USA Wrestling Gray, Maroulis power...

Gray, Maroulis power into gold-medal finals at World Championships

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Sept. 10, 2015, 7 p.m. (ET)

Adeline Gray celebrates after advancing to the finals of the World Championships on Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas. John Sachs photo.

LAS VEGAS – Two American wrestlers turned in near-flawless performances to storm into the gold-medal finals at the World Championships.

Adeline Gray will seek her third World title and Helen Maroulis her first in women’s freestyle wrestling on Thursday night at the Orleans Arena.

The top-ranked Gray will face 2014 World bronze medalist Qian Zhou of China in the finals at 75 kg/165 lbs. Gray staged a huge rally to beat Zhou in the first round of the 2014 Worlds. The top-ranked Maroulis will battle fourth-ranked Irina Ologonova of Russia in the finals at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Gray won World titles in 2012 and 2014, and has clinched her fifth career World medal. Maroulis will compete in her second World final after earning her third career World medal. Maroulis was second in the 2012 Worlds.

The medal matches are set for 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday. Matches will be shown on a live webcast on the United World Wrestling website.

Gray opened with a quick 10-0 technical fall over Mongolia’s Naranchimeg Gelegjamts at 75 kg/165 lbs.

Gray used a first-period takedown and turn en route to blanking No. 4 Vasilisa Marzaliuk of Belarus 6-0 in the second round. She followed by overpowering Junior World bronze medalist Daria Osocka of Poland 10-0 in the quarterfinals.

Gray came on strong late in the match to down Brazil’s Aline da Silva 10-2 in the semifinals. Gray beat da Silva in the 2014 World finals.

"This should've been the finals last year," Gray said of facing Zhou in the finals. "I'm excited that we get our due time because last year, this was a first-round match. I knew we were the best two girls in the World, so I'm excited to get out there and prove that I deserve to be here."

Maroulis powered to a 10-0 technical fall over Mexico’s Brenda Fernandez Salazar in the first round at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Maroulis came back to build a big lead before pinning third-ranked Evelina Nikolova of Bulgaria in the quarterfinals. Maroulis then downed China’s Qianyu Pang 5-0 in the semifinals.

"I'm just going to wrestle hard," Maroulis said of her upcoming finals bout. "I'm just putting the stuff that Coach Valentin (Kalika) taught me to practice, and it's making a huge difference. I have so much confidence with him, my coaches and the team. When he's in my corner and I see him, I think about all the hard work we've put in and I know I'm ready. It's a huge confidence booster."

Four-time World Team member and second-ranked Brent Metcalf opened with a convincing 11-0 technical fall over Hungary’s Norbert Lukacs at 65 kg/143 lbs.

Metcalf then gutted out a wild 5-3 win over China’s Katal Yeerlanbieke in the second round. Yeerlanbieke slipped behind Metcalf in the closing seconds, but could not finish for a takedown.

Metcalf then dropped a 5-4 decision to World silver medalist and top-ranked Sayed Mohammad of Iran in the third round. Metcalf scored a takedown to draw within 3-2, but Mohammadi came right back on a re-shot to lead 5-2. Metcalf scored a late takedown, but was unable to gain a turn as time ran out.

Metcalf was eliminated when Mohammadi was headlocked and pinned by Italy’s Frank Chamizo in the semifinals. Chamizo is a past World medalist for Cuba.

"I lost to a good opponent and you have to put that on me to get better and figure it out," Metcalf said. "It's one of those things where you've got the best guys in the World. The very best of the best, and they're stacking up against each other. If you want to be at the top of the heap, you have to be the best guy, and I wasn't today."

Three-time World Team member Alli Ragan rallied for a 4-2 win over Mongolia’s Shoovdor Baatarjav in the first round at 58 kg/128 lbs.

Ragan then fell 5-0 to two-time Olympic medalist Jackeline Renteria of Colombia in the second round. Ragan was eliminated when Renteria failed to reach the finals.

First-time World Team member Erin Clodgo staged a late rally before falling 11-6 to Cuba’s Katerina Vidiaux in the first round at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Clodgo was eliminated when Vidaux failed to reach the finals.

Day 5 of the six-day event is set for Friday in Las Vegas. American women’s wrestler Leigh Jaynes-Provisor is set to compete along with men’s freestyle wrestlers Reece Humphrey, Jake Herbert and Kyle Snyder.

Herbert is an Olympian and past World silver medalist. Snyder won a Junior World title in 2013. Jaynes-Provisor and Humphrey will compete in their third World Championships.

2015 World Championships
Sept. 7-12
Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Finals matchups

Women’s freestyle

55 kg/121 lbs.
Helen Maroulis (USA) vs. Irina Ologonova (Russia)

58 kg/128 lbs.
Kaori Icho (Japan) vs. Petra Olli (Finland)

63 kg/138.75
Risako Kawai (Japan) vs. Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia)

75 kg/165 lbs.
Adeline Gray (USA) vs. Qian Zhou (China)

Men’s freestyle

65 kg/143 lbs.
Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan) vs. Frank Chamizo (Italy)

U.S. performances

Women’s freestyle

55 kg/121 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Brenda Fernandez Salazar (Mexico), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Evelina Nikolova (Bulgaria), 3:33
WIN Qianyu Pang (China), 5-0
vs. Irina Ologonova (Russia) in gold-medal match

58 kg/128 lbs. – Alli Ragan, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
WIN Shoovdor Baatarjav (Mongolia), 4-2
LOSS Jackeline Renteria (Colombia), 0-5

63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Katerina Vidiaux (Cuba), 6-11

75 kg/165 lbs. – Adeline Gray, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
WIN Naranchimeg Gelegjamts (Mongolia), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus), 6-0
WIN Daria Osocka (Poland), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Aline da Silva (Brazil), 10-2
vs. Qian Zhou (China) in gold-medal match

Men’s freestyle

65 kg/143 lbs. – Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC)
WIN Norbert Lukacs (Hungary), 11-0
WIN Katal Yeerlanbieke (China), 5-3
LOSS Sayed Mohammadi (Iran), 4-5