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Olympic champion Maroulis, plus Anthony, Leathers, Francis win Women’s World Team Trials on Saturday

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | April 30, 2017, 12:03 a.m. (ET)

Helen Maroulis takes down Kayla Miracle in the 58 kg finals of the World Team Trials in Las Vegas. Photo by Larry Slater.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - 2016 Olympic champion Helen Maroulis flashed the high-octane offense and technical skills that made her the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic wrestling gold medal on her way to a victory at her new weight class, 58 kg/128 lbs. at the Women’s World Team Trials on Saturday night at the South Point Arena.

Maroulis (New York, N.Y./Sunkist Kids) won both of her Championship Series matches by technical fall over 2017 U.S. Open champion Kayla Miracle. In her first match, Maroulis won 15-2 in 5:45. In the second match, she came back with 10 straight points to win 10-0 in 2:42.

Maroulis talked about her decision to return to competition after taking time away from the sport after her Olympic triumph.

“I struggled with that a lot. I hope I am doing the right things for the right reasons. I felt I needed to come back and its different this time around. This year, it’s more about my character development and myself as a person. It is not so much about wrestling right now. I know that sounds weird. This is my profession and I give everything I have when I am doing it. Off the mat, I have to give everything I have as a sister, a daughter, a friend. There are a lot of things important to me right now,” said Maroulis.

Maroulis has now made seven Senior World Teams, plus an Olympic team. She boasts an Olympic title, a World title, a World silver medal and a World bronze medal.

Making her second World Team was Victoria Anthony (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids), who won her championship series in two straight matches at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. over Cody Pfau (Brush, Colo./Titan Mercury WC)

Anthony was dominant in the finals, scoring quickly and often, beating Cody Pfau by a pin in the first match in just 38 seconds. She came back in the second match to score a dominant technical fall, 10-0 in 57 seconds.

“I learned a lesson that my good stuff is still good against girls who know what I like to do. I have made a mistake before of not going to my best stuff, and then my match goes awry. So I make sure to use for me what works,” said Anthony.

In 2013, Anthony went up to 51 kg to make her first Senior team and placed fifth in the World Championships. She was a two-time Junior World champion.

Maroulis and Anthony were teammates at college at Simon Fraser University, both winning four WCWA College national titles.

Making their first Senior World Teams were past Junior World bronze medalists Becka Leathers (Choctaw, Okla./Titan Mercury WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Victoria Francis (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC) at 75 kg/165 lbs. Leathers won her Junior World medal in 2015, while Francis won hers in 2014.

Leathers swept her series over 2016 World Team member Sarah Hildebrandt. Leathers won the opening bout when Hildebrandt was injured during a scoring move by Leathers and couldn’t continue. Hildebrandt could not return to compete in the second match, giving Leathers the victory by injury default and a two-match sweep in their series.

“I went out there ready to battle. It started out with lots of action, lots of movement. I got behind and was ready to throw. I went for the throw and it ended early with an injury. It is what it is. I was ready to battle. Sarah was ready to battle. That is what happened. I am just excited that I made the team,” said Leathers.

Francis won her Championship Series in two straight matches over 2015 World Team member Erin Clodgo, who was the 2017 U.S. Open champion.

In the first match, Clodgo led late in the match, but Francis scored a four-point double-leg takedown in the closing moments for a dramatic 6-5 win. In the second match, Francis broke a 2-2 tie with two more takedowns and went on to a strong 6-3 victory.

“That first match helped me with my confidence. Going into this match, I knew I could outwork her. But I know she is very good and has a lot of years under her belt. Winning that first match the way I did helped with my confidence in the second match,” said Francis.

Last year, both Francis and Clodgo were 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials runners-up, with Clodgo at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Francis at 75 kg/165 lbs.

These four champions joined four other women who won the World Team Trials on Friday, completing the U.S. Women’s World Team, which will compete at the 2017 Senior World Championships in Paris, France, August 21-26.

An Outstanding Wrestler for the World Team Trials in women’s freestyle was named, the 69 kg champion Tamyra Mensah of the Titan Mercury WC, who won her title on Friday night.

At Las Vegas, Nev., April 29

Women’s Freestyle Championship Series

48 kg/105.5 lbs. Victoria Anthony, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Cody Pfau, Brush, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC), two matches to none
Bout One – Anthony pin Pfau, 0:38
Bout Two – Anthony tech. fall Pfau, 10-0, 0:57

55 kg/121 lbs. -. Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Sarah Hildebrandt, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), two matches to none
Bout One – Leathers won by inj. dft. over Hildebrandt, 3:50
Bout Two –Leathers wins by inj. dft. over Hildebrandt, 0:00

58 kg/127.5 lbs. - Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Kayla Miracle, Campbellsville, Ky. (Sunkist Kids)
Bout One – Maroulis tech. fall Miracle, 15-2, 5:45
Bout Two – Maroulis tech. fall Miracle, 10-0, 2:42

75 kg/165 lbs. Victoria Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), two matches to none
Bout One – Francis dec. Clodgo, 6-5
Bout Two –Francis dec. Clodgo, 6-3

2017 U.S. World Team
48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Victoria Anthony, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Haley Augello, Lockport, Ill. (New York AC)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC)
58 kg/128 lbs. - Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg/132 lbs. –Alli Ragan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
69 kg/152 lbs. - Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC)
75 kg/165 lbs. - Victoria Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)

Women’s Freestyle Medal Match results

48 kg/105.5 lbs.

3rd Erin Golston, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC) tech. fall Marina Doi, Kingsburg, Calif. (TMWC), 10-0 2:15
5th Regina Doi, Kingsburg, Calif. (TMWC) tech. fall Katlyn Pizzo Madison Heights, Mich. (Unattached), 10-0 0:41
7th -Vannessa Ramirez, Lebanon, Ill. (Bearcat Wrestling Club) pin Allene Somera Colorado Springs, CO (U.S. Army), 4:42

55 kg/121 lbs.
3rd - Dominique Parrish, Scotts Valley, Calif. (Scotts Valley Wrestling Academy) dec. Kelsey Campbell Scottsdale, AZ (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club), 6-3
5th Rachel Archer, Oklahoma City, Okla. (Aries Wrestling Club) inj. dft Brieana Delgado Oklahoma City, OK (Aries Wrestling Club)
7th Gabriellle Weyhrich Lebanon, Ill. (Bearcat Wrestling Club) inj. dft. Brenda Reyna Mount Vernon, WA (Choker Wrestling Club)

58 kg/128 lbs.
3rd Jacarra Winchester Marshall, Mo. (TMWC) tech. fall Lauren Louive, Iowa City, (NYAC), 11-0 1:55
5th – Alicia Reyes, Marshall, Mo. (Missouri Valley WC)

75 kg/165 lbs.
3rd Brittany Marshall, Plainview, Texas (Wayland Baptist University) tech. fall Nahiela Magee, Lebanon, Ill. (Bearcat Wrestling Club), 11-0 2:30
5th- Paige Baynes Saint Charles, Mo. (Lindenwood University) forfeit over Julia Salata, Bristol, Tenn. (NYAC)
7th - Kacie Moorehouse Aberdeen, Wash. (Choker Wrestling Club) inj. dft. Nadine Fiege Marietta, Ga. (Running Eagles)