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|Smith, Maroulis receive draws for day two of Women’s World Championships in Canada|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
SHERWOOD PARK, Canada – Two U.S. women’s freestyle wrestlers have weighed in and received their draws for the second day of action at the Women’s World Championships.
Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) opens with Oksana Vashchuk of Ukraine at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Vaschuck was third in the 2010 University World Championships and was a 2007 Junior World bronze medalist.
If Smith wins, she could face Sweden’s Jenny Fransson, who defeated U.S. entry Ali Bernard in the opening match at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Smith was a 2005 World champion, the last time she competed in this event for the United States. She will be competing in her fourth World Championships. Smith also qualified for the 2001 World Championships but was unable to compete due to military obligations.
“Iris is a former World champion for us. She’s one of the few. For Iris, it’s about getting out of there, staying in her positions and being stubborn in her points. Iris is a competitor. She has been on top of this before. She’s here to get there again,” said National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner.
Helen Maroulis (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) will face Nadeshda Mikhalkova of Belarus in her opening bout at 55 kg/121 lbs. Mikhlakova was seventh in the 2011 World Championships and was fifth in the 2012 European Championships.
She is on the bottom half of the bracket, away from nine-time World champion and three time Olympic champion Saori Yoshida of Japan, who is in the top half-bracket. Yoshida is attempting to break the record for total World and Olympic wrestling golds, which she shares with Greco-Roman legend Aleksandr Kareline who also has 12 combined titles.
Maroulis will be competing in her third Women’s World Championships. She was fifth at the 2011 World Championships and also competed in the 2008 World Championships. She won three Junior World medals during her career.
“The key for Helen is her preparation. It has been a hard summer for Helen. She really expected to be on the Olympic Team and wasn’t. She is coming here with a lot of purpose and has a lot of reason to get herself back on top. I don’t think it matters who she has in the draw. Helen is ready to go,” said Steiner.
WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Sherwood Park, Canada
U.S. women’s freestyle draws for Thursday
55 kg/121 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (New York AC)
Vs. Nadeshda Mikhalkova (Belarus)
72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
Vs. Oksana Vashchuk (Ukraine)