Jacarra Winchester at the 2022 World Championships (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
It's US Open week! Starting Wednesday, from the SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas, will be the host of national championships events for six different age groups. Today, we're focusing on Senior Women's Freestyle.
The entire Senior Open, women's freestyle included, is drastically different this year from years past. The qualification process for the World Team has changed so that returning world medalists are automatically in Final X (if they accept their berth) and they'll meet the winner of the US Open. For most women's freestyle weights, a spot on the Senior World team rests on their performance at the Open.
For weight classes without a returning world medalist, the Open is a qualifying event for the World Team Trials, which are a few weeks from now in Colorado. The top-seven placewinners from the Open will qualify for the Trials if they haven't done so already.
So, with that in mind, here's what to expect in our weight-by-weight preview of the 2023 Senior Women's Open.
Waiting in Final X: Sarah Hildebrandt
Right off the bat, we've got a really deep weight class at 50 kg. There are six age-group world medalists at this weight. It will be an interesting dynamic at 50 kg, because it has been dominated by Sarah Hildebrandt since she moved down for the 2020 Olympic Trials. Her Final X opponent, Alyssa Lampe, a two-time world bronze medalist has entered and will be a favorite in Vegas. Despite the veteran presence at the top of this weight, there's a shift toward youth as there are plenty of talented young women in this bracket.
Another one of the mainstays in title contention is Erin Golston, who is still looking to make her first world team at the Senior level. Golston was the winner here in each of the last two years. After losing a tight first match to Lampe in the World Team Trials, Golston was pinned by Lampe in the second bout, securing a place for Lampe in Final X.
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