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|Six past World Team members earn final spots on U.S Women’s World Team during wrestle-offs|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Iris Smith of the U.S. Army has her arm raised in victory at 72 kg in the finals of the Women's World Team Wrestle-off at the Olympic Training Center. Tommy Schield photo
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – All six of the winners at Saturday’s U.S. Women’s World Team Wrestle-off at the U.S. Olympic Training Center have previous Senior World Championships experience. All six also won their best-of-three Championship Series in two straight matches.
Each earned a spot on the U.S. Women’s World Team, which will compete at the Women’s World Championships in Strathcona County, Canada, Sept,. 27-29.
2005 World champion Iris Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S Army) is returning to the World Championships for the first time since winning her gold medal, after sweeping King College star Julia Salata (Canton, Mich./New York AC) in two straight bouts at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Smith scored a pair of shutout victories, stopping Salata 3-0, 4-0 in bout one, and 6-0, 3-0 in bout two.
Smith will be competing in her fourth World Championships. She also qualified for the 2001 World Championships but was unable to compete due to military obligations.
“I think I wrestled pretty good. It is always a great achievement to make a World Team. I am going to do good things at the World Championships. I have had some time to re-evaluate my wrestling and critique little things. Hopefully, it will pay off in the end,” said Smith.
2010 World silver medalist Elena Pirozhkova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) made her sixth straight U.S. World and Olympic team with a sweep over Erin Clodgo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids). The first bout went to Pirozhkova, 2-0, 2-0. The second match went the full three period before Pirozhkova prevailed, 3-1, 1-2, 1-0. Pirozhkova now has been on five World Teams and an Olympic team.
As a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, Pirozhkova advanced directly to the Championship Series, where she met Clodgo, who won Saturday morning’s Challenge Tournament. Pirozhkova was the only athlete who did not have to wrestle in the morning session.
“I’m not happy with the way I wrestled. In the first match, I did what I had to do to win. In the second match, I want to go out stronger. I was a little sloppy, not finishing all my shots. I felt good warming up. But it is alright. Everytime you make a World Team is special,” said Pirozhkova.
2011 World bronze medalist Adeline Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) won her Championship Series in two straight bouts over Jennifer Page (Orangevale, Calif./OTC), both by shutout. Gray won the first match, 2-0, 4-0 then closed it out with a 1-0, 1-0 victory in the second bout. Gray will be competing in her third Senior World Championships.
“It is always exciting to make a World Team. Like Coach Terry Steiner said, you don’t get a lot of opportunities to be on these teams and get the job done. I feel strong at this weight. I am excited to show what I can do at the World Championships and show how strong I am there,” said Gray.
Also making her third U.S. World Team is Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./New York AC), winner in two straight at 55 kg/121 lbs. over Katherine Fulp-Allen (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC). The first match went three periods before Maroulis triumphed, 2-0, 2-2, 3-0. Her second match ended, 4-0, 4-0. Her previous top effort was a fifth place at the 2011 World Championships.
The other two winners have been on one previous World Team and will be seeking their first medal at their second World Championships: Alyssa Lampe (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 51 kg/112.25 lbs. and Leigh Jaynes (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 59 kg/130 lbs.
In a battle of past World Team members, Lampe beat Whitney Conder (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) in two close battles. The first match went 2-1, 1-1, while Lampe needed all three periods to win bout two by a 1-0, 0-2, 2-0 margin.
Lampe was on the 2010 U.S. World Team at 48 kg while Conder competed on the 2011 U.S. World Team at 51 kg.
Jaynes, a member of the 2007 U.S. World Team, controlled the action in her two-match sweep over Shauna Isbell, Flagstaff, Ariz. (Lindenwood). Both were shutout wins. Jaynes won 2-0, 3-0 in bout one, and 6-0, 3-0 in bout two.
One weight class on the U.S. World Team is already determined. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) is already on the team based upon winning a medal at the London Olympics.
Chun was a 2008 World Champion. She has been on two Olympic teams, and now and now five U.S. World Teams.
U.S. World Team Coach Billy Wood is excited about the group of athletes competing at the Worlds in Canada.
“We have two Olympians and everyone else on the team has been on a World Team. We are taking an experienced team there. There are some young ones, from 21 years old clear up to their 30’s. It is a wide variety but very experienced. I feel good about that. We are in it to win it,” said Wood.
WOMEN’S WORLD TEAM WRESTLE-OFF
At Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 15
Best-of-three Championship Series
51 kg/112.25 lbs: - Alyssa Lampe, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Whitney Conder, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Lampe dec. Conder, 2-1, 1-1
Lampe dec. Conder, 1-0, 0-2, 2-0
55 kg/121 lbs. - Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (New York AC) dec. Katherine Fulp-Allen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 2 matches to 0
Maroulis dec. Fulp-Allen, 2-0, 2-2, 3-0
Maroulis dec, Fulp-Allen, 4-0, 4-0
59 kg/130 lbs.– Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Shauna Isbell, Flagstaff, Ariz. (Lindenwood), 2 matches to 0
Jaynes dec. Isbell, 2-0, 3-0
Jaynes dec. Isbell, 6-0, 3-0
63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Elena Pirozhkova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) dec. Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 0
Pirozhkova dec. Clodgo, 2-0, 2-0
Pirozhkova dec. Clodgo, 3-1, 1-2, 1-0
67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Adeline Gray, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC) dec. Jennifer Page, Orangevale, Calif. (OTC), 2 matches to 0
Gray dec. Page, 2-0, 4-0
Gray dec. Page, 1-0, 1-0
72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Julia Salata, Canton, Mich. (King College), 2 matches to 0
Smith dec. Salata, 3-0, 4-0
Smith dec. Salata, 6-0, 3-0
Note: Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) already secured the 48 kg/105.5 lbs. position on the U.S. Women’s World Team after winning an Olympic bronze medal at the London Games.