53 kg US Open champion Felicity Taylor (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Ten champions were crowned Friday evening during the finals of the Senior Women's US Open. World medalists Jacarra Winchester and Kayla Miracle were among the stars on the raised mat. Winchester took on her Olympic Trials finals opponent Ronna Heaton. The 2019 World Champion, Winchester, took an early lead she would never relinquish. Her first score came just :29 seconds into the first period and she was never in danger. Winchester cruised to win the 55 kg weight class 8-1.
You may have turned away and missed Miracle's finals bout. She needed just :18 seconds to dispose of a tough challenger in Jennifer Page. The win gives Miracle three career US Open titles.
The first champion of the evening was another veteran Erin Golston. Golston put together a pair of techs, back-to-back, to get into the championship bout. While her finals contest with Nina Pham went the distance, Golston was not seriously threatened. Golston scored twice in the first period and once in the second period to take her second consecutive US Open title.
It only took until the second match of the finals to get the first big upset. Unseeded Felicity Taylor knocked off second-seeded Alyssa Lampe, a past world medalist. The bout started off slowly with Lampe getting the only point of the opening period due to a shot-clock violation. Lampe added to her lead in the second, but Taylor didn't flinch. She earned a takedown of her own followed by six consecutive leg laces for a stoppage via tech.
Two matches later, at 57 kg, Adriana Dorado Marin and Cameron Guerin engaged in a high-scoring affair that resulted in Dorado Marin getting her hand raised. Down 10-5 with under :20 remaining in the bout, Dorado Marin reeled off two scores (a two, followed by a four) to grab control of the match. A failed challenge resulted in another point, which made the final tally 12-10 in favor of the Army WCAP athlete, Dorado Marin.
Like the previous match, a first-time champion was crowned at 59 kg as Nanea Estrella took a surprisingly convincing win over the top seed, Xochitl Mota-Pettis. The dangerous Mota-Pettis was making a second-period charge, down only 5-2, and was pancaked to her back by Estrella for four points.
In one of the headline bouts of the evening, two of the top 65 kg women on the ladder did battle and the result lived up to its hype. With under :15 seconds left in the match and trailing 4-2, Emma Bruntil finished a clutch takedown to put her ahead of world bronze medalist Mallory Velte on criteria. They, along with Forrest Molinari, will be the key contenders for the world team slot at 65 kg.
Also needing late-match heroics to claim a title was Dymond Guilford at 76 kg. Guilford had a late takedown to push her ahead of close friend Precious Bell. The two have met frequently at notable tournaments such as this one. Due to an early four-pointer, Bell held criteria, while up 4-4 late in the second period. Unphased, Guilford secured the winning takedown with :37 seconds left in the match and prevented Bell from scoring.
There was no such drama at 72 kg as Skylar Grote cruised to a title with a 10-0 tech of Marlynne Deede. In Grote's two matches this tournament, she did not surrender a point. The win marks a milestone in Grote's career as she was a runner-up in each of the last two Opens.
It was a bittersweet first title at 68 kg for Sienna Ramirez, as her match was stopped in the opening :20 due to injury. Her opponent, Katerina Lange, was forced to default out. Ramirez just finished a storied career at Southern Oregon, where she became her school's first national champion.
Senior Women's Championship Final Results
50 kg - Erin Golston (NYAC) over Nina Pham (Texas WC) 6-0
53 kg - Felicity Taylor (McKendree Bearcat WC) over Alyssa Lampe (Sunkist Kids) 14-3
55 kg - Jacarra Winchester (TMWC) over Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids) 8-1
57 kg - Adriana Dorado Marin (Army WCAP) over Cameron Guerin (TMWC) 12-10
59 kg - Nanea Estrella (Spartan Combat) over Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Rise RTC) 9-3
62 kg - Kayla Miracle (Sunkist Kids) fall Jennifer Page (NLWC) :18
65 kg - Emma Bruntil (TMWC) dec Mallory Velte (TMWC) 4-4
68 kg - Sienna Ramirez (Southern Oregon RTC) injury default Katerina Lange (Twin Cities RTC)
72 kg - Skylar Grote (NYAC) over Marlynne Deede (Twin Cities RTC) 10-0
76 kg - Dymond Guilford over Precious Bell (TMWC) (TMWC) 6-4