

Since 2011, the USA finished in the second spot five times in nine U17 Worlds with the latest being to India at the previous edition. But this year, all the USA wrestlers won their head-to-heads against India which ultimately proved to be the difference between who became the champions.

"The draw kind of worked in our favor," Green said. "We definitely had a gameplan not just for India but for everyone else including the Europeans as well.  But I can tell you one thing that our wrestlers wanted to get a hand on Indian wrestlers because we lost to them last time."

Luke LILLEDAHL (USA)Luke LILLEDAHL (USA), blue, upgraded his '21 silver to gold. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) finished with a silver medal in 2021 after suffering a loss against Aman GULIA (IND) but there was no stopping Lilledahl this year as he upgraded to gold with a dominating 10-1 win over Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI).

The 51kg final, pretty much controlled by Lilledahl, began with two exchanging stepout but then the USA wrestler switched levels after the break and scored takedowns whenever he found Asadi going for a half shot. He countered two of Asadi's attacks while he scored a takedown and added a leg lace in his 12-1 victory for the gold medal.

"Luke wrestlers at a hard pace," Green said. "He keeps a low head but is always moving and engaging. He takes the points as they come and doesn't rush into attacks."

Two other gold medalists for the USA on Sunday, Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) and Joseph SEALEY (USA), also impressed Green.

Munaretto won the 45kg gold medal by beating Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE), 2-0 in the final. Overall, the champion outscored his opponents 30-2 in the tournament.

Joseph SEALEY (USA)Joseph SEALEY (USA) outscored his opponents 55-1 in Rome. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

At 71kg, Sealey dashed local hopes to see a home champion by decimating Raul CASO (ITA), 12-0, in the gold medal bout.

Sealey, like his all other bouts, was wrestling at a completely different level and pace which Caso had no answer to. When Caso tried to engage in underhooks, he would get tripped by Sealey and when he tried to score a takedown, Sealey would easily stop any such attempts.

His two inside trips and two takedowns were enough to help Sealey win the crown and get some praise from coach Green.

"Sealey was very impressive," he said. "He wrestles like a senior athlete and can wrestle someone from that level. He conceded the least points in the whole tournament."

Sealey wrestled five bouts to win the gold and in an impressive record, scored 55 points and conceded only one.

Drawing experience from the title-winning run in 2017, Green had communicated to his team to 'have fun' during the tournament.

"I just told them that you are capable of being world champs and future Olympic champions," he said. "But more importantly I told them to have fun at this tournament. Most of these guys are wrestling for the first time and they can be hard on themselves so I didn't want that. And once we all met, they had the team chemistry and it clicked right away."

Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI)Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI), blue, pulled off a 5-4 win against Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ) in the 60kg final. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

The other gold medals of the night were shared between Iran and Kazakhstan.

At 60kg, Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) defeated U17 Asian champion Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ), 5-4 to win the gold after trailing 3-1 at one point. Sharip Uulu scored the first points with a duck-under during the activity period against Elahi. It was initially awarded as four but Iran challenged the call and it was reversed to two points only.

But Elahi's constant moves towards Sharip Uulu's legs paid dividends as he leveled the score 3-3 and led on criteria. He then added a takedown against the tiring Kyrgyzstan wrestler to extend his lead to 5-3. He was warned for fleeing during the final 10 seconds which made the score 5-4 but did not change the result.

Elahi's gold was Iran's first of the tournament as it finished fifth in the team rankings.

Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ)Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) won the 92kg gold, the second of the tournament for Kazakhstan. (Photo: UWW / Martin Gabor)

Returning bronze medalist Kamil KURUGLIYEV (KAZ) went all the way this year and captured his maiden world title, a month after he had won the U17 Asian title.

Musza ARSUNKAEV (HUN) had no answers to Kurugliyev's style of wrestling, inspired by his former world bronze medalist father and cousin-brother, European champion Duaren KURUGLIEV (RWF).

After a 3-0 lead in the first period, Kurugliyev began the second with a huge double-leg for four and then added two takedowns to close out a statement win in Rome.

The World Championships season will now move to Sofia, Bulgaria with the U20 Worlds beginning August 15.




GOLD: Domenic MUNARETTO (USA) df. Bashir VERDIYEV (AZE), 2-0

BRONZE: Arman HARUTYUNYAN (ARM) df. Amirmohammad NAVAZI (IRI), via fall
BRONZE: Nikoloz BOTCHORISHVILI (GEO) df. Constantin RUSU (MDA), 5-4

GOLD: Luke LILLEDAHL (USA) df. Mohammad Reza ASADI (IRI), 10-1

BRONZE: Nurdanat AITANOV (KAZ) df. Ben TARIK (MAR), 1-1

GOLD: Ebrahim ELAHI (IRI) df. Bilol SHARIP UULU (KGZ), 5-4

BRONZE: Taiga OGINO (JPN) df. Alessandro NINI (ITA), 3-1

GOLD: Joseph SEALEY (USA) df. Raul CASO (ITA), 12-0



BRONZE: Maxwell MCENELLY (USA) df. Sahil JAGLAN (IND), 2-1