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U.S. men’s freestyle makes history with first U17 World Championship team title

by Ellen Paddock, USA Wrestling

ROME, Italy – U.S. men’s freestyle won a team title for the first time in history at the U17 World Championships in Rome after going 4-0 in the medal rounds on Sunday.

Team USA put the title out of reach with 190 points. Following in second was India with 126 and Azerbaijan with 122. 

Domenic Munaretto closed out a nearly perfect tournament by earning the 45 kg World title. He scored a takedown in the first period and held on to the lead to win 2-0 over Bashir Verdiyev of Azerbaijan for gold.

The U17 Pan American champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman was on a mission in Rome. He only needed 40 seconds to tech Ningappa Genannavar of India in the round of 16 and swept U17 European bronze medalist Arman Harutyunyan of Armenia 10-0 in the quarterfinals. To advance to the finals, he won a dominant 8-2 match over 2022 U17 Asian silver medalist Amirmohammad Navazi from Iran.

Returning silver medalist Luke Lilledahl made winning a gold medal look easy after stopping U17 Asian bronze medalist Mohammad Asadi of Iran 10-1 in the 51 kg final. Asadi defeated all his opponents by technical superiority until wrestling Lilledahl.

In the semifinals, Lilledahl topped U17 Asian gold medalist and 2021 U17 World bronze medalist Nurdanat Aitanov of Kazakhstan 4-1. He also defeated Ben Tarik of Morocco 12-1 and ended his match with Dimitar Biserkov of Bulgaria in the first period by technical fall. 

Joseph Sealey secured Team USA’s third gold medal of the night with a 12-0 sweep over Raul Caso of Italy. Sealey breezed to a 6-0 lead in the first period and wrapped things up with a four-pointer and takedown with 37 seconds remaining. Caso placed fifth at the U17 World Championships in 2021. 

Sealey had one of the most impressive performances in Rome, winning all five of his matches by technical superiority. See scores and opponents below.

Max McEnelly won bronze to close out a perfect day for the Stars and Stripes. The 2021 USMC U16 National champion topped India’s Sahil Jaglan 2-1, scoring off a challenge lost and activity clock violation. Jaglan placed ninth at U17 Worlds in 2021.

On his way to the bronze match, McEnelly had technical falls over Sherzod Poyonov of Uzbekistan and U17 bronze medalist Andriyan Valkanov of Bulgaria, before falling 12-2 to Kamil Kuruglyev of Kazakhstan in the semifinals. Kuruglyev went on to win gold.


On Saturday, the team brought home five medals. A gold from Koy Hopke at 110 kg, Silvers from Christian Castillo (48 kg), Jax Forrest (55 kg) and Tyler Kasak (65 kg), and a bronze from Zack Ryder at 80 kg. For the ten athletes who competed, nine medals were won.


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

WIN Ningappa Genannavar (India), 10-0

WIN Arman Harutyunyan (Armenia), 10-0

WIN Amirmohammad Navazi (Iran), 8-2

WIN Bashir Verdiyev (Azerbaijan), 2-0


48 kg: Christian Castillo (Glendale, Ariz./Thorobred Wrestling Club) – SILVER
WIN Ozgur Caglayan (Turkey), 10-0

WIN Arshia Haddadi (Iran), 8-6

WIN Rassoul Galbouraev (France), 12-1

LOSS Vasif Baghirov (Azerbaijan), 5-3


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

WIN Ben Tarik (Morocco), 12-1

WIN Dimitar Biserkov (Bulgaria), 10-0

WIN Nurdanat Aitanov (Kazakhstan), 4-1

WIN Mohammad Asadi (Iran), 10-1 


55 kg: Jax Forrest (Johnstown, Pa.) – SILVER
WIN Takuto Osedo (Japan), 12-2

WIN Sandro Hungerbuehler (Switzerland), 10-0

WIN Zalkarbek Tabaldiev (Kyrgyzstan), 10-6

WIN Vaibhav Patil (India), 9-7

LOSS Daryn Askerbek (Kazakhstan),11-10


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

WIN Vladimir Azaryan (Armenia), 5-2

LOSS Taiga Ogino (Japan), 2-1


65 kg: Tyler Kasak (Doylestown, Pa.) – SILVER
WIN Akobir Rahimov (Uzbekistan), 7-6

WIN Bogdan Olinyk (Ukraine), fall

WIN Ankit (India), 10-3

LOSS llyas Isayev (Azerbaijan), 5-3


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

WIN Bleonit Bytyci (Kosovo),10-0

WIN Alisher Zholdasbay (Kazakhstan), 12-1

WIN Aslan Ozturk (Turkey), 10-0

WIN Razmik Yepremyan (Armenia),11-0

WIN Raul Caso (Italy), 12-0


80 kg: Zack Ryder (Westtown, N.Y. /KD Training Center) – BRONZE
LOSS Reza Soleimanian (Iran), 10-0

WIN Slavi Stamenov (Bulgaria), 8-0

WIN Askhab Khajiyev (Kazakhstan), 10-0

WIN Muhammadamin Abduloev (Tajikistan), 8-0


92 kg: Max McEnelly (Waconia, Minn./Waconia Wrestling Club) – BRONZE

WIN Sherzod Poyonov (Uzbekistan), 11-1

WIN Andriyan Valkanov (Bulgaria), 11-0 

LOSS Kamil Kuruglyev (Kazahstan), 12-2

WIN Sahil Jaglan (India), 2-1


110 kg: Koy Hopke (Amery, Wis./Pinnacle Wrestling Club) – GOLD
WIN Ramini Gulitashvili (Georgia), 14-3

WIN Mateusz Pudlowski (Poland), 11-2

WIN Khikmatullo Kurbonov (Uzbekistan), 12-2

WIN Levan Lagvilava (France), 11-6


Men’s freestyle medals

45 kg
Gold – Domenic Munaretto (USA) 
Silver – Bashir Verdiyev (Azerbaijan) 
Bronze – Nikoloz Botchorishvili (Georgia)
Bronze – Arman Harutyunyan (Armenia)

48 kg 
Gold – Vasif Baghirov (Azerbaijan)
Silver – Christian Castillo (USA)
Bronze – Arshia Haddadi (Iran)
Bronze – Kumar Lalit (India)

51 kg
Gold – Luke Lilledahl (USA)
Silver – Mohammad Asadi (Iran)
Bronze – Elman Aghayev (Azerbaijan) 
Bronze – Ben Tarik (Morocco) 

55 kg 
Gold – Daryn Askerbek (Kazakhstan)
Silver – Jaz Forrest (USA)
Bronze – Vaibhav Patil (India)
Bronze – Husanboy Usmonov (Uzbekistan) 

60 kg
Gold – Ebrahim Elahichouran (Iran)
Silver – Bilol Sharip Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)
Bronze – Taiga Ogino (Japan)
Bronze – Nikhil Yadav Pilanagoila (India)

65 kg
Gold – Ilyas Isayev (Azerbaijan)
Silver – Tyler Kasak (USA)
Bronze – Ankit (India)
Bronze – Goga Otinashvili (Georgia)

71 kg
Gold – Joseph Sealey (USA)
Silver – Raul Caso (Italy)
Bronze – Aghanazar Novruzov (Azerbaijan) 
Bronze – Razmik Yepremyan (Armenia)

80 kg
Gold – Mor Sachin (India) 
Silver – Reza Soleimanian (Iran)
Bronze – Alexandru Bors (Moldova) 
Bronze – Zack Ryder (USA) 

92 kg
Gold – Kamil Kurugliyev (Kazakhstan) 
Silver – Musza Arsunkaev (Hungary)
Bronze – Max Mcenelly (USA)
Bronze – Erfan Malafeh (Iran)

110 kg
Gold – Koy Hopke (USA)
Silver – Levan Lagvilava (France)
Bronze – Singh Jaspooran (India)
Bronze – Khikmatullo Kurbonov (Uzbekistan) 

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