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Helen Maroulis taking aim at first title in Dave Schultz Memorial International



Helen Maroulis advanced to the finals of the Dave Schultz Memorial International on Saturday. Larry Slater photo.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Helen Maroulis owns a handful of medals from the Dave Schultz Memorial International.

But none of them were the right color for the women’s freestyle wrestling standout.

Maroulis has placed third, second, third and second in the past four years at the Schultz event.

Now the 2012 World silver medalist is determined to win her first gold medal in this tournament.

Maroulis advanced to the finals of the 2013 Schultz event on Saturday morning at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Maroulis will battle China’s Yuanyuan Xiao in the finals at 55 kg/121 lbs.

“It’s important to win this,” Maroulis said. “Any tournament helps you and this is another steppingstone for the year. It’s good preparation for the U.S. Open, the World Team Trials and Worlds.”

The finals are set for 4 p.m. on Saturday.

World champion Elena Pirzohkova of the U.S. is seeking her third Schultz title.

Pirozhkova will battle long-time rival Justine Bouchard of Canada in the finals at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Bouchard beat Pirozhkova in the 2010 finals of this event. Pirozhkova won this tournament last year en route to winning her first World title.

“I’m going out there and having fun,” Pirozhkova said. “It starts the year out right if you win this tournament. It’s a good event where it’s really comfortable being able to wrestle at home. It is good competition and it kind of sets the pace for the year.”

World champion Adeline Gray of the U.S. also advanced to the finals at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Gray, a two-time winner of this event, suffered an injury and is not expected to wrestle in the finals.

American Veronica Carlson reached the finals at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.

China’s Yanan Sun defeated American Alyssa Lampe 3-3, 6-2 in a battle of World medalists in the semifinals at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Sun defeated Lampe in the 2012 World Championships at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.

Sun won a silver medal in the 2012 Worlds and Lampe a bronze. Lampe won this event last year.

This is the final day of the three-day competition at the Olympic Training Center.

FINALS MATCHUPS

48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Yanan Sun (China) vs. Jade Parsons (Canada)

51 kg/112.25 lbs.
Cheng Xu (China) vs. Shasha Kong (China)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Helen Maroulis (Sunkist Kids) vs. Yuanyuan Xiao (China)

59 kg/130 lbs.
Geeta Geeta (India) vs. Hui Li (China)

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Elena Pirozhkova (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Justine Bouchard (Canada)

67 kg/147.5 lbs.
Veronica Carlson (New York AC) vs. Feng Zhou (China)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
Fengliu Zhang (China) vs. Adeline Gray (Titan Mercury WC)
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