By Karen Price | Oct. 25, 2018, 1:30 p.m. (ET)

Sarah Hildebrandt celebrates winning her semifinal match at World Wrestling Championships on Oct. 24, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.

 

The move from the 55 kg. to the 53 kg. weight class has been a good one for Sarah Hildebrandt this year, culminating with her reaching the gold-medal match at the senior world wrestling championships for the first time in her career.

The former Penn State standout took on 2017 world champion Haruna Okuno of Japan, who also dropped from 55 to 53 this year. While Okuno won the gold, Hildebrandt nonetheless earned her first medal ever at the world championships.

Okuno went ahead 2-0 on a takedown then another made it 4-0. She led 4-0 with one minute left then took an 8-0 lead. In the final seconds, Okuno notched a technical fall, which the U.S. challenged but lost and the final score was 11-0. 

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Hildebrandt's list of accomplishments this year includes gold medals at the Grand Prix of Spain and the Ukrainian Memorial International. As a result, the three-time Pan American champion from Granger, Indiana, was also ranked No. 1 in the class heading into this year’s world championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

She beat Kazakhstan’s veteran wrestler Zhuldyz Eshimova, 5-1, Azerbaijan’s Anzhela Dorogan, who was fifth at the 2015 world championships, 15–9, and Canada’s Diana Mary Weicker by a 10-0 technical fall to advance to the gold-medal match. 

This is the last day of competition for the women’s freestyle team race. The U.S. entered the day in third place behind Japan and Canada.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.