Tilisa Matakaiongo of Utah secures a pin in the Junior girls finals at the 2024 Air Force Special Warfare Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

Tilisa Matakaiongo of Utah secures a pin in the Junior girls finals at the 2024 Air Force Special Warfare Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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Matakaiongo, Hamilton repeat at Air Force Special Warfare Folkstyle Nationals, Hamilton named Junior girls OW

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

Watch: Junior girls champion post-match interviews


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – An exciting set of Junior girls finals have concluded with 15 champions crowned at the Air Force Special Warfare 16U and Junior Folkstyle Nationals held on Saturday morning at the UNI Dome.


Outstanding wrestler recipient Valerie Hamilton of Illinois earned back-to-back national titles with an 8-0 major decision over Gretchen Donally of Montana in the 145-pound final. Both girls are ranked among the top high school wrestlers nationally. Hamilton, who is a 2022 U17 World silver medalist, entered the event ranked No. 4 at 145 pounds in the National Girls High School Rankings, while Donally slotted in at No. 2.

Also repeating was 235-pound champion Tilisa Matakaiongo of Utah, who capped her event with a decisive pin against against Ella Brown of Iowa in the finals. She went three-for-three on pins throughout the event.


Iowa standout Naomi Simon brought home a win by pin in the 170-pound finals over Michigan’s Amarisa Manuel. This was the second top-four champion showdown in the Junior girls tournament. Simon currently holds the No. 3 spot in the 170-pound national rankings, with Manuel positioned one spot behind her.

Defending champion Reanah Utterback of Iowa was pinned by Minnesota’s Caley Graber in the 110-pound finals. Both girls made a little history recently by placing in the boys high school state tournament of their respective states.


2023 U17 World bronze medalist Heather Crull of Indiana brought home a national title at 105 pounds with a highly competitive 7-2 win over fellow Hoosier Makenize Smith. Also bringing home a title for the Hoosier state was Kendall Moe at 100 pounds. Moe was a champion in the 16U division at this event last year.  


Reigning 16U Folkstyle Nationals champion Skylar Slade joined Simon as Iowans to top the podium. Slade looked sharp in an 11-4 decision over Sage Rosario of Kansas in the 155-pound finals.


A complete list of championship finals and medal match results for the Junior girls division can be found below.


The Air Force Special Warfare 16U and Junior Folkstyle Nationals is the first leg of the USA Wrestling Triple Crown award. The competition resumes at 1 p.m. (CT) on Saturday with the Junior boys finals. 16U competition in the girls and boys divisions will be wrestled throughout the remainder of day.


Fans can watch the event live on FloWrestling.com. Brackets and match-by-match results are available on Trackwrestling.com.


For more information about this event, please visit usawrestlingevents.com.

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