photo courtesy of Campbellsville athletics
A full slate of action was on hand this past week as the season continues to inch closer to the Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA) National Championships. With the tournament just three weeks out, teams continue to fine-tune performances and rosters in preparation. Fans were treated to some intra-conference clashes and a battle of top-10 rivals. Additionally, the 4th Annual EZ-Flex Invitational took place at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas. Below we look at some of the top performances of the last week in women’s college wrestling.
Junnette Caldera (Jamestown) dominated all challengers on her way to the 101-pound title at the Ottawa EZ-Flex Invitational. The freshman from Imperial, California went 4-0 with a pair of pins and a two 10-0 technical fall victories on the day. Kicking the day off with a match against Alaura Couch (Waldorf), it took Caldera just over a minute to secure the pin. In her second match, Caldera scored a 10-0 victory over Shyanne Griffiths (Saint Mary) followed by another quick pin in her third match against Kassidy Ramirez (Lyon). She finished her day with 10-0 win over Kylie Marlin (York) to take home the title. Caldera has had a successful season so far with a runner-up finish at the Battle of the Rockies, a third-place finish at the Missouri Valley Open, and a title at the Waldorf Open to go along with this performance the EZ-Flex Invitational.
Brianna Ribucan-Leong (Lyon College), a sophomore from Wahiawa, Hawaii, had a very impressive performance at the Ottawa EZ-Flex Invitational. Competing at 109-pounds, Ribucan-Leong won all three of her matches by pin to claim the bracket. Opening up with a quick pin over Alessia Cokeley (Ottawa), she followed suit in her second match with another early fall, this time against Diana Leyva (Waldorf). Finally, she met up with Kylie Titus (MacMurray) in her third and final match. Ribucan-Leong and Titus met earlier in the year in a close bout that Ribucan-Leong narrowly won 6-5. This time she left no doubt as she claimed the match and the crown with her third pin of the day.
Victoria Norris (Ottawa), a junior from Kansas City, Missouri, gave the host team a much deserving champion at 123-pounds. She cruised through her bracket without yielding a single point, while outscoring her opponents 36-0 on the day. Victoria got things started with a first round, 12-0 technical fall win over Kimberly Lambert (Central Christian). In her second match, she quickly dispatched of Lillian Cortes (Jamestown) with another technical fall win, this time 11-0. She completed her day by putting up 13 points against Emma De Brum (Lyon) and claiming her third technical fall on victory. In addition to her title at the EZ-Flex Invitational, Norris was a runner-up at the Waldorf Open and claimed a fourth-place finish at the Wayland Women’s Open this season.
Zoe Wright (Life) picked up a big win when she and the 16th-ranked Running Eagles took on 12th-ranked Cumberlands in a battle of Mid-South Conference rivals. Wright met up with Kellyann Jimenez, currently ranked fifth at 136-pounds, in a match at 143-pounds. In what was the closest match of the dual, Wright edged Jimenez by score 7-4. Cumberlands ultimately won the dual, 25-20.
Defending WCWA national champions, Campbellsville, has been in a bit of a rebuilding mode after losing many key performers to graduation. Currently ranked seventh in the country, they took on sixth-ranked Emmanuel College in a battle of top-10 ranked teams. The two programs had already faced each other twice this season with Emmanuel coming out on top both times. In the first match that took place on December 1st, Emmanuel ran away with it, defeating the Lady Tigers 29-15. They recently met again in the quarterfinals of the NWCA National Duals. Campbellsville rallied to tie the dual; however, Emmanuel was declared the winner on criteria. The third time was the charm for Campbellsville, who won seven out of 10 matches, including four wins via pin, to defeat Emmanuel 33-13. Picking up victories for the Lady Tigers was McKayla Campbell (109), Mia Rodriguez (116), Koral Sugiyama (123), Andribeth Rivera (130), Alexia Foca (155), Kenya Sloan (170), and Alexandra Castillo (191).