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Gray dominates Francis to win Senior Nationals title; Page, Molinari also win titles

Adeline Gray with her plaque after winning a Senior Nationals title at 76 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

CORALVILLE, Iowa -- On Saturday, Adeline Gray showed why she is No. 1 in the world.

The five-time world champion captured the Senior Nationals title at 76 kilograms with a first-period technical superiority over world fifth-place finisher Victoria Francis.

Gray scored first with a two-point exposure and built her lead to 4-0 when she countered a Francis attack for a takedown. After exposing Francis two more times, she finished the match with a double leg takedown.

Four years ago, Gray defeated Francis to make the 2016 Olympic team. The two were teammates on the 2019 world team, with Gray competing at 76 kilograms and Francis wrestling down a weight class at 72 kilograms.

"I was excited to go out there," Gray said after her finals match. "She's big and strong. I don't know if she has solidified what weight she is going [for the Olympic Team Trials]. So hopefully I convinced her to go back down to 68, but we'll see what happens at Olympic Trials.

"She gave me my longest match of the day. She's definitely a contender no matter what weight she goes at. She's strong and tough and dedicated, everything we are building here as Team USA."

The 29-year-old Gray finished the tournament unscored upon, after getting a 37-second fall in her first match, which she followed up with a 10-0 technical superiority in the semifinals.

Also winning titles in women's wrestling on Saturday were Jennifer Page (62 kilograms) and Forrest Molinari (68 kilograms).

Jennifer Page after winning the title at 62 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Page mounted a late rally in the 62-kilogram finals to stun five-time age group world medalist Macey Kilty, 4-3. Kilty was in control most of the match. She scored a takedown off a single leg just over a minute into the match and took a 2-0 lead into the break. Kilty extended her lead to 3-0 by scoring a point off the activity clock. Page scored her first point off a step out with 35 seconds remaining. A short time later, Kilty took a shot, which Page countered for a takedown with exposure. After the flurry, the scoreboard showed Page up 7-3, but was later changed to 4-3 with five seconds remaining. When action resumed, Kilty took a shot but was unable to score as time ran out, giving Page the one-point victory.

"The whole time I knew I needed to get my offense going," said Page. "I was a little slow in the beginning, but I picked up the pace and found a way to score."

Forrest Molinari won by fall in the finals at 68 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Molinari, a two-time world fifth-place finisher, claimed her third straight Senior Nationals title with a second-period fall over Skylar Grote. Grote scored the first point off a step out, but it was all Molinari the rest of the way. Molinari took a 3-1 lead into the break. In the second period, she threw Grote to her back and secured the fall.

Molinari competed at 65 kilograms but moved up to 68 kilograms for her Olympic run. She says she's not looking ahead despite knowing the Olympics are on the horizon.

"Every day it's the same goal, to get better," said Molinari. "I'm not looking ahead to the Olympics. I'm looking at what I'm going to do tomorrow to get better. You just go day-by-day. When you're looking at the whole thing, it's too much. What do I need to do today to get better? That's why coming out of quarantine I think I still look pretty good, and I didn't have everything that I'm used to having during quarantine."

Sarah Hildebrandt, who won a Senior Nationals title on Friday night, was named Outstanding Wrestler of the women's wrestling competition.

Finals results:
62 kilograms: Jennifer Page dec. Macey Kilty, 4-3
68 kilograms: Forrest Molinari pinned Skylar Grote, 4:20
76 kilograms: Adeline Gray tech. Victoria Francis, 10-0

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