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U.S. women’s freestyle team receives draws for the 2021 U23 World Championships

by Joe Wedra, USA Wrestling

Photo of Alyvia Fiske by Tony Rotundo
BELGRADE, Serbia – The women’s freestyle draw has been announced for the 2021 U23 World Championships. The ten U.S. athletes have officially received their first opponents for the tournament.
The first five women’s freestyle weights (50 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg, 76 kg) will begin competition on Wednesday.
At 50 kg, Junior World champion Emily Shilson will take on Germany’s Lisa Ersel. Ersel competed at the 2021 Senior World Championships and is a 2015 Cadet world bronze medalist. Shilson, competing out of the Twin Cities RTC, is looking to add another age group World medal to her already-impressive resume this week.
Hedrick, at 55 kg, will wrestle Sierra Leone’s Zainab Barrie, who has limited international results available. Hedrick is wrestling on her third age-group World team.
Michaela Beck, wrestling at 59 kg, will open up her tournament against Krystsina Sazykina of Belarus, a 2017 Cadet bronze medalist who also competed at the 2021 Senior Worlds. Beck won the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier and the U23 Nationals this year.
At 68 kg, Alyvia Fiske will see Turkey’s Nesrin Bas in the first round. Bas won a bronze medal at the 2021 Junior World Championships. Fiske is competing on her fourth World team for the U.S.
Kylie Welker, a 2021 Junior World champion and Olympic Team Trials runner-up at 76 kg, will wrestle Evgeniia Zakharchenko of Russia, who has an impressive international resume. Zakharchenko is a two-time Junior silver medalist who also won a bronze medal at the 2019 U23 World Championships.
Kicking off Thursday morning’s action, Ronna Heaton (53 kg) will wrestle Kazakhstan’s Ellada Makhyaddinova, who took 10th at the 2018 Junior World Championships. Heaton, a 2015 Cadet world medalist, is on her sixth age-group World team.
At 57 kg, Amanda Martinez will see Kazakhstan’s Zeinep Bayanova, who took 11th at this year’s Junior World Championships. Martinez is wrestling on her first career age-group World team.
Emma Bruntil (62 kg), a 2019 Senior Nationals champion, is set to wrestle Turkey’s Yagmur Cakmak in the first round. Cakmak took seventh at this year’s Junior Worlds.
Ashlynn Ortega will wrestle Kenya’s Winrose Alivisa in Thursday’s opening round. Alivisa competed at this year’s Senior World Championships. Ortega has won the U23 Nationals the past two years and was also on the 2016 Cadet World team for the U.S.
Kayla Marano at 72 kg, a 2015 Cadet bronze medalist, will face the winner of Maria Nitu (Romania) and Alexia Sherland (Canada) in her first match. Marano, a McKendree wrestler, won the 2020 U23 Nationals and finished as the runner-up in the event in 2021.
Wrestling begins each day at 10:30 a.m. local time, which is five hours ahead of U.S. eastern time.
UWW will update brackets and have full results, which can be found by clicking here.

At Belgrade, Serbia

U.S. women’s freestyle draws

50 kg: Emily Shilson (Maple Grove, Minn./Titan Mercury WC/Twin Cities RTC)
Vs. Lisa Ersel (Germany), 11th at 2021 Senior Worlds, 10th at 2019 Junior Worlds, 2015 Cadet bronze medalist
53 kg: Ronna Heaton (Brookings, S.Dak./Wisconsin RTC/Sunkist Kids WC)
Vs. Ellada Makhyaddinova (Kazakhstan), 10th at 2018 Junior Worlds, 9th at 2017 Cadet Worlds
55 kg: Alex Hedrick (Fair Oaks, Calif./Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. Zainab Barrie (Sierra Leone)
57 kg: Amanda Martinez (Riverside, Ill./Cardinal WC)
Vs. Zeinep Bayanova (Kazakhstan), 11th at 2021 Junior Worlds, 13th at 2019 Cadet Worlds
59 kg: Michaela Beck (New York, N.Y./Wisconsin RTC/Sunkist Kids WC)
Vs. Krystsina Sazykina (Belarus), 2017 Cadet bronze medalist, 8th at 2019 Junior Worlds, 9th at 2021 Senior Worlds
62 kg: Emma Bruntil (Acme, Wash./Titan Mercury WC/McKendree Bearcat WC)
Vs. Yagmur Cakmak (Turkey), 7th at 2021 Junior Worlds, 11th at 2019 U23 Worlds
65 kg: Ashlynn Ortega (Pueblo, Colo./New York AC)
Vs. Winrose Alivisa (Kenya), 15th at 2021 Senior Worlds, 5th at 2019 African Games
68 kg: Alyvia Fiske (Napa, Calif./Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. Nesrin Bas (Turkey), 2021 Junior World bronze medalist, 14th at 2021 Senior Worlds
72 kg: Kayla Marano (Jefferson, Ga./McKendree Bearcat WC)
Vs. winner of Maria Nitu (Romania), 15th at 2019 Junior Worlds, and Alexia Sherland (Canada), 14th at 2019 U23 Worlds
76 kg: Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisc./Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. Evgeniia Zakharchenko (Russia), 2019 U23 Worlds bronze medalist, 2019 Junior Worlds silver medalist, 2018 Junior Worlds silver medalist

U.S. women’s freestyle schedule

Wednesday, Nov. 3
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (WFS 50 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg, 76 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 50 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg, 76 kg)
Thursday, Nov. 4
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (WFS 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 65 kg, 72 kg)
10:30 a.m. – Repechage (WFS 50 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg, 76 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 65 kg, 72 kg)
6:00 p.m. – Finals (WFS 50 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg, 76 kg)
Friday, Nov. 5
10:30 a.m. – Repechage (WFS 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 65 kg, 72 kg)
6:00 p.m. – Finals (WFS 53 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 65 kg, 72 kg)