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Shilson, Welker punch tickets to semifinals of 2021 U23 World Championships

by Joe Wedra, USA Wrestling

Photo of Kylie Welker by Tony Rotundo

BELGRADE, Serbia – Emily Shilson (50 kg) and Kylie Welker (76 kg) led Team USA’s women’s freestyle team on the first day of competition at the U23 World Championships, advancing to Wednesday night’s semifinals.

Shilson’s tournament opened up with a dominant 10-0 win over Germany’s Lisa Ersel. The match-ending sequence was impressive – a Shilson takedown straight to a trap-arm gut for an 8-0 lead, and then a transition down to a lace for two more points to win the match, 10-0.

In the quarterfinals, Shilson continued rolling with a first-period pin of Romania’s Stefania Priceputu. With the win, she moves into tonight’s semifinal session. In the semis, Shilson will wrestle Tunisia’s Sarra Hamdi, who competed at the 2021 Olympic Games.

Welker’s day opened up with an impressive victory over Russia’s two-time Junior World silver medalist, Evgeniia Zakharchenko. Welker found herself down, 5-2, late in the match after Zakharchenko completed a four-point throw. However, the U.S. 2021 Junior World champion found a takedown and transitioned to a lace to go up, 6-5. Welker held on, notching a key opening-round win at 76 kg.

It didn’t take much longer for Welker to punch her ticket to the semifinals. Like Shilson, Welker locked up a cradle against Kamile Gaucite of Lithuania in the first period to advance on through the 76 kg bracket. In the semis, Welker will wrestle Aiperi Medet Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan, who took bronze at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo in October.

Aylvia Fiske (68 kg) continued Team USA’s momentum early in the first session with a win over 2021 Junior World bronze medalist Nesrin Bas of Turkey. Tied 1-1 late with Fiske leading on criteria, Fiske defended a shot and put Bas to her back with two seconds left, finishing up a significant win via pin to begin her tournament.

In the quarterfinals, Fiske matched up against France’s Koumba Larroque, a multiple-time age-group World champion and two-time Senior World medalist. Larroque defeated Fiske, 12-0, which means Larroque will need to make the finals for Fiske to be pulled into tomorrow’s repechage round.

Both Alex Hedrick (55 kg) and Michaela Beck (59 kg) also competed on Wednesday, dropping their first matches of the tournament.

Hedrick, after receiving a forfeit in the first round from her opponent from Sierra Leone, lost a tough 11-8 match to India’s Anju. Hedrick and Anju wrestled a very active second period, but a late four-point move from Anju proved to be the difference-maker in the bout. Hedrick will need Anju to defeat her opponent from Russia in the semifinals to have a chance to wrestle for bronze tomorrow.

Beck lost her opening match to Krystsina Sazykina of Belarus, 6-1. Beck was active throughout the match, but Sazykina’s shot defense proved to be the difference. Sazykina did not win her quarterfinals match, which officially eliminated Beck from the competition.

Both Welker and Shilson will compete in tonight’s semifinal session, which begins at 4:45 p.m. local time, five hours ahead of U.S. eastern time. All matches can be watched live on FloWrestling.


At Belgrade, Serbia November 3

Women’s freestyle semifinal pairings

50 kg

Mariia Tiumerekova (Russia) vs. Shivani Pawar (India)

Emily Shilson (USA) vs. Sarra Hamdi (Tunisia)

55 kg

Andreea Ana (Romania) vs. Eda Tekin (Turkey)

Viktoriia Vaulina (Russia) vs. Anju (India)

59 kg

Ramina Mamedova (Latvia) vs. Solomiia Vynnyk (Ukraine)

Anna Szel (Hungary) vs. Anhelina Lysak (Poland)

68 kg

Sophia Schaefle (Germany) vs. Vusala Parfianovich (Russia)

Oksana Chudyk (Ukraine) vs. Koumba Larroque (France)

76 kg

Dilnaz Mulkinova (Kazakhstan) vs. Tatiana Renteria (Colombia)

Kylie Welker (USA) vs. Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgystan)

U.S. women’s freestyle Group One results

50 kg: Emily Shilson (Maple Grove, Minn./Titan Mercury WC/Twin Cities RTC)

WIN Lisa Ersel (Germany), 10-0

WIN Stefania Priceputu (Romania), fall 0:49

Vs. Sarra Hamdi (Tunisia)

55 kg: Alex Hedrick (Fair Oaks, Calif./Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Zainab Barrie (Sierra Leone), forfeit

LOSS Anju (India), 11-8

59 kg: Michaela Beck (New York, N.Y./Wisconsin RTC/Sunkist Kids WC)

LOSS Krystsina Sazykina (Belarus), 6-1

68 kg: Alyvia Fiske (Napa, Calif./Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Nesrin Bas (Turkey), fall 5:58

LOSS Koumba Larroque (France), 12-0

76 kg: Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisc./Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Evgeniia Zakharchenko (Russia), 6-5

WIN Kamile Gaucite (Lithuania), fall 1:33

Vs. Aiperi Medet Kyzy (Kyrgystan)