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Munaretto, Lilledahl, Sealey go for gold, McEnelly for bronze at the U17 World Championships

by Ellen Paddock, USA Wrestling

Domenic Munaretto at the U17 World Championships. Photo by United World Wrestling / Martin Gabor

ROME, ItalyU.S. men’s freestyle has three athletes wrestling for gold and one eyeing bronze after another successful day at the U17 World Championships in Rome. Medal rounds start at noon U.S. ET on Sunday.

Domenic Munaretto got things started with an 8-2 decision over 2022 U17 Asian silver medalist Amirmohammad Navazi from Iran in the 45 kg semifinals.

The 2022 U17 Pan American champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman will take on Bashir Verdiyev of Azerbaijan for gold on Sunday. Verdiyev does not currently have international credentials but earned one technical fall and two wins by decision so far in Rome. Munaretto swept his first two opponents 10-0, one of them a 2022 U17 European bronze medalist. 

Returning silver medalist Luke Lilledahl defeated Nurdanat Aitanov of Kazakhstan 4-1 to advance to the 51 kg finals. Aitanov owns a gold medal from the 2022 U17 Asian championships and a bronze from 2021 U17 Worlds. 

Lilledahl meets 2021 Asian silver medalist Mohammad Asadi of Iran tomorrow in the finals. Asadi teched his way to the gold medal match and Lilledahl teched his way to the semifinals.

Joseph Sealey has been on a tear in Rome, winning all four matches by technical superiority at 71 kg. Sealey goes head-to-head with Raul Caso of Italy for gold. Caso placed fifth at the U17 World Championships in 2021 and owns a gold medal from the 2022 U17 European Championships.

Max McEnelly, wrestling at 92 kg, rounds out the list of Americans in the running for a medal. McEnelly dropped his semifinal match to Kamil Kuruglyev of Kazahstan by technical fall. He will wrestle the winner of 2022 U17 European champion Ibrahim Benekli of Turkey and Sahil Jaglan from India, who placed fifth at the 2022 U17 Asian Championships, for bronze.

McEnelly, a 2021 USMC U16 National champion, teched his first two opponentsSherzod Poyonov of Uzbekistan and Andriyan Valkanov of Bulgaria. Poyonov owns a bronze medal from the 2022 U17 Asian Championships.

2021 USMC U.S. National champion, Kyler Larkin (60 kg), was eliminated when Taiga Ogino of Japan, who defeated him 2-1 earlier today, did not advance to the finals. 

The final session of the U17 World Championships starts tomorrow at noon U.S. ET, featuring four Americans. Watch live on FloWrestling and follow along with live updates @USAWrestling on Twitter.

U17 World Championships

Rome, Italy | July 25-31


U.S. men’s freestyle results


45 kg: Domenic Munaretto (Barrington, Ill./Toss Em Up Wrestling Academy) – gold medal match

WIN Ningappa Genannavar (India), 10-0

WIN Arman Harutyunyan (Armenia), 10-0

WIN Amirmohammad Navazi (Iran), 8-2

vs. Bashir Verdiyev (Azerbaijan), no international credentials


51kg: Luke Lilledahl (St. Charles, Mo./Xtreme Training) – gold medal match

WIN Ben Tarik (Morocco), 12-1

WIN Dimitar Biserkov (Bulgaria), 10-0

WIN Nurdanat Aitanov (Kazakhstan), 4-1

vs. Mohammad Asadi (Iran), 2022 U17 Asian silver medalist


60 kg: Kyler Larkin (Gilbert, Ariz./Thorobred Wrestling Club) – eliminated

WIN Vladimir Azaryan (Armenia), 5-2

LOSS Taiga Ogino (Japan), 2-1


71 kg: Joseph Sealey (High Point, N.C./Darkhorse Wrestling) – gold medal match

WIN Bleonit Bytyci (Kosovo),10-0

WIN Alisher Zholdasbay (Kazakhstan), 12-1

WIN Aslan Ozturk (Turkey), 10-0

WIN Razmik Yepremyan (Armenia),11-0

vs. Raul Caso (Italy), bronze at 2022 U20 Europeans, silver at 2022 U17 Europeans, fifth at 2021 U17 Worlds


92 kg: Max McEnelly (Waconia, Minn./Waconia Wrestling Club) – bronze medal match

WIN Sherzod Poyonov (Uzbekistan), 11-1

WIN Andriyan Valkanov (Bulgaria), 11-0 

LOSS Kamil Kuruglyev (Kazahstan), 12-2

vs. Ibrahim Benekli (Turkey), 2022 U17 European champion, eighth at 2021 U20 Worlds

-OR- Sahil Jaglan (India), fifth at 2022 U17 Asian Championships


Schedule (local time, six hours ahead of U.S. ET)


Sunday, July 31

4:30 p.m. – Repechage (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg)

6 p.m. – Finals (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg