1. 4 School Represented among Missouri Valley Open Champions
At one of women’s wrestling’s premier tournaments, the Missouri Valley Open, wrestlers from Iowa, Southern Oregon, William Penn, and Simon Fraser all had championship finishes. Over 450 athletes from both NCAA and NAIA teams competed in the two-day tournament.
At 101 lbs, #5 (NCAA) Sterling Dias of Iowa won a close 6-6 decision in the finals on criteria over teammate #2 (NCAA) Emilie Gonzalez. It’s clear that these two wrestle close in the room and were able to hold each other to a decision rather than the usual techs and pins you see from each of these wrestlers. Dias also beat #5 (NAIA) Stafana Jelacic of Lourdes and #17 (NAIA) Abbeygael Cabaug of Vanguard.
At 109 lbs, #1 (NAIA) Mia Palumbo of William Penn claimed the sole championship finish for the Statesmen with a 2-1 win over #2 (NCAA) Ava Bayless of Iowa. Palumbo also took out #6 (NAIA) Elizabeth Dosado of the University of the Cumberlands.
At 116 lbs, Iowa’s #4 (NCAA) Brianna Gonzalez won by decision 8-0 over #9 (NCAA) Salyna Shotwell of McKendree. Gonzalez also faced 3 other ranked opponents during the tournament including #9 (NAIA) Katherine Heath, #3 (NCAA) Payton Stroud, and #1 (NAIA) Camille Fournier.
The Hawkeyes claimed another title at 123 lbs with #2 (NCAA) Felicity Taylor beating Shelby Moore of McKendree 8-4. She had ranked wins over #6 (NAIA) Sophia Smith and #8 (NAIA) Catharine Campbell.
Returning NAIA team champion Southern Oregon got their first champ of the night in #1 (NAIA) Carolina Moreno at 130 lbs. Moreno is the returning champ at the weight for NAIA teams and continued a winning streak that has lasted since January of 2023. She had ranked wins over #10 (NAIA) Joanna Vanderwood of William Penn and #7 (NAIA) Elizabeth Duvall of Texas Wesleyan.
One of the few unranked champions of the day, Esther Han of Iowa made a statement at 136 lbs. She beat Alexandra Szkotnicki of McKendree by tech in the finals. While there were not as many ranked wrestlers at this weight compared to some others, Han did have a dominant pin against #14 (NAIA) Gianna Moreno in the semis.
#1 (NCAA) Reese Larramendy of Iowa took first place at 143 lbs with a pin over #2 (NAIA) Emma Walker of Campbellsville in the finals. She also handled her run-ins with #3 (NAIA) Bella Amaro of SOU and #5 (NAIA) Mea Mohler of Texas Wesleyan.
At 155 lbs, Southern Oregon claimed their second title of the day with a decision by #1 (NAIA) Caitlyn Davis over #8 (NCAA) Madison Sandquist of Sacred Heart in the finals 7-2. This win by Davis made Southern Oregon the only team other than Iowa to have more than one champ at the open.
170 lbs was an interesting situation as unattached Dymond Guilford claimed the title. Guilford is a 4x collegiate champ and former Senior National Team member. One of the reasons the tournament is so popular and important on the schedule is because of the types of matchups that happen as a result of both NAIA and NCAA wrestlers competing in the same tournament in addition to former college wrestlers and even some high schoolers. Guilford had a tough match in the finals against current NCAA #1 Kylie Welker of Iowa who competed in the 2021 Senior World Championships. Guildford claimed the 4-2 decision after a day of techs and pins including a win over #7 (NCAA) Haley Ward also of Iowa.
Simon Fraser claimed a champion at 191 lbs with #7 (NCAA) Julia Richey. Richey won her finals match over #5 (NCAA) Alivia White of Iowa. Richey also took out #4 (NCAA) Madeline Hodges of Sacred Heart and #4 (NAIA) Maquoia Bernabe of the University of the Cumberlands. While there were a few upsets in the tournament, Richey was the standout as far as wrestling above her rank. I would look for an adjustment to her standing in the next round of updated rankings.
Iowa had their final champion at the 235 lb weight class with Samantha Calkins beating Isabeau Shalack of Colorado Mesa by decision, 5-2. There are currently no rankings at 235 lbs at the collegiate level and it is not a weight that wrestles in end-of-season tournaments for NCAA or NAIA teams. However, this tends to be a hot topic, with many groups pushing for the approval and addition of the heavyweight weight class to be added.
2. National Champ Returns for One More Year
In one of the biggest lineup additions this season, 2x NCWWC champ Emma Bruntil announced her return to college wrestling on social media this week. After wrestling for the Bearcats in 2020 and 2021, Bruntil announced her move to the transfer portal, but never committed to another team in that time. She went on to become a 2023 Senior World Team member. In an interview with Bruntil, she expressed that fans could see her in the lineup next semester. She also said that many of McKendree’s top wrestlers including returning champ Cam Guerin at 130 lbs would be returning soon and the team cannot be counted out of the championship title conversation. Check out the full interview with her here.
3. Bill Farrell Sends Collegiate Wrestlers to Olympic Trials
The Bill Farrell Memorial International is a pivotal competition for Olympic hopefuls. The top U.S. placewinner in each weight class who has not already qualified some other way, earns a spot at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Challenge Tournament. The U.S. has 6 qualifiers headed to the trial after their results at the tournament. Erin Golston at 50 kg, Alisha Howk at 53 kg, Xochitl Mota-Pettis at 57 kg, Katerina Lange at 62 kg, Alexandria Glaude at 68 kg, and Yelena Makoyed at 76 kg. This is in addition to Mallory Velte, who won at 68 kg, but has already qualified for the trials, leaving the spot open for Alexandria Glaude. While many of these wrestlers either did not wrestle on a college team or have already completed their college careers, Lange was the 2023 Collegiate Champ at 143 lbs for Augsburg as a sophomore and could always return with her additional eligibility.
Results this week in major NCAA, NCWA, and NAIA competitions
North Central 38 Carthage 3
Missouri Baptist 30 Quincy 14
Missouri Valley Open VIEW BRACKETS
Bill Farrell VIEW BRACKETS
Beaver Bash Duals VIEW BRACKETS
Blue Hose Challenge VIEW RESULTS
Lindenwood Duals VIEW RESULTS
Spokane Open VIEW BRACKETS
Albion College Invite VIEW BRACKETS
All-Star Classic - November 21
North Central vs Augustana - November 22