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Welker and O’Toole Win Gold at Junior World Championships

By Gabby Lord-Klein, 08/19/21, 11:30AM CDT


Featured photo of Keegan O'Toole by Kadir Caliskan / United World Wrestling

Ufa, Russia -- Kylie Welker (76 kg WFS) and Keegan O’Toole (74 kg MFS) won gold medals at the Junior World Championships in Ufa, Russia this week. 

Welker, a senior from Waterford Wis., earned her spot on the Junior World team with a dominant performance at Women’s Nationals in Texas this spring. 

The 76 kg Junior World champion secured two wins by superiority over opponents from Germany and Russia, and another by fall over her opponent from Belarus. Welker defeated India’s Bipasha Bipasha by technical superiority in the gold medal match. In addition to clinching the 2021 Junior World title, Welker is a U23 World Team member and will travel to Belgrade, Serbia, in November to represent the United States again at 76 kg. Welker was the U.S. Olympic Team Trials finalist at the weight and is fresh off a Junior National title win at her first Fargo appearance with Team Wisconsin. She earned a bronze medal at the Cadet World Championships in 2019. 

Hartland Wis. native Keegan O’Toole, who will enter his second year at Mizzou next week, wrapped up an impressive World title run with two wins by superiority and two by fall—he swept the gold medal match by technical superiority over Nurdaulet Kuanyshbay of Kazakhstan. During his post-match interview, O’Toole thanked numerous coaches and said, “. . . I wouldn’t be where I am right now at this moment without any of those guys.” He also noted his excitement to get on campus to meet new people and to have an in-person experience that the freshman missed out on last year. O'Toole placed third at the NCAA Championships and was named the MAC’s Freshman of the Year. He would have been a member of the 2020 Junior World team but there was no international competition.

O’Toole earned All-American status during four consecutive seasons with Team Wisconsin at Fargo—twice as a Cadet (7th in 2016, 4th in 2017) and twice as a Junior (1st in 2018 and 3rd in 2019). 

The United States Junior Men’s Freestyle team placed third overall, and the Junior Women’s Freestyle team has a final day of competition tomorrow. 

74 kg: Keegan O’Toole (Hartland, Wisc./Tiger Style WC) – GOLD 
WIN Balint Balazs (Hungary), 10-0
WIN Turan Bayramov (Azerbaijan), fall 4:52
WIN Idar Khatanov (Russia), fall 4:55
WIN Nurdaulet Kuanyshbay (Kazakhstan), 10-0

76 kg: Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisc./Titan Mercury WC) – GOLD
WIN Laura KUEHN (Germany), 10-0
WIN Mariia SILINA (Russia), 11-0
WIN Kseniya DZIBUK (Belarus), pin 1:05
WIN Bipasha BIPASHA (India), 10-0

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