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  • Photo: McKendree Athletics

    Photo: McKendree Athletics

    This Week in Women's Collegiate Wrestling (1/24/2024)

    Key Takeaways from the week

    Several teams are in the heart of their dual seasons and taking on ranked and conference opponents. While the weather took a toll on the number of events that actually happened, there was still some great wrestling this past week. Let’s take a look at some of those results, a few open tournament results, and a huge dual matchup between two #1 teams.


    Bearcats Shred the Competition at MoBap Open

    McKendree finished the day with 5 champions at the Missouri Baptist Open. A few notable wins were Julia Vidallon, who is listed on the roster as a 123lber, winning the tournament at 116lbs including a 7-4 decision win in the finals over #6 Caitlyn Thorne of Lindenwood. Vidallon had a tough draw at National Duals losing to both #2 Sydney Petzinger of North Central and #4 Melanie Mendoza of King. The win over Thorne is a big one, and seeing that 116 lbs is one of three weights where McKendree does not have a ranked wrestler, we could see Vidallon continuing to battle it out at the weight. 

    #2 Cam Guerin showed her dominance winning her first three matches by fall in under a minute. Cayden Condit of Lindenwood held out a little longer in the finals match, but inevitably took the loss via fall to Guerin after 1:56 seconds. Guerin has been consistently dominant this season, with her toughest match being a close loss to then #3, now #1 Victoria Baez-Dilone of King. If the brackets line up correctly, these two could find themselves at the finals of the NCWWC in March, and I think after the close decision last time, I would take Guerin to get her revenge and win for the title.

    Nichole Moore at 123 lbs, #5 Alex Szkotnicki at 136 lbs, and #6 Viktorya Torres at 143 lbs were the other champs on the day for McKendree. The team had plans to compete in their own Bearcat Open, but that was unfortunately canceled due to weather. Their next dual will be Senior Night against Missouri Baptist before competing at regionals and then NCWWCs. It will be interesting to see how many Bearcats qualify for nationals and the much-anticipated return of Emma Bruntil. If I had to guess, I think that McKendree will outperform their fourth-place team ranking at Nationals.


    A Top-10 Conference Dual More Lopsided than Expected

    The #8 William Penn Statesmen hosted the #3 Grand View Vikings in a conference matchup this past week with potential for several ranked matchups. While the Vikings have more ranked wrestlers in their starting lineup, the Statesmen certainly have the talent to keep duals interesting. However, in this matchup, Grand View came out swinging winning the first 6 matches. Jalen Bets got the Vikings started with a tech fall followed by teammate Judy Sandoval getting a pin at 109 lbs. At 116 lbs, Mayagelie Colon got the upset win over #9 Catherine Steinkamp. 

    Next, at 123 lbs, #9 Catharine Campbell got the tech fall over #18 Grecia Martinez 12-2. With Martinez putting up two points against her opponent, she finally got the Statesmen on the board.

    At 130 lbs, it looked like William Penn were going to finally get a win in this dual when #5 Joanna Vanderwood went up 8-0 early after a blast double into a leg lace with multiple turns. Action was stopped for injury time where it appeared Maya Davis of Grand View hurt her lower back before Vanderwood could complete another roll-through. After restarting with Vanderwood on top, she could not seem to get another turn, so the two were reset to neutral. From the tie, it appeared that Vanderwood attempted an arm spin, but landed on her back. From there, she is unable to react quickly enough to belly down and Davis catches her head and secures the pin for the Vikings.

    At 136 lbs, #3 Andrea Schlabach also gets a pin over Devin Patton.

    From there, the Statesmen began a streak of wins themselves, starting with the upset at 143 lbs with #14 Isabelle Hawley getting a 4-1 decision over #6 Madison Diaz. Next, up two weight classes from her usual 136 lbs spot, #1 Adaugo Nwachukwu teched #12 at 155 lbs Mahealani Ramirez in one of the premier matches of the night.

    Finally, Ashley Lekas who won U23 Nationals last season as part of the Augsburg team, returned to the mat for just her fourth match on the season and got the tech against #1 Abby McIntyre. Lekas has impressive wins in her career including a win against Joye Levendusky at the aforementioned USA Wrestling Nationals. This win over the #1 will certainly be an important part of her record as well. Barring future injuries like the one she’s dealt with this season, she should continue to shine against the toughest competition at the weight.

    With the dual already out of hand, the Vikings bookended the dual with a pin from #3 Olivia Brown at 191 lbs over Samantha Ruano.

    I had really looked forward to this dual as one that could shake out to be a 5-5 matchup with the dual coming down to a singular upset or bonus or criteria points. However, the Vikings had other plans and really solidified their top 3 ranking in this one. William Penn was also missing top-ranked Mia Palumbo here as well. We will see many of these matchups again at conferences, so there is certainly a chance for redemption for the Statesmen, but it could also provide another opportunity for Grand View to continue their dominant performances.


    #1 vs #1 Ends With Another Dominant Hawkeye Victory

    In a highly anticipated dual since its announcement, the #1 NAIA school, Life, took on the #1 NCAA school Iowa as part of a tri dual with Missouri Valley this past Sunday. After each team had dominant showings against Missouri Valley, it was time for the two to face off. We saw matchups between the teams at a few open tournaments this season, but both teams are extremely skilled dual teams with 19 of the 20 wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective divisions. However, this matchup got out of hand quickly for Life. The first two matches were quick technical falls from #2 (NCAA) Sterling Dias and #2 (NCAA) Ava Bayless. Next, #3 Brianna Gonzalez got a pin in just over 2 minutes. #3 Felicity Taylor followed up quickly with a tech fall of her own.

    At 130 lbs, Life finally got one in the win column from #2 (NAIA) Sarah Savidge over Iowa’s #10 (NCAA) Emily Frost.

    I had 136 lbs circled after news earlier this month that both Nanea Estrella and Esther Han would not be continuing to compete this season, leaving the 136 lbs spot open to Lilly Luft. Luft struggled against some NCAA competition at National Duals in this spot, but got herself a win here over #9 (NAIA) Zaynah McBryde with a pin in the second minute of the match.

    As we continued into the McBryde section of Life’s lineup, I thought perhaps Life could string together a few more wins here. However, the rematch between #2 (NCAA) Reese Larramendy and #1 (NAIA) Jamilah McBryde was not as high-flying as their last matchup where the score was 22-20 before Larramendy got the win. Instead, Larramendy got the 12-4 decision. Similarly, while #2 (NAIA) Latifah McBryde kept it close with #1 (NCAA) Marlynne Deede, it wasn’t enough to get the win as Deede walked away with the 3-1 victory.

    From there, the Hawkeyes’ #1 (NCAA) Kylie Welker got a 23-second tech fall followed by a 2-0 decision at 191 lbs for the Hawkeyes as well from #3 Jaycee Foeller.

    This was a tough dual for Life, as even their top-ranked squad seemed a little outmatched in Carver-Hawkeye. In addition to Iowa just having a dominant squad, I do think they perform better warmed up with their wrestlers having a match or two already under their belt on the day. Regardless, feeling the pressure of this tough competition seems like a great opportunity to regroup back in the practice room for Life before conferences and nationals against NAIA competition. Coach Ashley Flavin had been hoping for this matchup from what she said to me in a preseason interview, as she is always looking to line up challenging competition for her team. If iron sharpens iron, then both of these teams should be set to slash through some competition for the rest of this season.


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

    William Penn (12) vs Grand View (33)


    Iowa Duals VIEW RESULTS

    Robert Horton Memorial Open VIEW BRACKETS


    Upcoming Events

    January 23: North Central vs University of Wisconsin-Stephens Point

    January 24: Central Methodist vs Baker

    January 25: Campbellsville vs Lourdes

    January 26: Indiana Tech Warrior Duals

    January 26: Menlo vs Vanguard

    January 27: Indiana Tech Warrior Open

    January 29: Grand View vs Missouri Valley

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