Cadet Thursday morning recap: USA sends four to the semis, Ikei to wrestle for bronze

The United States secured one medal on the first day of women’s freestyle competition at the Cadet World Championships when Emily Shilson reached the finals for the second straight year.

The Americans will have an opportunity to bring home five more over the course of the next two days after a big performance in Thursday’s morning session in Zagreb, Croatia.

The U.S. went 8-1 in matches, four Americans advanced to Thursday’s semifinal round and assured themselves of matches in Friday’s medal round and Tiare Ikei won her repechage match to set up a bronze medal bout.

Sterling Dias, Olivia Shore, Leilah Castro and Macey Kilty advanced to the semifinals, which are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Dias downed Mongolia’s Buman Ayush Enkhbold 6-2 in the quarterfinals at 40 kilograms.

Shore pinned Turkey’s Seyma Kizmaz in her first bout of the tournament and then rallied back from a four-point deficit in the quarterfinals to beat Russia’s Nadezhda Matveeva 4-4 at 46 kilograms.

Castro notched a pair of 10-0 technical superiority wins before downing Russia’s Tatiana Kabanova 4-2 in the quarterfinals at 53 kilograms.

Macey Kilty opened her tournament by pinning India’s Sonika Hooda before rolling up Ukraine’s Anastasiya Alpyeyeva 12-1 in the quarters at 69 kilograms.

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U.S. women put four into Cadet World semifinals

ZAGREB, Croatia – An energetic session from the U.S. women’s freestyle Cadet World Team pushed four of its five competitors into Thursday night’s semifinals at the 2018 Cadet World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia.

Earning spots in the semifinals was Sterling Dias at 40 kg, two-time World Team member Olivia Shore at 46 kg, Leilah Castro at 53 kg and 2016 Cadet World bronze medalist Macey Kilty at 69 kg.

At  40 kg, Dias advanced to the semifinals after a decisive 6-2 win over Buman Enkhbold of Mongolia, who took eighth at last year’s Cadet World Championships. All eight of the bouts points came in the first period with Dias taking the lead on a takedown and gut wrench for the eventual win.

In the semifinals, the Nevada native will face 2017 Cadet World bronze medalist Luchana Bekbaulova of Russia.

Shore pulled out two late wins to land a spot in the semifinals at 46 kg in her second trip to the World stage.

In her first bout, Shore battled Seyma Kizmaz of Turkey. The American trailed 2-1 in the last 20 seconds, when she hit an inside trip to pin the Turk in 3:43.

The Ohioan moved on to the semis with another come-from-behind win, this time taking out Nadezhda Matveeva of Russia. Down 4-2 in the second period, Shore scored on a go-behind takedown to clinch a 4-4 win on criteria.

Tonight, Shore will take on 2018 Cadet Asian bronze medalist Otgonjarga Dolgorjav of Mongolia.

In her opening match at 53 kg, Castro was dominant collecting eight quick points before pinning her opponent AizhanSabyrbek Kyzy of Kyrgyzstan in 1:15. To move onto the quarters, the Ohio native breezed past two-time Nordic champion Othelie Hoeie of Norway with a second-period, 10-0 tech fall.

Castro pulled out a close win against 2018 Schoolboy/girl European champion Tatiana Kabanova of Russia in the quarterfinals. Trailing 2-0 with less than a minute left, Castro picked up a takedown to take the lead on criteria. She put an exclamation on the win with a crotch lift in the closing seconds for a 4-2 win and a spot in the semifinals.

In tonight’s semis, Castro will face Meenakshi Meenakshi of India, who was fourth at the 2018 Cadet Asian Championships.

To begin her second Cadet World tournament at 69 kg, Kilty took on 2016 Cadet Asian bronze medalist Sonika Hooda of India. A slow start, Kilty led 2-1 at the break but brought her offense hard in the second period, with two takedowns and eventually putting the Indian to her back for a fall in 3:00.

Kilty stayed dominant in her quarterfinal match, rolling to a 12-1 technical fall against 2018 Cadet European bronze medalist Anastasia Alpyeva of Ukraine. Kilty put up four takedowns en route to the match.

In the 69 kg semis, Kilty will go head-to-head with 2018 Cadet Asian champion and 2017 Cadet Asian bronze winner Mengwei Zhang of China.

At 61 kg, Morgan Norris wrapped up her 2018 Cadet World Championships after falling to Alina Antipova of Latvia in the first round. Antipova lost to Riko Takayama of Japan in the next round, ending Norris’ tournament.

The semifinals begin Thursday at 5: 30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET), followed by medal matches for the first five women’s weights at 6 p.m. (12 p.m. ET) live on

at Zagreb, Croatia, July 2-8

Women’s freestyle results

40 kg/88 lbs. – Sterling Dias, Las Vegas, Nev. (Slam WC)
WIN Buman Enkhbold (Mongolia), 6-1
vs. Luchana Bekbaulova (Russia)

46 kg/101 lbs. – Olivia Shore, St. Paris, Ohio (Shore Sports Club)
WIN Seyma Kizmaz (Turkey), fall 3:43
WIN Nadezhda Matveeva (Russia), 4-4
vs. Otgonjarga Dolgorjav (Mongolia)

53 kg/117 lbs. – Leilah Castro, New Lexington, Ohio (Shore Sports Club)
WIN Aizhan Sabyrbek Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan), fall 1:15
WIN Othelie Hoeie (Norway), 10-0
WIN Tatiana Kabanova (Russia), 4-2
vs. Meenakshi Meenakshi (India)

61 kg/134 lbs. – Morgan Norris, Sparks, Nev. (AGA Wolfpack WC)
LOSS Alina Antipova (Latvia), fall 0:47

69 kg/152 lbs. – Macey Kilty, Stratford, Wisc. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Sonika Hooda (India), fall 3:00
WIN Anastasia Alpyeva (Ukraine), 12-1
vs. Mengwei Zhang (China)

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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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Cadet Wednesday morning recap: Ferrari reaches medal round, Shilson rolls into semis

Good morning and Happy Fourth of July, folks. If you’re just getting up, here’s what you missed during the early session on Day 3 of the Cadet World Championships (the full brackets are linked below):

A.J. Ferrari handled a pair of Asian Cadet medalists to reach the bronze medal bout at 92 kilograms. He’s one of four Americans who will wrestle in today’s men’s freestyle medal round, which is scheduled to begin at noon ET after the conclusion of the women’s freestyle semifinals.

Ferrari started his day with an 8-2 win against Asian Cadet silver Yunus Gafurov of Kazakhstan and followed that up with an 8-1 victory against India’s Monu Dahiya, an Asian Cadet bronze medalist. The Texas native will wrestle Germany’s Johannes Mayer for bronze.

Even with Ferrari’s performance, the United States merely held serve with Iran in the team race during Wednesday’s first session. The Iranians, who entered the day with the lead, picked up two wins from Aliakbar Fazlikhalili, who reached the 60-kilogram bronze medal bout.

The first session of women’s freestyle produced a mixed bag of United States results. Emily Shilson reached the 43-kilogram semifinals with two dominant performances, but she was the only American to get through the first session unscathed.

Shilson kicked off her tournament with a fall against Romania’s Ana Maria Gabriela Cristescu and dismantled India’s Simran Simran 10-0 in the quarterfinals. The Minnesota native’s performance resembled her early-round work last September in Greece when she collected a Cadet World silver.

Shilson mowed down everybody in here path to the finals last year before falling to Japan’s Umi Ito in the gold medal bout. Shilson won’t have to go through a Japanese opponent this time to take home gold. Azerbaijan’s Shahana Nazarova handled Japan’s Anna Ueno 9-2 in the opening round at 43 kilograms. It was the only loss of the session for Japan.

The United States experienced a bumpier ride Wednesday morning. The Americans were down one wrestler right off the bat when Cheyenne Bowman forfeited her first bout of the day. Russia’s Valeriia Trifonova downed Tristan Kelly 12-0 in the first round at 73 kilograms.

Tiare Ikei and Kiana Pugh each notched a fall before suffering defeats in the quarterfinal round. Pugh spotted Ukraine’s Oksana Chudyk an 8-0 lead before falling 9-5 at 65 kilograms.

(Photo: Cadet World silver medalist Emily Shilson scored a fall and a technical superiority win in her two bouts Wednesday morning/Richard Immel)

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Cadet Day 2 Wrap and Day 3 Preview: USA claims two silvers and a bronze; Ramos takes aim at gold on Wednesday and women’s freestyle begins




The United States finished the day with four medals in the bag and an opportunity to increase that number to seven when men’s freestyle competition wraps up on Wednesday. Richard Figueroa II and Daniel Kerkvliet dropped decisions in the finals and claimed silver medals, Abe Assad won three matches Tuesday to grab a bronze and Matthew Ramos wrestled his way into Wednesday’s gold medal match at 51 kilograms. Americans Chance Lamer and Alex Facundo will wrestle Wednesday for bronze and A.J. Ferrari needs two wins to reach the medal round.


4:30 a.m. ET — Men’s freestyle repechage at 45, 51, 60, 71 and 92 kilograms and women’s freestyle qualification rounds at 43, 49, 57, 65 and 73 kilograms.

11:30 a.m. ET — Women’s freestyle semifinals at 43, 49, 57, 65 and 73 kilograms.

Noon ET — Men’s freestyle medal matches at 45, 51, 60, 71 and 92 kilograms.


The pendulum was bound to swing back the other way at some point. The United States had been on a men’s freestyle roll at the Cadet World Championships that defied the law of percentages.

The Americans reached the Cadet finals 18 times in the seven years since United World Wrestling reinstated the tournament. They won 16 of those 18 title bouts, including 10 of 11 during the past three years.

Greg Kerkvliet was part of that gold rush. He was one of four American gold medalists last year in Greece when he took home the title at 100 kilograms. But UWW increased the weight limit this year at heavyweight to 110 kilograms, and Kerkvliet — who will wrestle at 97 kilograms in September at the Junior World Championships — ran into a full-grown man with a beard in Tuesday’s heavyweight gold medal bout.

Iran’s Amir Hossein Abbas Zare controlled the center of the mat and stymied Kerkvliet with underhooks, driving the Minnesota native out four times for step-out points, saddling Kerkvliet with two cautions in the process, and tacking on another takedown on the edge to win a 7-4 decision.

Kerkvliet was bidding to become the fourth men’s freestyle repeat Cadet World champ in American history.

“I just got a chance to watch the video again and I don’t know if we underestimated the kid a little bit, but it looked like we underestimated him a little bit,” USA Wrestling freestyle developmental coach Kevin Jackson said in an interview with USA Wrestling. “We have to stay in that handfight. Being able to handfight, being able to defend yourself from distance — head and hands position — that’s a world-class skill, and we just didn’t stay consistent with the handfight, we didn’t stay consistent with addressing the underhook when it happened right now.”

It brought an end to a day when the United States made a charge in the team race but lost critical ground late to the Iranians.

Abe Assad battled back Tuesday with three wins to bag a bronze at 80 kilograms, but Chance Lamer and Alex Facundo dropped semifinal matches and the other American finalist, Richard Figueroa II, fell victim to a four-point takedown in the second period that gave Azerbaijan’s  Alihasan Amirli the lead on his way to a 6-1 win at 48 kilograms and his second Cadet gold.

“It was a tough day — tough session,” Jackson said. “Obviously, we thought we had some opportunities to advance to the finals. We had an opportunity to win a gold medal at 48 kilos and got caught with a four-point move. I like our guy’s effort, there’s just some areas we need to spend more time in, especially at that age group — those handfights, those underhooks, beating those positions and really being able to counter those strong tie-ups. I think we need to get better in those positions. Obviously, our guys are wrestling hard, bringing home some medals, but this was a tough, tough session tonight.”

Assad’s run through the repechage and the performance of Matthew Ramos, another Illinois native, eased some of the sting.

Ramos had to get a late takedown to seal a 5-3 win against Greece’s Ioannis Martidis in his first match of the day at 51 kilograms and rallied back from a 5-0 deficit to post a 10-5 win against Mongolia’s Dashtseren Purvee in the quarterfinals. He made a two-point exposure stand as the difference in the semifinals when he downed Iran’s Seyederfan Jafariangelyerdi 2-2.

“Man, he’s a competitor,” Jackson said of Ramos, who will face Japan’s Kota Takahashi in Wednesday’s gold medal bout. “He’s got some offensive skills I didn’t know he had and I think other people didn’t know he had. He’s been known as a defensive wrestler, but at a World Championship you have to bring your skills, you have to be able to take guys down and get your offense off, and he’s been able to do that.”

Lamer gritted through a pair of matches in Tuesday’s early session, stopping Pavel Sagdy’s go-ahead gutwrench attempt in the closing seconds and holding the Russia on his back for a fall and breaking open a tight match after the break to defeat Japan’s Shusei Yamashita 12-3 in the quarterfinals at 45 kilograms.

The Oregon native, though, ran into a buzzsaw in the semifinals. Armenia’s Rafayel Harutyunyan scored a quick takedown and locked up a gut for four turns to register his third 10-0 tech of the day, bouncing Lamer into the bronze medal bout.

Facundo led 5-2 with less than a minute left in the 71-kilogram semifinals, but India’s Baliyan Gourav scored a pair of takedowns to win a 6-5 decision.

Ferrari got pulled back into the repechage when Iran’s Alireza Abdollahi reached the 92-kilogram gold medal bout. The Texan will try to duplicate what Assad did Tuesday when he reeled off three straight victories to claim a bronze. Assad finished his run with a 7-6 victory against Azerbaijan’s Sagadulla Agaev.

“Abe battled the whole tournament,” Jackson said. “He kind of had to refocus three or four times throughout the course of this tournament. Throughout the course of matches he kind of got down on himself, but then he got it back together and he competed like a champion.

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