History was made in Marietta, Georgia at the Cobb County Civic Center as Menlo College captured their first WCWA Championship in school history. The Oaks racked up 199.5 points, which was four and a half more than second-place Simon Fraser.. Three Menlo women walked away with individual titles, Alleida Martinez at 109 lbs, Gracie Figueroa at 116 lbs, and Solin Piearcy at 136 lbs. It was the win by Piearcy which clinched the title for head coach Joey Bareng’s squad. After an uneventful 1-1 first period, Solin broke the match open with a massive finish of a double leg. She then transitioned into four leg laces which quickly ended the match and caused the Menlo faithful to erupt in celebration. A fourth Oak wrestler Iman Kazem, at 155 lbs, made the finals but fell to U23 World bronze medalist Alex Glaude (McKendree). Glaude was one of two McKendree wrestlers, joining 191 lber Destane Garrick, to come away with individual championships. The pair became the first Bearcat women to win national titles. McKendree was in this title hunt throughout the tournament, but ultimately had to settle for third place with 189 points.
Martinez and Figueroa along with Jayden Laurent (Lakeland – 143 lbs) were part of a highly touted class of freshmen that ended up on top of the podium. Martinez dominated McKayla Campbell (Campbellsville), pinning her in the second period while leading 11-0. Figueroa was able to control fellow true freshman Felicity Taylor (McKendree) 7-0 to match her teammate Martinez. Both of them were also teammates at Selma High School and each won four California State titles. Tonight, they took a step towards matching each other with four collegiate titles. Laurent, racked up a 12-1 tech fall victory over Felicity Bryant (Emmanuel), an opponent that she had only beaten by the score of 2-1 earlier in the season. Jayden’s title comes in the first year of the wrestling program at Lakeland University.
The Most Outstanding Wrestler Award was reserved for the champion at 130 lbs Abby Nette (Emmanuel). Abby prevailed in one of the deepest weight classes of the entire tournament by teching returning All-American Lauren Mason (Simon Fraser) in the semis, then another past AA Brenda Reyna (McKendree) in the finals. 123 lb National Champion Dominique Parrish (Simon Fraser) was named WCWA Wrestler of the Year after winning her second national title. For the second consecutive season, Parrish had to face her teammate Alex Hedrick in the finals. This time Parrish won with a 7-2 decision.
Other champions included Asia Ray (Wayland Baptist) at 101 lbs and Dymond Guilford (Missouri Baptist) at 170 lbs. Ray only needed a minute and 59 seconds in three matches to reach the finals, which includes an eight-second fall and a 15-second tech fall. Guilford did not need the full six minutes in any of her five matches. She downed Kiera Gabaldon (Warner Pacific) 10-0 in only two minutes and five seconds.
Since some of the schools participating in the WCWA National Championships are also competing in the NAIA Championships, the voting for the Miranda Medal will be held out until after that tournament which takes place March 15th and 16th in Jamestown, North Dakota.