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WORLD TEAM TRIALS PREVIEW: Women’s freestyle at 67 kg/147.5 lbs.

The top competitor at 67 kg/147.5 pounds the last two years has been Adeline Gray, who placed fifth in the World in 2009. Gray won both the U.S. Open and the World Team Trials last year, and was a 2008 Junior World champion. She had a great winter season before she was injured overseas and unable to compete in the U.S. Open. She is still recovering from the injury and will not be able to compete at the World Team Trials, and will be unable to defend her top position on the U.S. team.

It will be an interesting battle to see who steps up and takes the No. 1 position with Gray on the sidelines. The U.S. Open champion was Erin Clodgo of the Sunkist Kids, who has competed at both 67 kg and 72 kg in recent seasons. She also won a spot on the 2010 Junior World Team.

Placing second at the U.S. Open was Christen Paysee of the Univ. of the Cumberlands, who was a 2009 Junior World Team member. Last year, she was second in the World Team Trials, losing to Gray in the Championship Series. After placing seventh in the 2009 U.S. Open, she had a strong spring and summer season, and has taken a big step forward in her performance and self-confidence. She did not win a medal in any international events this year.

Another possible entry here is Lauren Knight of the Univ. of the Cumberlands, who was a 2010 WCWA college national runner-up at 72 kg, but has many national achievements down at 67 kg. Knight was third at the World Team Trials at 67 kg last year, and has placed fourth at the U.S. Open on two occasions. She was not able to defeat Gray in recent battles, but has shown great progress. She was second in the 2009 New York AC International and third in the 2009 Sunkist Kids International at this division.

Placing third at the U.S. Open was former Team USA member Ashley Sword of OKCDT, who has not wrestled in the last few seasons. Britteny Roberts of the Gator WC/OCU was fourth at the U.S. Open and third in the WCWA Women’s Nationals. Roberts placed second behind Clodgo at the Body Bar FILA Junior Nationals.

The other qualifiers from Cleveland who placed in the top seven were Kuuiini Johnson of Team Hawaii,, Ahnjahlee Akuna of the USOEC and Emma Randall of the Lady Eagle WC. Johnson was fourth at the Sunkist Kids Interhational this year. Akuna was third at the University Nationals and fourth at the FILA Junior Nationals.

There is a possibility that athletes who have been competing at either 63 kg or 72 kg may decide to pursue their chances at this weight class. At this point, nobody has indicated that they might switch weights and enter in this division. There is a possibility that 2008 Olympic silver medalist Randi Miller of the Gator WC may return to compete. This is a weight class which she wrestled in at times during her career and where she would be very competitive.

2010 U.S. Open results at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. in women’s freestyle
1st - Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Christen Paysee, Fullerton, Calif. (Cumberlands), 1-0, 3-2
3rd - Ashley Sword, Oklahoma City, Okla. (OKCDT) inj. dft. Britteny Roberts, Santa Fe, Texas (Gator WC/OCU),
5th - Kuuiini Johnson, Aiea, HI (Team Hawaii) tech. fall Ahnjahlee Akuna, Wailuanui, Hawaii (USOEC), 0-2,6-0,8-0
7th - Emma Randall, Greenview, Ohio (Lady Eagle WC) dec. Moriah Fernandez, Morgan Hill, Calif. (USOEC), 2-0, 6-1

World Team Trials qualifiers at 67 kg/147.5 pounds in women’s freestyle
U.S. Open Champion - Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
U.S. Open, second place – Christen Paysee, Fullerton, Calif. (Cumberlands),
U.S. Open, third place - Ashley Sword, Oklahoma City, Okla. (OKCDT)
U.S. Open, fourth place – Britteny Roberts, Santa Fe, Texas (Gator WC/OCU),
U.S. Open, fifth place – Kuuiini Johnson, Aiea, Hawaii (Team Hawaii)
U.S. Open, sixth place - Ahnjahlee Akuna, Wailuanui, Hawaii (USOEC),
U.S. Open, seventh place - Emma Randall, Greenview, Ohio (Lady Eagle WC)
Past U.S. World Team member – Adeline Gray, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

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