Cadet Day 3 Wrap and Day 4 Preview: Ramos grabs gold, Shilson reaches finals


The Fourth of July celebration for the United States at the Cadet World Championships included a near-perfect second session for the Americans in Zagreb, Croatia. Matthew Ramos captured a gold, Alex Facundo and A.J. Ferrari rallied back with late takedowns to bag bronzes and Emily Shilson continued her dominant path through the women’s freestyle bracket at 43 kilograms by rolling up Russia’s Viktoriia Aleksandrova 11-1 in the semifinals. The only loss for the United States in Wednesday’s second session came when Uzbekistan’s Shakhbos Komilov defeated Chance Lamer 10-2 for a bronze at 45 kilograms.



His resume includes four Fargo podium finishes, including a pair of Cadet finals appearances last summer.

His last two trips to the Illinois high school state tournament netted fifth- and third-place finishes.

Matthew Ramos has regularly put himself in the mix to win big tournaments, but he’s never won anything like this. Only a select fraternity of Americans have.

On Wednesday, Ramos became the 41st wrestler in United States history to capture a Cadet men’s freestyle World title.

“I can’t even explain it right now,” Ramos said in an interview with USA Wrestling. “It’s amazing. I wish I could’ve gotten to my offense, but I don’t even care right now. I’m just so excited right now.”

The path to gold was filled with landmines. Ramos needed a late takedown to seal a 5-3 win against Greece’s Ioanis Martidis in his first match of the tournament. He dug himself out of a five-point deficit during a 10-5 quarterfinal win against Mongolia’s Dashhtseren Purvee. He made a two-point tilt stand in a 2-2 criteria win in the semis against Iran’s Seyederfan Jafariangelyerdi and he trailed 5-2 after the break when he cranked Japan’s Kota Takahashi to his back with a bundle-arm stepover for a fall.

“He’s been scrapping all week — all week at training camp,” Cadet freestyle coach Kellen Russell said in an interview with USA Wrestling. “He’s a very unorthodox-type of wrestler and it really works to his advantage in the finals. He was getting in deep, using his funky hips and was able to get that bundle and stepover. I think he got it on that guy four times and the last time he sealed the deal. But he kept wrestling through every position and not giving up easy points.”

The United States topped off the day with two dramatic wins in bronze medal bouts.

Alex Facundo trailed by five with less than a minute remaining, but rallied back to beat Russia’s

Makhmud Magomedov 6-6 at 71 kilograms. Facundo scored four when he tossed Magomedov from a rear-standing position and then snapped the Russian down and spun around to score with 17 seconds left.

Ferrari registered a pair of wins against Asian Cadet medalists Wednesday morning and positioned himself to make the comeback to bronze at 92 kilograms when he took a 1-0 lead into the final minute against Germany’s Johannes Mayer, a European Cadet silver medalist. But Ferrari got put on the activity clock and then gave up a step-out point, forcing him to find points late. He got in on a single and finished with four seconds left to win a 3-2 decision.

The United States concluded the men’s freestyle tournament with six medals — one gold (Ramos), two silvers (Richard Figueroa II and Greg Kerkvliet) and three bronzes (Facundo, Ferrari and Abe Assad) — and finished second to Iran in the team race with 132 points. The Iranians took home three golds, a silver and three bronzes and accumulated 152 points. Russia was third with 116.

Shilson cruised into the Cadet World finals for the second straight year with a dominant run through her side of the bracket. She scored a pin and a technical superiority win Wednesday morning and rolled up Russia’s Viktoriia Aleksandrova 11-1 in the semifinals. She’ll face Azerbaijan’s Shahana Nazarova on Thursday for the 43-kilogram gold. Nazarova won Cadet gold last year at 38 kilograms.

The only other American who survived the tournament’s first day of women’s freestyle action was Tiare Ikei, who got pulled back into the repechage at 49 kilograms, thanks to a semifinal win by Russia’s Polina Lukina.

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