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  • Photo: Jerod Ringwald

    Photo: Jerod Ringwald

    Four Takeaways from Week One of the Women's Collegiate Season

    by Morgan Kopitsky; Alyvia White photo courtesy of HawkeyeSports.com/Jerod Ringwald

    Week 1- Oct. 30-Nov. 5

    Top 4 Takeaways

    1. Iowa shows up big on their opening weekend

    The Iowa Women’s Wrestling team competed in their first dual as a team on Saturday against #7 East Stroudsburg. The Warriors have proven to be a tough team, finishing eighth at NCWWC’s last year and returning three All-Americans. However, the team was no match for the quick and dynamic offense of the entire Hawkeyes lineup. Iowa won all 10 matches by tech fall or pin, capping it off with a 17 second pin from freshman Alivia White. Across the board, the Hawkeyes looked dominant as they secured the 43-1 win. 

    The following day, the Hawkeyes sent 17 wrestlers to the Princeton Open and finished with 10 wrestlers in the top-three. Of that 10, they sent eight into the finals and walked away with six champs. Keep in mind that at 101 lbs both finalists were Iowa wrestlers, with Emilie Gonzalez beating teammate Sterling Dias 7-0. Most of the wrestlers in the lineup against ESU were the same wrestlers who placed in the top 3, so we may be able to piece together with more certainty the probable starting lineup for Iowa in a dual setting. However, it is clear that they have a significant amount of depth as well. I would not be surprised to see an early shift in team ranking for the Hawkeyes as they continue to face conference competition.

    2. Sacred Heart makes their mark at ESU Open

    Of the 21 teams competing at the 4th annual East Stroudsburg open this weekend, Sacred Heart walked away “victorious” with 17 top-6 finishers. The Pioneers had two champs in #5 Madison Sandquist at 155 and Love Daley at 170 lbs in her college debut. Sacred Heart who was ranked #5 in the NWCA preseason coaches poll beat #2 King University, #6 Gannon and #7 East Stroudsburg in total number of top finishers. While this tournament was missing some of the NCAA’s top ranked teams like #1 North Central, #3 McKendree and #4 Colorado Mesa, the strong showing against the tough competition that was present is a positive indicator for what Sacred Heart may be capable of later on this season.

    3. Menlo Open showing some interesting results amongst 3 top-ranked teams

    At the Menlo Open on Sunday, #1 ranked Menlo held on to the highest total team score, but #2 Life and #6 Southern Oregon certainly made things interesting. 

    Menlo capped off the day with two 1st place finishers, freshman Kalila Shrive at 170 lbs and #1 ranked Tavia Heidelberg-Tillotson at 191 lbs. In her first collegiate tournament, Shrive took on a few unranked wrestlers before meeting up with #4 Lily El-Masri in the finals. A last-second 4-point takedown secured the upset win for the freshman. She will be one to keep an eye on this season. Heidelberg-Tillotson pinned the #8 and #3 wrestlers in a pretty stacked weight at this tournament. It is certainly possible she could see these wrestlers again in March, so it is reassuring to get such dominant early season wins. 

    While Southern Oregon finished more than 20 team points behind Menlo, they did send an impressive six wrestlers to the finals with three walking away with championship finishes. #3 Caitlyn Davis, in her debut for SOU, faced #1 ranked Latifah McBryde from Life in the finals and won in a 3-1 decision for the upset. Davis previously wrestled for Central Methodist, and represents some of the impressive transfers SOU was able to bring in to build out some of their roster. The win over 5x All American McBryde is an impressive showing and will certainly have her on the radar of other wrestlers at 155 lbs. Another interesting championship result came from one of SOU’s most dominant wrestlers, Carolina Moreno. Moreno is a two-time defending NAIA champion at 123 lbs, however at this tournament she wrestled up at 130 lbs. She defeated the #5 and #10 ranked wrestlers at the weight. She is still listed on the roster at 123 lbs, so I don’t necessarily see this as a permanent weight class change for her this season, but it is something to keep in mind. Finally, #5 Emma Baertlin at 109 lbs faced some tough ranked opponents in #7 and #11, but the Raider came out on top to claim the team’s 3rd title of the day.

    Rounding out the top 3 teams from the tournament is Life, finishing just a half point behind Southern Oregon. In her college debut, Ariana Martinez won the top spot at 116 lbs. While Martinez did not face any ranked wrestlers on her path to the finals, she showed dominance over her competition with three pins and a tech for the day. As the season continues, I would not be surprised to see the freshman enter the rankings with her pinning ability, especially with just four of last year’s AAs returning to the weight this season. Two other Life Wrestlers made the finals but came up short of the first place finish. Also, at 143 lbs, Jamilah McBryde who wrestles for Life but is currently wrestling unattached for a portion of the season, walked away with the 1st place prize over returning All American Bella Amaro of Southern Oregon, who wrestled last season at 136 lbs. Because McBryde was unattached, Life did not receive any team points for her run in the tournament.

    There is a lot more discussion that could take place about the results of this tournament, interesting weight class changes for some wrestlers, and some interesting face offs we got to see as a result. Here is a link to the brackets if anyone would like to take a deeper dive into the results.

    4. Welcome to new women’s wrestling fans

    • Circling back to Iowa’s dominant opening weekend, the Hawkeyes are certainly shining a spotlight on the existing impressive athletes and competitions of women’s collegiate wrestling for a new audience. That may have a few fans caught up on some of the differences between collegiate men’s and women’s wrestling which has been apparent online. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you continue to follow women’s wrestling throughout the season.
    • Women’s collegiate wrestling is freestyle instead of folkstyle, which has a myriad of different rules, as many fans know from watching collegiate and former collegiate wrestlers compete internationally. If you need a quick explainer on some of the rules and technique, why not watch this quick 3-minute video from none other than 2x Olympic medalist Helen Maroulis.

    Many people were curious why in the Iowa vs East Stroudsburg dual the final score was 43-1 even though Iowa won every match. This is because of classification points. If the losing opponent scores any points in a match they lose by decision or technical fall, the losing team receives a point for their team score. This was also seen in Colorado Mesa’s win over Snow College this weekend 43-2. For more clarification on this, please check out this great breakdown written by former wrestler/coach Gabrielle Lord-Klein.

    Results this week in major NCAA, NCWA, and NAIA competitions


    Princeton Open - VIEW BRACKETS

    Menlo Open - VIEW BRACKETS

    Falcon Invite

    Maverick Open - VIEW BRACKETS

    Tiffin University Open - VIEW BRACKETS

    Luther Hill Open - VIEW BRACKETS

    Women’s Trojan Open - VIEW BRACKETS


    Mountaineer Open - VIEW BRACKETS

    Big Cat Classic 

    #8 Iowa 43  #7 East Stroudsburg University 1

    #4 Colorado Mesa 41 Chardron 3

    #4 Colorado Mesa 42 Snow 2

    Chadron 28 Snow 21

    #24 Emory & Henry 25 Liberty University 19

    Alvernia 28 Cedar Crest 21

    #24 Emory & Henry 33 Liberty University 19

    Texas Wesleyan 28 Schreiner University 19

    #7 East Stroudsburg 35 Elmira College 12

    Lourdes 31 John Carroll 13

    Schreiner University 33 University of the Ozarks 14

    Texas Wesleyan 35 University of the Ozarks 9

    #19 Eastern Oregon 26 Evergreen State 12

    #3 Grand View 44 Waldorf University 5

    #10 Missouri Baptist 42 William Woods 6

    Upcoming events for next week

    Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of all collegiate women’s competitions.

    Wednesday, Nov. 8: #9 Texas Wesleyan vs Wayland Baptist

    Thursday, Nov. 9: NAIA #10 Missouri Baptist vs NCAA #3 McKendree

    Friday, Nov. 10: Life Duals

    Saturday, Nov. 11: Eagle Madness, Waldorf Open, CU (Campbellsville) Open, Adrian College Duals

    Sunday, Nov. 12: Trailblazer Duals, Mike Clock Open, Adrian College Invitational

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