One day after Joel Adams (65 kg, TBW) earned World gold, Team USA was able to put another athlete on the podium thanks to a gritty, clutch performance from Cody Merrill (Daniel Cormier WC).
The medal round on Day 3 of the 2022 U17 World Championships began at 6:00pm local time from Rome, Italy and aired live in the United States on FLOWrestling.
Merrill found himself in position to medal due to his great good work on Tuesday. First, he brutalized Arsen Ruslanov (KGZ) by opening up on a body attack whilst already holding a 5-0 lead. Merrill had a clear lane, which resulted in an off-balanced Ruslanov; the American — who was going to win by VSU, anyway — simply kept Ruslanov on his back and the fall was soon recorded. Against Florin Manolache (ROU) in the quarterfinals, there was another pin. Manolache had attempted a side lift; before landing, Merrill floated the lock and wound up on top. He required an adjustment in the form of a half-nelson, but eventually Manolache was unable to escape and a second-straight fall was in the books.
In the semifinal, Germany’s Darius Kiefer cut the ride short en-route to a 9-0 tech. The defeat eliminated Merrill’s hopes of a World title, though he was still alive and well for bronze this afternoon.
Down 1-0 to Marcell Gyuricza (HUN) in the first period, Merrill got on the board with a step-out. Gyuricza was charging fast and Merrill had circled back inside from the boundary to latch head-and-arm and turn the tables. The single point was big, for it gave the US criteria heading into Period 2. Concern arose later in the bout following a tense exchange near the line. Merrill was in the midst of hustling Gyuricza towards the edge, to which Gyuricza responded by trying to amble behind before cranking a front-headlock. Merrill easily defended the attempt and landed on top out of bounds. The official on the mat had awarded a point to the US, but then a lengthy challenge review removed it from the equation. In high-leverage matches at World events, every point counts; that the sequence did not yield a score for Merrill could have breathed new life into Gyuricza.
But Merrill was not only undaunted, he was determined to keep an offensively-minded approach. After the reset, Gyuricza bulled forth and clamped a high front headlock — and Merrill countered by shucking Gyuricza’s left shoulder and popping out the back. Two more points provided a 3-1 cushion for Merrill. It was all that was necessary. Upon the match’s conclusion, Merrill raised his arms as a World bronze medalist, in the process giving Team USA multiple medals for the first time since ’13.
Khosravy Places 5th
Even if it did not end with a piece of hardware, Arvin Khosravy (71 kg, CA) delivered his own standout showing in Rome. The journey had begun on Tuesday when he smoothly VSU’ed Marco Begle (AUT). A loss in the proceeding round to Georgian hot prospect Anri Putkaradze deposited Khosravy into the repechage waiting game. Eventually, Putkaradze blew past Ibrahim Ozdemir (TUR) to make the final, which by extension put Khosravy in the repechage on Wednesday opposite Mihael Lukac (CRO).
Khosravy received the first shot from top par terre but could not net a follow-up score and retained a 1-0 passive lead entering the second period. Given the tight nature of the contest, the officials reversed course and flipped passivity early in Period 2. Lukac achieved a lock and looked to gutwrench, but Khosravy swiveled his hips and escaped. What he did next was, in a word, stunning. As Lukac tried to recover position from his knees, Khosravy weaved double underhooks and stretched Lukac upwards; he then used the hold to hustle a step-out point that made the score 2-1.
One more sequence capped the scoring. The pair were jockeying hip-to-hip near the line with the exchange seeing Lukac land off the boundary and Khosravy assuming control. The initial call was a takedown for Khosravy until a lengthy challenge review changed it to a step-out point. Lukac was committed to the short time sprint but Khosravy held his ground through the remainder to punch his ticket to the bronze round.
Doggedly swimming for double underhooks is how Khosravy broke the ice against Ozdemir in the bronze-medal match. Once again, he had navigated his hip level to gain the necessary position and drove forward. The result was a step-out point, as well as a presumed confidence boost. But Ozdemir would answer in short order when he bumped Khosravy off the line to take a tenuous 1-1 criteria lead. Later in the frame, the Turk was given four more points after an arm throw. Khosravy did grab another step-out just before the break but he was staring at 5-2 deficit.
Hard, purposeful contact blasted open Period 2. Khosravy was the aggressor as he hunted for the same workable positions that had brought previous success. Ozdemir also appeared to be fading, though his defensive posture remained intact. With just over :30 to go, Khosravy was in hot pursuit of a body attack and logged his third step-out point of the contest. Down by two, he kept plugging away positionally and tactically. He had outworked Ozdemir throughout the match and the methodology did not change with time a factor. Unfortunately for Khosravy, neither did the outcome. Ozdemir weathered the storm to emerge victorious 5-3, good for the bronze medal. Khosravy, in his first-ever Worlds appearance, impressively finished in 5th place with a 2-2 record.
- Zan Fugitt (60 kg, MO) was drawn into repechage as well on Tuesday following his loss to eventual champ Gaspar Teteryan (ARM). This morning, Fugitt faced Yussuf Ashrapov (KAZ) and was defeated 14-5. Ashrapov later triumphed over Abolfazl Mirshekar (IRI) in a wild clash for bronze. Mirshekar owned a 10-7 advantage with under one minute left when Ashrapov hit a headlock that delivered four points before the pin was called.
- The United States ended the U17 Greco-Roman World Championships in 8th place with 62 points. The team title went to Iran (135 pts), followed by Azerbaijan (130 pts) and Georgia (121 pts). Team USA finished ahead of Greco-friendly countries Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Japan, and Hungary.
- Team USA’s individual record from the U17 Worlds was 11-11.
- Of their 11 victories, there were four technical falls, two pins, and five decisions.
- Before this week, the last time the US had more than one Cadet World medalist in the same year was ’13, when both Cade Olivas and Jon Jay Chavez placed third.
2022 U17 World Championships
July 25-27 — Rome, ITA
TEAM USA FULL RESULTS
45 kg: Davis Motyka (XCalibur) — 12th
LOSS Inonut Mereuta (ROU) 2-1
48 kg: Christian Castillo (Thorobred WC) — 8th
LOSS Said Khalilov (AZE) 4-2
51 kg: Elyle Francisco (Anchorage Youth Wrestling Academy) — 16th
LOSS Peter Totok (HUN) 12-3, TF
55 kg: Nicholas Treaster (Newton WC) — 14th
LOSS Halil Cinar (TUR) 7-0
60 kg: Zan Fugitt (MO) — 13th
LOSS Gaspar Terteryan (ARM) 9-0, TF
LOSS Yussuf Ashrapov (KAZ) 14-5, TF
65 kg: Joel Adams (TBW) — GOLD
WON Takaku Suzuki 8-0, TF
WON Saya Brunner (SUI) 10-0, TF
WON Aleksandre Rusitashvili (GEO) 6-0
WON Petro Shafranskyi (UKR) 6-0
WON Ahoura Bouveiri-Piani (IRI) 6-0
71 kg: Arvin Khosravy (CA) — 5th
WON Marco Begle (AUT) 9-0, TF
LOSS Anri Putkaradze (GEO) 10-0, TF
WON Mihael Lukac (CRO) 3-1
LOSS Ibrahim Ozdemir (TUR) 5-3
80 kg: Cole Han-Lindmeyer (PINnacle) — 15th
LOSS Taizo Yoshida (JPN) 8-4
92 kg: Cody Merrill (Daniel Cormier WC) — BRONZE
WON Arsen Ruslanov (KGZ) via fall
WON Florin Manolache (ROU) via fall
LOSS Darius Kiefer (GER) 9-0, TF
WON Marcell Gyuricza (HUN) 3-1
110 kg: Koy Hopke (PINnacle) — 8th
WON Maxim Ukraintsev (KAZ) 8-0, TF
LOSS Dmytro Stryzhekozin (UKR) 9-0, TF
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