Not that there was a lot of doubt, but the final spot to be earned on the U.S. team for the United World Wrestling World Championships coming up later this month, was settled on Saturday night in Bethleham, Pennsylvania, at Lehigh University.
Helen Maroulis, the reigning Olympic and World Champion had been scheduled to meet U.S. Open winner Alex Hedrick during the Final X series earlier in the year, but the match was postponed due to a Maroulis injury.
But there was no difficulty for Maroulis, who won the best two-of-three series for the 57 kg spot by technical-fall scores of 10-0 and 12-0 to sweep the series and qualify for her seventh straight U.S. team.
“I’m just grateful,” Maroulis said. “There’s definitely been times when I’ve taken all of this for granted, and I just never want to do that. You never know when this road is going to end. I want to make sure that I’m living in the moment and enjoying every second that I can.”
However, the American squad has lost two members due to injury:
∙ Alli Ragan, the choice at 59 kg, has had to withdraw and will be replaced by Jenna Burkert, the Final X runner-up. Ragan has won two World Championships medals; Burkert, a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, has been a member of three U.S. World Junior Championships team.
∙ The men’s 61 kg qualifier Nahshon Garrett, is also injured and will be replaced by Joe Colon. Interestingly, Colon earned a no. 4 seed in the World Championships – Garrett did not – and will enjoy that placement at the Worlds.
The UWW World Championships start in Budapest on 20 October.