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U.S. wrestlers win three more medals at world championships

Jacarra Winchester

CHIBA, JAPAN - AUGUST 06: Jacarra Gwenisha Winchester of Team United States celebrates defeating Laura Herin Avila of Team Cuba during the Women’s Freestyle 53kg Repechage on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on August 06, 2021 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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U.S. wrestlers won three more medals at the world championships, giving the nation nine total in three days to lead the standings.

Jacarra Winchester (silver), Jennifer Page (bronze) and Kyle Snyder (bronze) added to the tally Tuesday in Belgrade. Macey Kilty will also win a medal on Wednesday, when she wrestles in a gold-medal match at 65kg.

Winchester fell 4-2 to Japan’s Haruna Okuno in the women’s 55kg final.

“Good tournament,” said Winchester, the 2019 World 55kg champion. “Not the result that I wanted, so I’m very disappointed, but it doesn’t matter what you do throughout the day. My goal was to be a world champion, and I fell short of that, so back to the drawing board.”

The 55kg division is not an Olympic weight class. Expect Winchester to move down to 53kg or up to 57kg for April’s Olympic Trials. She said after Tuesday’s final that she still has to decide which weight class to go to.

Four years ago, she moved down to 53kg, won Olympic Trials and lost a bronze-medal match in Tokyo.

“Nothing can be more humiliating than [Tokyo],” Winchester said. “Some people are proud to be an Olympian. I’m not. I want to be an Olympic champion.”

American Dominique Parrish won the 2022 World title at 53kg and defends it starting Wednesday.

Page, in her senior world debut at age 30, pinned Alyona Kolesnik of Azerbaijan in her bronze-medal match at 59kg, which is also not an Olympic weight.

Expect Page to move down to 57kg or up to 62kg for Olympic Trials. Page was at 62kg before this year and placed third at the Tokyo Olympic Trials at that weight.

Kyle Snyder earned a seventh consecutive world championships medal at 97kg after his bronze-medal match opponent, Russian Abdulrashid Sadulayev, forfeited due to injury beforehand.

Snyder and Sadulayev combined to win the previous eight Olympic or world titles in the division, but both were upset by Russian-turned-Bahraini Akhmed Tazhudinov in early rounds Monday. Tazhudinov won Tuesday’s gold-medal match via pin.

Snyder gets a bye into the Olympic Trials finals in April as a reigning world medalist.

The U.S.’ three most decorated active female wrestlers each lost a match Tuesday but will wrestle for bronze Wednesday.

Helen Maroulis, who in 2016 became the first U.S. woman to win Olympic wrestling gold, lost 6-0 in the semifinals to Japan’s Tsugumi Sakurai in a rematch of last year’s 57kg final.

Adeline Gray, a six-time world champion who made the U.S. team after having twins in July 2022, lost her 76kg quarterfinal to Japan’s Yuka Kagami 4-1. Since Kagami later reached the final, Gray was brought back into the repechage and a chance at bronze.

Sarah Hildebrandt, a four-time medalist between the Olympics and worlds, was hoping to take on four-time global champion Yui Sasaki of Japan in the 50kg final. But Hildebrandt fell in the semifinals to Dolgorjavyn Otgonjargal of Mongolia 7-5.