Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling

Kennedy Blades wrestles at the 2023 U23 World Championships.

USAWU23-WorldsWomenInternationalKennedy Blades

Jimenez, Blades earn silver, Elor to go for gold at U23 World Championships

by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling

The United States continued women’s freestyle action at the U23 World Championships in Tirana, Albania, Thursday. Group two of women’s freestyle saw three athletes remain in the hunt for bronze. Two athletes earned silver medals on their second day of competition.

Kennedy Blades wasted no time in her first three matches to reach the finals. She spent less than three minutes on the mat in the buildup to the finals at 76 kg. Blades faced UWW’s Reetika Reetika in the finals, falling in a tough 9-2 decision. After the first period, Blades was trailing 3-2. She had a huge double leg takedown, but gave up a trio of step outs to her opponent. Blades finishes with a silver medal at the U23 World Championships.

Audrey Jimenez (50 kg) reached the finals with wins over Rubio Torres (Spain), Neelam Neelam (UWW) and Elnura Mammadova (Azerbaijan). Jimenez withdrew from her finals match against Umi Ito (Japan) due to injury. She finished with the silver medal at 50 kg. She is now a four-time age-group medalist with three silver medals and one bronze.

Also from Group One, U.S. wrestlers Alisha Howk (55 kg) finished eighth and Nicole Moore (59 kg) finished 10th, which scored points for the USA. Team USA was in fourth place after the first five weight classes, with Japan leading the standings.

From Group Two, Amit Elor (72 kg) advanced to the finals on Thursday night, pinning her first two opponents in the opening rounds in Tirana. Elor, a five-time age-group and two-time Senior World Champion, looks to repeat in the U23 finals tomorrow. In a rematch of last year's U23 final, it was Elor that emerged victorious once again in the semifinals against Wiktoria Choluj of Poland. All five of the points were scored in the first period, as Elor led with a takedown, a step out and another takedown that summarized the match. She matches up against Jyoti Berwal (UWW) in the 72 kg finals tomorrow night.

Macey Kilty will wrestle in the bronze medal match at 65 kg. Kilty earned a pair of wins to start the tournament, both via pin. She wrestled hard on her feet, getting her opponents to the mat quickly. In her first match, Kilty pinned Kseniya Tsiarenia (AIN) after leading 6-0 with offense action off the whistle.

In the semifinals, faced 2021 Senior World champion Irina Ringaci (Moldova). She picked up the first takedown but trailed 4-2 at the break. Ringaci countered with a pair of takedowns of her own to score the four points, ultimately falling in a close 5-4 match.

At 57 kg, Xochitl Mota-Pettis was pulled into repechage and remains in the hunt for a bronze medal. Mota-Pettis fell in the first round to Japan’s Sara Natami, but with Natami advancing to the finals, her tournament continues. In the repechage round, she will face Alina Filipovich of Ukraine. If she wins, she will face Elvira Kamaloglu of Turkey for a bronze medal.

Adaugo Nwachukwu’s tournament ended early after she dropped her match in her second round. She earned a commanding win over Mexico’s Ameyalli Rojas, 6-2. In her second match, Nwachukwu fell to Irina Kuznetsova of Kazakhstan. Kuznetsova led 8-0 early with a takedown and a few turns. A big move on the edge pushed Kuznetsova ahead for the 12-0 win. Kuznetsova lost her next match, eliminating Nwachukwu.

Katie Gomez (53 kg) dropped her first match to Beatrice Ferent (Romania). Gomez was put on the clock and was unable to score, giving Ferent the lead. She evened the score when Ferent was put on the clock, but Gomez got put on the clock again and Ferent won 2-1. Her tournament run came to an end after Ferent lost in the quarterfinals.

Elor, Kilty and Mota-Pettis are back on the mat tomorrow with repechage and medal matches. The U.S. Greco-Roman team kicks off action Friday with group one: Phillip Moomey, Robert Perez III, Justus Scott, Tyler Eischens and Cade Lautt. Saturday will be the first day for competition for Camden Russell, Jordan Hamdan, Payton Jacobson, Michael Altomer and Kaleb Reeves.

2023 U23 World Championships

At Tirana, Albania, October 23-29

Team Rankings (after day two of women’s freestyle)

1 Japan, 80

2 Ukraine, 75

3 UWW, 74

4 United States, 48

5 Turkey, 43

6 Canada, 28

7 France, 19

8 Sweden, 17

9 Azerbaijan, 15

9 Lithuania, 15

9 Romania, 15

50 kg

Gold – Umi Iyo (Japan)

Silver – Audrey Jimenez (United States)

Bronze – Emma Luttenauer (France)

Bronze – Elnura Mammadova (Azerbaijan)

5th - Aida Kerymova (Ukraine)

5th - Neelam Neelam (UWW)

7th - Szimonetta Szeker (Hungary)

8th - Anastasiya Yanotava (AIN)

9th - Mariia Tiumerekova (AIN)

10th - Zehra Demirhan (Turkey)

Gold – Iyo (Japan) inf. def. Jimenez (United States)

Bronze – Luttenauer (France) dec. Kerymova (Ukraine), 7-0

Bronze – Mammadova (Azerbaijan) dec. Neelam Neelam (UWW), 8-5

55 kg

Gold – Umi Imai (Japan)

Silver – Neha Sharma (UWW)

Bronze – Aryna Martynava (AIN)

Bronze – Andreea Beatrice Ana (Romania)

5th – Zeinep Bayanova (Kazakhstan)

5th – Mariia Vynnyk (Ukraine)

7th – Sevval Cayir (Turkey)

8th – Alisha Howk (United States)

9th – Virginie Kaze Gascon (Canada)

10th – Venera Nafikova (AIN)

Gold – Imai (Japan) dec. Sharma (UWW), 4-2

Bronze – Martynava (AIN) dec. Bayanova (Kazakhstan), 8-5

Bronze – Beatrice (Romania) dec. Vynnyk (Ukraine), 3-0

59 kg

Gold – Solomiia Vynnyk (Ukraine)

Silver – Sena Nagamoto (Japan)

Bronze – Nitika Nitika (UWW)

Bronze – Anastasiia Sidelnikova (AIN)

5th – Michaela Rankin (Canada)

5th – Nadzeya Bulanaya (AIN)

7th – Ramina Mamedova (Latvia)

8th – Kalmira Bilimbek Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan)

9th – Amel Rebiha (France)

10th – Nichole Moore (United States)

Gold – Vynnyk (Ukraine) dec. Nagamoto (Japan), 1-1

Bronze – Nitika (UWW) pin Rankin (Canada), 3:00

Bronze – Sidelnikova (AIN) dec. Bulanaya (AIN), 6-3

68 kg

Gold – Nesrin Bas (Turkey)

Silver – Alina Shauchuk (AIN)

Bronze – Manola Skobelska (Ukraine)

Bronze – Tindra Sjoeberg (Sweden)

5th – Vusala Parfianovich (AIN)

5th – Vanessa Keefe (Canada)

7th – Gulnura Tashtanbekova (Kyrgyzstan)

8th – Luciana Beda (Moldova)

9th – Varsha Varsha (UWW)

10th – Noemi Szabados (Hungary)

Gold – Bas (Turkey) dec. Shauchuk (AIN), 2-1

Bronze – Skobelska (Ukraine) dec. Parfianovich (AIN), 5-3

Bronze – Sjoeberg (Sweden) tech. fall Keefe (Canada), 11-0

76 kg

Gold – Reetika Reetika (UWW)

Silver – Kennedy Blades (United States)

Bronze – Kamile Gaucaite (Lithuania)

Bronze – Anastasiya Alpyeyeva (Ukraine)

5th – Patrycja Slomska (Poland)

5th – Nodoka Yamamoto (Japan)

7th – Mehtap Gultekin (Turkey)

8th – Rita Talismanovaaa (AIN)

9th – Vianne Rouleau (Canada)

10th – Anna Braun (Sweden)

Gold – Reetika (UWW) dec. Blades (United States), 9-2

Bronze – Gaucaite (Lithuania) dec. Slomska (Poland), 7-3

Bronze – Alpyeyeva (Ukraine) pin Yamamoto (Japan), 5:26

U.S. Women’s Freestyle Group One Results

50 kg – Audrey Jimenez (Tucson, Arizona/Sunkist Kids WC), Silver medalist

WIN Rubio Torres (Spain), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Neelam Neelam (UWW), tech. fall 12-2

WIN Elnura Mammadova (Azerbaijan), dec. 7-4

LOSS Umi Ito (Japan), inj. forf.


55 kg – Alisha Howk (River Falls, Wis./Sunkist Kids WC), 8th

WIN  Immaculata Danise (Italy), pin 4:44

LOSS Aryna Martynava (AIN), tech. fall 10-0


59 kg – Nichole Moore (Lebanon, Ill./LMRC), 10th

WIN Wiktoria Karwowska (Poland), dec. 9-0

LOSS Michaela Rankin (Canada), dec. 7-0


68 kg – Katerina Lange (Sherburn, Minn., Minnesota Storm), 11th

LOSS Vusala Parfianovich (AIN), dec. 7-1


76 kg – Kennedy Blades (Chicago, Ill./Sunkist Kids WC), Silver medalist

WIN Patrycja Slomska (Poland), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Inkara Zhanatayeva (Kazakhstan), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Kamile Gaucaite (Lithuania), tech. fall 10-0

LOSS Reetika Reetika (UWW), dec. 9-2


U.S. Women’s Freestyle Group Two Results

53 kg – Katie Gomez (Van Nuys, Calif./Sunkist Kids WC), eliminated

LOSS Beatrice Ferent (Romania), dec. 2-1


57 kg – Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Humble, Texas/Rise RTC), in repechage

LOSS Sara Natami (Japan), dec. 10-2


62 kg – Adaugo Nwachukwu (San Jose, Calif./Titan Mercury WC), eliminated

WIN Ameyalli Rojas (Mexico), dec. 6-2

LOSS Irina Kuznetsova (Kazakhstan), tech. fall 12-0


65 kg – Macey Kilty (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids WC), in bronze medal match

WIN Gilbery Franco (Venezuela), pin 1:30

WIN Kseniya Tsiarenia (AIN), pin 1:49

WIN Amina Capezan (Romania), pin 1:11

LOSS Irina Ringaci (Moldova), dec. 5-4

72 kg – Amit Elor (Walnut Creek, Calif./New York City RTC/Titan Mercury WC), in gold medal match

WIN Zaineb Sghaier (Tunisia), pin 0:17

WIN Viktoryia Radzkova (AIN), pin 0:18

WIN Wiktoria Choluj (Poland), dec. 5-0

In finals - Jyoti Berwal (UWW)