Photo by Chris Mora, Tech-Fall.com
For the eighth year in a row, California powered their way to the Junior women’s freestyle team title in Fargo. The Golden State has never finished outside of the top two since the division debuted here in 2002, claiming their 13th Junior women’s freestyle crown all-time. California put 20 women on the award’s stand and claimed four titles, outpointing runner-up Wisconsin 99-45. They head into the Junior Duals starting tonight as the odds on favorite after claiming team titles in both age divisions this year.
The California individual titles came in pairs on Friday evening, starting with Selma teammates Alleida Martinez (117) and Gracie Figueroa (122). Martinez avenged her loss to Cameron Guerin (Washington) from Women’s Nationals before Figueroa won her fifth title, pulling within one of Teshya Alo’s all-time record.
Alexandra Castillo (200) and Arianna Cobian (225) closed the evening claiming stop signs for California by defeating teammates.
While Figueroa will attempt to become the second six-time women’s champion next summer in Fargo, the third wrestler to do it might not be far behind. Emily Shilson (Minnesota, 100) claimed her fourth title, after her third came in the Cadet tournament earlier in the week, with a gorgeous headlock that ended what was a 6-6 match against Genae Sampract (Illinois).
In a clash of Cadet World medalists, Macey Kilty (Wisconsin), who won bronze in 2016, edged Ronna Heaton (South Dakota), a two-time Cadet World finalist who has a gold to her credit, 4-1 at 127. Kilty’s physical style proved too much for the field as she earned Outstanding Wrestler honors, just as she did when she won the Cadet crown on Tuesday.
Vayle Rae Baker (Pennsylvania), a 2015 and 2017 Cadet world team member, just held on to defeat two-time Junior world team member McKayla Campbell (Ohio), 11-11, after giving up a late takedown at 106.
Alisha Howk (Wisconsin) was yet another Cadet world teamer to claim a stop sign Friday, outlasting Autumn Gordon (Ohio), 10-8.
Howk wasn’t the last as Alexandria Liles (Texas) will be headed in that direction for the second time. The 2016 double Fargo champion used stingy defense to keep Breanna Douglas (Kansas) at bay in a 6-1 victory at 132.
Emma Bruntil (Washington, 138) finally won what had been an elusive freestyle national title, adding Fargo champion to a resume that included a pair of Folkstyle Nationals championships and numerous close calls in the international style.
Jayden Laurent (Wisconsin) was simply dominant all tournament and put an exclamation point on her impressive performance, working over Cadet World bronze medalist Alara Boyd (Indiana) to the tune of a 10-0 tech in the finals at 144.
In what could be considered the upset of the night, Alexis Gomez (Illinois, 152) stunned 2016 Fargo champ and 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist Kayla Marano (Georgia), 9-7.
Sydnee Kimber continued the long tradition of strong women from Alaska, knocking off Dymond Guilford (California), 10-4, at 164.
In the other candidate for the night’s biggest surprise, Marissa Patterson (Kansas), another athlete who had won Folkstyle Nationals, but never ascended to the top step in freestyle, put Jesse Kirby (Virginia) on her back early and finished the fight, pinning the former Fargo champion in 1:23.