Shilson, Kilty among six repeat Junior Women’s champions; Zepeda and Yambo knock off returning champs

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 18, 2018, 4:59 p.m. (ET)
Macey Kilty of Wisconsin hits a five-point throw on Kaylynn Albrecht of Texas on the way to the title at 152 pounds. Photo by Jim Thrall,

FARGO, N.D. - The two 2018 UWW Cadet World champions in the field won easily, but the gold-medal finals had more than its share of upsets and drama as the U.S. Marine Corps Junior Freestyle Nationals came to a close at the Fargodome on Wednesday.

Bringing home another Junior Nationals title were Cadet World champions Emily Shilson of Minnesota (100) and Macey Kilty of Wisconsin (152).

Shilson defeated 2018 Cadet Nationals champion Sage Mortimer of Utah in the finals with a 10-0 technical fall in the first period. Shilson scored the first two takedowns, then rolled three straight gut wrenches for the 10 point margin. Shilson won her fifth national title in Fargo, now three as a Junior and two as a Cadet.

"I’m still hungry for more. I love to compete. I love to just go out and battle and I wanted to win another title. I’m pretty happy. I feel I wrestled really well. I was aggressive right off the whistle and I just left it all out there. Went out and scored points. Had fun," said Shilson.

Kilty hammered unheralded Kaylynn Albrecht of Texas in the finals in an 11-0 technical fall Kilty nailed a five-point back arch throw in the first 20 seconds of the match for a 5-0 lead, then added a gutwrench for a 7-0 lead. Another takedown and turn gave her the first-period victory.

"I just love wrestling. I came out here to have fun, and yeah. It’s good stuff. I was just wrestling how I felt. Whatever came, I hit it. Just was loose and… having the mindset of having fun changes how you wrestle obviously. It’s great," said Kilty.

There were four other 2017 Junior Nationals champions who came back to repeat as champions again this year, Vayle Baker of Pennsylvania (117), Emma Bruntil of Washington (138), Jayden Laurent of Wisconsin (144), and Alexandra Castillo of California (200).

Baker scored a 6-2 win over rising young star Phoenix Dubose of Washington, with her big move being a four-point headlock in the first period. Dubose could only muster a pair of pushouts on Baker.

Bruntil, a high school graduate who is now a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete, opened a 10-1 lead in the first period over Aine Drury of California in the finals, then added another takedown in the second period for a 12-2 technical fall.

Laurent jumped to an 8-0 lead, and finished off a 13-3 technical fall over highly regarded Jerzie Estrada of Colorado in her finals victory. Laurent, who is heading to Lakeland University, is a member of the 2018-19 U.S. Senior National Team and was a U.S. Senior Open silver medalist

Castillo won her second Junior Nationals title with dominance, quickly turning and pinning 2018 Cadet Nationals champion Adelina Parra of California for a pin in 1:03 in the finals. Castillo will wrestle for Campbellsville in the fall.

It was not a great night for all of the 2017 Junior Nationals champions, as two were upset in the finals by talented newcomers making a name for themselves.

Freshman star Alexys Zepeda of Oregon capped off a breakthrough performance with an 8-0 shutout victory over 2017 Junior National champion and nationally ranked No. 1 Alisha Howk of Wisconsin at 122 pounds. Zepeda did much of her damage in the first period, scoring counter attacks off of Howk’s offense. It was a great day for Zepeda, who knocked off 2016 Junior Nationals champion Cameron Guerin in the semifinals.

"Well, it did make me really nervous to know that she’s older. I just tried to be calm, as calm as I can, visualize what I’m going to do in the match," said Zepeda.

The other wrestler who made a big name for herself was Abnelis Yambo of Florida, who captured the 132 pound title with a 10-8 victory over returning Junior Nationals champion Alexandria Liles of Colorado. Yambo had a 10-4 lead at the break, with a four-point throw included in a strong offensive display. Liles came back strong in the second period, but could not close the gap.

Claiming the Outstanding Wrestler award was graduated senior Felicity Taylor of Iowa, who stopped Peyton Prussin of Nevada, 10-1 at 112 pounds. Taylor scored a pair of first period takedowns for a 4-0 lead at the break. She added three second period takedowns to close out the win. Taylor entered Fargo with a No. 2 national ranking, while Prussin was at No. 3.

Adding a Junior National title to their Cadet National titles on Sunday were Zepeda and Mia Palumbo of Illinois at 106 pounds

Palumbo, ranked No. 9 coming into Fargo, fell behind No. 2 ranked Caityln Walker of Pennsylvania, 5-1, after Walker hit a four-point headlock. Palumbo tied it up at 5-5 at the break. In the second period, Palumbo whipped Walker over for a 7-5 lead, and added another leg attack takedown for the 9-5 win.

Team Texas added a new Junior Nationals champion in Xochitl Mota-Pettis at 127 pounds, who pinned Louisa Schwab of Illinois in 1:34. Mota-Pettis four point hip toss for a 4-0 lead, and nailed another throw to put Schwab on her back and pressed for the fall.

Other individual champions were Tristan Kelly of Colorado at 164 pounds, Jesse Kirby of Virginia at 180 pounds and Gabrielle Holloway of Texas at 225.

Kelly won an all-Colorado finals, defeating teammate Emily Cue in a solid 8-0 victory. Holloway, ranked No. 1 in the nation heading into Fargo, pinned her Texas teammate Alyssa Alvarez in 3:18.

Kirby, a 2016 Cadet Nationals champion and 2017 Junior Nationals runner-up, finished off her high school career as a Junior Nationals champion. Trailing 6-2 to 2018 Cadet Nationals champion Jaycee Foeller of Missouri, Kirby turned and pinned Foeller at the 2:10 mark.

California repeated as team champions, scoring 75 points. Washington was in second with 50 poiints, and Texas was in third with 46 points.

At Fargo, N.D., July 18

100 pounds
1st - Emily Shilson (Minnesota) tech. fall Sage Mortimer (Utah), 10-0, 1:58
3rd - Lizette Rodriguez (California) dec. Sami Saribay (Hawaii), 10-0, 3:23
5th - Estrella Dorado Marin (Colorado) dec. Pauline Granados (California), 10-3
7th - Jessica Corredor (Florida) dec. Katalina Bartelt (Florida), 4-3

106 pounds
1st - Mia Palumbo (Illinois) dec. Caitlyn Walker (Pennsylvania), 9-5
3rd - Tilynne Vasquez (Montana) tech. fall Amani Jones (Georgia), 10-0 2:39
5th - Jaslynn Gallegos (Colorado) pin Alejandra Corral (Hawaii), 0:17
7th - Maria Reyes (Washington) pin Joanne Ortiz (Connecticut), 3:00

112 pounds
1st - Felicity Taylor (Iowa) dec. Peyton Prussin (Nevada), 10-1
3rd - Kasey Baynon (Georgia) dec. Stefana Jelacic (Arizona), 8-4
5th - Kierstein Bush (Utah) pin Kenzie Cormier (Washington), 1:55
7th - Holly Beaudoin (Washington) dec. Samara Chavez (Texas), 7-4

117 pounds
1st - Vayle Baker (Pennsylvania) dec. Phoenix Dubose (Washington), 6-2
3rd - Gabrielle Skidmore (Wisconsin) pin Riley Dalrymple (New York), 10-0, 3:58
5th - Aliyah Rollins (California) tech. fall Camille Fournier (Texas), 14-3, 4:45
7th - Samantha Barragan (California) dec. Alisha Narvaez (California), 10-0, 1:01

122 pounds
1st - Alexys Zepeda (Oregon) dec. Alisha Howk (Wisconsin), 8-0
3rd - Cameron Guerin (Washington) fall Amanda Walker (Pennsylvania), 0:32
5th - Payton Stroud (Washington) fall Makayla Welch (Minnesota), 2:02
7th - Ainslie Lane (Oklahoma) TF Kourtney Atchley (Illinois), 12-2

127 pounds
1st - Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Texas) fall Louisa Schwab (Illinois), 1:34
3rd - Niya Teresita Gaines (California) fall Kaylee Moore (Washington), 3:48
5th - Lana Perez (Hawaii) TF Karoline Ortiz (Florida), 12-2
7th - Waipuilani Beuchamp (Hawaii) TF Nonnie Justice (Missouri), 11-0

132 pounds
1st - Abnelis Yambo (Florida)dec. Alexandria Liles (Colorado), 10-8
3rd - Teniya Alo (Hawaii) dec. Ashton Cadman (Wisconsin), 13-6
5th - Mary Lopez (California) dec. Julia Vidallon (Virginia), 10-2
7th - Randi Robinson (Illinois) fall Sarah Conner (Oregon), 4:39

138 pounds
1st - Emma Bruntil (Washington) TF Aine Drury (California), 12-1
3rd - Alara Boyd (Indiana) TF Kaden Campbell (Colorado), 15-5
5th - Lexie Basham (Texas) fall Destiny Lyng (California), 2:54
7th - Mattison Parker (Texas) fall Dalia Garibay (California), 1:07

144 pounds
1st - Jayden Laurent (Wisconsin) TF Jerzie Estrada (Colorado), 13-3
3rd - Cara Broadus (Connecticut) TF Kiana Pugh (Wisconsin), 13-0
5th - Anna Luciano (Florida) win by forfeit Jillian Bruno (Pennsylvania)
7th - Hunter Robinson (Texas) dec. Emmily Patneaud (California), 3-1

152 pounds
1st - Macey Kilty (Wisconsin) TF Kaylynn Albrecht (Texas), 11-0
3rd - Lena Flanagan (Washington) fall Joye Levendusky (New York), 1:00
5th - Sabrina Perez (Washington) dec. Lourdes Torres (Washington), 12-4
7th – Gianna Anaya (California) fall Pella Wisniowski (Arkansas), 1:55

164 pounds
1st - Tristan Kelly (Colorado) dec. Emily Cue (Colorado), 8-0
3rd - Kelani Corbett (Hawaii) dec. Sydnee Kimber (Alaska), 8-4
5th - Augustina Ijoma (Texas) dec. Natalie Kemp (Wisconsin), 4-1
7th - Olivia Robinson (Oregon) dec. Alia Abushi (California), 5-4

180 pounds
1st - Jesse Kirby (Virginia) fall Jaycee Foeller (Missouri), 2:10
3rd - Elisa Robinson (Kansas) fall Bailey Dennis (Oregon), 3:53
5th - Emily Sandoval (California) dec. Faith Tuttle (Minnesota), 7-4
7th - America Lopez (California) fall Joanna Jones (New York), 3:36

200 pounds
1st - Alexandra Castillo (California) fall Adelina Parra (California), 1:03
3rd - Angela Buenrrostro (California) fall Isabeau Shalack (Illinois), 1:34
5th - Gabrielle Hamilton (Illinois) fall Nia Crosdale (New York), 1:35
7th – Olivia Brown (Oklahoma) dec. Juliannah Bolli (California), 8-2

225 pounds
1st - Gabrielle Holloway (Texas) fall Alyssa Alvarez (Texas), 3:18
3rd - Cristina Santoyo (California) fall Stacey Pgouda (Georgia), 3:23
5th - Maquoia Bernabe (Kentucky) dec. Taja Showers (Virginia), 7-4
7th - Kayla Henk (Wisconsin) TF Dominique Diaz (New York), 13-3
Team standings
1 California 75
2 Washington 50
3 Texas 46
4 Wisconsin 44
5 Colorado 42
6 Illinois 27
7 Hawaii 26
8 Pennsylvania 23
9 Florida 18
10 (tie) Oregon and Georgia 16
12 New York 15
13 Minnesota and Virginia 14
15 Utah 11
16 (tie) Iowa and Missouri 8
18 (tie) Connecticut and Nevada
20 (tie) Indiana, Kansas and -Montana 6
23 Alaska and Arizona 5
25 (tie) Kentucky and Oklahoma 4
27 Arkansas 1