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For You Ma: Burkert Earns 55kg World Bronze in Oslo

By MD, 10/05/21, 5:00PM EDT

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Some Did it for Respect; Others for glory; The New Yorker got it done for love!!!


2021 Senior World Bronze Medalist, Jenna Burkert

The Sweetest Victory Goes to a Bronze Medalist

120 medals are going to be distributed during the course of this week in Oslo, Norway...However, 119 of that lot, regardless of color or prestige, are going to be as cherished or celebrated as the bronze that former Rocky Point native, Jenna Burkert, earned at 55kg in the women's freestyle discipline on Tuesday afternoon!!!

While her teammates and rivals came to the 2021 Senior World Championships in search of respect, adulation, glory, or whatnot, the 28-year-old sergeant in the United States Army, carried with her a higher, more noble , completely selfless mission.....WIN FOR MY GUARDIAN ANGEL!!!

As was touched upon in NYWN's WTT Summary article last month when Burkert knocked off 2019 World Champion/2020 Olympic 5th, Jacarra Winchester, two matches to one to secure the berth,  since the late-March passing of her mother [Rosanne], every day that has come and gone has been an exercise in the love a daughter feels for the woman that gave her life and inspired her to greatness...And while there have been detours on the path, nothing was going to stand in the way of fulfilling her promise and honoring her hero! 


Early Adversity

Making her fourth appearance at the Senior World Tournament (previous identical placements of 15th in 2014, 2018, and 2019),  the New Yorker turned Coloradoan, was dealt an immediate blow on Monday, when she dropped her round of 16 bout to the Cinderella Story  of the tournament thus far/eventual silver medalist,  German, Nina Hemmer.....

In her sixth appearance at the event and having never placed higher than 8th (twice in 2015 and 2018),  not many people considered the former (2011) Junior World bronze medalist/2016 Olympian (14th) a threat when the brackets were released...But she proved them wrong when she emerged with a 14-4 technical fall over Burkert...

After a snap down + spin behind, complemented by a gut, put her into a 4-0 hole less than 60 seconds into the bout, the American girl briefly rallied, scoring three straight points with a force out and TD to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 1:15 remaining in the 1st...Unfortunately, the German was able to regain momentum, as she stepped over on Burkert's ensuing gut attempt (following the takedown) to go ahead 6-3 and then added an additional 2pt exposure in the last 30 ticks of the opening period to carry an 8-4 edge into the break (Burkert push out in the last 15 seconds being the final point of the 1st)...Hemmer went big :25 into the 2nd period, earning the early termination when she converted an outside trip from feet-to-back and then popped another gut to create the 10-point separation.


The Waiting Game

Now facing the predicament of her fate no longer being within her own control, the helpless wait to see if she would get a reprieve must have been utter anguish for Burkert...On two separate occasions it appeared that Hemmer was on the verge of losing, which would have signified the end of the proverbial road for Jenna...

In the quarterfinals, 2020 Olympian (16th)/2x UWW U23 World bronze winner, Andreea Beatrice Ana (Romania), was originally awarded a 2-2 decision on criteria in the quarterfinal round....However, after the Germany coaching staff initiated a challenge, the review process resulted in a takedown being awarded to Hemmer to snatch triumph out of the grasp of defeat...

If possible, the semis were an even more dramatic affair, as Hemmer, up 4-0 at the time, got put on her back by 2020 Asian Champion, Pinki Pinki, of India, after getting hit by a Dresser dump...Showing pure courage, she fought off the fall for 75 seconds to go into the break with the 4-2 lead...

The advantage did not sustain though as Pinki scored two takedowns during the first 90 seconds of the 2nd period to jump in front, 6-4...

But just when it looked like hope was lost, the visibly fatigued German found a second wind in the final 1:00 of regulation, hitting a throw off of an under-hook and then adding a two-point gut to regain the 8-6 advantage...Pinki got deep later in the bout, but a Hemmer sprawl prevented any 11th hour comebacks!!!

And just like that, Burkert was back in the medal conversation!!!


The Joker Becomes The Bully; Powers Her Way to the Podium

Needing two wins on Tuesday to clinch her first World medal at any level, it was apparent from the 4:45 am (local time) that the "Joker" was not going to be playing around...Rather, it seemed her mantra more closely resembled "six minutes of hell and pain"...

The clear aggressor from the opening whistle in her repechage bout versus Ana, Burkert earned a passivity point 2:05 into the 1st period when her Romanian opponent was unable to score while on the shot clock...She increased that lead to 3-0 when she snapped down and spun behind in the last 15 ticks to enjoy a 3-0 advantage at the midway point...Her foot pressed firmly on the pedal from start to finish, the U.S. Army sergeant tacked on an insurance point by forcing a step out with 1:08 remaining in the bout...Ana would muster a takedown in the last :03 to make the score more respectable, but Burkert advanced to the bronze match with the 4-2 decision. 

In her tournament finale for the bronze, the unrelenting pressure and rugged style of Burkert only intensified, as she as she forced a step out 1:08 into the 1st period and then was awarded an additional point in the latter half of the opening stanza when Pinki was unable to score while on the shot clock...The 2nd period brought with it more "legal brutality" as Burkert enticed another step out with with 1:51 remaining and then cemented the biggest victory of her career 51 ticks later by showing poise and gradually finishing a go-behind increase the margin to 5-0....Pinki would prevent the shutout with a takedown of her own in the last :40, but that is all she would get, as JB took 3rd via the 5-2 decision....

Pointing to the heavens, we know who exactly the muse behind the medal was today!!

SHINE YOUR LIGHT DOWN, Mrs. Burkert!!!  YOUR GIRL DID YOU PROUD!!!

While unconfirmed by USA Wrestling, it is believed that Burkert is the first female wrestler with Empire State roots to earn a Senior World medal since Kristie (Marano) Davis won the last of her nine (Gold-2, Silver-5, Bronze-2) with a runner-up finish @72 kg in 2007!


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