USA Wrestling Hildebrandt wins sil...

Hildebrandt wins silver medal, Velte takes bronze at World Championships, USA finishes third in team race

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Oct. 25, 2018, 3:38 p.m. (ET)

Sarah Hildebrandt of the USA squares off with Haruna Okuno of Japan in the World Championships finals. Photo by Larry Slater.

BUDAPEST, Hungary – The United States closed out the final night of women’s freestyle at the World Championships in the Papp Laszlo SportsArena with a pair of medals.

Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/OTC) came home with the silver medal at 53 kg/116.5 lbs. after falling to 2017 World champion Haruna Okuno of Japan in the finals by an 11-0 technical fall.

Okuno scored a takedown in the first period to lead 2-0 at the break. In the second period, Okuno scored a counter takedown to make it 4-0. In the last minute, an Okuno takedown was followed by an ankle lace to make it 8-0. Okuno scored a final takedown on the edge with 13 seconds left. The USA coaches challenged the call, which was denied, making the final score 11-0.

“I couldn’t get my stuff going. I had a game plan and she shut it down pretty well and I couldn’t adjust. The very best in the world can adjust in the moment. She shut my game pland down. I stuck with it and didn’t make any adjustments during the match. We’ve wrestled before. We trained together. We both knew each other. She knew what I was coming for,” said Hildebrandt.

Hildebrandt came in as the No. 1 seed and won three times on Wednesday to qualify for the finals. She beat Jyldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan, 5-1 and Anzhela Dorogan of Azerbaijan, 15-9 to get started. In the semifinals, she scored a dominant 10-0 technical fall over 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Diana Weicker of Canada.

In her previous World appearance, Hildebrandt was 10th in the 2016 World Championships, which was also held in Budapest. She is a three-time Pan American champion. Originally from Granger, Ind., she won two WCWA titles at King University and is now a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.

At 62 kg/136.5 lbs. Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) won her bronze-medal match, beating 2018 World Military silver medalist. Lais Nunes de Oliveira of Brazil, 2-1.

No takedowns were scored, but Velte was the most aggressive in her attacks. In the first period, Nunes was put ont the shot clock and could not score, giving Velte a point, but Nunes was able to force a stepout, and the match was tied at 1-1 at the break. In the second period, once again, Nunes was put on the shot clock and was unable to score, giving Velte another point and the margin of victory.

“I have wrestled her in practice. I knew it was going to be a grinder. She is hard to score on. I feel like a million bucks right now. There are a lot of changes I made, but there were a lot of things that stayed the same,” said Velte.

Velte had three straight wins on Wednesday, with technical falls over Sara Dal Col of Italy, 10-0 and Gantuya Enkhbat of Mongolia, 14-4 and a big 14-6 win over two-time Olympic medalist Jackeline Renteria Castillo of Colombia, 14-6. She was pinned on a cradle in the semifinals by four-time World medalist Taybe Yusein of Bulgaria. Yusein went on to win the gold medal.

She is in her second straight Senior World Championships for Team USA. Velte was a three-time WCWA national champion for Simon Fraser and is from Sacramento, Calif.

The United States placed third in the team standings to win a team trophy. Japan was the World Team champions with 156 points, followed by China with 119 points and the USA in third with 103 points.

With the Hildebrandt and Velte medals tonight, the USA finished with four women’s medalists, with Adeline Gray winning her fourth World gold medal with a victory at 76 kg and Tamyra Mensah-Stock adding a bronze medal at 68 kg.

“When you get to this point, any loss is going to hurt. You have to look at the overall performance of the team. One of their leaders goes down and everyone stepped up. They knew they had to step up and we had a lot of great things happen. Obviously, you always want more wins and things when you look back you want to change, but it is going in the right direction,” said World Team Coach Troy Steiner.

The USA has now won team trophies both years of this Olympic quadrennium, with second place in 2017 in Paris and third place in 2018 in Budapest.

When Velte won her World bronze medal, it was the 11th medal for the United States at the Senior level this year, setting a new record for USA Wrestling. The previous record was 10 Senior medals, won by U.S. athletes in all styles in 1979, 1989 and 1991. (see related story)

At Budapest, Hungary

Women’s Freestyle medal match results

50 kg
Gold - Yui Sasaki (Japan) tech. fall Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan), 10-0
Bronze – Oksana Livach (Ukraine) dec. Ritu (India), 10-5
Bronze - Yanan Sun (China) tech. fall Sonhyang Kim (North Korea), 10-0

53 kg
Gold - Haruna Okuno (Japan) tech. fall Sarah Hildebrandt (USA), 11-0
Bronze – Diana Weicker (Canada) dec. Jyldyz Eshimova (Kazakhstan), 3-2
Bronze - Qianyu Pang (China) dec. Katarzyna Krawczyk (Poland), 2-1

57 kg
Gold - Ningning Rong (China) dec. Bilyana Dudova (Bulgaria), 3-3
Bronze – Emese Barka (Hungary) dec. Kateryna Zhydachevska (Romania), 6-0
Bronze - Pooja Dhanda (India) dec. Grace Bullen (Norway), 10-7

62 kg
Gold - Taybe Yusein (Bulgaria) dec. Yukako Kawai (Japan), 6-2
Bronze – Yuliia Tkach Ostapchuk (Ukraine) dec. Marianna Sastin (Hungary), 2-0
Bronze - Mallory Velte (USA) vs. Lais Nunes de Oliveira (Brazil), 2-1

Group Three U.S. women’s freestyle performances

50 kg/110 lbs. - Whitney Conder, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), dnp/14th
LOSS Son-Hyang Kim (North Korea), 7-2

53 kg/116.5 lbs. - Sarah Hildebrandt, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC/OTC), silver medal
WIN Jyldyz Eshimova (Kazakhstan), 5-1
WIN Anzhela Dorogan (Azerbaijan), 15-9
WIN Diana Mary Weicker (Canada), tech. fall 10-0
LOSS Haruna Okuno (Japan), tech. fall 11-0

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids/NYCRTC), dnp/21st
LOSS Alyona Kolesnik (Azerbaijan), pin 3:46

62 kg/136.5 lbs. - Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), bronze medal
WIN Sara Dal Col (Italy), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Jackeline Renteria Castillo (Colombia), 14-6
WIN Gantuya Enkhbat (Mongolia), tech. fall 14-4
LOSS Taybe Yusein (Bulgaria), pin 2:17
WIN Lais Nunes de Oliveira (Brazil), 2-1

Team Standings
1. Japan, 156
2. China, 119
3. United States, 103
4. Canada, 89
5. Mongolia, 71
6. Ukraine, 59
7. Turkey, 55
8. India, 51
9. Bulgaria, 47
10. Azerbaijan, 41