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Women's Wrestling

TOM’s 2019 Women’s Collegiate Recruiting Class Rankings

It’s recruiting rankings season and what better way to start off TOM’s recruiting rankings by posting the Women’s Collegiate Recruiting rankings, the first of their kind. The high school Class of 2018 took the WCWA and women’s college wrestling by storm producing three true freshman national champions at the WCWA nationals, along with three more finalists. Will the Class of 2019, be able to live up to the lofty expectations laid out by their predecessors? Only time will tell, but this year’s recruiting class has some women that have earned world medals and countless national honors and seem bound for success at the next level. Here are the top ten recruiting classes by TOM for the Class of 2019.

The numbers next to each wrestlers name refer to their ranking within the Top 100 wrestlers in the Class of 2019.

For full/current recruiting lists for each school check out TOM’s Women’s Collegiate Commitment Page.

10) Emmanuel

Top Recruits: #56 Niya Gaines – Bear Creek, CA (130 lbs); #90 Cristina Santoyo – Monroe, CA (191 lbs); #92 Bianca Rosales – Timber Creek, TX (191 lbs)

One of the title favorites coming into the 2019 WCWA National Championship was Emmanuel. The fourth-year program was able to finish in the top four nationally and crowned an individual national champion for the second consecutive season. Four national finalists are among the returners for Lions in 2019-20. While the recruiting Class of 2019 doesn’t appear to have any superstars that are going to impact the Emmanuel lineup immediately, there are some very intriguing prospects for Hall of Famer Kristie Davis and Link Davis to work with. Gaines is a two-time California state placer who was third last July in Fargo at the Junior tournament. Santoyo is a two-time California runner-up, who was also third in Fargo last year. Rosales won a Texas state title this year, after coming up short in the finals as a Junior.

9) North Central

Top Recruits: #24 Yelena Makoyed – Bella Vista, CA (170 lbs); NR Asia Nguyen-Smith – West Chicago, IL (123 lbs); NR Malea Palahniuk – Thurston, OR (143 lbs)

Though they have yet to wrestle a single match, North Central ends up in the top ten with their first recruiting class. Recent signee Yelena Makoyed, a top-25 recruit, is the superstar of the group. She is a two-time California state finalist and won the championship during her senior season. Just to make it to the state finals, Yelena needed to knock off a multiple-time California state champion and All-American Jerzie Estrada. Makoyed dominated the field at the West Coast Tournament of Champions and was third at Folkstyle Nationals in 2018. Nguyen-Smith almost made the top 100 based off of a strong showing at the National Duals last season. Asia recently took home a title at the state freestyle meet. Palahniuk was a multiple-time Oregon state champion, although she was not able to add another in 2019.

All in all, North Central should have a strong nucleus to build off of in their initial season and will most likely ascend up the women’s collegiate rankings sooner rather than later.

8) Southern Oregon

Top Recruits: #74 Kyleigh Lopez – North Medford, Oregon (116 lbs); #80 Marissa Kurtz – Sweet Home, OR (116 lbs); #87 Nora Ochoa – Reed, NV (116 lbs)

Southern Oregon is a team that you may not have expected to see in the rankings, but the numbers speak for themselves with three top-100 recruits on board, two of which are in-state products. Lopez was a four-time Oregon state champion, though this was the first year girls wrestling was officially recognized by the OSAA. Kurtz is a three-time state champion. Neither Lopez nor Kurtz has the national level credentials that other top recruits may possess, so they are not quite as widely known commodities. Last summer in Junior Freestyle at Fargo, Ochoa turned in a respectable performance, winning four matches, yet missing out on the podium. During the high school season, Nora earned a title at the West Coast Tournament of Champions in a field that was littered with talented competition from California.

7) Colorado Mesa

Top Recruits: #15 Dalia Garibay – Freedom, CA (136 lbs); NR Elexis Kalar – Johnson, TX (109 lbs); NR Anja Tschohl – Andover, KS (116 lbs)

In their first year of existence, Travis Mercado’s Colorado Mesa team wasted no time in producing their first All-American in Sierra Brown Ton at 123 lbs. With that out of the way, look for even more out of the Mavericks in 2019-20. A substantial recruiting class with over 15 current signees will help that effort. Leading the way for Colorado Mesa’s recruiting Class of 2019 is #15 overall Dalia Garibay. Dalia finally got over the hump and earned her first and only state title, after taking second in each of the previous two seasons. She was one of only three seniors that placed at the California state meet in all four seasons. Nationally, Garibay has been a Cadet runner-up in Fargo and third at UWW Cadets in 2018. Kalar was fourth this year in a strong 110 lb weight class in Texas at the 5A level. Tschohl is a Kansas state champion that has been on the cusp of earning All-American honors at multiple national-level tournaments.

6) Menlo

Top Recruits: #52 Alana Vivas – Kamehameha, HI (116 lbs); #54 Folashade Akinola – Atherton, CA (191 lbs); NR Sierra Van Rossem – Newark Memorial, CA (155 lbs)

Last year Menlo finally got over the hump and captured their first team title at both, WCWA Nationals and NAIA Nationals. The Oaks will return three national champions and eight All-Americans, so they don’t have many holes to fill. Even so, three big names will come aboard and try to help Joey Barang’s team go back-to-back. Vivas is a Hawaii state champ that was fourth at UWW Cadet Nationals in 2018. Late signee, Akinola was a California state champion that pinned her way through the tournament. This was after finishing as a runner-up in 2018. Akinola may be under the radar for some, as she does not have the national level credentials as others on this list. Van Rossem did not place at the state tournament, but she has registered some good wins over the years and could step in for the graduated WCWA runner-up Iman Kazem at 155.

5) King

Top Recruits: #11 Phoenix Dubose – Yelm, WA (116 lbs); #34 Tavi Heidelberg – McClatchy, CA (191  lbs); #60 Danielle Garcia – Corona, CA (116 lbs)

After winning four consecutive WCWA titles from 2014-17, King University is now on a two-year title drought. The Tornado boasted an excellent freshman class in 2019 with a staggering six All-Americans, so with those returners coupled with a fifth-ranked recruiting class, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Jason Moorman’s crew back at the top of women’s wrestling in 2019-20 and beyond. Dubose is a two-time Washington state champion and three-time finalist. In 2018, Phoenix was a finalist in Fargo Juniors along with Junior Folkstyle Nationals. A pair of California natives round out the rest of the top recruits in Heidelberg and Garcia. Heidelberg is a two-time California state champion that is among the best upperweights in the nation. Garcia was fourth in deep 111 lb weight class in California this year. It was the second time in her high school career that Danielle placed at the state meet. Garcia was recently third in a loaded bracket at Junior Folkstyle Nationals.  These three recruits, combined with the six freshman AA’s and eight total returning All-Americans should make the Tornado a scary proposition going forward.

4) McKendree

Top Recruits: #8 Alara Boyd – Yorktown, IN (143 lbs); #14 Payton Stroud – White River, WA (123 lbs); #40 Shaina Murray – Wyoming Seminary, PA (130 lbs); #57 Aliyah Rollins – Granda Hills, CA (116 lbs)

McKendree has only been in action since the 2013-14 season, but it seems much longer than that because they have quickly risen up the ranks of women’s college wrestling. This year Sam Schmitz’s squad broke through and crowned their first two national champions with Alex Glaude and Destane Garrick, while finishing third as a team, for the second consecutive year. A nice infusion of talent from the 2019 recruiting class should ensure that the Bearcats remain among the top three teams in the nation and perhaps even go higher. Boyd is the top 143 lb recruit in the country and will be able to jump in the mix and compete immediately with the best collegiate wrestlers in the country. She is a two-time Cadet world medalist, taking silver in 2017 and bronze in 2016. During her time in Fargo, Alara has made the finals twice and never been lower than fourth in four tries. Another top twenty recruit, heading McKendree’s way is Payton Stroud, who just earned her first Washington state title after finishing as a runner-up in 2018. Stroud was placed fifth in third in Fargo’s Junior tournament the past two years and has finished amongst the top sixth at UWW Women’s Nationals on three occasions. The New Jersey native Murray, spent the last school year at Wyoming Seminary, where she has received top-notch coaching and could be on the verge of a breakout. Rollins is a California third-place finisher that was fifth in Junior National freestyle in 2018.

3) Augsburg

Top Recruits: #1 Emily Shilson – Mounds View, MN (101 lbs); #3 Vayle-Rae Baker – Wyoming Seminary, PA (123 lbs)

It’s incredible that less than a month ago Augsburg’s women’s wrestling program did not exist, now they have a top-three recruiting class, and you may even be able to argue that they belong higher. As of now, Augsburg only had two committed recruits; however, they are two of the top three wrestlers in the Class of 2019. Number one is Shilson who is a two-time Cadet World finalist and one-time champion. She is especially valuable due to the possibility that she could wrestle for three years at 101 lbs. Of course, since 50 kg (110 lbs) is the lowest international weight class for the Junior and Senior level, she may try to bulk up for that weight and be more suited to 109. Either way, she will come in and contend for national titles immediately. The same can said for Baker who almost as accomplished as her future teammate. The pair have combined to win eight national titles in Fargo, in nine attempts. Like Shilson, Baker has made a pair of Cadet world teams, though she was not able to return with a medal during either trip.

At this point we still are not sure about the remainder of the recruiting class for first-year head coach Max Mejia, but with Shilson and Baker in place, he can be sure that Augsburg has two fantastic building blocks in place and will have at least two high All-Americans at the beginning of the Auggies lineup for the next four years.

2) Life

Top Recruits: #5 Peyton Prussin – Arbor View, NV (116 lbs); #25 Joanne Ortiz – New Milford, CT (109 lbs); #31 Gabi Hamilton – Gridley, IL (191 lbs); #70 Jasmine Clark – Kelseyville, CA (191 lbs); NR Catherine Palmieri – Northwest, TN (191 lbs)

Life University has had seven WCWA All-Americans in their first five years of competition, but you can expect that number to jump up immediately with the class that will be heading down to Marietta in the fall of 2019. The headliner is #5 overall Prussin who was a Junior National finalist in Fargo, as well as a finalist at UWW Cadet Women’s Nationals, all during 2018. She also competed in UWW Junior last year and was fourth. Though Prussin will be expected to come in and be a star immediately for head coach Ashley Sword’s Running Eagles, the recruiting class goes deeper than just her. Ortiz is an excellent lightweight prospect that has placed multiple times in Fargo and also at UWW Cadet Women’s Nationals. The coaching staff made sure to address the difficult to fill 191 lb weight class with the signings of Hamilton, Clark, and Palmieri. Hamilton is the top-ranked 191 lb recruit in the class was recently a Folkstyle Nationals champion. Clarke was a California state runner-up in 2019 and also made the finals at the 2018 Super 32 and Fargo Juniors. Palmieri has been in the top eight at UWW Cadet Women’s Nationals in each of the last two years and also placed at the Super 32 in the same weight class as Clarke, though the two did not meet.

This recruiting class should help Life move into the top ten at the WCWA’s and top five at NAIA’s and start unseating some of the traditional powers of women’s wrestling.

1) Campbellsville

Top Recruits: #10 Kaden Campbell – Douglas County, CO (136 lbs); #13 Alexis Gomez – Glenbard North, IL (155 lbs); #27 Randi Robison – East Peoria, IL (130 lbs); #29 Adriana Lopez – Upper Lake, CA (123 lbs); #45 Jacqueline Ghent – Veteran Memorial, TX (123 lbs); #68 Angela Vitiritti – St. Charles North, IL (136 lbs); #82 Ciera Broukal – Bloomington South, IN (116 lbs); NR Jenna Bacich – Bear Creek, CA (123 lbs)

What more can you say about the Campbellsville recruiting class that head coach Lee Miracle has assembled? This class hits on all of the boxes, there are potential stars that can make an immediate impact (Campbell and Gomez), along with a large contingent of signees that have the potential to develop into All-Americans and possibly even national champions.

Campbell was a fourth-place finisher in a brutal 138 lb Junior weight class last summer in Fargo. It was the third time in her high school career that she was amongst the top-five at either Junior or Cadet Nationals. In 2017, Kaden was able to capture a Junior Folkstyle National title. Last week at the US Open, Gomez knocked of 2019 WCWA national champion Dymond Guilford in her first bout of the tournament. She is a two-time Fargo finalist and earned a big stop sign during her last trip, in 2017. Lopez and Ghent are both state champions in powerhouse states, California and Texas, respectively. Another Fargo finalist in this crew is Robison, who was a Cadet runner-up in 2018. Both Vitritti and Broukal have broken into the top eight in Fargo, while as Cadets. Bacich was a match away from placing in the California state tournament in each of the last two seasons and may have been overlooked a bit.

Campbellsville won their first and only WCWA team title in 2018 and then dropped to sixth place in 2019. With this group coming in the Tigers are likely to be fighting for a second title during the 2019-20 season.

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