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Team USA sends four men’s freestyle wrestlers to the semifinals after the first session of the 2021 Cadet World Championships

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

Photo of Luke Lilledahl putting Russia’s Akhmad Musakhadzhiev to his back courtesy of Kadir Caliskan/United World Wrestling.

Budapest, Hungary – The Cadet Men’s Freestyle World Team kicked off their 2021 World Championships in tremendous fashion, putting four out of five of their wrestlers into the semifinals. It was no cakewalk for the Americans, who faced steep competition in the opening rounds and logged impressive victories over credentialed opponents, including going 3-0 against Russian wrestlers.

All four wrestlers competing in this afternoon’s semifinals are guaranteed to wrestle in a medal match.

At 48 kg, Luke Lilledahl opened his tournament with a gutsy win over Russia’s Akhmad Musakhadzhiev. Trailing early, Lilledahl pulled out the victory on a last-second takedown. Initially, the scoreboard showed Musakhadzhiev still ahead as time expired, but after a challenge, the score was corrected to give Lilledahl the win, 8-8, on criteria.

In his quarterfinal match, Lilledahl picked up a controlled 8-1 victory over Kyrgyzstan’s Azim Abdykalykov.

Meyer Shapiro came out guns blazing at 65 kg, picking up a first period pin via cradle over Ukraine’s Timur Yusov, a 2019 U15 Combat Games bronze medalist. He followed it up with a quarterfinal victory over Russia’s Khabib Zaurbekov, 8-6. Shapiro rushed out to a 5-0 lead, and managed to stave off Zaurbekov in the closing seconds to lock up the victory.

James Rowley downed two tough opponents in consecutive matches to advance to the 80 kg semifinals. In the opening round, Rowley squared off with Russia’s Mustafagadzhi Malachdibirov. After falling behind early, Rowley stormed back, outpacing the Russian to claim a 10-6 win.

In the quarterfinals, Rowley bested 2021 Cadet European champion Oleksandr Mamrosh of Ukraine, 8-6. The difference in the match proved to be a huge four-point feet-to-back suplex executed by Rowley in the first period.

At 110 kg, big man Jim Mullen survived a tough opening round match with India’s Sahil Sahil. After Mullen establishing a solid lead early, Sahil managed to claw his way back into the match, eventually evening the score at 8-8. However, Mullen retained the lead on criteria, fending off Sahil’s last-second advances to move on to the quarterfinals.

In his next match, Mullen squared off with Hungary’s Milan Gellen, a 2019 U15 World Combat Games bronze medalist and a 2021 Cadet European bronze medalist. Gellen downed 2021 Cadet European champion Levan Lagvilava of France by fall in the opening round. However, Mullen handled the Hungarian on his home turf, earning a 6-1 win to punch his ticket to the semifinals.

Spencer Moore was the fifth American wrestling in this morning’s session. He dropped his first bout at 55 kg to European Cadet champion Andranik Avetisyan of Armenia, 6-0. Moore was eliminated from the tournament when Avetisyan fell in the quarterfinals to India’s Vaibhav Patil. Avetisyan was leading, 6-0, before Patil locked up a cradle to pick up a pin.

Semifinal action begins at 12:00 p.m. EST (6:00 p.m. local time) and will be streamed live on FloWrestling.

2021 Cadet World Championships

at Budapest, Hungary, July 19-25

Men’s Freestyle Results

48 kg: Luke Lilledahl (St. Charles, Mo.)
WIN Akhmad Musakhadzhiev (Russia), 8-8
WIN Azim Abdykalykov (Kyrgyzstan), 8-1

55 kg: Spencer Moore (Crittenden, Kan.)
LOSS Andranik Avetisyan (Armenia), 6-0

65 kg: Meyer Shapiro (Woobine, Md.)
WIN Timur Yusov (Ukraine), FALL
WIN Khabib Zaurbekov (Russia), 8-6

80 kg: James Rowley (Corvallis, Ore.)
WIN Mustafagadzhi Malachdibirov (Russia), 10-6
WIN Oleksandr Mamrosh (Ukraine), 8-6

110 kg: James Mullen (Harrington Park, N.J.)
WIN Sahil Sahil (India), 8-8
WIN Milan Gellen, 6-1

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