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2018 NWCA National Duals – WCWA Preview

2018 WCWA National Duals

By now the presents have all been unwrapped, the eggnog is all gone, and you’ve made yet another set of resolutions for the new year that you are sure to not follow through with.  Yes, the holidays are winding down and you are without a doubt feeling the pain from too much glazed ham, too many of Grandpa’s soda pops, and all you have to show for it is another pair of knitted socks from your favorite Grandma.  No worries though.  What better cure for that holiday hangover than sitting back in your favorite lounger, following some of the toughest women in the college throw down for the title of the women’s division at the 2018 NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals?  A strong field that includes an astounding eight teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the WCWA will convene in Fort Wayne, Indiana January 4th-5th, 2018 at War Memorial Coliseum to battle it out for bragging rights at Mat Mayhem.  Below is all the information you need to help you follow all the action in what is sure to some exciting wrestling.

Check out our previews of the NAIA, NCAA Division II, and NCAA Division III as well!

The Field and Seeds

#1 Campbellsville University

The Lady Tigers of Campbellsville have held the number two spot in the country the duration of the season and an argument could be made for putting them in the top spot.  They have been one of the hottest teams, competing often and winning everything.  They boast a lineup with plenty of depth that includes 11 wrestlers ranked in the top eight of their weight class and also have arguably the best wrestler in the WCWA in three-time national champion Kayla Miracle.  Their depth will afford them the ability to move people around in their lineup to give them advantageous matchups they prefer against their opponents.  A perfect 11-0 in duals on the season, Campbellsville also holds team titles at the Emmanuel College Open, the recent NAIA Invitational, and the Mid-South Conference Championships.  With a third-place finish at this event the last two years the Lady Tigers enter this tournament as the top seed and will be considered the favorites to capture the team title.

Potential Lineup:

101 – #6 Kaitlyn Pizzo

109 – #4 Charlotte Fowler

116 – #2 (109) McKayla Campbell

123 – #7 (130) Steffanie Hampton

130 – #2 Shelby Hall

136 – #1 Kayla Miracle/#3 Koral Sugiyama

143 – #6 Alexia Foca

155 – Morgan Becker

170 – #5 Mariah Harris

191 – #4 Kaitlyn Hill/#8 Jesse Grubbs

#2 McKendree University

The third-ranked McKendree University Bearcats finished as runners-up at this event in 2017.  This year they return another very talented and deep squad that will be anxious to stake their claim to the top spot on the podium.  Like Campbellsville, the Bearcats also have 11 wrestlers ranked in the top eight of their weight class and this will also provide them with a lot of flexibility in creating matchups in their favor.  The team is led by top-ranked, two-time national finalist Megan Black and includes many other wrestlers who have obtained All-American status.  The team is 2-0 in duals and also were the team champs at the Missouri Valley Open. Seeded second, the Bearcats will be ready to claw their way back to the finals for the second consecutive year, this time looking to finish the job.

Potential Lineup:

101 – Coellet Rangel

109 – #7 Vanessa Ramirez

116 – Allissa Maldanado

123 – #2 Brenda Reyna/#4 Gabrielle Weyhrich/#5 Lindsey Spjut

130 – #1 Megan Black

136 – #8 Darla Allen

143 – #2 Alexis Porter/#3 Cassandra Herkelman

155 – #4 Alexandria Glaude/#7 Andrea Sennett

170 – #7 Brandy Lowe

191 – Destane Garrick

#3 Wayland Baptist University

Wayland Baptist currently sits as the fifth-ranked team in the WCWA and will be seeded third at this event.  Since 2014, they have not finished higher than fourth at this event.  In 2016 and 2017 they finished seventh and fifth respectively.  While not as deep a team in terms of individual rankings they do have six wrestlers ranked in the top eight of their weight class including Brittany Marshall, the top-ranked wrestler at 170-pounds.  Their lineup also includes a couple of standout freshmen in Junior world bronze medalist Asia Ray and the red-hot Gabriela Ramos-Diaz.  The Pioneers are currently 1-0 in duals on the season and also added impressive performances at the Oklahoma City Open, the Missouri Valley Open, and the Wayland Baptist Open to their resume as well.  While it will take a lot to go their way to win the title, they are in good position to achieve their best finish since 2014 at this event and look to prove they are one of the top teams in the country.  

Potential Lineup:

101 – #3 Asia Ray

109 – #5 Mayra Ramirez

116 – #2 Gabriela Ramos-Diaz

123 – Leah Olguin

130 – Asia Igafo

136 – Breanna Dudoit-Vasquez

143 – #5 Brittany Bates/#7 Marina Briceno

155 – Skylar Brock

170 – #1 Brittany Marshall

191 – Alexis Tarango

#4 King University

The four-time defending WCWA national champions King University finds themselves in an unfamiliar spot at this year’s event.  Not only have they won the last four WCWA crowns, they have also entered this event as the top seed and claimed the team title the last four years as well.  Their amazing run looks to be in jeopardy this year.  However, for what is supposed to be considered a down year for King, they still have a talented and seasoned squad that knows how to scrap and are accustomed to winning.  Currently the sixth-ranked WCWA team, their lineup includes six wrestlers ranked in the top-eight of their weight class.  The team is led by the amazing Doi twins, the top two ranked wrestlers at 101-pounds.  King is currently 8-1 in duals on the season including wins over University of the Cumberlands, Lindenwood-Belleville, Emmanuel College, and Life University.  Their lone loss on the season was a lopsided defeat at the hands of Campbellsville. Seeded fourth at this year’s event, they will have a challenging road to repeat as team champs.  

Potential Lineup:

101 – #1 Marina Doi/#2 Regina Doi

109 – #6 Aleeah Gould

116 – Isabella Hook

123 – Briana Kellin

130 – #5 Allison Petix

136 – #7 Nicole Joseph

143 – Leilani Vital

155 – Jessi Kee

170 – #8 Clarc Walker

191 – Victoria Espinosa

#5 Emmanuel College

The sixth-ranked Emmanuel College women’s wrestling team is one of the up and coming programs in the WCWA.  Armed with a great coaching staff and some talented youngsters, they’ve seen themselves move up two spots in the rankings since the beginning of the season as the team continues to improve.  The team includes six wrestlers currently ranked in the top-eight of their weight, is led by two-time national champion and the top-ranked wrestler at 109-pounds, Cody Pfau.  The team is battle tested, having competed just as much as any other team in the WCWA this season.  Currently 12-4 on the season in duals, the team was also recently runner-up at the West Coast Tournament of Champions.  When this team is clicking they can be a tough out for anyone.  Emmanuel is the fifth-seed.

Potential Lineup:

101 –

109 – #1 Cody Pfau/#3 Maria Vidales

116 – #7 Victoria Gutierrez/#8 Alexis Encinas

123 – #7 (116) Victoria Gutierrez/#8 (116) Alexis Encinas

130 – #6 Abigail Nette

136 – Sadie Tackett

143 – #4 Kayla Marano

155 – Felicity Bryant

170 – Ophelia Lara

191 – Briana Jordan

#6 Grays Harbor College

Eighth-ranked Grays Harbor College, another rising WCWA program, will make their first appearance at this event and do so as the sixth-seed at this year’s Mat Mayhem.  A program still in its infancy at less than two-years-old, they have seen their team ranking improve by six spots since starting the preseason as the 14th ranked squad.  The team is led by All-American transfers, Paige Baynes and Desiree Zavala.  All-American Kacie Moorehouse was expected to redshirt this season but it appears that is not the case after she wrestled in the Simon Fraser dual in December and we should see her in this event.  This team is not built to challenge in a dual format tournament just yet but with three wrestlers ranked in the top-four of their respective weights, the Lady Chokers continue to make positive strides and could provide some intriguing matchups.

Potential Lineup:

101 – #4 Nina Pham

109 – Julian Yates

116 – Kateri Rowell/Sophia Hernandez

123 – Brittany Winn

130 – Deni Kroeze/Alexis Morfin

136 – #4 Desiree Zavala

143 – Veronica Coppolino

155 – Jenna Doll

170 – Kacie Moorehouse

191 – #2 Paige Baynes

#7 Oklahoma City University

The ninth-ranked Oklahoma City University Stars are no stranger to the NWCA National Duals having placed in the top-four each of the last four years, including twice being the runner-up to King University.  This year they have not competed much but still have a solid team and enter as the seventh-seed.  The lineup includes four wrestlers ranked in the top-eight of their weight class and are led by U23 World Team member and returning All-American Rachel Watters.  Watters is currently the second-ranked wrestler at 170-pounds.  The Stars have turned in solid performances at the Midland Lady Warrior Open, Missouri Valley Open, and the Oklahoma City Open.

Potential Lineup:

101 – Mariah Lomas

109 – Raven Guidry

116 – Leiana Nacapuy

123 – #7 Daniela Flores/#8 Monica Mendoza

130 – Erin Redford

136 – Natalia Hinojo

143 – Margaret Douma

155 – #6 Yvonne Galindo

170 – #2 Rachel Watters

191 – Monica Mason

#8 Life University

11th-ranked Life University makes a return to Mat Mayhem this year after missing the 2017 event and hopes to improve on their 0-2 performance last time out.  The Running Eagles are in line to be seeded eighth and are coming off an impressive dual meet victory over Emmanuel College in what was the first ever senior night for the fledgling program.  With three wrestlers ranked in the top-eight, the team is led by two-time All-American Nadine Fiege.

Potential Lineup:

101 – Amber Garriga/Alyssa Martinez

109 – Alanda Nguyen

116 – Tyesha Topps

123 – #4 (116) Jennifer Juarez

130 – #8 Aysia Cortez

136 – Christina Font

143 – Zoe Wight

155 – Raven Thomas

170 – Jordan Nelson

191 – #3 Nadine Fiege/Stephanie Pantoja

#9 University of the Cumberlands

Head coach Donnie Stephens and the 10th-ranked University of the Cumberlands women’s wrestling team is turning in another solid season, competing quite often and having success.  Currently 9-3 in duals with their only losses coming to Campbellsville and King, they’ve also turned in strong performances at the Emmanuel College Open, Missouri Valley Open, and recently the NAIA Invitational where they finished as the runner-up behind Campbellsville.  The Patriots currently have four wrestlers ranked in the top-eight of their weight class and are led by returning All-American Maia Phanthadara.  This team has not finished higher than fourth at this event in the last four years and will be looking to change that this year as the ninth-seed.

Potential Lineup:

101 – #7 Maia Phanthadara/#8 Rebecca Forsyth

109 – Jessica Rodriguez

116 – #3 Autumn Gordon

123 – #6 Kelly-Ann Jimenez

130 – Ismileyna Valles

136 – Ashley Ikner

143 – Kailee Godinez

155 – Anna Naylor

170 – Payton Rigert

191 – Courtney Tompkins

#10 Eastern Oregon University

13th-ranked Eastern Oregon University will slide in as the 10th-seed in their first-ever trip to Mat Mayhem.  A young program only in their second season of existence, they have found a way to find success quickly.  Coming off a fifth-place team finish at the recent West Coast Tournament of Champions, this will prove to be another good test for the upstart program.

Potential Lineup:

101 – Lisa Megargee

109 – Leah Olsen/Cassidy Freeman

116 – #8 (109) Jessica DeHart

123 – #5 (116) Amber Pair

130 –

136 –

143 – Renay Monohan

155 – Alexis Cavero

170 – Madison Bozovich

191 – Jacey Lindner

#11 Missouri Baptist College

15th-ranked Missouri Baptist College, led by rising freshman Dymond Guilford, will be making the trip this year to Fort Wayne, Indiana and will be the 11th-seed.

Potential Lineup:

101 – Maria Ahumada

109 – Kayla Walker

116 – Jennifer Bonilla

123 – Tam Tillman

130 – Briana Davie

136 – Crystal Zamarripa/Yulissa Medrano-Lagunas

143 – Marki Simmons

155 – Aylin Hernandez

170 – #4 Dymond Guilford

191 – Darcie Manning-O’Brien

#12 Missouri Valley College

Missouri Valley College enters as the 12th-seed and is led by All-American and seventh-ranked wrestler at 191-pounds Alyssa Cantu.  

Potential Lineup:

101 –

109 –

116 –

123 – Addie Mejia/Julia Hooper

130 – Rachel Mitchell

136 – Anna Poyner

143 – Bethany Davis

155 – Yuneris Taveras/Nancy Becerra

170 – Katie Sugden

191 – #7 Alyssa Cantu

#13 University of Jamestown

The 13th-seed is the University of Jamestown.

Potential Lineup:

101 –

109 – Angel Ogden

116 – Lilliana Cortes

123 – Chelsea Dionisio

130 – Caitlyn Kaz

136 – Cara Romeike

143 – Analy Gonzalez

155 – Jessalyn Spooner

170 – Alyssa Schrull

191 – Diana Lopez

#14 Southwestern Oregon Community College

Rounding out the field as the 14th-seed is Southwestern Oregon Community College.

Potential Lineup:

101 –

109 – Marie Seely

116 – Kacy Holmgren

123 – Eyza Abbas

130 – Sierra Joner

136 – Olivia DeMars

143 – Caitlyn Lamouree

155 – Makaela Fine

170 – Ivory Ayers

191 – Ebony Ayers

TOM’s Prediction

As with most wrestling events, the seeding will be important for this year’s women’s division of the NWCA duals and after the top two teams, it gets interesting.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the wrestling action got started a bit early this year behind closed doors in the seed meeting as coaches were fighting for the best seed they could get their team.  If it did come down to this and you’re the coach that had to go takedowns with Emmanuel co-head coach Kristie Davis (Marano) for a seed, well then you probably lost.  In year’s past, they have seeded out the entire field and did so again for this edition of the event.  Campbellsville and McKendree are the clear top-two teams in the stacked field this year. Based on the schedule they’ve wrestled and the success they’ve had, I believe Campbellsville earned the top seed.  Both will receive a first-round bye.  Seeding could have gotten a bit tricky when it comes to the three, four, and five spots however but it seems as if the current WCWA team rankings are indicative of the seeds.  In my opinion, though Wayland Baptist is currently ranked ahead of King and Emmanuel by one spot in the latest team rankings, King could have had an argument for the three-seed.  The reigning champion Tornado are 8-1 in duals on the season with their only blemish at the hands of Campbellsville. They also defeated Emmanuel earlier in the season.  Instead, Wayland Baptist is the three, King the four, and Emmanuel the five seed.  If I was the Cumberlands head coach, I’d be more than a little peeved at this considering an early season dual victory over Emmanuel.  Rising stars Grays Harbor earns the six-seed and Oklahoma City University, Life University, and Cumberlands will round out the top nine seeds respectively.

The top-four seeds should all move into the semifinals with relative ease.  Campbellsville should have no issue clearing their quarter over Cumberlands.  While the Lady Tigers should win handily, as they already did earlier in the season, an interesting match between freshman studs #2 (109) McKayla Campbell (CU) and #3 Autumn Gordon (UC) should provide plenty of excitement.  In King’s quarter, they will more than likely face Emmanuel.  Emmanuel is having a really good season, however, King’s depth and experience will be the difference again as it was when the two teams met in November with King winning, 29-17.  Wayland Baptist has too much depth and talent for Grays Harbor to hang with and should also advance with relative ease.  However, this dual will provide some outstanding matchups especially at 101-pounds with #3 Asia Ray (WB) and #4 Nina Pham (GH) potentially scrapping. In the final quarter, McKendree should easily dispatch Oklahoma City University.  Be sure to pay close attention to the 170-pound matchup between #2 Rachel Watters (OKC) and the extremely dangerous #7 Brandy Lowe (MU).  Both All-Americans will be in the running for the 170-pound crown in February.

The semifinals should provide plenty of excitement as fans will be treated to four of the top six teams in the country squaring off when Campbellsville wrestles King University and McKendree University battles Wayland Baptist.  It would appear that King’s amazing run of team titles at this event will come to an end this year.  Campbellsville’s lineup is peppered with high-end talent and their depth will provide them with all the advantage they need.  These two teams met up previously back in October with Campbellsville throwing a beating of epic proportions at King.  The final score in that meeting was 37-8, however, King was without stars Regina Doi, Aleeah Gould, and Jessi Kee.  While I don’t expect this match to be as big a blowout as the first one I don’t anticipate the Lady Tigers to have much trouble either.  Watch out for a potential rematch at 130-pounds between #3@136 Koral Sugiyama and #5 Allison Petix.  Sugiyama got the fall in their earlier match and Petix will be looking for a little revenge.  Another exciting match for the fans could occur at 109-pounds if King decides to bump up one of the Doi twins to take on either #2 McKayla Campbell or #4 Charlotte Fowler.  You have to favor either Doi if this match would occur, but it is sure to provide some fireworks.  In the other semifinal, McKendree is the clear favorite over Wayland Baptist.  McKendree’s lineup is also littered with ranked wrestlers and serious talent. Their depth will be too much for Wayland Baptist to handle.  It’s amazing that McKendree has three wrestlers ranked in the top-five at 123-pounds, and I would love to see them get after it at practice.  McKendree’s Brandy Lowe will not have it any easier in this dual as she will be set to take on the top-ranked wrestler at 170-pounds, Brittany Marshall, after already facing the second-ranked wrestler earlier.  Call it a hunch, but I think Lowe puts herself in position for the OW award and possibly the top spot in that weight class after this event.  Another intriguing match could occur at 109-pounds when #7 Vanessa Ramirez (MU) and #5 Mayra Ramirez (WB) throw down.  Give me Ramirez in this match and McKendree in the dual.

If the stars are aligned and both teams are at full strength, we will be treated to a belated Christmas gift in the finals when Campbellsville and McKendree meet up.  Both teams boast an astounding 11 wrestlers ranked in the top-eight. A battle royale between the numbers two and three ranked teams in the country will surely be a delight for the fans.  The dual could feature seven matches with battles between ranked wrestlers.  Here’s how I see this playing out.

#2 Campbellsville vs. #3 McKendree

101 – #6 Kaitlyn Pizzo (CU) vs. Coellet Rangel (MU)

One of the keys to victory for Campbellsville will be to take advantage of their strength in the lightweights over McKendree.  Kaitlyn Pizzo does what she needs to here and gets the job done for the Lady Tigers with a win by decision.

Campbellsville 3 McKendree 0

109 – #4 Charlotte Fowler (CU) vs. #7 Vanessa Ramirez (MU)

All-American Charlotte Fowler will be looking to keep it rolling for Campbellsville here over Ramirez and does so by getting another decision win for her team.

Campbellsville 6 McKendree 0

116 – #2 McKayla Campbell (CU) vs. Allissa Maldanado (MU)

Freshman superstar McKayla Campbell will be a huge favorite for Campbellsville against Maldanado.  Look for Campbell to pick up important bonus in this match with a technical fall victory.

Campbellsville 10 McKendree 0

123 – #7 (130) Steffanie Hampton vs. #2 Brenda Reyna (MU)

McKendree needs a win here to get back in the dual and freshman stud Brenda Reyna is a good bet to do it.  In fact, I think she picks up a little bonus with a technical fall.

Campbellsville 10 McKendree 4

130 – #2 Shelby Hall (CU) vs. #1 Megan Black (MU)

The marquee match of the night could be here in a showdown between the top two wrestlers in this weight.  Both wrestlers are three-time All-Americans and this should be a doozy.  I like Black to get the win here for McKendree by decision.

Campbellsville 10 McKendree 7

136 – #3 Koral Sugiyama (CU) vs. #8 Darla Allen (MU)

Campbellsville has two amazing athletes they could throw out here and I expect we see third-ranked Koral Sugiyama.  Having placed third and seventh at the last two WCWA national championships, she will be too much for Allen to handle and should secure at least a decision.

Campbellsville 13 McKendree 7

143 – #1 (136) Kayla Miracle (CU) vs. #2 Alexis Porter (MU)

Look for Campbellsville to bump up the top-ranked wrestler at 136-pounds, Kayla Miracle, to take on Alexis Porter.  Porter, the number two wrestler in the country would be a tough match for just about anyone other than Miracle.  I expect Miracle to secure the technical fall here.

Campbellsville 17 McKendree 7

155 – #6 (143) Alexia Foca (CU) vs. #4 Alexandria Glaude (MU)

McKendree needs a win here to have any chance at staying in this dual and All-American Glaude is a great bet to get it done, even over the tough Foca.  Look for Glaude to secure the decision.

Campbellsville 17 McKendree 10

170 – #5 Mariah Harris (CU) vs. #7 Brandy Lowe (MU)

Two-time All-American and former national finalist Brandy Lowe will square off against Mariah Harris.  Harris, herself an All-American after finishing seventh in 2017 as an unseeded wrestler.  McKendree needs something big from Lowe here and I think she continues with her historic day by getting the fall.

Campbellsville 17 McKendree 15

191 – #4 Kaitlyn Harris (CU) vs. Destane Garrick (MU)

It all comes down to the final match as fourth-ranked Kaitlyn Harris and Destane Garrick will scrap for the team title.  Don’t let Garrick not being ranked fool you.  With a title at the Oklahoma City Open and a runner-up finish at the Missouri Valley Open, she can battle.  I like Garrick to gut out a decision win here over Harris to lift McKendree to the team title after a runner-up finish in 2017.

Campbellsville 17 McKendree 18

Regardless of how this dual plays out, I expect it to be very close and bonus points and/or creative use of rosters could be the difference.  Either team is more than capable of coming away as the winner and the only thing guaranteed is that you don’t want to miss it.

 

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