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U.S. women’s freestyle team earns bronze at 2021 U23 World Championships, Marano takes fifth

by Joe Wedra, USA Wrestling

BELGRADE, Serbia – The U.S. women’s freestyle team finished third in the team race at the 2021 U23 World Championships. Kayla Marano took fifth at 72 kg as Friday night’s medal match session wrapped up women’s freestyle competition at the event.

Ukraine won the team race with 161 points, while Russia was the runner-up with 140 points. The U.S. finished the tournament with 100 total team points.

Marano wrestled in a bronze-medal bout against India’s Divya Kakran, dropping the match via a second-period fall. Kakran won the 2021 Senior Asian Championships in April and placed seventh at the 2021 Senior Worlds in Oslo in October.

A 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist, Marano advanced to the semifinals yesterday after an impressive 11-0 win over Romania’s Maria Nitu. Marano will wrestle for McKendree University this year. She won the U23 Nationals in 2020 and placed second behind Kennedy Blades at the event in 2021. The Jefferson, Georgia native placed fourth at the 2019 U.S. Senior Open.

On Thursday, Team USA earned a pair of medals in the first group of women’s freestyle competition. Emily Shilson (50 kg) won gold, while Kylie Welker (76 kg) won bronze. Both Shilson and Welker also won Junior World titles earlier this year.

All ten women’s freestylers earned team points for Team USA this week.

“I am so proud of every athlete’s effort this week,” USA Wrestling National Women’s Developmental Coach Jessica Medina said. “Our athletes represented themselves on the mat and represented our country very well. The spirit of Team USA is strong and I know our program will continue to strive for excellence. Thank you to all of our donors, supporters, coaches and support staff.”

The 2021 U23 World Championships finishes up on Saturday and Sunday with men’s freestyle competition. All matches can be streamed live on FloWrestling.

Women’s freestyle Group Two finals results

53 kg
GOLD: Lucia Yepez Guzman (Ecuador) fall Ekaterina Verbina (Russia), 1:10
BRONZE: Zeynep Teygil (Turkey) dec. Munkhgerel Munkhbat (Mongolia), 8-3
BRONZE: Mariia Vynnyk (Ukraine) dec. Mariana Dragutan (Moldova), 9-6

57 kg
GOLD: Alina Akobiia (Ukraine) dec. Kristina Mikhneva (Russia), 5-1
BRONZE: Hannah Taylor (Canada) dec. Othelie Hoeie (Norway), 12-8
BRONZE: Esther Kolawole (Nigeria) dec. Patrycja Gil (Poland), 9-8

62 kg
GOLD: Ana Godinez Gonzalez (Canada) dec. Kateryna Zelenykh (Ukraine), 10-7
BRONZE: Radhika (India) dec. Aurora Campagna (Italy), 6-4
BRONZE: Anastasiia Parokhina (Russia) dec. Anna Fabian (Serbia), 8-1

65 kg
GOLD: Anastasiia Lavrenchuk (Ukraine) fall Dinara Salikhova (Russia), 1:29
BRONZE: Asli Demir (Turkey) dec. Elena Esposito (Italy), 3-2
BRONZE: Nisha (India) tech Elma Zeidlere (Latvia), 10-0

72 kg
GOLD: Anastasiya Alpyeyeva (Ukraine) dec. Kendra Dacher (France), 4-1
BRONZE: Divya Kakran (India) fall Kayla Marano (USA), 3:18
BRONZE: Eleni Pjollaj (Italy) fall Anastasiya Zimiankova (Bulgaria), 2:07

U.S. women’s freestyle Group Two results

53 kg: Ronna Heaton (Brookings, S.Dak./Wisconsin RTC/Sunkist Kids WC), 7th place
WIN Ellada Makhyaddinova (Kazakhstan), fall 4:20
LOSS Mariia Vynnyk (Ukraine), 6-1

57 kg: Amanda Martinez (Riverside, Ill./Cardinal WC), 7th place
WIN Zeinep Bayanova (Kazakhstan), 10-0
LOSS Esther Kolawole (Nigeria), 11-0

62 kg: Emma Bruntil (Acme, Wash./Titan Mercury WC/McKendree Bearcat WC), 8th place
WIN Yagmur Cakmak (Turkey), 8-3
LOSS Aurora Campagna (Italy), 11-0

65 kg: Ashlynn Ortega (Pueblo, Colo./New York AC), 7th place
WIN Winrose Alivisa (Kenya), forfeit
WIN Khadija Jlassi (Tunisia), 4-2
LOSS Nisha (India), fall

72 kg: Kayla Marano (Jefferson, Ga./McKendree Bearcat WC), 5th place
WIN Maria Nitu (Romania), 11-0
LOSS Anastasiya Alpyeyeva (Ukraine), fall 1:08
LOSS Divya Kakran (India), fall 3:18

Women’s freestyle final team standings

1. Ukraine, 162

2. Russia, 102

3. USA, 102

4. India, 100

5. Turkey, 59

6. Canada, 52

7. Italy, 50

8. France, 47

9. Romania, 46

10. (tie) Poland and Belarus, 43

12. Ecuador, 35

13. Kazakhstan, 34

14. Kyrgyzstan, 27

15. Mongolia, 25

16. (tie) Colombia, Latvia, Moldova, 20

19. Hungary, 19

20. Chinese Taipei, 16