Spencer Woods

Alaska wrestler Spencer Woods was one and done Thursday at the World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

Woods, who grew up in Shungnak and Kotzebue, lost 5-3 in his opening-round match in the Greco-Roman 82-kilogram weight class.

The man who beat him, Stanislaw Shafarenka of Belarus, went on to lose in the second round. That loss ousted Woods from the competition by eliminating his path to the repechage bracket.

Woods led 1-0 at the break but Shafarenka seized a 5-1 lead with two gut wrenches. Woods made it 5-3 with a takedown before time expired in the six-minute match.

It was the second straight World Championships for Woods, 25. He was 0-1 at last year’s gathering of the world’s best wrestlers.

Woods came into the meet after his strongest season ever. He captured championships at three major competitions — the U.S. Open, Final X and the Pan Am Games — and along the way he qualified for next year’s U.S. Olympic Trials.

In his Thursday match, Woods faced an opponent who reached the championships as an “individual neutral athlete.” Shafarenka and other athletes from Belarus and Russia were banned from the 2022 championships because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’ support of Russia in the ongoing war. This year, United World Wrestling allowed athletes from those countries to compete as long as they haven’t shown active support of the war or don’t belong to the military.

Woods is a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program that trains in Colorado. He’s also a student in his final semester at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, where he’s on track to graduate with a degree in biology.

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