Winchester beats Japan’s Irie to win World gold medal at 55 kg, Francis places fifth at 72 kg

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – Jacarra Winchester (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC/OTC) is the champion of the World at 55 kg/121 lbs. in women’s freestyle wrestling!!

With a stunning two-day performance at the World Wrestling Championships, Winchester claimed the gold medal with a clutch 5-3 win over 2012 Cadet World champion and 2015 Junior World champion Nanami Irie of Japan in the gold-medal finals.

This match was tight throughout, with two skilled athletes going toe-to-toe. Winchester struck first on a single leg takedown to lead 2-0 as the athletes went to the break. In the second period, Irie scored a double leg, which was initially given four points but changed by the officials to two points, tying the score at 2-2. Irie forced a step out to take a 3-2 lead. Winchester responded with a single leg takedown with one minute left to take a 4-3 lead.

In the closing moments, Irie attempted a takedown, which Winchester countered with a whizzer, and time ran out without any change in the score. The Japanese corner challenged the call, asking for a takedown. The challenge was denied, giving Winchester one additional point for the 5-3 victory.

When it was over, Winchester ran around the mat with the American flag, the first World champion from the United States so far at the 2019 Worlds here in Nur-Sultan.

On Tuesday, Winchester opened with a pair of dominant technical falls, beating 2013 World University bronze medalist Madina Nadirova of Kyrgyzstan, 10-0 and Bolortuya Bat Ochir of Mongolia, 13-2. In the semifinals, she stopped 2016 University World champion Bediha Gun of Turkey, 6-4.

Winchester, who was a No. 3 seed here, was fifth at the 2018 World Championships, her only previous Senior World appearance. She won a bronze medal at the 2014 University World Championships.

A 2015 WCWA national champion for Missouri Valley College, Winchester was a California state high school champion for Arroyo High School in 2010. She is currently a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center resident athlete in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Victoria Francis (Litchfield, Ill./Titan Mercury WC) finished at 72 kg/158.5 lbs., after dropping a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to 2018 U23 World champion Paliha of China in a bronze-medal match.

Francis scored first, after Paliha was put on the shot clock and could not score, giving Francis a 1-0 lead going into the break. In the second period, Francis was put on the shot clock. When Francis did not score in the 30 seconds required, it tied the bout at 1-1, and quickly after that, Paliha forced a step out for the 2-1 lead. Neither athlete could score again, and Paliha won the match, 2-1.

On Tuesday, Francis pinned Dejah Slater of Canada in 2:30 in her first bout. In the quarterfinals, Francis fell in a close battle to 2013 World champion Alina Berezhna Stadnik Makhynia of Ukraine, 4-0.

Francis was competing in her second Senior World Championships, after competing at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, France. Francis was a 2014 Junior World bronze medalist.

Originally from Litchfield, Ill., Francis won a pair of WCWA national titles for Lindenwood University.

After the first four women’s weight classes, the USA stands in fourth place with 39 points. Japan leads with 61 points, followed by Russia with 55 points and China with 42 points.

The other three World champions crowned on Wednesday were Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan at 50 kg/110 lbs., Yong Mi Pak of North Korea at 53 kg/116.5 lbs. and Natalia Vorobeva of Russia at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Stadnik won her second career World title, a full 10 years after her 2009 World title. She dominated Emilia Vuc of Romania in a 13-1 technical fall in the finals.

Pak also won with dominance, beating two-time World champion Mayu Mukaida of Japan in a 12-1 technical fall. Pak was able to turn Mukaida multiple times to blow open the match and secure the technical fall.

Vorobeva, a 2012 Olympic champion, won her second Senior World gold medal, to go along with a 2015 World title. She defeated 2013 World champion Alina Berezhna Stadnik Makhynia of Ukraine in the finals, 4-2.

At Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, September 18

Women’s freestyle results

50 kg/110 lbs.
Gold – Mariya Stadnik (Azerbaijan)
Silver – Emilia Vuc (Romania)
Bronze – Valentina Islamova Brik (Kazakhstan)
Bronze – Ekaterina Poleschuk (Russia)
5th – Oksana Livach (Ukraine)
5th – Sun Yanan (China)
7th Place – Evin Demirhan (Turkey)
8th Place – Yuki Irie (Japan)
9th Place – Ellen Riesterer (Germany)
10th Place – Fredrika Ida Petersson (Sweden)
Gold – Stadnik tech. fall Vuc, 13-0
Bronze – Islamova pin Livach, 3:28
Bronze – Poleschuk dec. Sun, 9-9

53 kg/116.5 lbs.
Gold – Yong Mi Pak (North Korea)
Silver – Mayu Mukaida (Japan)
Bronze – Vinesh (India)
Bronze – Qianyu Pang (China)
5th – Maria Prevolaraki (Greece)
5th – Roksana Zasina (Poland)
7th – Luisa Elizabeth Valverde Melendres (Ecuador)
8th – Lianna De La Caridad Montero Herrera (Cuba)
9th – Sarah Hildebrandt (USA)
10th – Vanesa Kaladzinskaya (Belarus)
Gold – Pak tech. fall Mukaida, 12-1
Bronze – Vinesh pin Prevolaraki, 5:15
Bronze – Pang inj. fft over Zasina

55 kg/121 lbs
Gold – Jacarra Winchester (USA)
Silver – Nanami Irie (Japan)
Bronze – Olga Khoroshavtseva (Russia)
Bronze – Bolortuya Bat Ochir (Mongolia)
5th – Marina Sedniva (Kazakhstan)
5th – Behiha Gun (Turkey)
7th – Iryna Husyak (Ukraine)
8th – Anna Lukasiak (Poland)
9th – Annika Wendle (Germany)
10th – Mengyu Xie (China)
Gold – Winchester dec. Irie, 5-3
Bronze –Bat Ochir dec. Gun, 12-9
Bronze – Khoroshavtseva tech. fall Sedneva, 13-1

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Gold – Natalia Vorobeva (Russia)
Silver – Alina Berezhna Stadnik Makhynia (Ukraine)
Bronze – Masako Furuichi (Japan)
Bronze – Paliha (China)
5th – Zhamila Bakbergenova (Kazakhstan)
5th – Victoria Francis (USA)
7th – Beste Altug (Turkey)
8th – Alexandra Nicoleta Anghel (Romania)
9th – Komal Bhagwan Gole (India)
10th – Oyunsuren Banzragch (Mongolia)
Gold – Vorobeva dec. Makhynia, 4-2
Bronze – Furuichi dec. Bakbergenova, 2-0
Bronze – Paliha dec. Francis, 2-1

U.S. women’s freestyle Group 1 performances

50 kg/110 lbs. – Whitney Conder, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), dnp/26th
LOSS Son-Hyang Kim (North Korea), 6-0

53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Sarah Hildebrandt, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC/OTC), 9th place
WIN Thi Dao Bui (Vietnam), tech. fall, 10-0, 1:14
LOSS Mayu Mukaida (Japan), 12-1, 4:50
LOSS Vinesh (India), 8-2

55 kg/121 lbs. – Jacarra Winchester, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC/OTC), gold medal
WIN Madina Nadirova (Kyrgyzstan), tech. fall 10-0, 1:05
WIN Bolortuya Bat Ochir (Mongolia), tech. fall, 13-2, 3:40
WIN Bediha Gun (Turkey), 6-4
WIN Nanami Irie of Japan, 5-3

72 kg/158.5 lbs.- Victoria Francis, Litchfield, Ill. (Titan Mercury WC), 5th place
WIN Dejah Slater (Canada), pin 2:30
LOSS Alina Berezhna Stadnik Makhynia (Ukraine), 4-0
LOSS Paliha (China), 2-1

Team Standings after four weight classes
1. Japan, 61
2. Russia, 55
3. China, 42
4. United States, 39
5. Ukraine, 38