With the Thanksgiving Holiday and so many tournaments last weekend, the All-Star Classic served as the main event in women’s collegiate wrestling this week. Here are some notes on each of the 4 matches.
1. #2 Samara Chavez of King pins #3 Sydney Petzinger of North Central
In a match that was supposed to be an NCWWC Finals rematch between Samara Chavez and North Central’s Jaslynn Gallegos, teammate Sydney Petzinger stepped up for the bout after Gallegos suffered an injury. Chavez came close to winning at 116 lbs in last year’s college championships when she had an early 8-1 lead, however, Gallegos’ counter secured a pin. While the matchup would have been awesome to see, Petzinger is no slouch. She is a 2x All-American for North Central at 109 lbs and finished 3rd at the U20 World Team Trials last year.
This match had some great action in the first period, with Chavez finding success with a huge hip toss from a headlock to get a 4-0 lead. However, Petzinger answered quickly with a takedown response to another Chavez headlock she fought off. Chavez then goes blast double for two more points, but Petzinger secures one more takedown at the end of the period to make it 6-4 going into the second.
In the second, Petzinger tries to get to her offense early, but Chavez is ready with another headlock and this time takes Petzinger to her back for the pin.
While these two probably will not see each other again, Chavez was hungry for a win over her North Central opponent, and if she continues to wrestle with the same patience and smarts she showed in this matchup, she could easily find herself in the 2024 finals to avenge her loss last year.
2. #2 (NCAA) Alexis Janiak of Aurora gets the tech fall over #1 (NAIA) Sarah Savidge of Life
Both of these wrestlers may have had a chip on their shoulders after each finished as the runner-up at their respective championships at the end of last season. They also have a pretty decent amount of history wrestling one another, all in high-scoring or big-move matches. Janiak has the two most recent wins from last year’s U20 World Team Trials with an 11-0 tech and a pin. While Janiak has a variety of well-honed technical skills, Savidge is a gritty, tough wrestler, who has seen a lot of success, especially last season.
However, in this match, Janiak made quick work of her opponent. After a beautiful single-leg takedown, she was able to secure a lace and take Savidge over to score two more. After assessing her space on the mat, Janiak worked through three more quick turns with the same leg lace for a 10-0 tech at the 31-second mark.
Fans would have certainly loved to see more competition between these two, but Janiak’s precise execution of her moves closed the book on this one early.
3. #1 (NAIA) Adaugo Nwachukwu of William Penn gets the decision over #1 (NCAA) Yele Aycock of North Central
Fans had this rematch circled but not because of a close result in their last match. In fact, Nwachukwu got a quick 10-0 tech over Aycock at the 2022 Women’s Nationals. Instead, the anticipation was for Nwachukwu’s competitive and dominant style up against Aycock’s steadily increasing skill level against tough opponents. Aycock actually went 0-2 at the 2022 NCWWC Championship and then put a stamp on her 2023 season finishing in second this past March.
Aycock’s improvement was on full display as the two battled it out for the entirety of the 2 periods. Nwachukwu claimed the first four points in the period with two strong attacks, one double leg and then another from an underhook. With under a minute left, Aycock tries for another shot and muscles over Nwachukwu for a takedown. Sending the match into the second period 4-2.
Nwachukwu hits a big takedown off the whistle and then uses a gut wrench to get two more. At this point, the match is 8-2 with Nwachukwu pulling away. However, Aycock scrambles on the edge to hip over and score a 4-point feet-to-back move. William Penn challenges the call and loses making the score 8-7. The two scramble for the next minute or so and are reset. With 30 seconds left, both wrestlers take shots with Nwachukwu finding success. A last-second step-out point for Nwachukwu seals the deal with an 11-7 victory.
This was absolutely the highlight match of the event. You can see so much improvement on the part of Aycock, but it did not detract from just how dominant and powerful Nwachukwu is. Her style has been a problem for other wrestlers on the senior level as she has worked to make a world team. Aycock has dominated in tournaments and duals so far this season and will certainly continue to do so. I would not be surprised if each of these wrestlers maintained their #1 rankings at their respective college associations.
4. #1 (NCAA) Marlynne Deede of Iowa gets the decision over #1 (NAIA) Latifa McBryde of Life
In the final women’s match of the evening, Deede and McBryde met for the first time since 2021 when they faced off at the Junior World Team Trials. Deede won by decision back then, but that did not give fans much to go on in predicting the outcome of this match. Deede transferred to Iowa in the offseason for her final year of collegiate competition. She is a 4x All American including a 2023 NCWWC title last year. McBryde was very close to an NAIA title last year as well but lost after a last-second 4-point throw in her finals match.
This match was intense and physical from the whistle. Lots of hand fighting and big throw attempts from each wrestler before a scramble where McBryde gets exposure but Deede gets a throw from a crotch lock to make it 2-2. McBryde picks up a step-out point at the end of the period to go up 3-2.
After some hand fighting and movement across the mat to start the second, Deede gets a big toss to take McBryde to her back giving a 4-point bump to Deede. Now up 6-3, Deede capitalizes on a shot from McBryde for the go behind putting her up 8-3 with no time left for McBryde to respond.
Deede was a threat to begin with during her career at Augsburg. I have no doubt that training with the Hawkeyes and the competitive roster they have in the room will only make her a tougher wrestler to beat. While 155 is a competitive weight class, I think she’ll have no problem getting to the finals of NCWWCs in March.
As for McBryde, another close match that just got away from her certainly only adds fuel to the fire as she continues to train for the championship spot at NAIA’s that eluded her last year. McBryde also finished second at this year’s Menlo Open, but has not had much other competition since last year’s finals. I think there is plenty of space for her to continue to be competitive against ranked opponents as she has previously and make it to the finals to work on some redemption come March.
Results this week in major NCAA, NCWA, and NAIA competitions
All-Star Classic VIEW RESULTS
North Central 42 vs Augustana 4
November 30 - Grand View vs Central Methodist
December 1 - Patriot Duals (Day 1)
December 1 - Battle of the Rockies
December 2 - Patriot Duals (Day 2)
December 2 - Grays Harbor Open
December 2 - Doane Open
December 2 - Vanguard Duals