2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials preview for 48 kg in women’s freestyle

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | March 22, 2016, 12:14 p.m. (ET)
Alyssa Lampe of the Sunkist Kids battles Victoria Anthony of the Titan Mercury WC in the 48 kg championship series at the 2015 U.S. World Team Trials. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

Competition Day: Sunday, April 10

Is Weight Class Qualified Yet for Olympic Games?: No

This weight class has some tremendous talent, as the top three athletes at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. are all past U.S. World or Olympic Team members, and two of them have won multiple medals at the World or Olympic level.

Coming into the year as the 2015 World Team member is Alyssa Lampe of the Sunkist Kids, who boasts two past World bronze medals. Her first World medal came in 2012, when she went up a weight class and made the World team, where won the bronze in Canada. In 2013, she took over the No. 1 spot at 48 kg and went on to win another World bronze medal, this time in Budapest, Hungary.

Lampe has made all three U.S. World Teams at 48 kg so far in this Olympic quadrennium. The last two years, she did not win a medal, placing fifth in 2014 and ninth in 2015. Since her finish at the 2015 Worlds did not qualify the USA for the Rio Games, she went to the Pan American Olympic Qualifier and did not reach the finals. That means the USA must still go to the World Qualifier in Mongolia in late April (and if necessary in Turkey in May) to get the weight class qualified.

Although Lampe has won the last three World Team Trials, she has suffered losses to the other two members of the Women’s National Team during this cycle, Victoria Anthony of the Titan Mercury WC and Clarissa Chun of the Sunkist Kids.

Anthony, a two-time Junior World champion, competed at the 2013 World Championships up a weight class at 51 kg, and placed a strong fifth. She was the 2015 U.S. Open champion, but lost to Lampe in the World Team Trials later that season. She has won a number of gold medals at international tournaments.

Chun is already one of the greatest women wrestlers in American history. She won an Olympic bronze medal in 2012, and was a World champion in 2008. Chun placed a strong fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games. Only two U.S. women have made two Olympic teams, Chun and Ali Bernard. At 34 years old, Chun is one of the most experienced in the women’s program. She does have wins over Lampe and Anthony over the last few seasons. If she wins the Olympic Trials and then the weight class gets qualified, she becomes the first three-time U.S. Olympian in women’s wrestling.

Chun defeated Lampe in the finals of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, also held in Iowa City, needing all three matches to get the job done. Chun won the first match, 0-2, 1-0, 3-1. Lampe came back to win bout two, 0-7, 2-2, 5-2. The deciding third match went to Chun, 2-0, 2-2, 4-1.

The 2016 U.S. Nationals/Trials Qualifier champion was Cody Pfau, a two-time WCWA college nationals champion for Oklahoma City. Pfau fell way behind longtime rival Erin Golston in the U.S. Nationals finals in Las Vegas in December, but was able to pin Golston with a stunning reversal to the fall. Pfau is a pinner who is never out of any match. Golston won a pair of Junior World bronze medals in her career, and has been among the top ranked wrestlers on the Senior level for a number of years.

Considering a move down to 48 kg is a top young star at 53 kg, past Cadet World champion and 2015 WCWA college national champion Haley Augello, who took an Olympic redshirt year from King Univ. Augello was second at the 2016 U.S. Open competing up at 53 kg. If she moves down, her opponents won’t have any past experience competing against her, and she could possibly disrupt things.

This weight class is stocked with top college wrestlers. At the U.S. Nationals/Trials Qualifier in Las Vegas, four collegians were able to qualify for the Olympic Trials by placing in the top seven. The other three college wrestlers who advanced in December were all from King University, Breonnah Neal and the Doi twins, Marina and Regina.

Neal was third at the Nationals in Vegas, and is a three-time WCWA medalist, placing second on two occasions and fourth in 2015. She started her college career at Campbellsville, then transferred to King for the last two years.

Marina and Regina Doi have been age-group World medalists for the USA, with Marina winning a Cadet World title. Marina was fifth and Regina was sixth at the Nationals in Las Vegas. They are college sophomores and compete in the same weight class in college, 101 pounds. Marina was a WCWA champion in 2016 and was second in 2015, while Regina was fifth in 2016 and eighth in 2015.

The other two women who qualified through Las Vegas are veterans of the Senior circuit, Nicole Woody of the Terrapin WC, who was fourth, and Candace Workman of the Titan Mercury WC, who was seventh. Woody, a past Junior World champion, was off the mat for a number of years, serving as an assistant coach on the women’s college level. Workman, who trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, has been in the mix for a number of seasons and is quite experienced.

The WCWA Women’s College Nationals in Oklahoma City in February added three more college women to the field. Two came from the 101-pound weight class, WCWA Nationals runner-up Sarah Allen of the Univ. of the Cumberlands and fourth-place finisher Ashley Iliff of King. Making the field from the 109 pound weight class was Tayler Rezuriz of McKendree, who was third at the WCWA Nationals. All three have been active in USA Wrestling’s programs in the past on the age-group levels.

There could be three more added to the field, with the top two placewinners from the Women’s University Nationals from this weekend and the winner of the Last Chance Qualifier in Cedar Falls, Iowa on the first weekend of April eligible for Iowa City.

This weight class has its big three stars, Lampe, Anthony and Chun, and some strong young talent that would love to break through during the Olympic year.

U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS QUALIFIERS as of March 22

Women’s Freestyle - 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

’15 World Team member – Alyssa Lampe, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
Past World or Olympic Team member – Victoria Anthony, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
Past World or Olympic Team member – Clarissa Chun, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier champion – Cody Pfau, Brush, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier runner-up – Erin Golston, Lake In The Hills, Ill. (New York AC/OTC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier third place – Breonnah Neal, Clemons, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fourth place – Nicole Woody, Odenton, Mich. (Terrapin WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fifth place – Marina Doi, Kingsburg, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier sixth place – Regina Doi, Kingsburg, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier seventh place – Candace Workman, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)
WCWA Nationals silver medalist at 101 – Sarah Allen, Huber Heights, Ohio (Cumberlands)
WCWA Nationals fourth place at 101 - Ashley Iliff, Newton, N.J. (King)
WCWA Nationals bronze medalist at 109 – Tayler Resuriz, League City, Texas (McKendree)
International tour medalist within one year -
’16 University Nationals champion –
’16 University Nationals runner-up –
’16 Final Olympic Trials Qualifier champion –

Over the next 18 days, leading into the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, April 9-10, TheMat.com will post one weight class preview each day. There are six weight classes in each style at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and the previews will start with the lightest weight classes and go through the heaviest.