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|U.S. Olympic Team Trials preview in women's freestyle at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.|
By Elizabeth Wiley USA Wrestling
2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda returns for another shot at an Olympic gold. She retired for a year after the Olympics, then competed the last two seasons up at 112.25 pounds, a non-Olympic weight class. Miranda missed the 2007 World Championships with an injury. Miranda recently claimed her seventh U.S. Nationals title. Miranda also holds three World medals, including two silvers and one bronze.
There is a deep and talented group of veterans who seek to knock off Miranda. Stephanie Murata was No. 1 in 2007, placing fifth in the World. With a World silver medal and two fourth-place finishes, Murata has more international experience than anyone in women's wrestling. She lost to Miranda in the U.S. Nationals finals.
Having a strong season is 2005 U.S. Nationals champion Sara Fulp-Allen, who was third at U.S. Nationals. She won the 2008 Dave Schultz Memorial, which featured all of the top challengers except Miranda. An age-group champion for many years, she is now winning often on the Senior level.
In 2004, Clarissa Chun placed second behind Miranda in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. A 2006 U.S. Nationals champion, Chun competed in the 2000 World Championships. Chun was fourth at the U.S. Nationals.
Fifth at the U.S. Nationals was 2006 U.S. World Team member Mary Kelly, who has won World medals on the Cadet, Junior and University age levels. Kelly was ninth in the 2006 World Championships. Sadie Kaneda was sixth at the U.S. Nationals and won the Women's College Nationals. Alyssa Lampe, a 2007 Junior World bronze medalist, placed seventh at U.S. Nationals and was second behind Fulp-Allen at the University Nationals.
A number of athletes may drop down after qualifying at the non-Olympic weight at 112.25 pounds. The best of these may be 2008 U.S. Nationals champion Jessica Medina, who also won the Women's College Nationals. Others include Katherine Fulp-Allen, Helen Maroulis, and Kapua Torres.
2008 U.S. Nationals results
1st - Patricia Miranda, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Stephanie Murata, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 6-0, 1-0
3rd - Sara Fulp-Allen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) pin Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 4-1, 1:58
5th - Mary Kelly, Gaffney, S.C. (New York AC) dec. Sadie Kaneda, Honolulu, Hawaii (USOEC), 5-0, 3-0
7th - Alyssa Lampe, Tomahawk, Wis. (Sunkist Kids) dec. CC Weber, Goodrich Mich. (Shamrocks Wrestling), 3-0, 5-0
2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials pre-seeds
Qualified for best-of-three finals: Patricia Miranda, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
Challenge Tournament seeds
1. Stephanie Murata, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Sara Fulp-Allen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
3. Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
4. Mary Kelly, Gaffney, S.C. (New York AC)
5. Jessica Medina, Pomona, Calif. (New York AC)
6. Sadie Kaneda, Honolulu, Hawaii (USOEC)
7. Alyssa Lampe, Tomahawk, Wis. (Sunkist Kids)
8. Kapua Torres, Williamsburg, Ky. (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
9. Emily Martin, Frisco, Texas (unattached)