UPDATE Bernard wins gold Plessinger takes bronze at University World Championships

By Gary Abbott | Nov. 01, 2010, 10:06 a.m. (ET)
Ali Bernard receives her gold medal at 72 kg at the 2010 University World Championships in Torino, Italy

TORINO, Italy - Ali Bernard (New Ulm, Minn./Gator WC) won a gold medal match at 72 kg/158.5 lbs at the 2010 FISU University World Championships, held at the Pala Ruffini arena on Thursday.

Bernard pinned 2006 Asian Junior champion Hiroe Suzuki of Japan in the finals. After losing the first period, 0-1, Bernard scored a fall in the second period.

Bernard won four bouts on the way to the gold. She opened with a victory over 2007 Junior World bronze medalist Oksana Vasinchuk of Ukraine, 1-2, 4-2, 4-0, then stopped 2008 European silver medalist Natalia Kuksina of Russia, 1-0, 1-0 in the quarterfinals. She earned a second-period win over Kitti Godo of Hungary in the semifinals.

Bernard, who placed fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games, has won two Junior World gold medals during her career. This is her first appearance at the University World Championships, and gives her three career age-group World titles.

"Being away from competition showed in Bernard's matches. At times, she had found herself in a tough situation, but she fought through. Her experience and a never-say-die attitude helped her get the gold medal" said USA Wrestling Assistant National Women;s Coach Izzy Izboinikov. "After she gets competition later in year and gets in a competitive mode, she will reach her full potential. It was Ali's last year at this age group and it was very nice to see the gold medal around her neck.

Bernard competed for the Univ. of Alberta and the Univ. of Regina when she was in college.

Winning a bronze-medal match at 55 kg/121 lbs. was Trinity Plessinger (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), who beat Isabelle Ladeveze of France by technical fall, 6-0, 6-0 in the medal round.

Plessinger was defeated in the semifinals by Iryna Khariv of Ukraine, 6-0, 6-0. She scored a clutch three-period quarterfinal victory over Arai Chiaki of Japan, 0-1, 6-0, 3-0.

"Plessinger competed with a lot of passion and demonstrated a variety of techniques throughout her high scoring matches" said Izboinikov. "She is a very talented and smart athlete who is going through a maturity phase in her wrestling. Some mistakes can only be eliminated through competition at the highest levels. This will be one of those experiences that will move her to the next level of her career."

Plessinger, a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete, was a member of the 2009 U.S. Junior World Team.

Two U.S. women wrestlers fell short of the medal rounds, Amberle Montgomery (Kent, Wash./Gator WC/OCU), who placed seventh at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Ashley Hudson (Wildwood, Mo./Gator WC/OCU), who finished eighth at 59 kg/130 lbs.

Montgomery opened with a victory over Simona Corbani of Italy, 1-0, 2-1, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Marina Takahashi of Japan, 4-4, 2-7, 2-3. Hudson dropped her opening match to Anna Maxsimova of Russia, 0-2, 0-1. When the opponent who beat them did not reach the gold-medal round, neither U.S. wrestler was eligible for the repechage.

The U.S. did not have an entry at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., after Alyssa Lampe (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) did not make weight.

"Overall, it was a pretty good day of competition. All of the athletes learned something about themselves and the future improvements they need to make" said Izboinikov.

The United States placed fifth in the final team standings with 43 points.

Ukraine and Canada tied in first with 51 points. Ukraine won the tiebreaker to claim the team title. Both teams had two champions, a runner-up and two bronze medalists. However, Ukraine had an athlete place fifth, while Canada had two athletes who placed eighth. Ukraine won based on the higher place finishes. Japan was third with 50 points, and Russia was fourth with 47 points.

The competition continues on Friday with four Greco-Roman weight classes contested. The U.S. athletes have weighed in and received their draws. At this time, we do not have the names of the opponents in their opening matches, only their nations.

At 55 kg/121 lbs., Max Nowry (Wheeling, Ill./New York AC) faces an athlete from Poland.

At 66 kg/145.5 lbs., Kerry Regner (Darlington, Pa./Sunkist Kids) faces an athlete from Spain.

At 84 kg/185 lbs., Talan Knox (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) will wrestle an opponent from Estonia.

At 120 kg/264.5 lbs., Jarod Trice (Mount Pleasant, Mich./Central Michigan) drew a wrestler from Turkey.

At Torino, Italy, Oct. 28

U.S. Women's freestyle results

48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Gold - Akeo Minori (Japan)
Silver - Alina Moreva (Russia)
Bronze - Nataliya Pulkovska (Ukraine)
Bronze - Jasmine Mian (Canada)
5th - Surmeyya Sezer (Turkey)
5th - Lenka Matejova (Slovakia)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - Brittany Laverdure (Canada)
Silver - Iryna Khariv (Ukraine)
Bronze - Trinity Plessinger (USA)
Bronze - Hafize Sahin (Turkey)
5th - Sylwia Bilenska (Poland)
5th - Isabelle Ladeveze (France)

59 kg/130 lbs.
Gold - Ganna Vasylenko (Ukraine)
Silver - Yurika Ito (Japan)
Bronze - Jazmine Barker (Canada)
Bronze - Katarzyna Krawczyk (Poland)
5th - Lenka Martinakova (Czech Republic)
5th - Anna Maxsimova (Russia)

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Gold -Yuliya Ostapchuk (Ukraine)
Silver - Inna Trazhukova (Russia)
Bronze - Grabowska Paulina (Poland)
Bronze - Marina Takahashi (Japan)
5th - Tanya Milkova (Bulgaria)
5th - Gozal Zutova (Azerbaijan)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Gold - Ali Bernard (USA)
Silver - Hiroe Suzuki (Japan)
Bronze - Sheherazade Bentorki (France)
Bronze - Oksana Vashchuk (Ukraine)
5th - Kitti Godo (Hungary)
5th - Agnieszka Wieszczek (Poland)

U.S. Women's freestyle performances

55 kg/121 lbs. - Trinity Plessinger, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 3rd
WIN Chiaki Arai (Japan), 0-1, 6-0, 3-0
LOSS Iryna Khariv (Ukraine), 0-6, 0-6
WIN Isabelle Ladeveze (France), 6-0, 6-0

59 kg/130 lbs. - Ashley Hudson, Wildwood, Mo. (Gator WC/OCU), 8th
LOSS Anna Maxsimova (Russia), 0-2, 0-1

63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Amberle Montgomery. Kent, Wash. (Gator WC/OCU), 7th
WIN Simona Corbani (Italy), 1-0, 2-1
LOSS Marina Takahashi (Japan), 4-4, 2-7, 2-3

72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Ali Bernard, New Ulm, Minn. (Gator WC), 1st
WIN Oksana Vasinchuk (Ukraine), 1-2, 4-2, 4-0
WIN Natalia Kuksina (Russia), 1-0, 1-0
WIN Kitti Godo (Hungary), 6-0, pin
WIN Hiroe Suzuki (Japan), 0-1, pin

Women's freestyle final standings
1 Ukraine, 51
2 Canada, 51
3 Japan, 50
4 Russia, 47
5 USA, 43
6 Poland 40
7 France, 23
8 Turkey, 18
9 Bulgaria, 14
10 Mongolia, 12
11 Italy, 11
12 Azerbaijan, 6
13 Czech Republic, 6
14 Hungary, 6
15 Slovakia, 6
16 Norway, 4
17 Austria, 2
18 Great Britain, 2
19 Spain, 2
20 Belarus, 1