USA Wrestling 2003 U S Women s Na...

2003 U S Women s Nationals preview at 72 kg 158 5 lbs

By Gary Abbott | May 06, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)

Sitting at No. 1 in the highest Olympic weight division is Toccara Montgomery of the Sunkist Kids, who moved up in weight and captured the World Team spot last year. She placed 10th at the World meet her first year at this division. A year earlier, down in weight, Montgomery was second at the World Championships and was named International Women's Wrestler of the Year. A fierce competitor with tremendous skill, Montgomery is settling into her new class and adding strength to her repertoire. Many forget that Montgomery is still young, and has the potential to get even better. Montgomery defeated 2002 U.S. Nationals champion Iris Smith of the U.S. Army in the World Team Trials finals last year. Smith, who has won three straight national titles, is a past Pan American champion and a member of the Army WCAP program. Smith has the size and experience to excel at this division on the international level. The top new challenger is high school sensation Samantha Lang of Oregon, who just became Senior-eligible this year. Lang has swept all the available age-group honors, including the FILA Cadet, Junior and FILA Junior Nationals. Lang has beaten Montgomery two of three times they faced this winter, and also boasts a win over six-time World champion Christine Nordhagen of Canada. A talented judo athlete as well, Lang has an aggressive attack and strong takedown skills. Two athletes with experience and skill who could be factors are Kaci Lyle of the Sunkist Kids and Satrinina Vernon of the Gator WC. Lyle was second behind Smith at last year's U.S. Nationals, while Vernon placed third. Vernon moved past Lyle at last year's World Trials. Both are USOTC resident athletes. Lyle dropped down to 67 kg for the University Nationals this year, and may stay at that division. Vernon won the gold medal at 72 kg at the University Nationals this year. Both have been national contenders since high school years, and are now reaching their prime. Alicia Mena of Neosho County CC is an experienced athlete at this weight division, who has won many age-group titles. She has proven her ability to defeat opponents at this division on the Senior level. College wrestlers Donnell Bradley of Missouri Valley and Megan Goldsmith of UM-Morris are expected to be in the race for medals. Jenna Pavlik of Delaware, fifth in the World in 2001, has not competed in over a year. Pavlik earned the U.S. World team spot when Smith did not compete due to Army basic training, and Pavlik captured the 2001 Sunkist Kids International Open, which was established as a qualifying event for the open spot. Placing at the U.S. Nationals last year were Samantha Branka of UM-Morris, Randi Miller of the Dave Schultz WC, Rachel Glogowski of the Messiah WC and Alicia Wilson of UM-Morris. Of this group, Miller has been the most active, and may be dropping to 67 kg. The others have not been competing, and it is unknown if they will enter in Las Vegas this season. The FILA Junior National champion this year is Juanita Russell of TNT, an emerging high school talent. 2002 U.S. Women's Nationals results at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. 1st - Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Kaci Lyle, Eureka, Calif. (Pacific), 6-0 3rd - Satrinina Vernon, Rodeo, Calif. (Missouri Valley) won by tech. fall over Samantha Branka, Lincoln Park, Mich. (UM-Morris), 14-4 5th - Donnell Bradley, Marshall, Mo. (Missouri Valley) pin Randi Miller, Arlington, Texas (Dave Schultz WC), 3:33 7th - Rachel Glogowski, Mechanicsburg, Pa. (Messiah WC) pin Alicia Wilson, Morris, Mo. (Minnesota Storm), 2:25