photo courtesy of John Sachs; Tech-Fall.com
It was a loaded week of women’s college wrestling with various open tournaments taking place, including the Missouri Valley Open and the Spokane Open. There were also multiple duals, including a matchup of intrastate rivals when Campbellsville University and the University of the Cumberlands clashed. Let us also not forget that the U23 World Championships took place and all 10 members of the women’s team are either current or former competitors in the WCWA. Below we look at five of the most impressive performances from around women’s college wrestling.
The 11th-ranked University of the Cumberlands knocked off defending national champions and second-ranked Campbellsville 24-19 in a battle of Mid-South Conference rivals in dual that did not disappoint. The teams evenly split matches with each winning five bouts. However, it was Cumberlands ability to secure bonus points in four of the five matches they won that ultimately was the deciding factor. Cumberlands garnered three falls from Becca Forsyth (101-pounds), Jessica Rodriguez (116-pounds), and third-ranked Bridget Duty (136-pounds). Sixth-ranked Kelly-Ann Jimenez (143-pounds) would win via technical fall, and third-ranked Anna Naylor (155-pounds) would lock up the final victory with a commanding 10-3 decision over her opponent. This victory has to be sweet for head coach Donnie Stephens and team, as it was their first win over Campbellsville since 2014, which includes three dual losses last year alone to the Lady Tigers.
McKendree University teammates, Alexandria Glaude, and Kori Bullock made history this past week by becoming the first American women to win a medal at the U23 World Championships when they each took home a bronze medal at 68 kg and 76 kg respectively. Glaude, who was a WCWA All-American in 2017 with a fifth-place finish, opened up with a 5-3 win over her Ukrainian opponent before she fell to eventual silver-medalist, Miwa Morikawa (Japan). After a quick fall over her Polish opponent, she then met up with Khishimgmaa Munkhbat (Mongolia) in the bronze medal match. Glaude overcame a five-point deficit in breathtaking fashion, with until 30 seconds left on the clock to win the match and a spot on the podium. Bullock, who was a WCWA All-American in 2018 with an eighth-place finish, started her tournament off by making quick work of her Mongolian opponent before she was dropped by the eventual silver-medalist, Aysegal Ozbege (Turkey), in a close match. In the bronze-medal match, Bullock would square off against 2017 U23 World silver-medalist, Gracelynn Doogan (Canada), winning the match 4-1 and securing the bronze medal. It was quite an achievement for the McKendree duo, who return home looking to keep their momentum going throughout the college season.
Brenda Reyna (McKendree), currently the fourth-ranked wrestler at 123-pounds, rolled through the competition at the Missouri Valley Open to capture the 130-pound championship. The sophomore returning All-American recorded four technical fall victories on her way to the finals, where she would meet up with 2017 123-pound WCWA national champion, Andribeth Rivera (Campbellsville). Rivera herself had dominated her way to the finals; however, Reyna would earn the fall in just a little over two minutes to claim the top spot on the podium. Reyna would lead the tournament in technical falls and was third in most team points scored with 32.
Nicole Joseph (King) was equally, if not more dominant, at the Missouri Valley Open capturing the 136-pound title. After opening up with a 12-0 technical fall victory, she would then pin her next four opponents, including returning All-American and sixth-ranked Kelly-Ann Jimenez (Cumberlands) in the finals. Joseph, currently the top-ranked wrestler at 136-pounds, brought home a fourth-place finish at the 2018 WCWA National Championships for her first All-American honor. This weekend she led all wrestlers in most team points scored with 33.5 and was second with four wins via fall. She is a grinder who is fun to watch and does not back down from competition.
Julissa Taitano (Southern Oregon), a freshman from San Jose, California went 5-0 on the day to capture the 136-pound title at the Spokane Open. She picked up four victories by technical fall and a forfeit and outscored her opponents 47-5 on her impressive run. Her four technical falls were the most of any wrestler at the tournament, and her 20 team points helped propel Southern Oregon University to a runner-up finish behind perennial power, Simon Fraser. Taitano was a highly regarded recruit out of high school and was a multiple-time California state placer and Fargo All-American.