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Maroulis, Rix still alive, have chance to come back and win bronze medals at Women's World Championships

The United States women’s freestyle wrestling team started quickly with three first-round wins at the World Championships.

But that momentum came to a screeching halt as each American fell to a past World champion in the quarterfinal round on Saturday at Yoyogi National Stadium.

The good news for the U.S. is that two of its three competitors – Helen Maroulis and Deanna Rix – will receive a chance to wrestle back. Both have a chance to bounce back and win a bronze medal in Saturday afternoon’s second session.

American Elena Pirozhkov lost to past World champion Katerina Burmistrova of the Ukraine in the quarterfinals at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. Pirozhkov was eliminated when Burmistrova fell to past World medalist Martine Dugrenier of Canada in the semifinals.

Pirozhkov, a 2008 World University champion, downed two-time World bronze medalist Monika Rogien-Michalik of Poland in her first match. That avenged a loss from earlier this year in a tournament in Sweden.

Maroulis, a 2008 Junior World bronze medalist, pinned Poland’s Roksana Zasina in the opening round at 51 kg/112.25 lbs. Zasina placed eighth at the 2008 Junior Worlds. Maroulis then fell to five-time World champion Hitomi Sakamoto of Japan in the quarterfinals. Sakamoto then reached the finals to bring Maroulis back into the field.

The 17-year-old Maroulis, the youngest U.S. World Team member in 12 years, will meet Canada’s Jessica Bondy on Saturday afternoon. A win there would send her into the bronze-medal match.

Rix, a past National High School Wrestling's Wrestler of the Year, opened with a win against Alena Filipova of Belarus at 59 kg/130 lbs. Filipova placed fifth at the 2007 World Championships and was 13th at the 2008 Olympics at 55 kg/121 lbs. Rix then fell to three-time World champion Ayako Shoda of Japan in the quarters.

Rix stayed in the tournament when Shoda advanced to the finals. Rix will gear up and battle Kyrgystan’s Nestan Kiiazova in her wrestleback. A win there would send Rix into the bronze-medal match.

Day 2 of the three-day tournament continues on Sunday with competition at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. and 63 kg/138.75 lbs. The U.S. will send Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) to the mat at 48 kilos with Alaina Berube (River Falls, Wis./New York AC) competing at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

U.S. results – Saturday, Oct. 11, Tokyo, Japan

51 kg/112.25 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (New York AC)
WIN Roksana Zasina (Poland), by fall
LOSS Hitomi Sakamoto (Japan), 7-0, 6-0

59 kg/130 lbs. – Deanna Rix, River Falls, Wis. (New York AC)
WIN Alena Filipova (Belarus), 1-0, 2-0
LOSS Ayako Shoda (Japan), 1-0, 4-0

67 kg/147.5 lbs. – Elena Pirozhkov, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
WIN Monika Rogien-Michalik (Poland), 3-0, 0-1, 1-0
LOSS Katerina Burmistrova (Ukraine), 3-2, 5-0