BUDAPEST, Hungary — Sarah Hildebrandt’s gold-medal effort fell short on the final day of the women’s wrestling competition at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Hildebrandt, competing at 53 kilograms, had the tough task of defeating the returning world champion, 19-year-old Haruna Okuno of Japan.
On Thursday, it was all Okuno as she attacked first, scoring a takedown to take a 2-0 lead into the break. She would increase her lead and eventually earn a technical fall at 11-0 with a variety of takedowns.
The Japanese women were dominant at the World Championships, crowning four gold medalists and running away with the team title.
“I had a game plan and she shut it down pretty well,” Hildebrandt said. “You just train so hard. To come up short it stings. I really did believe I was going to win. I’m going to have a good 2019 and set myself up for 2020.
Mallory Velte scrapped for a bronze medal at 62 kilograms and earned it.
Facing Brazil’s Lais Nunes de Oliveira in the bronze-medal match, Velte struggled to score early in the match, but remained calm and persistent. It worked for Velte as Nunes was put on the activity clock in both periods and by virtue of her not scoring, Velte was awarded two inactivity points giving her a 2-1 victory.
“I feel like a million bucks,” Velte said. “I knew it was going to be a grinder she’s hard to score on. I just had to [stay] on my offense the whole time.
U.S. women’s coach Troy Steiner had a positive outlook after the way the women’s team wrestled.
“I think everyone stepped up,” Steiner said. “You look at the overall performance of a team when one of their leaders goes down, we had some great things happen and it’s going in the right direction.”
The women’s team finished third in the overall standings and had four medalists. Adeline Gray won a gold medal, Hildebrandt won silver and Velte and Tamyra Mensah-Stock finished with bronze.
Olympic champion Helen Maroulis, who was just coming back from a brain injury, dropped her first match on Wednesday. The Americans were without the services of 2017 world silver medalist Alli Ragan, who suffered an injury and was unable to compete.
In Greco-Roman, veteran Sam Hazewinkel was not awarded a repechage match, so his tournament has come to an end. Hazewinkel said this is most likely his last world championship, but he might take one more shot at the Olympics in 2020.
“Not being able to come back for third hurts,” Hazewinkel said. “I would have liked to [wrestle back] for third, but it’s a part of the deal and you know that coming in. You can’t lose expecting to get pulled in.”