photo courtesy of Brett Pierce; Campbellsville athletics
The Patricia Miranda Medal aims to honor one outstanding athlete from women’s college wrestling who embodies the spirit of the pioneers that came before them. A panel of voters that includes each of the past four-time WCWA champions, Helen Maroulis, Victoria Anthony, Emily Webster, and Kayla Miracle, along with 2019 winner Dominique Parrish, in addition to representation from the media selected a winner based on four criteria: record, dominance, past credentials, and additional accomplishments.
TOM is proud to announce the third annual winner of the Patricia Miranda Medal is Abby Nette of Campbellsville University. Through the final two years of her collegiate career, Abby had only one loss on her record and collected a pair of WCWA National Championships. The first came in 2019 with Emmanuel College, while the most recent was with Campbellsville. In her four years of collegiate competition, Abby finished as an All-American three times. She was previously third as a sophomore in 2018.
“I feel like this was a goal coming into this year and I’m glad I achieved this goal,” stated Nette when asked about winning the Miranda Medal. “I thought about it at the beginning of the year and I thought about it last year, and I wanted to make it happen this year, for sure.”
“It makes me feel really special. In high school, I wasn’t sure I was going to wrestle in college. So, where I am now, receiving this award, it’s special. It’s a pleasure. I’m excited for the future generations who will get to compete for this award, so it’s pretty exciting and being one of the first three to receive it”. Abby also calls the previous two winners of the award, Miracle and Parrish, her “two best friends.” She admits that she “looks up to both of them,” which makes the honor all the better.
Abby went 15-0 as a senior, competing primarily at 130 lbs, and cruised through the competition at WCWA’s in claiming her second title at the event. In five bouts, Nette outscored her competition 38-1, which doesn’t account for a fall in her opening match. Abby’s only bout of the 2019-20 season that went the distance, was her WCWA championship match, which she won by the score of 6-1. Seven matches ended via tech fall, while six were capped off by pins. The remaining win was by forfeit.
Nette was one of three WCWA National Champions for Campbellsville and helped lead the team to their second WCWA title in three years. The Tigers lapped the field at the event, doubling the team score of second-place, Life University (230-113). Abby and the rest of her Tiger teammates traveled to Jamestown, North Dakota for the NAIA National Championships; however, the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the criteria for the award is additional accomplishments and Nette has plenty outside of the collegiate wrestling scene. In October, Abby traveled to Budapest, Hungary, to compete in the U23 World Championships, a squad she’s made in each of the last two years. Nette would make the quarterfinals before falling and she left in seventh place. Also in international competition, Abby went to Sweden in January for the Klippan Lady Open and took the silver medal, losing only to European Champion and U23 World gold medalist Grace Bullen (Norway).
In domestic action, Abby had to move down from her standard 59 kg weight class to 57 kg for US Senior Nationals in December, but was as good as ever. Nette needed some late-match heroics to prevail in both the semis and finals. In both matches, she was trailing with under :30 seconds remaining and scored the necessary points for a victory. While she acknowledged that she “put on a show and made it entertaining” Abby didn’t necessarily like the fact that the matches came down to the wire.
Winning US Nationals secured a spot in the 2020 Olympic Trials for Nette. Though the Trials have now been postponed to 2021, Abby feels like it can be viewed as a positive for her as it’s “another year to grow and get better.”
The only other women that received votes for the 2020 Miranda Medal were Oklahoma City’s Rachel Watters and Karla Godinez Gonzalez of Simon Fraser.
This year 20 teams were represented at WCWA’s while 19 competed at the inaugural Cliff Keen WCWC National Championships. The WCWC’s featured schools that are a part of the NCAA’s DI/DII/DIII system, while WCWA’s had a mixture of NCAA and NAIA programs. The second annual NAIA National Championships were canceled during the initial outbreak of the Coronavirus. While there are plenty of people who deserve credit for how far the sport has come, it could not have happened without pioneers such as Patricia Miranda. Before wrestling on a women’s team was an option, Miranda wrestler on the men’s team at Stanford, continuing to battle as an undersized 125 lber while also becoming one of the best 48/51 kg women’s freestylers in the world. She earned a pair of World Championship silver medals before wrestling in the first-ever medal match for women in the sport at the Olympic Games, winning to secure a bronze in 2004. Patricia would go on to earn a fourth world-level medal with another bronze in 2006. Today, Miranda, a graduate of Yale law school, specializes in immigration law, helping qualified candidates earn asylum in the United States. Her continued commitment to principled living speaks well of, as she says, “the character revelation and building that college wrestling can help young people to obtain.”