USA Wrestling 2014 LAS VEGAS: Seni...

2014 LAS VEGAS: Senior Open Women’s freestyle preview

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | April 12, 2014, 10:21 a.m. (ET)

Three-time World medalist Elena Pirozhkova, who has won World gold, silver and bronze during her career, is one of the favorites at the 2014 Senior Women’s Freestyle Open in Las Vegas.

This will be the first national tournament with the eight new international women’s weight classes, which is an increase of one from last year. However, the number of women’s Olympic weight classes have increased from four to six, which provides more opportunity for women in the quest of their Olympic dream.

With that in mind, we can expect a number of top women to find new weight classes. With a number of the weight classes in the middle very close to each other in terms of pounds, some athletes will have more than one option for competition. We can expect some athletes to change weights as we move forward as they discover the best weight for themselves.

We enter 2014 with a number of past World and Olympic medalists in the field, including World champions Elena Pirozhkova, Adeline Gray and Clarissa Chun, and Olympic medalists Chun and Randi Miller. There are also some talented new young athletes who may be ready to make an impact on the Senior level.

U.S. Women's Freestyle Rankings, April 2014

48 kg /105.5 lbs.

This weight class is currently led by two-time World bronze medalist Alyssa Lampe, one of the top athletes in the world at this weight. Lampe has had an edge on her U.S. rivals. Her top competition may come from two-time Junior World medalist Victoria Anthony, second at this weight at last year’s World Team Trials. Anthony moved up a weight for the 2013 Worlds and finished fifth, but this is her natural weight class.

2008 World champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Clarissa Chun returns after taking a year off to recover from injury. She has already won a medal overseas this year. Three-time Junior World medalist Erin Golston, the 2014 University Nationals champion, is improving at this level. College stars Cody Pfau and Emily Webster, teammates at OCU, met in the University Nationals semis, with Pfau winning a close bout.

Veteran Candace Workman is always a threat, and young Amy Hou is making progress. From the college ranks, Breonnah Neal, Vanessa Smith and Grace Paxton could be in the mix.

53 kg/112.25 lbs.

2012 World silver medalist Helen Maroulis has been to the last two World Championships at 55 kg, but went down to 53 kg for the Dave Schultz Memorial, which is an Olympic weight class. If Maroulis stays down, she will be favored here. Another athlete coming down in weight recently has been National Team member Katherine Fulp-Allen, who won silver medals at the Schultz Memorial and Paris Grand Prix this winter.

Two-time World Team member Jessica Medina and past World Team member Whitney Conder have both competed at this new weight class this winter and have the experience and talent to battle for the title. 2013 U.S. Open runner-up Haley Augello, now a WCWA college national champion, competed at this weight in the Schultz Memorial and would be a tough challenger. Past Junior World team member Carlene Sluberski, now attending college in Canada, won the Guelph Open at this weight class and has a recent win over Augello.

College star Amy Fearnside, who won the University Nationals at 53 kg, will be a factor here. College wrestlers Shelby Morrison, Kalin Knight-Alvarez, Michelle Lomas, Jessica Fresh and others may also challenge.

55 kg/121 lbs.

Just 2 kg up from 53 kg and 3 kg down from 58 kg, this weight class could see athletes either moving up in weight or down in weight. 2012 World silver medalist Helen Maroulis has competed at this weight at the last two World Championships. 2012 Olympian and past World Team member Kelsey Campbell, who did not wrestle last season, won a Wrestle-off and competed at the World Cup here. Campbell beat Katherine Fulp-Allen in the Wrestle-off finals, but Fulp-Allen is expected at 53 kg. Another top hopeful if entered here is WCWA college national champion Sarah Hildebrandt, who has wrestled at both 53 kg and 55 kg this winter, and has extensive international experience.

College star Samantha Klingel won the University Nationals at 55 kg, beating veteran Tamara Tillman in the finals. From the WCWA women’s college nationals at 123 pounds, Cady Chessin was second and Diayasha Moore was third. A number of young college athletes were placewinners at the University Nationals such as Hanna Gricewood, Bree Rapoza and Rachel Archer. This weight class is hard to handicap, and could include some veterans or may be stacked with young talent.

58 kg/128 lbs.

So far, the top challengers who have wrestled at this division include 2013 World Team member Alli Ragan, who wrestled here at the World Cup and the Schultz Memorial, as well as Olympian Kelsey Campbell, who competed at this division in two international tournaments in Europe. Ragan finished her college career this winter, and will now focus fulltime on her Olympic dream. Campbell has experience and confidence and is motivated to return to the top.

Jacarra Winchester won the University Nationals this year at 58 kg, and was third at the WCWA college nationals as well. Veteran Trinity Griffin is back after recovering from injury, and brings talent and experience with her. Also bringing experience to this group could be Othello Feroleto, a past U.S. Open runner-up. Making a comeback this year has been two-time World bronze medalist Sally Roberts, who last competed seriously in 2008. University National medalists Tarkyia Mensah, Katie Germain and Kennon Henderson are young talents. Rosemary Flores, third at the WCWA college nationals and fifth at University Nationals, could challenge.

60 kg/132 lbs.

This should be a wide open weight class, which a number of athletes could either move up into, or drop down into. So far this year, Junior World bronze medalist Jennifer Page has competed well here, wrestling on the World Cup team and winning the title at the University Nationals. Page defeated Junior World Team member Jenna Burkert in the finals at the University Nationals. Burkert owns a win over Page at the New York AC International in the fall.

A group of experienced wrestlers could make a run at this weight if they enter here. Army wrestlers Othella Feroleto and Sally Roberts have registered for 58 kg, but could decide to stay up at 60 kg for the Open. Deanna Betterman, who was fifth in the World Championships twice for the USA, has seen action at this weight class and has considerable experience. High placewinners at University Nationals include college wrestlers Brieana Delgado, Kayla Brendlinger and Beatrize Martinez.

63 kg/138.75 lbs.

2012 World champion and three-time World medalist Elena Pirozhkova is the favorite if she remains at this weight class. She has competed with success up at 69 kg a few times this year. Most of Pirozhkova’s success has been at 63 kg, and she still holds an edge over American opponents at this weight. Placing second to her at the 2013 World Team Trials was veteran Erin Clodgo, who was the University Nationals champion at 69 kg this year. Clodgo has extensive experience and will be a top threat at any weight she chooses.

College star Amanda Hendey was the 69 kg University Nationals champion this year, and placed second at the WCWA College Nationals. A former U.S. Open runner-up, Hendey is among the top young stars in the mix. Taking second at the University Nationals and the WCWA college nationals this year is Shai Mason. Two-time World Team member Leigh Jaynes returns, after taking a year off to have a child. Another college star who has competed at this weight is WCWA nationals champion Tamyra Mensah, an exciting young talent.

Others who placed at University Nationals include Monica Ramirez, Cheyenne Youngblood and Hanna Hall. Veteran Lauren Louive remains a viable threat, while Samantha Villegas was a bronze medalist at the WCWA college nationals.

69 kg/152 lbs.

2008 Olympic bronze medalist Randi Miller has made a comeback and been impressive at 69 kg this year, winning the Dave Schultz Memorial with a win over Elena Pirozhkova in the finals. Miller won her Olympic medal at 63 kg and could aim for that weight class eventually and is a threat wherever she wrestles. The 2013 World Team member at 67 kg was Veronica Carlson, who competed at 69 kg at the World Cup, and lost a match to Pirozhkova at the Schultz as well. To add more intrigue here is 2012 World champion Adeline Gray, who has competed at 75 kg recently, but won her World title down at 67 kg. She is considering a move to this weight class. College national champion Julia Salata is also capable of making it to 69 kg and could make a run here.

There is additional depth at this weight based upon recent competitions. Jackie Cataline, a U.S. Open runner-up last year at 72 kg, was second in the World Team Trials at 67 kg and competed at 69 kg at the Dave Schultz Memorial. Add in Tamyra Mensah, a WCWA women’s college national champion, who was second to Erin Clodgo at 69 kg at the University Nationals. Lorrie Ramos, a Junior World team member last year, competed here at the Schultz Memorial. College stars Brittany David and Kayla Aggio add additional depth after placing in the top four at University Nationals.

75 kg/165 lbs.

If World champion and three-time World medalist Adeline Gray stays here, she is the strong favorite. Gray beat two past World champions and a World medalist in a spectacular effort at 75 kg at the World Cup in March, and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by FILA. She also won her most recent World medal at the highest weight class. Her decision on weight class could impact this weight the most, since the other challengers are mostly young and developing.

2013 U.S. Open champion Brittany Roberts is hurt and not expected to wrestle. This opens up possibilities for college athletes, led by WCWA nationals champion Julia Salata, who won the University Nationals at this weight and has made many age-group World teams. Victoria Francis was second at both the University Nationals and the WCWA college nationals and is improving. Young Anastasia Lobsinger, successful at the high school level, has competed at the Senior level recently. Other top placewinners from the University Nationals at 75 kg are Mary Westman, Sherese Thomas and Amy Spafford. Others from the college ranks to watch are Kerri Bumpers, Gabriella Guzman, Valerie Rosales and Michelle Organ.

2013 Senior Open Women’s Freestyle Results

48 kg/105.5 lbs.

1st – Alyssa Lampe, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Victoria Anthony, Huntington Beach, Calif. (New York AC), 3-0, 5-2
3rd – Erin Golston, Lake of the Hills, Ill. (New York AC/USOEC) dec. Candace Workman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Team OTC), 3-1, 3-1
5th – Emily Webster, Sedalia, Mo. (OKCU Gator RTC) tech. fall Bernara Moore, West Covina, Calif. (unattached), 6-0, 6-0
7th – Tamika Jones, Columbia, S.C. (Waldorf College) vs. Allene Somera, Ewa Beach, Hawaii (Grapplers HI), 5-0, 0-1, 6-1

51 kg/112.25 lbs.
1st – Jessica Medina, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Haley Augello, Lockport, Ill. (New York AC), 2-0, 0-1, 2-0
3rd – Carlene Sluberski, Fredonia, N.Y. (New York AC) pin Amy Fearnside, Morgan Hill, Calif. (Jimmie WC), 1:52
5th – Samantha Klingel, Kregsville, Pa. (King College) dec. Christina Varland, Douglas, Wyo. (Air Force WC), 4-0, 2-1
7th - Kalin Knight-Alvarez, Vista, Calif. (No Mercy WC) pin Milagros Zamora, Homestead, Fla. (UC Women’s Wrestling), 1:38

55 kg/121 lbs.
1st – Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Katherine Fulp-Allen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 3-0, 5-0
3rd – Shauna Isbell, Flagstaff, Ariz. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Sarah Hildebrandt, Granger, Ind. (King College), 1-0, 0-2, 1-0
5th – Kayla Brendlinger, Slippery Rock, Pa. (King College) dec. Victoria Nguyen, Johnson City, Tenn. (King College), 0-1, 1-0, 1-1
7th – Tamara Tillman, Whittier, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Shelby Morrison, Amarillo, Texas (OKCU Gator RTC), 1-0, 2-1

59 kg/130 lbs.
1st – Alli Ragan, Carbondale, Ill. (New York AC/King College) dec. Deanna Betterman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 3-0, 5-0
3rd – Cianah Hee, Honolulu, Hawaii (UC Women’s Wrestling) pin Jenna Burkert, Rocky Point, N.Y. (New York AC/USOEC), 0-2, 5-2, 0:43
5th – Beatrize Martinez, Fresno, Calif. (OKCU Gator RTC) dec. Tiffany Sluik, Mason City, Iowa (Jimmie WC), 3-3, 0-4, 4-4
7th – Brieana Delgado, Fountain Inn, S.C. (OKCU Gator RTC) dec. Morgan Yamaguchi, Waihiawa, Hawaii (Grapplers HI), 1-2, 2-0, 1-0

63 kg/138.75 lbs.
1st – Elena Pirozhkova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 3-0
3rd – Jennifer Page, Orangevale, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Amanda Hendey, Beaumont, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), 0-4, 1-0, 3-0
5th – Lauren Louive, Massilon, Ohio (UC Women’s Wrestling) dec. Kayla Aggio, Rohnert Park, Calif. (OKCU Gator Women’s RTC), 4-0, 3-0
7th – Shai Mason, Gardenia, Calif. (Jimmie WC) dec. Deyvonne Mondragon, Camarillo, Calif. (UC Women’s Wrestling), 3-0, 6-0

67 kg/147.5 lbs.
1st – Veronica Carlson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Wayland Baptist), 5-0, 6-0
3rd – Demi Strub, Guilford, Ind. (OKCU Gator RTC) tech. fall Brittany David, Brentwood, Calif. (Lindenwood Women’s WC), 9-3, 8-2
5th - Kelsey Baker, Amarillo, Texas (Amarillo WC) inj. dft. over Julia Salata, Canton, Mich. (New York AC/King College)
7th - Hayley Kinney, Murietta, Calif. (Team OTC)

72 kg/158.5 lbs.
1st – Brittney Roberts, Santa Fe, Texas (OKCU Gator RTC) dec. Jackie Cataline, Alhambra, Calif. (Sunnyside Scorpion WC), 5-1, 1-0
4th –Sydney Nelson, Kingsland, Ga. (UC Women’s Wrestling) dec. Lilia Gudzyuk, Lake Tapps, Wash. (Jimmie WC), 4-0, 2-0
5th – Melissa Simmons, Ridgefield, Wash. (OKCU Gator RTC) pin Mary Westman, Cattaraugas, N.Y. (Jimmie WC), 5-1, 1:18
7th – Anastastia Lobsinger, Martinez, Calif. (Walnut Creek WC) pin Victoria Francis, St. Charles, Mo. (Lindenwood Women’s WC), 0:42

Outstanding Wrestler – Alyssa Lampe (Sunkist Kids), 48 kg

Div. I Team Standings – New York AC, 50; 2. OKCU Gator RTC, 32 pts.

Div. II Team Standings – Sunkist Kids, 45; 2. Titan Mercury WC, 27 pts.