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American Helen Maroulis captures silver medal at Women's World Championships

Craig Sesker USA Wrestling

World medalists at 55 kg. From left: Helen Maroulis (USA), Saori Yoshida (Japan), Maria Prevolaraki (Greece), Geeta Geeta (India). Craig Sesker photo.

SHERWOOD PARK, Canada – American Helen Maroulis didn’t back down.

Maroulis came out aggressively in the finals of the FILA Women’s World Championships on Friday night at Millennium Place.

But Maroulis ran into arguably the best women’s freestyle wrestler of all-time in the finals in Japanese legend Saori Yoshida.

Yoshida captured her record 10th World title after recording a second-period fall over Maroulis in the World finals at 55 kg/121 lbs. on Friday.

Maroulis, fifth in the 2011 World championships, fired in on leg attacks early in both periods but was unable to score against the superb defense of Yoshida.

“My day didn’t end the way I wanted, but I had a great day and I was very pleased with my wrestling,” Maroulis said. “I was confident and embraced the battle. I enjoyed every second of it until the last match.”

Yoshida, who turns 30 next week, has won a record total of 13 Olympic and World titles. She now has 10 World and three Olympic gold medals. She broke the all-time international wrestling record she had shared with Russia’s Alexander Karelin, who won nine World and three Olympic titles in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Maroulis came back strong in this event after finishing second earlier this year in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. She lost to Yoshida by a first-period fall in the 2011 World Championships.

“I wanted to wrestle Yoshida again,” Maroulis said. “I thought I could win, and I went out there and fought. I was glad to have the opportunity to wrestle here after the Olympics.”

Maroulis, 21, a native of Rockville, Md., earned her first World-level medal on the Senior level. She has captured a Junior World silver medal and two Junior World bronze medals.

Maroulis attends Simon Fraser University in Canada and competes for the New York Athletic Club.

China has the lead entering the final day of the three-day event with 38 points. The U.S. is tied with India and Japan for second place with 28 points. Canada is next with 27 points.

The U.S. has won three medals in the first two days of this event. Adeline Gray won a World gold medal on Thursday night. Alyssa Lampe captured a World bronze medal on Thursday.

American Iris Smith dropped her first match to Ukraine’s Oksana Vashchuk on Friday at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Vashchuk prevailed 3-0, 1-0. Smith was eliminated when Vashchuk lost her next match.

Smith was competing in her first World Championships since she won a World title in 2005.

The conclusion of the three-day event is set for Saturday in Canada. Americans Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) and Elena Pirozhkova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) are scheduled to compete.

Chun, a 2008 World champion, is coming off a bronze-medal performance at last month’s Olympic Games in London. She competes at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

Pirozhkova, a 2012 Olympian, won a World silver medal in 2010. She competes at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

Competition is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Mountain Time on Saturday with the medal matches set for 5 p.m.

Sherwood Park, Canada

Friday’s medal winners

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Saori Yoshida (Japan)
Silver – Helen Maroulis (USA)
Bronze – Geeta Geeta (India)
Bronze – Maria Prevolaraki (Greece)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Gold – Jenny Fransson (Sweden)
Silver – Guzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan)
Bronze – Vasilisa Marzaliuk (Belarus)
Bronze – Qing Xu (China)

Finals matchups

55 kg/121 lbs.
Saori Yoshida (Japan) pinned Helen Maroulis (USA), 2-0, 1:08

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Jenny Fransson (Sweden) dec. Guzel Manyurova (Kazakhstan), 1-0, 0-1, 3-1

U.S. performances

55 kg/121 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (New York AC) – SILVER MEDAL
WIN Nadeshda Mikhalkova (Belarus), 3-0, fall 1:04
WIN Maria Prevolaraki (Greece), 3-0, 2-0
WIN Brittanee Laverdure (Canada), 5-0, 4-2
LOSS Saori Yoshida (Japan), 0-2, fall 1:08

72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
LOSS Oksana Vashchuk (Ukraine), 0-3, 0-1
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