GOLDEN GIRLS! Gray, Maroulis hit jackpot by striking gold at World Championships in Las Vegas

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Sept. 11, 2015, 12:42 a.m. (ET)
Adeline Gray (right) and Helen Maroulis captured World titles for the U.S. on Thursday night in Las Vegas. Tony Rotundo photo.

LAS VEGAS – Adeline Gray and Helen Maroulis hit the jackpot.

And put on an incredible show in a city known for amazing performances.

The two American stars powered to dominating victories as both captured gold medals at the World Championships on Thursday night before a boisterous crowd of 5,000 fans at the Orleans Arena.

Gray earned her third World title, and second straight, in women’s freestyle wrestling. Maroulis won her first World championship.

The top-ranked Gray used a huge second period to power to a 13-2 technical fall over 2014 World medalist Qian Zhou of China in the finals at 75 kg/165 lbs. Gray actually gave up the match’s first takedown, but took control in the second period by turning Zhou and nearly pinning her. She then finished off the win with a series of leg laces as the crowd stood and cheered.

Gray ran around the mat holding an American flag above her head in celebration of her huge triumph.

"I don't think there's a girl out there who can beat me,” Gray said. “It's just about stepping on that mat and making sure I'm disciplined enough to get my job done that day. If I stay healthy, I think I can win.”

Gray, who also won World titles in 2012 and 2014, is now a five-time World medalist. Gray becomes just the second American woman to capture three World titles. Hall of Famer Trish Saunders won four World titles for the U.S.

“My coaches always stress that I need one takedown to win the match,” Gray said. “So yes, when I don't get that opportunity on top and it takes a little while for me to get that one takedown, I do start to get a little anxious. I know the second that opportunity comes, the match is going to be over.”

The top-ranked Maroulis put on a takedown clinic in the finals. She peppered 2014 World silver medalist Irina Ologonova of Russia with an aggressive style, scoring on an array of leg attacks en route to an 11-0 technical fall win at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Maroulis ran around the mat holding an American flag above her head in celebration of her breakthrough victory.

“The crowd was incredible,” Maroulis said. “I was excited before every match because I knew the crowd was going to be cheering. Every coach I've ever had since I was 7 years old is in the stands today. I was just so excited. I couldn't wait to walk out of the tunnel and get on the mat and just wrestle. It's just been great to have it here in Las Vegas.”

Maroulis, second in the 2012 World Championships, captured her third career World medal and third in the past four years.

“When I started to work with Coach Valentin (Kalika), he really sharpened up my defense a lot and we've been doing down-blocks, re-shots and all that stuff,” Maroulis said. “I've seen progression in my tournaments throughout the year, and that's a good sign from me. A couple of times I did get into tricky situations, but luckily with the coaching and a lot of drilling, I worked on those kinds of reactions before the tournament.”

The championships by Gray and Maroulis pushed the U.S. into fourth place in the team race with one women’s weight class to go on Friday. Japan leads with 51 points, followed by China (36), Russia (29) and the U.S. (23).

Gray opened the day with a quick 10-0 technical fall over Mongolia’s Naranchimeg Gelegjamts. She blanked No. 4 Vasilisa Marzaliuk of Belarus 6-0 in the second round.

Gray followed by overpowering Junior World bronze medalist Daria Osocka of Poland 10-0 in the quarterfinals. She 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.

Maroulis rolled to a 10-0 first-round win over Mexico’s Brenda Fernandez Salazar. Maroulis stormed out to a big lead before pinning third-ranked Evelina Nikolova of Bulgaria in the quarterfinals. Maroulis beat China’s Qianyu Pang 5-0 in the semifinals.

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.

Metcalf then dropped a 5-4 decision to World silver medalist and top-ranked Sayed Mohammad of Iran in the third round. Metcalf was eliminated when Mohammadi was pinned by Italy’s Frank Chamizo in the semifinals.

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 lost 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.

Champions also crowned on Thursday included Japan’s Kaori Icho and Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in women’s freestyle, and Italy’s Frank Chamizo in men’s freestyle.

Icho captured her 10th World title. She will seek her fourth Olympic gold medal year next year. Icho has won her last 158 matches. Soronzonbold won her second title and Chamizo won the first World freestyle title in Italy’s history.

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

Medal winners

Women’s freestyle


55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Helen Maroulis (USA)
Silver – Irina Ologonova (Russia)
Bronze – Evelina Nikolova (Bulgaria)
Bronze – Tetyana Kit (Ukraine)

58 kg/128 lbs.
Gold – Kaori Icho (Japan)
Silver – Petra Olli (Finland)
Bronze – Elif Yeslirmak (Turkey)
Bronze – Yuliya Ratkevich (Azerbaijan)

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Gold – Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia)
Silver – Risako Kawai (Japan)
Bronze – Yulia Tkach (Ukraine)
Bronze – Taybe Yusein (Bulgaria)

75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold – Adeline Gray (USA)
Silver – Qian Zhou (China)
Bronze – Mae Epp (Estonia)
Bronze – Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus)

Men’s freestyle

65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold – Frank Chamizo (Italy)
Silver – Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan)
Bronze – Soslan Ramonov (Russia)
Bronze – Sayed Mohammadi (Iran)

Finals matchups

Women’s freestyle


55 kg/121 lbs.
Helen Maroulis (USA) won by tech. fall over Irina Ologonova (Russia), 11-0

58 kg/128 lbs.
Kaori Icho (Japan) won by tech. fall over Petra Olli (Finland), 10-0

63 kg/138.75
Battsetseg Soronzonbold (Mongolia) pinned Risako Kawai (Japan), 0:36

75 kg/165 lbs.
Adeline Gray (USA) won by tech. fall over Qian Zhou (China), 13-2

Men’s freestyle

65 kg/143 lbs.
Frank Chamizo (Italy) dec. Ikhtiyor Navruzov (Uzbekistan), 4-3

U.S. performances

Women’s freestyle


55 kg/121 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Sunkist Kids) – GOLD MEDAL
WIN Brenda Fernandez Salazar (Mexico), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Evelina Nikolova (Bulgaria), 3:33
WIN Qianyu Pang (China), 5-0
WIN Irina Ologonova (Russia), tech. fall 11-0

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) – GOLD MEDAL
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
WIN Qian Zhou (China), tech. fall 13-2

Men’s freestyle

65 kg/143 lbs. – Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC) – 10th
WIN Norbert Lukacs (Hungary), 11-0
WIN Katal Yeerlanbieke (China), 5-3
LOSS Sayed Mohammadi (Iran), 4-5