Elor, Kilty among stars competing for U.S U23 Women’s Freestyle World Team in Tirana
by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling
Ten U.S. women’s freestyle athletes are slated to compete at the 2023 U23 World Championships in Tirana, Albania, October 23-29. The team is led by two Senior World Team members and six Senior National Team members with extensive international experience on the mat.
Women’s freestyle begins competition next Wednesday at the Sports Hall “Feti Borova” in Tirana. Athletes in the first five women’s freestyle weight classes (50-55-59-68-76 kg) begin with the qualification rounds on October 25. The second group of weights (53-57-62-65-72 kg) begins action on October 26. Each bracket will be contested over a two-day period that continues into the semifinals on the first day, followed by repechage and medal matches on the second day of competition.
Senior World Team members Amit Elor and Macey Kilty lead a group of tough competitors that will represent the United States at the 2023 U23 World Championships in Tirana, Albania, next week.
Elor has been dominant on the mat in the past few years, winning her seventh overall World gold medal between the age-group and Senior levels in Belgrade, Serbia, last month. She earned gold medals last year at the Senior, U23 and U20 World Championships as an 18-year-old. This year, Elor claimed gold medals at the U20 and Senior World Championships. She adds a gold from the 2023 Senior Pan American Championships to her spectacular resume.
Kilty, 2023 Senior World silver medalist at 65 kg, enters this year’s event with an extensive resume. She is has earned five age-group world medals, including a gold at the 2018 Cadet World Championships. Kilty has competed at the senior level since 2019 and aims to strike gold in Tirana at her second U23 World Championships.
There are six Senior National Team members that will make the trip to Tirana in Audrey Jimenez (50 kg), Katie Gomez (53 kg), Alisha Howk (55 kg), Xochitl Mota-Pettis (57 kg), Adaugo Nwachukwu (62 kg) and Kennedy Blades (76 kg). All six were 2023 U.S. Open champions at the Senior level and runners up at Final X. Jimenez, Gomez, Nwachukwu and Blades competed at the U20 World Championships in late August. Jimenez earned a silver medal while Blades earned bronze at the tournament. Blades is a 2021 Junior World Champion and was a U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up in 2020.
Alisha Howk, competing at 55 kg, joins Elor as a returning member of last year’s U23 team. Howk captured a bronze medal at the U23 World Championships in 2022, and aims for a higher spot on the podium this year. She earned a silver medal at the 2023 Senior Pan American Championships and has competed at two age-group World Championships.
Nichole Moore will make her World Championships debut next week in Albania. Moore, a 2022 U23 Women’s Nationals champion and 2023 USMC Women’s Nationals runner-up, placed 12th at the 2022 Grand Prix of Spain and wrestles collegiately at McKendree University.
Katerina Lange, 2023 NCWWC National Champion for Augsburg, makes the trip to her first World Championship tournament. Lange has competed at two international events, where she captured a gold medal at the 2021 Junior Pan American Championships and placed fifth at the 2023 Grand Prix of Spain.
Three athletes on the U23 World Team compete collegiately in Moore, Nwachukwu and Lange. Moore wrestled at Baker University previously and recently announced her transfer to McKendree. Nwachukwu is a two-time NAIA for Iowa Wesleyan University. Lange is entering her junior year at Augsburg and won a national championship earlier this year.
In 2022, the U.S. finished in second place as a team in the women’s freestyle division at the U23 World Championships with a total of 107 points and four medalists.
The U23 World Championships will be live streamed on FloWrestling.com to the U.S. market. Brackets and updated results will be provided by United World Wrestling on uww.org and the UWW mobile app.
Those seeking to follow along in real time can reference the complete event schedule below. Tirana, Albania, is in the GMT +2 time zone, which is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time. USA Wrestling will provide regular updates on TheMat.com and its social media platforms throughout the event.
2023 U23 World Championships
At Tirana, Albania, October 23-29
Monday, October 23
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
5:15 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
6 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
Tuesday, October 24
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg) and Repechage (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
Wednesday, October 25
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg) and Repechage (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg)
Thursday, October 26
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg) and Repechage (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg)
Friday, October 27
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg) and Repechage (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg)
Saturday, October 28
10 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg) and Repechage (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg)
Sunday, October 29
4 p.m. – Repechage (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg)
*Listed times reflect local time in Amman, Jordan, which is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time
U.S. Women’s Freestyle Roster
50 kg – Audrey Jimenez (Tucson, Arizona/Sunkist Kids WC)
53 kg – Katie Gomez (Van Nuys, Calif./Sunkist Kids WC)
55 kg – Alisha Howk (River Falls, Wis./Sunkist Kids WC)
57 kg – Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Humble, Texas/Rise RTC)
59 kg – Nichole Moore (Lebanon, Ill./LMRC)
62 kg – Adaugo Nwachukwu (San Jose, Calif./Titan Mercury WC)
65 kg – Macey Kilty (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids WC)
68 kg – Katerina Lange (Sherburn, Minn., Minnesota Storm)
72 kg – Amit Elor (Walnut Creek, Calif./New York City RTC/Titan Mercury WC)
76 kg – Kennedy Blades (Chicago, Ill./Sunkist Kids WC)
U.S. Women’s Freestyle Delegation
Coach: Terry Steiner
Coach: Clarissa Chun
Coach: Ashley Flavin
Personal Coach: Anthony Leon
Personal Coach: Martin Berberyan
Personal Coach: Kevin Black
Personal Coach: Jake Kadel
Personal Coach: Coleman Scott
Personal Coach: Jake Short
Personal Coach: Sara McMann
Personal Coach: Izzy Martinez
MD: Dr. Steven Broman
ATC: Randy Boswell
Official: Leslie Tamayo
Official: Jason Babi
Official: Nick Kindred
Team Leader: Tim Manning
Team Leader: Meredith Suess
USA Wrestling, Communications Coordinator: Savannah Asmann
Delegate: Jose Campo