USA Wrestling Nelson grabs bronze ...

Nelson grabs bronze at Junior World Championships in women's freestyle

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | Sept. 02, 2016, 2:23 p.m. (ET)

 Maya Nelson poses on the medal stand with her Junior World
bronze medal. Photo: Justin Hoch,
VIDEO: Junior World Championships Interviews

MACON, France – The women’s freestyle competition at the 2016 Junior World Championships came to a close on Friday evening in France with Maya Nelson capturing the third bronze medal of the week for the U.S. women.

Nelson won a thrilling 9-4 bout over 2015 Junior World bronze medalist Maria Kuznetzova of Russia to grab bronze at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. in her first Junior World Championships. Trailing 2-1 in the second period, Nelson executed a picture-perfect, four-point hip toss to take a commanding lead. She iced the match with two more takedowns to win by a final 9-4 margin.

“It’s really good, especially because this is my first World Team ever, so I’m really excited to medal on the World stage,” Nelson expressed after winning the bronze. “I have a winner’s heart, so I really wanted that gold, but my coach was just telling me this is stepping stones, and not a lot of people get to be in this position. I’m going to come back, and I’m going to win it.”

Nelson posted a 2-1 record in the morning session on Friday. She was dominant in wins over 2016 Junior Asian bronze medalist Zarina Dauletkeldi of Kazakhstan and 2016 Yasar Dogu bronze medalist Asli Tugcu of Turkey. Her lone loss came in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Ayana Gempei of Japan, 8-3.

“Maya, her as an individual, you don’t find a tougher kid, one that’s willing to work, do anything you ask of them. She is so coachable and she comes into the room everyday excited with passion and wants to get better,” said U.S. women’s freestyle coach Erin Vandiver.

The talented American prospect will compete collegiately as a sophomore for the University of the Cumberlands when she returns to the U.S.

Also garnering a top-10 finish today for the U.S. was Rachel Watters who placed 9th at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. with a 1-1 record. Waters will begin her college career at Oklahoma City University in the fall.

2015 Cadet World champion Ronna Heaton opened with a gritty 8-4 win over 2013 Cadet World silver medalist Laura Charashvili of Belarus at 55 kg/121 lbs. In the quarterfinals, Heaton fell victim to a leg lace against Asian champion Tinglin Pan of China to lose 10-0.

At 48 kg/105.5 lbs. young American McKayla Campbell lost a tough 6-4 bout to 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist Marina Zakshevskaya of Kazakhstan. Campbell finished in fifth place at the Cadet World Championships last year.

Overall, the U.S. won three bronze medals at the Junior Worlds in women’s freestyle to go along with two bronze medals earned in Greco-Roman. Kayla Miracle and Alexis Porter won bronze for the U.S. women on Thursday.

“We put a lot of time into trying to get attention to our National Team, and we’ve built a development program with camps, and get around them as much as we can, and these are the girls that have bought in. It’s just seeing all the pieces come together now. All the hard work is paying off,” said Vandiver.

Japan swept the gold medals on Friday with Miho Igarashi, Mayu Mukaida, Ayana Gempei and Masako Furuichi taking top prize. The women’s powerhouse won a total of six gold medals over the course of the tournament to win the team title by eight points over second place China. Ukraine rounded out the top three women’s freestyle teams at this year’s Junior Worlds.

The men’s freestyle competition will begin tomorrow in France at 4 a.m. (ET) with the qualification rounds and repechage followed by the medal matches at 12 p.m. (ET). Wrestling for the U.S. will be Spencer Lee at 50 kg, Seth Gross at 60 kg, Mark Hall at 74 kg and Kollin Moore at 96 kg.

Flowrestling is providing a live stream of the Junior World Championships at Viewers must purchase a FloPro membership to watch the competition live. 

For complete brackets and match-by-match results visit

Aug. 30 – Sept. 4 in Macon, France

Team Standings
1. Japan 62
2. China 54
3. Ukraine 46
4. Russia 43
5. Kazakhstan 35
6. United States 32
7. Canada 26
8. Belarus 25
9. India 18
10. Germany 17

Final Results
48 kg/105.5 lbs.

Gold – Miho Igarashi (Japan)
Silver – Nadezhda Sokolova (Russia)
Bronze – Miglena Selishka (Bulgaria)
Bronze – Jade Dufour (Canada)
5th – Ya Xie (China)
5th – Evelin Sosa (Argentina)
7th – Tatsiana Yafremenka (Belarus)
8th – Marina Zakshevskaya (Kazakhstan)
9th – Kheira Yahiaoui (Algeria)
10th – Mariana Kolos (Ukraine)

Gold – Miho Igarashi (Japan) dec. Nadezhda Sokolova (Russia), 12-0
Bronze – Miglena Selishka (Bulgaria) dec. Ya Xie (China), 4-2
Bronze – Jade Dufour (Canada) fall Evelin Sosa (Argentina)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Mayu Mukaida (Japan)
Silver – Marina Sedneva (Kazakhstan)
Bronze – Ramona Galambos (Hungary)
Bronze – Olena Kremzer (Ukraine)
5th – Debora Lawnitzak (Germany)
5th – Tinglin Pan (China)
7th – Anastasia Nichita (Moldova)
8th – Elif Yanik (Turkey)
9th – Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria)
10th – Jenna Sihtola (Finland)

Gold – Mayu Mukaida (Japan) tech. fall Marina Sedneva (Kazakhstan), 11-0
Bronze – Ramona Galambos (Hungary) tech. fall Debora Lawnitzak (Germany), 12-0
Bronze – Olena Kremzer (Ukraine) tech. fall Tinglin Pan (China), 10-0

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Gold – Ayana Gempei (Japan)
Silver – Nade Dragunova (Belarus)
Bronze – Hongli Yan (China)
Bronze – Maya Nelson (United States)
5th – Devi Pooja (India)
5th – Maria Kuznetzova (Russia)
7th – Kathrin Mathis (Austria)
8th – Solomiya Volska (Ukraine)
9th – Asli Tugcu (Turkey)
10th – Khalbazar Narbeva (Uzbekistan)

Gold – Ayana Gempei (Japan) tech. fall Nade Dragunova (Belarus), 10-0
Bronze – Hongli Yan (China) tech. fall Devi Pooja (India), 13-0
Bronze – Maya Nelson (United States) dec. Maria Kuznetzova (Russia), 9-4

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Gold – Masako Furuichi (Japan)
Silver – Daria Shisterova (Russia)
Bronze – Chuchu Yan (China)
Bronze – Yauheniya Andreichykava (Belarus)
5th – Anastasiia Shustova (Ukraine)
5th – Gracelynn Doogan (Canada)
7th – Francy Raedelt (Germany)
8th – Natalia Strzalka (Poland)
9th – Rachel Watters (United States)
10th – Aysegui Ozbege (Turkey)

Gold – Masako Furuichi (Japan) tech. fall Daria Shisterova (Russia), 10-0
Bronze – Chuchu Yan (China) tech. fall Anastasiia Shustova (Ukraine), 10-0
Bronze – Yauheniya Andreichykava (Belarus) dec. Gracelynn Doogan (Canada), 10-2

U.S. women’s freestyle results
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – McKayla Campbell, Wauseon, Ohio (Ohio National Team), 14th
LOSS Marina Zakshevskaya (Kazakhstan), 6-4

55 kg/121 lbs. – Ronna Heaton, Brookings, S.D. (Sunkist Kids), 11th
WIN Laura Charashvili (Belarus), 8-4
LOSS Tinglin Pan (China), 10-0

63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Maya Nelson, Denver, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), Bronze
WIN Zarina Dauletkeldi (Kazakhstan), 10-0
LOSS Ayana Gempei (Japan), 8-3
WIN Asli Tugcu (Turkey), 11-3
WIN Maria Kuznetzova (Russia), 9-4

72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Rachel Watters, Ankeny, Iowa (Gator OKCU RTC), 9th
WIN Pauline Lecarpentier (France), 5-0
LOSS Yauheniya Andreichykava (Belarus), 10-0