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|Final four U.S. women weigh in and get draws for Junior World Championships in Bulgaria|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Three of the four U.S. women competing on Friday have past Junior World experience, making the team for the second straight year.
“I had the chance to be with them in Thailand at last year’s Junior Worlds. Being able to compete here before, and to know what to do for preparation, comes into play. All three of the women have had a lot more international experience since last summer, which will be a benefit for them,” said U.S. Women’s Junior World coach Jason Moorman.
Last year, Jennifer Page (Orangevale Calif./Titan Mercury WC) was fifth at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. at the Junior Worlds. She has dropped to 63 kg/138.75 lbs. for this year. Page will compete against S. Sarita of India, who was third in the 2011 Asian Cadet Championships. Page is a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.
“She has done an excellent job getting down to 63 kg this year. She is a grinder. She makes things happen and stays in great position. If she keeps her matches in control, she’ll do real well,” said Moorman.
Another returning placewinner is Julia Salata (Canton, Mich./NYAC/King University), who was eighth at 72 kg/158 lbs. and returns at the same weight class. Salata has drawn Rui Xu of China, who was eighth in the 2012 Junior World Championships.
“She just has to be offensive and commit to her offense. Julia told me today not to expect anything less than gold. She is real confident. She’ll take them one at a time, and pull the trigger,” said Moorman.
Competing in the Junior Worlds for the second straight year at 55 kg/121 lbs. is Sarah Hildebrandt (Granger, Ind./King University). She drew Simona Pricob of Romania, who was ninth in the 2012 Junior World Championships
“Nothing short of gold is the goal. She’s Senior Pan Am champion, won the Austrian Open and won a silver at Klippan. She has been training hard, looks really good in practice and she’s very confident,” said Moorman.
On her first Junior World team is high school star Cody Pfau (Parachute, Colo./OKCU/Gator Women’s RTC) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Pfau is starting her freshman year at Oklahoma City University when she returns from Sofia. She opens with Zalina Zhaparova of Kazakhstan, a 2013 Asian Junior bronze medalist.
“She will do real well. I don’t think she’ll let the nerves get to her. Sometime, people here for the first time get real nervous. She handles adversity in a match very well. No matter what is happening, she is very dangerous,” said Moorman.
JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Sofia, Bulgaria
U.S. women’s freestyle draws for Friday
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Cody Pfau, Parachute, Colo. (OKCU/Gator Women RTC)
Vs. Zalina Zhaparova (Kazakhstan), 2013 Asian Junior bronze medalist
55 kg/121 lbs. – Sarah Hildebrandt, Granger, Ind. (King University)
Vs. Simona Pricob (Romania), 9th in 2012 Junior World Championships
63 kg/138.5 lbs. – Jennifer Page, Orangevale Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
Vs. S. Sarita (India), 3rd in 2011 Asian Cadet Championships
72 kg/158.5 lbs. – Julia Salata, Canton, Mich. (NYAC/King University)
Vs. Rui Xu (China), 8th in 2012 Junior World Championships