photo courtesy of Jim Thrall
As expected at 50 kg in the women’s freestyle tournament, the top seed Victoria Anthony is sitting in tomorrow’s final. Anthony was challenged by Augsburg freshman Emily Shilson in the semi’s, but managed to gut out a 2-0 win. Her opponent will be Alyssa Lampe, a veteran who came back for another shot at the Olympic team. To say Lampe has been impressive would be a vast understatement. Alyssa has yet to get pushed past the first round in any of her three matches. In the semifinals, Lampe faced the second seed, Amy Fearnside, who was quite dominant in her own right. Lampe pinned Fearnside while up 10-0.
53 kg was the only weight class that went “chalk” on the women’s side. Three-time U23 World Team member Dom Parrish was not tested and tech all four of her opponents by a 10-0 score. She’ll face a familiar foe in Arena Villaescusa. The two met at the US Open and the World Team Trials at 55 kg. Villaescusa won the Open matchup while Parrish got revenge at the WTT’s. Villaescusa had one of the more exciting bouts of the semis when she downed Final X participant Katherine Shai, 4-4, on criteria. Areana trailed 2-0 after the first period and 4-2 with under 30 seconds left in the bout. She got in on Shai for a double leg and was able to confirm the takedown in the final seconds of the bout.
Without a doubt, the most unexpected finalist in any of the three women’s weight classes came at 57 kg when Menlo’s Tiana Jackson did so as the ninth seed. The top half of the bracket was in shambles after the top-seed, 2012 Olympian Kelsey Campbell, was upset in the Round of 32 by Jackson’s Menlo teammate Gracie Figueroa. Figueroa was then the victim of an upset herself, when she fell in her next match to Marissa Gallegos. Marissa couldn’t maintain her momentum and lost to Jackson 5-3. That set up a semifinal for Jackson against fifth-seeded Shauna Kemp, head coach of Jamestown University. Kemp held a 1-0 lead at the break, but couldn’t handle Jackson’s pressure. Tiana would score eight unanswered points to blow the match wide open. Now she’ll have to deal with third-seeded Abby Nette. Nette and Cameron Guerin got into the most entertaining match of the semifinals where a total of 20 points were scored and the lead changed hands three times. A late rally gave Nette the 11-9 win and put here in tomorrow’s final.
The Greco portion of the day featured an opening weight class filled with heavy hitters. 2019 US Open champion Leslie Fuenffinger had to get by 2018 World Team member Dalton Roberts to punch his ticket to the finals. Fuenffinger’s decisive scoring sequence came at the beginning of the second period when he threw Roberts for four points. Things were much less dramatic on the bottom half of the bracket where Sam Jones advanced after a medical forfeit by Ryan Mango.
Top-seeded Alejandro Sancho built off of his win at the Bill Farrell and will compete for the title tomorrow at 67 kg. Sancho managed to shut down a dangerous Nolan Baker in the semis for a 5-0 victory. He’ll have to face one of the hottest wrestlers in the Greco tournament on Friday, Calvin Germinaro. Germinaro teched 2006 World Champion Joe Warren 14-4 in the Round of 16, then put together another tech against Junior World bronze medalist Peyton Omania in the quarters. For his place in the finals, Germinaro channeled his win at the Bill Farrell by downing Michael Hooker, 10-4.
As is usually the case, Kamal Bey dazzled his way through the 77 kg weight class. In four matches, Bey logged eight four-point throws and one for five. Bey was actually down 1-0 after the first period in the semi’s against Corey Hope; however, he turned it on and scored 14 unanswered points to log his third tech in four matches. Bey will have to contend with one of the most experienced Greco wrestlers of the tournament in Jake Fisher. Seeded tenth the 2010 World Team member Fisher, knocked off seventh-seeded Andrew Berreyesa, second-seeded Peyton Walsh, and sixth-seeded RaVaughn Perkins. Only one of Fisher’s four matches went the distance.
The remainder of the Greco finals went according to plan with the top two seeds meeting at 97 with Luke Sheridan and Dan Miller, then Cohlton Schultz and Jacob Mitchell will renew acquaintances at 130 kg. 87 kg had a minor upset with third-seeded Jon Anderson getting by Chandler Rogers 5-2. He’ll face World Team member Patrick Martinez for the championship.