University of Iowa 125 pound wrestler Thomas Gilman competed at the Junior World Championships earlier today in Croatia, and he was able to reach the semifinals of the 55 KG bracket before falling 5-2 to Hasanzada. Gilman was able to win his bronze medal match 11-6 by dominating the match from the neutral position.

Gilman gave an interview on Flo earlier this week, in which we were able to learn Gilman’s thoughts about wrestling overseas (Hint: Gilman doesn’t like to leave the match in the hands of international refs). Gilman started out trying to make good on those comments as he opened the tournament with back-to-back 10-0 TFs, the first over  Algeria’s Abdelhak Kherbache, the other over Methlodi Chadil. After that things got a little bit tighter against Reza Atri of Iran as Gilman won 4-4 on criteria which led him to his semifinal match that he dropped against Azerbaijan’s Michalan Hasanzada.

If you will remember back to late May, Gilman won the 55 KG spot over Nathan Tomasello on a best of three finals. After drilling with Tomasello all week (Team USA Junior Team camp was at Ohio State University) it appears Gilman was ready for the world stage. After finishing 8th a year ago Gilman was clearly motivated to bring home some hardware. In his final match he didn’t give the refs a chance to have the match in their hands, as Gilman took shot after shot in the final period.

Team USA got off to a rocky start, with only Adam Coon (120 KG bronze) bringing home a medal in Greco on the first two days of competition. The women faired a little better with  Marina Doi (44 KG), Kayla Miracle (59 KG), Victoria Francis (72 KG) all winning their bronze medal matches.

All of that changed once freestyle action began as Joey McKenna (60 KG) reached the finals, and wound up with silver. McKenna will be attending Stanford for his collegiate career.

Reigning Junior World Champion Kyle Snyder (96 KG) ran into a tough semifinal opponent, and wound up in the bronze medal match where he ended up taking home bronze. As expected Gogaev was Snyder’s only challenge in this tournament.

I can’t decide next what is more shocking. The fact that Anthony Valencia (74 KG) did not make his bronze medal match, or the fact that Jabari Moody (50 KG) did. Valencia is considered the best high school wrestler USA has to offer (not counting Pico anymore) and Moody didn’t have any international experience prior to this tournament. I guess coach Troy Nickerson wasn’t kidding when he said this may be one of the best Junior World Teams USA has ever assembled. Moody didn’t win his bronze medal match, but still displayed terrific talent.

Other freestyle wrestlers competing in the final day of the championships also did pretty well. One of America’s finest up and comers Aaron Pico (66 KG) made his way into his gold medal match, while Coon (120 KG) and Dean (84 KG) joined Gilman in wrestling for bronze.

55 kg/121 lbs. – Thomas Gilman, Council Bluffs, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
WIN Abdelhak Kherbache (Algeria), tech fall, 10-0, 2:29
WIN Methodli Chadli (Tunisia), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Reza Atri (Iran), 4-4
LOSS Michalan Hasan-Zada (Azerbaijan), 2-5
WIN Bronze Medal bout vs. Vladimir Kurdin (Kazakhstan) 11-6

Gilman’s first match:

Gilman’s Tech Fall over Chadil:

Gilman’s 4-4 win over Atri:

Gilman’s Semifinal loss:

Also, for those of you keeping track at home that’s the Hawkeye Wrestling Club’s second World medal. McDonough earned a bronze medal at Universities last month, and Senior World Team Members Tony Ramos and Brent Metcalf will take the mat in September to try and bring the total to four.

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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