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Kristie Davis eyes another World Team, makes finals

Kristie Davis (blue) pins Christen Paysee in the challenge tournament final at 67kg on Friday at the Mid-America Center. (Larry Slater Photo)

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – One of the United States' most decorated women wrestlers has had a little time off and is looking to get back to being among the world's best.

Kristie Davis (Oklahoma City, Okla./New York AC) advanced to the finals of the 67KG women's challenge division Friday with pins over Ahnjahlee Akuna, Ashley Sword and Christen Paysee (Cumberlands) in the 2010 U.S. World Team Trials, showing little rust from what she said has been a much-needed break from the mat. She will face U.S. Open champion Erin Clodgo (Sunkist Kids) in Friday night's finals.

Davis was looking to get as much mat time as she could, but made it look easy in getting to the finals. She pinned Akuna at the 1:02 mark, then recorded pins over Sword and Paysee in 2:22 and 27 seconds, respectively, to reach the finals.

"I just wanted to open up and be more active, rather than just standing around," Davis said of her fast-paced attack.

Recovering from injuries, getting married and giving birth to her second daughter, Lily, gave the former Kristie Marano an opportunity to gain a new appreciation for a sport that has been such a key part of her life.

"It made me focus and got me to miss wrestling for a change, instead of being go-go-go," she said. "(The time away) got me excited to get back into it."

She has wrestled at 72KG/158 pounds, but is back down to 67KG/147 pounds for this year's team trials, where she came into the tournament as the No. 3 seed. This is her first major competition since a third-place finish at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

She won world titles at 67KG in 2000 and 2003 and has won nine world medals overall in her career, tying her with legendary heavyweight Bruce Baumgartner for the most world medals won by an American wrestler.

Getting that 10th medal, for now, is not on her short-term agenda.

"I've come back with the mentality that medals are good, but it's a long haul from here, so right now I'm just focusing on my wrestling and nothing else," she said.

She married Oklahoma City University assistant coach Link Davis in December of 2008, and is looking forward to celebrate her youngest daughter's first birthday (she has another daughter, 12-year-old Kayla).

"I've had nothing but fun with (Lily), and this all was actually perfect timing for me," she said.

It's also a good time for her to continue her wrestling career. She has helped out with coaching, but the drive to be inside the circle, rather than the outside, keeps her going.

"I just love competing, and I don't think that's ever left my system," she said.
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