Final X Preview: Kayla Miracle vs. Mallory Velte, 62 kg women

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | June 13, 2018, 5:27 p.m. (ET)
Action images of Kayla Miracle from the Beat the Streets LA event and Mallory Velte from the 2017 World Championships by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Who: Kayla Miracle vs. Mallory Velte
What: Final X
Where: State College, Pa.
When: June 16
Why: Women’s freestyle World Team spot at 62 kg
Tickets: FinalX.tv

Kayla Miracle

How she got to Final X:
This was a weight class without a World medalist from 2017. Miracle earned her spot in Final X by winning the U.S. Open in April, where she beat Mallory Velte in the finals. It was Miracle’s second straight U.S. Open title.

Background:
Kayla Miracle is one of just four women to claim four WCWA women’s college national titles. The achievement is remarkable, because Miracle competed up in weight class at pretty much every WCWA Nationals she entered, which helped Campbellsville’s team have its strongest lineup for nationals. This paid big dividends in 2018, when the Tigers won their first WCWA national team title, with Miracle as its undisputed leader.

While her college achievements are impressive, Miracle has also been at the cutting edge in international freestyle for an even longer time, going back to her years as a Cadet and moving up the age-group ladder of success. Coached by her father Lee through youth wrestling and at college at Campbellsville, Miracle thrived in freestyle. She has competed in six different age-group World Tournament at three levels (Cadet, Junior, U23), and has won three World medals (one Cadet, two Junior). Her USA Wrestling age-group national results resume is very long and impressive. She has also made the 2018 U23 World Team, which if she wins in Final X, could give her two chances to pursue a World title this fall. Miracle is a master at staying in position and eliminating mistakes, and when she has her offense rolling, she is awfully hard to beat.

What has been equally impressive is her Senior level development and achievements, because during the years that she competed in USA Wrestling age-group events and in the WCWA in college, she was already entering Senior tournaments when she became eligible. She has two U.S. Open titles and was second in the 2017 U.S. World Team Trials. She has won international gold medals at the Senior level. At this point in the season, UWW has her as the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the world at 62 kg, based upon performances in the ranking tournaments. What is new for Miracle is a move up to 62 kg this year, which came after UWW changed the women’s weight class. This move up brings her in the same weight as Mallory Velte, who is coming down where they will meet for this year’s Final X title.

Kayla Miracle’s World Championship experience:
2011 Cadet World Championships in Szombethely, Hungary – EIGHTH
2012 Cadet World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan – SILVER
2014 Junior World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia – BRONZE
2015 Junior World Championships in Salvador, Brazil – EIGHTH
2016 Junior World Championships in Macon, France – BRONZE
2017 U23 World Championships in Bydogszcz, Poland - FIFTH

Mallory Velte


How she got to Final X:

Velte won a gold medal at the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Rochester, Minn. in May, defeating Brenda Reyna in two straight matches by technical fall, 10-0 and 13-2.

Background:

Mallory Velte comes into Final X as a 2017 Senior World Team member. She made the USA team at the 63 kg weight class in 2017, and with the change in weight classes, she chose to drop one kilogram, rather than go up two kilograms to 65 kg. Her progress on the Senior level has been impressive, because, like Miracle, she just finished up her college career a few months ago.

Velte was a respected California high school wrestler, winning two girls CIF state championships and placing at USA Wrestling’s age-group competitions. Her career blossomed with her college choice of Simon Fraser, going north of the border to Canada to pursue her career. A number of U.S. stars have done well at Simon Fraser, including Olympic champion Helen Maroulis and World Team member Victoria Anthony, and Velte continues that tradition of Americans thriving at a Canadian college. Velte won three WCWA national titles for Simon Fraser, and also started getting big success in U.S. age-group and Senior-level events. All three years that Velte won the WCWAs, Miracle was at a different weight class also winning a title.

Velte had one age-group World Team performance, taking fifth at the 2015 Junior Worlds in Brazil, where Miracle won a bronze medal at a lower weight class. In 2016, Velte made the U.S. Women’s National Team at two weight classes, taking third at the Olympic Trials at 63 kg, and dropping to 60 kg to a Non-Olympic weight class and taking second at the Trials. Although a college student, she has taken a number of international tours, having the ability to travel overseas even during the WCWA college season. Her priority and focus has always been at the World level.

When Miracle edged Velte in the U.S. Open this year, after ending up at the same weight class, Velte came back with a strong performance to win the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, for a chance to get another showdown with Miracle. Some would think Velte’s Senior World experience last year might be a big advantage, but Miracle’s six age-group World Championships are more than Velte’s two. If Velte makes the proper adjustments from her loss at the U.S. Open, this could end up as one of the most competitive series on the Final X schedule.

Velte’s World Championship experience
2015 Junior World Championships in Salvador, Brazil – FIFTH
2017 Senior World Championships in Paris, France – 14th

Notes
• Miracle defeated Velte, 3-0, in the finals of the 2018 U.S. Open in Las Vegas.
• Miracle won the 2018 Patricia Miranda Medal, the new award created by the Open Mat, for the top college wrestler in the nation. It is women’s college wrestling’s new “Dan Hodge Trophy”
• Velte was named Outstanding Wrestler at the NWCA All-Star Classic in November, the first time that a full card of women’s matches were included in this annual event (held for 52 years in men’s wrestling).
• Follow Miracle on Twitter and Instagram @MiraculousKC
• Follow Velte on Twitter and Instagram @__malpal__
• Check out Velte’s Instagram for a nice picture of Miracle and Velte smiling together at an event

62 kg/138.75 lbs. WOMEN

Kayla Miracle, Campbellsville, Ky. (Sunkist Kids)
College: Campbellsville High School: Culver Academy (Ind.) Born: April 26, 1996
• Two-time U.S. Open champion (2017, 2018)
• 2015, 2016 and 2017 University Nationals champion
• Third in 2014 and 2016 Junior World Championships
• Second in 2012 Cadet World Championships
• Fourth in 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
• 2016 and 2018 Dave Schultz Memorial International champion
• 2018 Klippan Lady Open champion (Sweden)
• 2014 Bill Farrell International champion
• 2017 and 2018 U23 World Team Trials champion
• Four-time WCWA College National champion for Campbellsville (2015-18)

Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
College: Simon Fraser High School: Sacramento, Calif. (Christian Brothers) Born: March 4, 1995
• 2017 U.S. World Team Trials champion
• Second in 2016 World Team Trials at 60 kg
• 2018 World Team Trials Challenge Tournament champion
• 2018 U.S. Open runner-up
• Third in 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
• 2016 Canada Cup champion
• 2016 and 2017 University Nationals champion
• Third in 2017 U.S. Open
• Three-time WCWA national champion for Simon Fraser (2016, 2017, 2018)
• Fifth in the 2013 Junior World Championships