Star-Studded USA women’s team aim for tag team title in Oslo
I feel like just yesterday I wrote that the United States was sending their best women’s freestyle team to the Olympics in our Olympic preview, and it’s like yesterday that the Americans came back from Tokyo with four Olympic medals.
Well I’ll say it again, but this time Team USA is heading to Oslo, Norway for the 2021 UWW World Championships which start this weekend and take place the following week, October 2-10. With the six Olympic weights now falling to 10 for the UWW World Championships, the US women’s program sends a group to compete for the tag team title.
The four Olympic medalists each accepted their invitations to Oslo, led by Olympic champion Tamrya Mensah Stock at 68 kg, Olympic silver medalist and five-time world champion Adeline Gray, and two-time Olympic medalist and two-time UWW world champion Helen Maroulis, who won Olympic gold in 2016. Olympic bronze medalist in the 50kg, Sarah Hildebrandt, is also part of the team, a competitor who also won a silver medal at the world championships in 2018.
“Less than four weeks ago we were at the Olympics,” US women’s head coach Terry Steiner recently told Kyle Klingman and Andy Hamilton of FloWrestling earlier this month. “And now we’re already four weeks away from the World Championships. We will have to dig a little. It is not easy to come back from it. They haven’t had enough downtime and now we’re already trying to rebuild. So they’re going to need a little more motivation and a little more motivation behind them to climb to the top. I would like to think that we are going to handle this short period of rest better than the rest of the world.
The American women will face a powerful Japanese team who have proven themselves to be the best in the world over the past three decades. The last time the U.S. women’s team won a tag team world title was in 1999.
“I really think there will come a time when the United States will be on top of the world in women’s wrestling, and I think it’s as soon as possible,” Steiner said. “But make no mistake, Japan is here right now. And I think we’re closing this gap, but I’ll give [Japan] credit until we make that move.
Although there is no official team race at the Olympics, the Japanese team won the unofficial title with 120 points over second place USA at 85 points, while China finished third with 69 points. At the last UWW World Championships in 2019 (2020 was canceled due to the pandemic), the final ranking was as follows: 1. Japan, 2. Russia, 3. United States, 4. China, 5. Ukraine.
Japan has dominated the lighter weights in recent years, although American women have had the upper hand over some of the heavier weights and have been more competitive at the higher weights overall.
At 68kg, Mensah Stock won the world title in 2019 and followed it up with his gold medal in Tokyo, where the American fan darling faced Nigerian hammer Oborududu of Nigeria in the Olympic final and won it 4. -1. Meanwhile, Adeline Gray, 76 kg, followed her 2019 world title with her Olympic silver, losing 7-3 to Germany’s Aline Rotter Focken, a game she could perhaps avenge in Norway next week.
At 62kg, Olympian Kayla Miracle looks to bounce back from her heartbreaking first-round outing in Tokyo, while world team veteran Forrest Molinari will compete again at 65kg, his third visit to the World Championships after finishing fifth in 2018 and 2019 at this weight. . Rounding out the top weights, 17-year-old phenomenon Kylie Welker, after beating another young Kennedy Blades star at the World Team Trials, will represent her country at 72kg.
Japan swept the four lightest weights in Tokyo with young star Yui Susaki dominating the field at 50kg, while Mayu Mukaida won gold at 53kg, and sisters Risako and Yukako Kawai both won the ‘gold at 57 kg and 62 kg, respectively. But the biggest Japanese stars stay at home from Oslo. In their place is a collection of rising stars who have won big in age groups.
Despite Japan’s dominance in the lightweight, no one will dispute that it is reasonable to have high expectations for American star Sarah Hildebrandt at 50kg. She was on the verge of qualifying for the Olympics final, the victim of a fierce comeback from China’s Sun Yanan, as Hildebrandt relinquished a 7-0 lead to eventually fall 10-7 in the semifinals, a rematch she could see in Oslo. Yunan then lost by technological fall to Susaki in the final.
Helen Maroulis lost only 2-1 to Olympic champion Risako Kawai in an activity clock battle. The 2016 Olympic champion appears to have a chance to return to the world stage in Oslo.
Everyone will be supporting Jenna Burkert, 55kg, as she returns to the World Championships for the third time, hoping to come home with her first medal. Burkert lost dramatically to Maroulis in the Olympic team trials last April, just weeks after his mother passed away, but then continued earlier this month with perhaps the most dramatic streak in the world. history of women’s wrestling by defeating 2019 World Champion Jacarra Winchester at the World Team Trials. Every match in the best-of-three series boiled down to a last-second score to win the match, with Burkert going out 2-1 in matches.
At 53kg, Amy Fearnside shocked the pitch making her first world team, while Maya Nelson, 59kg, 2017 junior world champion, also made her first senior world team when she beat Megan Black of the Army. / WCAP in the final of the World Team Trials. earlier this month.
The hopes and eyes of American fans will be on these women as they step into the carpets starting this weekend.
2021 Women’s World Freestyle USA Team
50 kg – Sarah Hildebrandt
53 kg – Amy Fearnside
55 kg – Jenna Burkert
57 kg – Hélène Maroulis
59 kg – Maya Nelson
62 kg – Kayla Miracle
65 kg – Forrest Molinari
68 kg – Tamyra Mensah Stock
72 kg – Kylie Welker
76 kg – Adeline Gray
The UWW World Championships will be broadcast live on FloWrestling from October 2-10.