NewsUSA WrestlingInternationalHigh School & YouthUSAW

Shilson, Elor and Welker punch tickets to Junior World finals in Russia

by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling

Photo of Amit Elor by Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling.

UFA, Russia – The USA secured three finalists on the first day of women’s freestyle action at the 2021 Junior World Championships, including Emily Shilson, Amit Elor and Kylie Welker. All three athletes, who are past age-group World medalists, will compete for gold on Thursday.


Amit Elor, who entered Russia fresh off a Cadet World title in July, only needed one win to advance to the 68 kg semifinals, which she earned in dominant fashion, cruising past Arju Arju from India, 10-0, in less than a minute. In the semifinals, Elor needed just 1:24 to complete an 11-0 tech fall against 2021 Junior European silver medalist Zsuzsanna Molnar from Slovakia. The American was on the board early with a step out, followed by a takedown into two turns from a leg lace. She finished off the match with an arm spin, which earned her four points and secured her spot in her second World finals of the summer.

In the gold match, she will wrestle Elizaveta Petliakova from Russia, who is a 2021 Junior European bronze medalist.

2018 Cadet World champion Emily Shilson gutted out two morning-session wins to move onto the 50 kg semifinals. She began her day, defeating 2018 Youth Olympic Games champion Natallia Varakina from Belarus. Shilson scored a takedown and later some exposure to carry a 4-1 lead into the break. Varakina fought back with a takedown to cut Shilson’s lead to only one point. In the final seconds, Shilson came out on top in a scramble to secure a 6-3 victory. For her quarterfinal bout, she stormed back from a 4-0 deficit against 2018 Cadet World bronze winner Viktoriia Aleksandrova of Russia. In the second period, she outscored the Russian, 10-3, to earn a 10-7 win and a trip to the semifinals. There, she faced India’s Simran Simran, who she defeated in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games finals. Shilson fired off attacks from the whistle and scored a series of takedowns and gut wrenches for a 10-0 first-period shutout.

For gold, Shilson will face Enkhzul Batbaatar from Mongolia, who is a two-time Cadet Asian Championships medalist.

76 kg representative Kylie Welker, who was the Olympic Trials runner-up at the weight, was unmatched in her first session of action, shutting out opponents from Germany and Russia. Welker made quick work of German Laura Kuehn, scoring an early takedown and finishing it off with a leg lace for a 10-0 win. In her quarterfinal bout, Welker rushed out to a 5-0 lead at the break and used her counter offense to score six more points for an 11-0 final. She continued her dominance into the semifinals, taking on 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist Kseniya Dzibuk of Belarus. Welker started with a takedown but finished the match shortly after, thanks to a hip toss to secure the pin in 1:02

In the finals, Welker will battle Bipasha Bipasha from India.

One U.S. athlete will compete in repechage on Thursday, seeking a chance to wrestle for a medal.

Competing at 55 kg, McKendree wrestler Payton Stroud opened her tournament with a hard-fought win over 2019 Cadet Pan American silver medalist Antonia Valdez Arriagada of Chile, 5-2, but she lost her quarterfinal match, 10-0, to 2019 Cadet World silver medalist Kalmira Bilimbek Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan, who advanced to the finals, bringing Stroud back into the tournament for repechage.

Stroud will face 2019 Cadet World bronze winner Munkhgerel Munkhbat from Mongolia. Should she win, Stroud will advance to the bronze match.

At 59 kg, Mia Macaluso fell in the first round of competition, losing by pin to Ebru Dagbasi of Turkey, who was fifth at the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival. In the next round, Dagbasi dropped a match to Anna Szel from Hungary, 10-2, which eliminated Macaluso from her first World Championships.

Medal matches will take place Thursday at 6 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET). Fans can watch live on FloWrestling or follow along on USA Wrestling’s twitter @USAWrestling.


Aug. 16-22 | Ufa, Russia

U.S. women’s freestyle results
50 kg: Emily Shilson (Maple Grove, Minn./Titan Mercury WC) – FINALS
WIN Natallia VARAKINA (Belarus), 6-3
WIN Viktoriia ALEKSANDROVA (Russia), 10-7
WIN Simran SIMRAN (India), 10-0
vs. Enkhzul BATBAATAR (Mongolia)

55 kg: Payton Stroud (Buckley, Wash./McKendree Bearcat WC) – repechage
WIN Antonia VALDEZ ARRIAGADA (Chile), 5-2
LOSS Kalmira BILIMBEK KYZY (Kyrgyzstan), 10-0
vs. Munkhgerel MUNKHBAT (Mongolia)

59 kg: Mia Macaluso (Otisville, N.Y./Team New York) – eliminated
LOSS Ebru DAGBASI (Turkey), fall 1:25

68 kg: Amit Elor (Walnut Creek, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) – FINALS
WIN Arju ARJU (India), 10-0
WIN Zsuzsanna MOLNAR (Slovakia), 11-0
vs. Elizaveta PETLIAKOVA (Russia)

76 kg: Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisc./Titan Mercury WC) – FINALS
WIN Laura KUEHN (Germany), 10-0
WIN Mariia SILINA (Russia), 11-0
WIN Kseniya DZIBUK (Belarus), pin 1:05
vs. Bipasha BIPASHA (India)