PARIS, France – Alli Ragan (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) won a silver medal at 60 kg/132 lbs. for the second straight year and the United States placed in a tie for second in the team race on the final day of women’s freestyle at the World Championships on Thursday.
Ragan was beaten in the finals by 2016 Olympic gold medalist Risako Kawai of Japan in the gold-medal finals, 13-0. Kawai won her Olympic title at 63 kg/138.75 lbs., but has dropped down in weight this season. Kawai led 4-0 at the break with two takedowns and was able to get three more second-period takedowns, including a four-pointer to end the match.
Ragan was competing in her fifth World Championships and won her other silver medal in December 2016 in Budapest, Hungary.
Ragan got on a strong run to win three bouts to reach the finals in the morning session. She opened with a 10-0 technical fall against Gabriella Sleisz of Hungary, then beat Luisa Niemesch of Germany 4-0 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, trailing 3-2, she hit a headlock and pinned 2014 World bronze medalist Anastasija Grigorjeva of Latvia in 4:43.
Ragan is competing in her fifth World Championships, winning her silver medal in December 2016 in Budapest, Hungary.
At 48 kg/105.5 lbs., Victoria Anthony (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) was defeated in the bronze-medal match by 2017 Asian silver medalist Son-hyang Kim of North Korea, by an 11-1 technical fall. Kim, also a 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion, led 3-0 at the break after a takedown and a point on a step-out. In the second period, Kim was able to twice score a takedown followed by a turn for four points each, to reach a 10 point lead.
Anthony has now placed fifth at the Senior World Championships twice, also taking fifth at the 2013 World Championships competing up at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.
In the morning session, Anthony opened with a 28-second 10-0 technical fall over Korea’s Miran Cheon, then pinned Vinesh of India in 5:09. In the quarterfinals, Anthony dropped an 11-0 technical fall to three-time Cadet World champion Yui Susaki. When Susaki reached the finals, Anthony had a repechage match, pinning Julie Sabatie of France in 4:23.
“We started out strong today but the wheels came off a little bit. They competed hard. We are not quite there yet. We have some things to work on and it showed. We still have a lot of things to work on,” said National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner.
Japan won the team title with 60 points, with the United States and Belarus tied in second with 38 points. The USA and Belarus had the same exact placements, which resulted in the second place award being shared by the nations.
The last time the United States placed second as a team was in 2003 when the USA tied Japan at the World Championships in Madison Square Garden in New York City, but Japan won the tiebreaker with the most individual champions.
“It is always important to get a team trophy. It is important to maintain where we have been and to move forward. We have a good group of athletes. We need a little more grit. We have to find that. We have to train that. We have work to do, but we are not starting from scratch. This is a good group of athletes right here. We just have to get better at what we do,” said Steiner.
All four of the U.S. wrestlers competing on Thursday placed in the top 10 and scored valuable team points for the United States.
2016 Olympian Haley Augello (Lockport, Ill./New York AC) placed eighth at 53 kg/116.5 lbs. with a 2-1 record. Augello opened with an 11-0 technical fall over Thi Hang Vu of Vietnam, then beat Lannaun Luo of China, 3-0. In the quarterfinals, she lost to Roksana Zasina of Poland, 6-2. Zasina
2016 Olympic Trials champion Tamyra Mensah (Katy, Texas/Titan Mercury WC) at 69 kg/152 lbs. finished in eighth place, going 1-1. In her first match, Mensah beat 2015 Junior World bronze medalist Alla Belinska of Ukraine in a 12-2 technical fall. She lost a tight 5-2 decision to 016 Junior World silver medalist Yue Han of China in the quarterfinals. Hue was beaten in the closing seconds in the semifinals, which eliminated Mensah from the repechage rounds.
The United States won three medals in women’s wrestling in Paris, as Helen Maroulis (New York, N.Y./Sunkist Kids) won a gold at 58 kg/128 lbs. and Becka Leathers (Choctaw, Okla./Titan Mercury WC) got a bronze at 55 kg/121 lbs. on Wednesday.
In the other three finals, Japan won two more gold medals while Belarus won its first title of the event.
2016 Olympic champion Sara Dosho of Japan added her first World gold medal with a 3-0 victory in the finals over 2014 World champion Aline Focken of Germany. It was a rematch of the 2014 World finals, won by Focken, 5-4. Dosho now has four World medals, with a silver in 2014 and bronzes in 2013 and 2015. It was Focken’s third Senior World medal.
At 48 kg/105.5 lbs., three-time Cadet World champion Yui Susaki of Japan won her first Senior World title at the age of 18, defeating Emilia Vuc of Romania, 14-4 by technical fall. Vuc, a 2016 European silver medalist, actually was ahead 4-2 at the start of the match, but Susaki ran off 12 straight points for the win.
2012 World champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus took 2016 World champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan to her back for four points to claim a stunning 8-6 win. Mukaida led at the break, 6-1, but Kaladzinskaya scored three points to close it to 6-4, then hit the match winner before time ran out.
UWW named its 2016 Women’s Best Woman Wrestlers, awarded to Yang Sun of China, who received a $10,000 prize.
The men’s freestyle competition begins on Friday and concludes on Saturday. All of the action can be seen live on Trackwrestling by U.S. fans.