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This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

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Preview of the Women's competition at the Senior World Team Trials in Cincinnati



The U.S. Women's World Team claimed the World Team title in 1999, and has been a major force on the international scene for over a decade. America's best women wrestlers will be battling for a spot on the U.S. team that will compete in the World Championships n New York City in September. Four-time World Champion Tricia Saunders is among the top-seeded athletes heading into the World Team Trials, set for Cincinnati, Ohio, June 22-24. U.S. Nationals Outstanding Wrestler Toccara Montgomery beat two past World Champions to claim her first nationals title. The competition is expected to be fierce in the women's division at the World Team Trials. 101.25 pounds Four-time World Champion Tricia Saunders remains unbeaten against American opponents, winning a record 11th U.S. Nationals title and maintaining her position as the best ever in U.S. women's wrestling. In the finals, she defeated veteran Julie Gonzalez by a 9-0 margin, one of the closer matches Gonzales has had against Saunders. College star Clarissa Chun, who wrestled in the 2000 U.S. Nationals, lost a wild match against Gonzalez but came back to capture third place. Chun was also the University Nationals champion this year. High school star Erica Dye of West Virginia proved that she belonged on the Senior level with a strong fourth-place finish. College wrestler Sandra Padron was fifth, and emerging high school talent Tanya Miyasaka from Hawaii grabbed the final All-American position. Also earning places in the Challenge Tournament were Rachel Bernardes and Laura Obuhanych. 112.25 pounds Stephanie Murata continued her dominance over American opponents, claiming her sixth U.S. Nationals title. Like Saunders, she was unable to compete in last year's World Championships due to injury. Murata was in control in the championship finals, defeating University Nationals champion Jenny Wong, 9-3. Wong made the finals by upsetting 2000 World silver medalist Patricia Miranda by pin in the semifinals. Miranda wrestled back to take third place, and will remain a serious threat in the World Team Trials. High school star Mary Kelly of Illinois entered her first Senior event at this weight class and placed a strong fourth. Another prep standout, Melina Hutchison of Alaska, finished fifth. The final All-American spot was claimed by Miriam Jenkins, a product of the new U.S. Marines women's team. Others who have qualified for the Challenge Tournament include Shelley Ann Tomita and Danielle Hobeika. 123.25 pounds After making three U.S. World Teams, Tina Wilson captured her first U.S. Nationals title with an impressive showing in Las Vegas. She pinned high school standout Erin Tomeo of Pennsylvania in the championship finals. Both Wilson and Tomeo were University Nationals champions, but Tomeo dropped down to this weight class. Another Pennsylvania high school star, Lisa Bisers, claimed third place. College stars Grace Magnussen and Carrie Birge placed fourth and fifth respectively. Magnussen is a veteran who can be dangerous in big events. Colorado prep star Cathilee Albert placed sixth, earning All-American status. Also qualifying for the Challenge Tournament were Cheryl New and Jill Remiticado. 136.5 pounds Sara McMann continued her dominance at this weight class, winning her second consecutive U.S. Nationals title. McMann has been winning tournaments all season, and pinned National Team member Tonya Evinger in the finals. Evinger's teammate at Missouri Valley College, Tori Adams, had her best Senior performance, placing third in the weight class in Las Vegas. Veteran Jimi-Dawn Hornbuckle, a former national champion, continued to be a threat by placing fourth. College wrestler Tina Arnds was fifth, and an emerging talent, Cindy Herceg, was sixth. Also earning a spot in the Challenge Tournament were Lauwa'e Smith and Alexandra Augustin. 149.75 pounds The most exciting new star in women's wrestling is Ohio high school sensation Toccara Montgomery, who was named Outstanding Wrestler at the U.S. Nationals. Montgomery defeated 1999 World Champion Sandra Bacher in a wild semifinal match. In the gold-medal finals, her offense proved too much for 2000 World Champion Kristie Marano. Montgomery had defeated both athletes earlier this season, but claiming wins on the big stage at the U.S. Nationals showed that she has arrived as a true international force. Marano was also second at last year's U.S. Nationals, but came back to win the World Championships. College wrestler Katie Downing, who has been impressive all season, came through with a strong third-place finish, and another college star, Kaci Lyle, was fourth. Bacher claimed fifth place, while Melani Macari grabbed the final All-American position by taking sixth. Also earning spots in the Challenge Tournament were Devin Kelly and Stephanie Bolton. 165.25 pounds Winning a second straight U.S. Nationals title was Iris Smith, who pinned Satrinina Vernon in the gold-medal finals. Vernon had a pair of wins over Smith earlier in the season, but Smith peaked well for the U.S. Nationals. High school star Alicia Mena placed an impressive third, and won the Most Falls trophy at the U.S. Nationals. Claiming fourth was veteran Dominique Smalley, the 2000 Junior World Champion. Elena Mena, Alicia's sister, placed fifth, moving up to this weight class from 149.75 pounds a short time ago. The final All-American placing went to college wrestler Donell Bradley, who finished sixth. Also qualifying for the Challenge Tournament in Cincinnati were Samantha Branka and Cassandra Inman.
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