Sydney Petzinger photo courtesy of North Central athletics
Top 3 Takeaways
Historic Trailblazer Duals and Surprising Upsets
At the first-ever Trailblazer Duals at Carver-Hawkeye Arena over the weekend, a tough lineup of ranked teams that represent the four Division 1 programs with women’s wrestling faced off: #5 Sacred Heart, #8 Iowa, #11 Lindenwood and #13 Presbyterian.
#11 Lindenwood walked away with a loss to Iowa and a close upset loss to Presbyterian. However, the Lions team was able to come out with a victory against #5 Sacred Heart winning 22-20. The team saw impressive showings by several freshmen including a pin from Megan Valdez at 101 lbs, an 8-0 decision from Kate Cooper at 109 lbs, and a 12-2 decision by Marissa Sanabria at 135 lbs. Decision wins from Amanda McAleavey at 123 lbs, Cayden Condit at 130 lbs, and Alana Duggan at 143 lbs were enough to secure the Lions the victory.
On the flip side, #13 Presbyterian got their own close upset win over Lindenwood 25-20. Another young team with some dominant freshmen on the roster, the Blue Hose kept it close throughout the dual starting off strong with a tech fall from junior Chiara Barbieri. After the Lions got a tech of their own at 109 lbs, freshmen Alyssa Mahan picked up a pin at 123 lbs and Charlee Shuler battled for the decision win at 116 lbs. The team clinched it with back-to-back pins from freshman Maddie Kubicki at 155 lbs and Henlee Haynes at 170 lbs.
The remaining duals all went along with the team’s rankings except for the upset win for #8 Iowa over #5 Sacred Heart. While Sacred Heart did not have all their ranked wrestlers either at the event or in this dual specifically, the Hawkeyes still controlled almost every match. Each win in this dual came by pin or tech fall besides a forfeit at 123 lbs against Felicity Taylor. Madeline Hodges brought in the only Pioneer win in this dual, getting the 7-0 decision against Iowa’s Alivia White. Fans missed out on what could have been a very exciting matchup in the dual against Iowa’s Kylie Welker and Sacred Heart’s Cara Broadus. Broadus came in fourth last year at NCWWC’s and is the second-highest-placing returner at the weight this year. Hopefully, this matchup may happen in the future.
Of course, the biggest headline is the more than 8,200 fans in attendance for these duals, shattering the record for the largest crowd at a women’s wrestling event. It seems that Trailblazer Duals is a very fitting name for this historic event.
2. King University Crowns 9 Champs
Fifteen teams competed this past Saturday at the Eagle Madness Open hosted by Life University. The #2 ranked King University Tornados showed out with champions at nine different weight classes. They also had five additional places in the top 4, with three making the finals. There were also some significant wins for the Tornados on their way to the 1st place finish. Jessica Corredor beat returning NAIA All-American Devyn Gomez of Life in the semifinals at 101 lbs. Also, Danielle Garcia took down Elizabeth Dosado from the University of the Cumberlands who placed fourth at NAIA’s last year. There was an interesting mix of NCAA and NAIA schools at this tournament, as well as plenty of wrestlers competing unattached, so many of these matchups are ones we may not see again this season, but tournaments like this early in the season do provide a good measuring stick regardless. As King sends some wrestlers to Bill Ferrell next week before a long break until their next dual in December, they will surely try to capitalize on the momentum their wrestlers should have coming off a dominant tournament performance like this.
3. North Central Shows Out at Adrian
#1 North Central showed just how they secured the 2023 NCWWC title with two days of dominant wrestling at the Adrian Duals on Saturday and the Adrian Invite on Sunday. After taking down #6 Gannon 42-1, #10 (NAIA) Indiana Tech 35-7, and #10 Adrian 41-5, the Cardinals defeated #3 McKendree 34-11. This dual had a lot of ranked wrestlers, despite neither team sending out each of their top-ranked starters.
We saw #2 Kendra Ryan from North Central with a tech fall over #4 Pauline Granados of McKendree at 109lbs. Next, Sydney Petzinger who is ranked #1 at 109 lbs bumped up to 116 lbs and secured a decision over former NAIA finalist in 2022 Salyna Shotwell. Shotwell transferred from Life to McKendree in the offseason.
Both schools have ranked wrestlers at 123 lbs, but fans instead saw an exciting matchup between 3x AA Asia Nguyen-Smith and Olympic trials qualifier and WCWA champ Julia Vidallon. The match came down to the wire with Nguyen-Smith securing a last-second takedown for the 8-8 decision with criteria.
McKendree’s #3 ranked Jennifer Soto wrestled up a weight at 130 lbs to secure some much-needed team points with a pin over #8 at 136 lbs Salome Walker, who wrestled down at 130 lbs for this match. At 136 lbs, freshman Taylor Graveman of North Central got the tech over North Central freshman Estella Gutches.
In another unexpected weight switch, #1 at 136 lbs Yele Aycock for North Central bumped up to 143 lbs to take on #6 at 136 lbs Viktorya Torres who also bumped up. Aycock secured an 8-3 decision. #1 at 143 lbs London Houston also bumped up for this dual, facing Destiny Rodriquez at 155 lbs. Houston was able to secure a pin in 2:04 to add even more the the team’s growing score.
The Cardinals rounded out the dual with #4 at 155 lbs, Tiera Jimerson, getting a tech fall over Ruby Rios at 170 lbs and #2 Brittyn Corbishley getting a pin at 191 lbs.
Again, the two teams did not have full lineups of ranked starters, but still managed to have some very exciting bouts between them. Stay tuned for future opportunities to see some of their wrestlers face off like the Bearcat Open at McKendree in January and of course at the NCWWC National Championship.
As if the dominant wins at the Dual tournament were not enough, North Central also had impressive showings at the Adrian Invite, outscoring second-place Lock Haven by over 300 team points. While the Cardinals did bring over 25 competitors, they also had some signature wins contributing to their team total. However, before getting into the team’s win, there was a surprising upset at 101 lbs when Stefana Jelacic of Lourdes who finished 7th at last year’s NAIA tournament at 109 lbs took out returning NCAA champion #1 Madison Avila of North Central with an 11-0 tech. However, the Cardinals still picked up the second and eighth place finish at the weight.
At 109 lbs, #2 Kendra Ryan took 1st place with teammate Angelina Graff taking 5th. Up at 116 lbs #1 Sydney Petzinger finished first over #5 Izabella Frezzo. North Central also picked up 4th and 5th place at the weight as well.
Asia Nguyen-Smith continued her exciting weekend of wins with the first-place finish at 123 lbs, and was North Central’s only placer at the weight. However, at 130 lbs Salome Walker, Sara Sterner, Taylor Miess, and Haley Vann took 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th places respectively.
North Central also took the top 4 spots at 136 lbs with #1 Yele Aycock as the champ. The Cardinals then took 3rd, 4th and 7th place at 143 lbs. #4 Tiera Jimerson took second at 155 lbs behind #6 Noelle Gaffney of Northern Michigan. Lizzie Raleigh and Sarina Bertram picked up two more top 8 finishes for the Cardinals here as well.
North Central only had one top-eight finisher at 170 lbs with Larissa Gallo taking 6th place. The Cardinals did not have any wrestlers in the top 8 of the coaches preseason poll at the weight, so I am sure they are looking for someone like Gallo to continue to break through against conference competition.
Finally, #2 Brittyn Corbishley took the prize at 191 lbs with teammate Caroline Ward coming in third to round out the impressive lineup of finishers for North Central. As the season heats up with more battles against top teams like Iowa, Sacred Heart and King, fans should keep an eye out to see how these top contenders from last season look against new and former competitors.
Results this week in major NCAA, NCWA, and NAIA competitions
#8 Texas Wesleyan 25 Wayland Baptist 23
#3 McKendree 34 #10 Missouri Baptist 14
Life Duals VIEW BRACKETS
Eagle Madness VIEW BRACKETS
Waldorf Open VIEW BRACKETS
Campbellsville Open VIEW BRACKETS
Adrian Duals VIEW BRACKETS
Trailblazer Duals VIEW BRACKETS
Mike Clock Open VIEW BRACKETS
Adrian College Invite VIEW BRACKETS
Upcoming events for next week
October 14: North Central vs Carthage
October 17: Missouri Valley Open (Day 1), Bill Farrell, Beaver Bash Duals
October 18: Missouri Valley Open (Day 2)
October 19: Blue Hose Challenge, Lindenwood Duals, Spokane Open, Albion College Invite