Top youngsters expected at Women’s Nationals May 20-21 in Irving, Texas

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | May 08, 2017, 3:51 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Maya Nelson wrestling against Japan in the Dave Schultz Memorial International. Photo by John Sachs,

The 2017 UWW Women’s National Championships are set for next weekend, May 20-21, at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas.

Formerly known as Body Bar Nationals, the tournament will serve as the women’s UWW Junior and UWW Cadet World Team Trials as well as the Schoolgirl Pan American Championships team selection.

On the Junior side, there are five 2016 World Team Trials champions eligible to compete as well as six other runners-up.

Maya Nelson is the only returning World medalist of three qualified to compete. At the 2016 Junior World Championships in Macon, France, Nelson finished with a bronze medal, going 3-1 at the tournament.

Nelson is the one to beat at 63 kg/139 lbs. She recently made the Senior Women’s National Team, taking third at the World Team Trials in Las Vegas last month, and has a runner-up finish at U.S. Senior Nationals as well as an international silver medal from the 2017 Dave Schultz Memorial International.

Producing top-10 finishes at Junior Worlds last year were Brenda Reyna (51 kg/112 lbs.) and Rachel Watters (72 kg/158 lbs.). Both are still Junior eligible.

After winning last year’s Trials, Reyna and Watters went on to win Junior National titles in Fargo, N.D.—Reyna at 117 pounds and Watters at 159 pounds.

Other 2016 UWW National champs looking to defend their titles include McKayla Campbell, who won at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. and Nadine Fiege, who was victorious at 79.5 kg/175 lbs.

Campbell is a two-time age-group World Team member, traveling to the 2015 Cadet World Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzogovina, and the 2016 Junior World Championships. In 2015, she finished fifth in the world at 43 kg.

Fiege was crowned Cadet National champion at 198 pounds in 2013.

Just last month, Fiege, Reyna and Watters also competed at the Senior Trials in Vegas. Watters fell just shy of making the National Team, taking fourth at 75 kg/165 lbs. Reyna and Fiege both recorded eighth-place finishes at 55 kg/121 lbs. and 75 kg, respectively.

2015 Cadet World champion Ronna Heaton is fresh off a fourth-place finish at 53 kg/116.5 lbs at the Senior Women’s Freestyle World Team Trials in late-April and is expected to compete in Irving, looking to represent the USA once again.

Heaton, who finished second at last year’s Junior Trials, filled in for a sick Becka Leathers at 55 kg/121 lbs. in the 2016 Junior World Championships, where she finished 11th. Just weeks later, she competed at the Cadet World Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia, where she earned her second World medal, a silver.  

Other 2016 UWW Junior Women’s Nationals runners-up expected to compete include:

  • Naomi Chavez (44 kg/97 lbs.)
  • Aleeah Gould (48 kg/105 lbs.)
  • Autumn Gordon (51 kg/112 lbs.)
  • Elissa Douglass (59 kg/130 lbs.)
  • Kacie Moorehouse (79.5 kg/175 lbs.)

Bumping up from the Cadet level to the Junior level are four 2016 Body Bar champs and six runners-up.

Ashlynn Ortega, who finished fifth at the 2016 Cadet Worlds, is now Junior eligible. Last year, she won the 65 kg/143 lbs. UWW national title at the Cadet level.

Ortega is a two-time Cadet World Team member, who also represented the U.S. at Cadet Worlds in 2015. She also owns two Cadet Freestyle National championships (2014, 2015).

2016 UWW National champ at 40 kg/88 lbs. Erin Mance competed at the 2016 Cadet World Championships, where she was 12th. This will be only her second time wrestling at the UWW Women’s National Championships.

Other Cadet returning champions looking to rise to the Junior level are Abby Lees, who won a 78 kg/171.5 lbs. and Rachel Bridges, who won at 100 kg/220 lbs.

Aside from Heaton, all of last year’s Cadet World medalists are still Cadet eligible, putting potentially four of the world’s finest in the field.

With a resume like Alleida Martinez’s, she poses a threat to all who are in her way.

Martinez is a two-time Cadet World medalist, winning silver in 2015 in Sarajevo and bronze in 2016 in Tbilisi.

At last year’s tournament in Irving, she won the 46 kg/101 lbs. class. Months later, she earned Cadet and Junior Freestyle national titles in Fargo. So far this year, Martinez took second at Folkstyle Nationals, where she bumped up to Junior.

The 2016 U.S. Cadet Women’s World Team brought home three other bronze medals from Macey Kilty (49 kg/108 lbs.), Gracie Figueroa (56 kg/123 lbs.) and Alara Boyd (60 kg/132 lbs).

2016 Cadet Freestyle National champ Kilty was recently a double champ at Folkstyle Nationals, winning Cadet and Junior titles in Oklahoma City in March.

Figueroa is a talent, making two Cadet World Teams and winning four Fargo championships—two in Cadet and two in Junior—over the span of two years.

Boyd recently won a Junior Folkstyle Nationals title and was a runner-up in the Cadet division. In 2016, Boyd took second in the Cadet National Championships in Fargo.

For the first time, the Cadet women will weigh in the morning of competition. This is due to the Cadet World Championships becoming a one-day tournament.

Also being contested are national tournaments at the Schoolgirl and Divisions I and II levels.

The tournament is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. CT on Saturday with Cadet, Schoolgirl and Divisions I and II competition. Junior action will take place on Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m.

All the action will be streamed live on, with live updates from USA Wrestling’s Twitter @usawrestling.


at Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas, May 19-20

Saturday, May 20
Session I (9:30 a.m. CT-1:30 p.m.) – Schoolgirls and Girls Divisions I and II
Preliminaries through 3rd place matches (Schoolgirls)
Preliminaries through finals (Girls Divisions I and II)

Session II (10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.) – UWW Women Cadets
Preliminaries through 3rd place matches

Session III (6 p.m.) – UWW Cadets and Schoolgirls
Best-of-three finals

Sunday, May 21
Session I (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) – UWW Women Juniors
Preliminaries through 3rd place matches

Session II (2 p.m.) – UWW Women Juniors
Best-of-three finals

2016 UWW Junior National Champions
44 kg/97 lbs. – Marina Doi (Titan Mercury WC)
48 kg/105 lbs. – McKayla Campbell (Ohio National Team)
51 kg/112 lbs. – Brenda Reyna (Vandit Wrestling Academy)
55 kg/121 lbs. – Becka Leathers (OKCU Gator RTC)
59 kg/130 lbs. – Kayla Miracle (Sunkist Kids)
63 kg/138 lbs. – Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids)
67 kg/147 lbs. – Alexis Porter (McKendree Univ.)
72 kg/158 lbs. – Rachel Watters (OKCU Gator RTC)
79.5 kg/175 lbs. – Nadine Fiege (Life Running Eagles)

2016 UWW Cadet National Champions
38 kg/83.5 lbs. - Caitlyn Walker (Team Pennsylvania)
40 kg/88 lbs. - Erin Mance (Spartan Mat Club)
43 kg/94.5 lbs. - Marijah Morales (SOT Academy)
46 kg/101 lbs. - Alleida Martinez (Titan Mercury WC)
49 kg/108 lbs. - Mace Kilty (Wisconsin)
52 kg/114.5 lbs. - Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids)
56 kg/123 lbs. - Gracie Figueroa (Titan Mercury WC)
60 kg/132 lbs. - Alara Boyd (CIA)
65 kg/143 lbs. - Ashlynn Ortega (Pueblo West WC)
70 kg/154 lbs. - Emily Cue (Outlaws Colorado)
78 kg/171.5 lbs. - Abby Lees (Washington)
84 kg/185 lbs. - Sierra Adams-Gregory (Social Butterfly)
100 kg/220 lbs. - Rachel Bridges (Timber Creek High School Wrest)

2016 Schoolgirl National Champions
81 lbs. - Sage Mortimer of Champions Wrestling Club
89 lbs. - Kylie Welker of Higher Level Wrestling
97 lbs. - Camille Fournier of Spartan Mat Club
105 lbs. - Zoe Gress of Curby 3 Style Wrestling Club

113 - Esther Han of Team IL
120 lbs. - Tiffani Mcnelis of Team Pennsylvania
128 lbs. - Tristan Kelly of SOT Academy
155 lbs. - Amalia Lopez of NOCO Girls wrestling

2016 Division I National Champions
45-50 lbs. - Hannah Perro of Maine Trappers
55 lbs. - Kamdyn Saulter of Salado Storm Wrestling Club
60 lbs. - Kiiaana Gavere of Team Minnesota
65-70 lbs. - Taina Fernandez of Maine Trappers

2016 Division I National Champions
60 lbs. - Riley Rayome of 3 Style Wrestling
65 lbs. - Zao Estrada of SOT Academy
70 lbs. - Alex Szkotnicki of SMWC Wolfpack
75 lbs. - Isabella Morales of Team Takedown
80 lbs. - Ella Schmit of Female Elite Wrestling - Iowa
85 lbs. - Shayla Gallegos of SOT Academy
95 lbs. - Maya Davis of Team IL
102 lbs. - Reese Larramendy of Team Nevada
118 lbs. - Livia Rosario of Without Limits Wrestling
118 lbs. + - Kyleigh Dean of SC Womens wrestling
118 lbs.++ - Briana Arauyo/Batista of Ascension Wrestling Club