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Campbell finds redemption, tops Rix, makes World Team

Kelsey Campbell (red) battles Deanna Rix in their best-of-three finals series at the 2010 World Team Trials in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo by Kevin Schlosser/

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – After losing in the finals of last year's team trials, Kelsey Campbell (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) didn't want to have history repeat itself.

She lost the first match to Deanna Rix at the U.S. World Team Trials Friday night, but regained her focus to win the final two matches and avenge last year's loss to make her first appearance as part of the national team, which will compete in Moscow, Russia this September.

It would have been easy for the 24-year-old Milwaukie, Ore., native to think back to last year's disappointing three-match loss to Rix, who went on to post a second straight fifth-place finish at Worlds.

"I just felt like it was just live and die out there and I needed to go after it and just not second-guess myself," Campbell said of how her comeback. "I just let it go and made some minor adjustments, and just go out and wrestle a little better."

In their first match, Campbell won the ball draw after two scoreless minutes, but Rix countered off Campbell's leg attack, dropping her to her back for three points to take the first period. Campbell scored the only point of the second period with a pushout, but Rix got the ball draw in the third period and pushed Campbell out to take the first match.

"I don't know what happened. I think I just lost focus," Campbell said of Rix's reversal. "Just because your color gets drawn, doesn't mean you're going to win and I think I just lost focus."

Campbell said she knew she'd need to refocus.

"I realized that I'm not going to win this off of clinches," she said. "I'm going to have to score some legitimate points or I'm going to leave this thing No. 2 again, and sometimes those things need to happen to bring you back to Earth."

It was a three-period battle in the second match, with Rix taking the first period off the ball draw after she got behind Campbell for a takedown. Campbell responded by getting the ball draw in the second and third periods, driving Rix out of bounds to tie the bout and then getting a takedown midway through the 30-second overtime to win the third period and set up a winner-take-all match.

In the final match, Campbell took the first period and was able to work through the hand fighting to get behind Rix and drive her out of bounds with 23 seconds left in the final period.

"It's just continuing to wrestler and take your conditioning out there and just wear her down," she said. "I didn't want to go three periods, but I knew if it came down to conditioning, I believe in mine and I just had to beat her to the hand fight. I knew if I could wear her down, I could get her out of position."

Campbell hopes to carry the momentum of her comeback into the Worlds meet.

"I just need to stay coachable and positive," she said. "Anything can happen at Worlds and I just have to build on this."
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