Leathers and Miracle to wrestle in U23 Worlds repechage

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Nov. 15, 2018, 11:13 a.m. (ET)

Photo: Becka Leathers defends a leg lace at the 2018 U23 World Championships. Photo by Andy Hamilton, Trackwrestling.

BUCHAREST, Romania – Becka Leathers and Kayla Miracle live to fight another day after being pulled back into repechage of the U23 World Championships in Bucharest, Romania, on Thursday night.

Competing at 57 kg, 2017 Senior World bronze medalist Leathers fell in her tournament opener to 2018 Junior Asian champion Akie Hanai of Japan. Hanai later advanced to the finals, giving Leathers an opportunity to pursue a medal.

In Friday's repechage, Leathers will face Aleksandra Andreeva of Russia, who is a 2018 University World bronze medalist. Should Leathers advance, she will face 2017 U23 World runner-up and 2018 Junior World runner-up Qi Zhang of China for bronze.

Three-time age-group World medalist Miracle was pulled back into repechage after U23 World silver medalist Ilona Prokopevniuk of Ukraine advanced to the finals.

Miracle began her day with a dominant 12-2 tech fall over Kathrin Mathis from Austria, before suffering an 11-1 loss to Prokopevniuk in the quarterfinals.

Tomorrow, Miracle will be back on the mat, taking on Sakhipjamal Aleuatdinova of Uzbekistan. Should Miracle advance, she will face Elena Niemesch of Germany in the bronze-medal match. Niemesch is a 2014 Junior World silver medalist and a 2012 Cadet World silver medalist.

Those eliminated from the tournament include Charlotte Fowler at 53 kg, Forrest Molinari at 65 kg and Rachel Watters at 72 kg.

Fowler dropped her first-round match to 2017 Junior World silver and 2016 Junior World bronze winner Kristina Bereza of Ukraine. Bereza was later pinned in the semifinals, ending Fowler’s first World Championships.

Molinari, who finished fifth at the Senior World Championships two weeks ago, advanced to the quarterfinals after a clutch second-period fall over Danute Domikaityte of Lithuania. In the quarters, Molinari lost to 2018 Junior World bronze medalist Iryna Koliadenko of Ukraine, 4-3. Koliadenko failed to reach the finals, falling the semis and wrapping up Molinari’s 2018 U23 World Championships.

Watters came out strong in her first bout at 72 kg, defeating Kamile Gaucaite of Lithuania with an 11-1 tech fall. In the quarters, Watters, who made her fifth World Championships appearance, was bested by two-time age-group World bronze medalist Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan.

Bakbergenova lost in the semifinals to 2018 Senior World bronze medalist Tuse Bosun of Turkey, ending Watters’ U23 World Championships.

Tomorrow’s repechage will begin at 10:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET) live on Trackwrestling.

2018 U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Bucharest, Romania, Nov. 12-18

U.S. women’s freestyle results


53 kg: Charlotte Fowler (Katy, Texas/Campbellsville)
LOSS Kristina Bereza (Ukraine), 10-0

57 kg: Becka Leathers (Choctaw, Okla./Titan Mercury WC/ Tarheel WC)
LOSS Akie Hanai (Japan), 10-2
vs. Aleksandra Andreeva (Russia)


62 kg: Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville, Ky./Sunkist Kids/Hawkeye WC)
WIN Kathrin Mathis (Austria), 12-2
LOSS
Ilona Prokopevniuk (Ukraine), 11-1
vs. Sakhipjamal Aleuatdinova (Uzbekistan)


65 kg: Forrest Molinari (Benicia, Calif./Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC)
WIN Danute Domikaityte (Lithuania), fall 5:54
LOSS Iryna Koliadenko (Ukraine), 4-3


72 kg: Rachel Watters (Ankeny, Iowa/Aries WC)
WIN Kamile Gaucaite (Lithuania), 11-1
LOSS Zhamila Bakbergenova (Kazakhstan), 6-4