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Shilson, Blades and Welker double up on titles, secure U23 World Team spots at Women's Nationals

by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling

Photo: The 2021 U23 World Team in women’s freestyle. (Not pictured: Ronna Heaton and Ashlynn Ortega.)

IRVING, Texas – Wrapping up an exciting weekend of competition at the 2021 Women’s Nationals in Irving, Texas, the U.S. U23 women’s freestyle team is set with 10 ladies snagging spots on Sunday afternoon.

The winners at the 10 U23 weight classes will represent the USA at the 2021 U23 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on Nov. 1-7.

Making the team was Emily Shilson (50 kg), Ronna Heaton (53 kg), Alex Hedrick (55 kg), Cheyenne Sisenstein (57 kg), Michaela Beck (59 kg), Emma Bruntil (62 kg), Ashlynn Ortega (65 kg), Alyvia Fiske (68 kg), Kennedy Blades (72 kg) and Kylie Welker (76 kg).

Shilson, Blades and Welker each made their second World Teams of the weekend as they also secured spots on the 2021 Junior World Team at the same weights. Shilson and Welker carry Cadet World medals into the summer with Shilson holding a 2018 gold and 2017 silver, while Welker won a bronze in 2019. Heaton joins them as a returning World medalist, owning a 2015 gold and a 2016 silver at the Cadet level.

This summer will mark Blades’ second and third World Championships run. Also returning to World stage is Hedrick, Beck, Ortega and Fiske. Hedrick and Fiske were on the 2018 and 2019 Junior World Teams, and Beck joined them on the 2019 squad. Ortega’s last World Championship appearance was the 2016 Cadet Worlds.

En route to making the team, Shilson, Ortega and Blades defeated World medalists in the best-of-three finals. At 50 kg, Shilson upended 2015 Cadet World silver and 2016 Cadet World bronze medalist Alleida Martinez for the spot. Ortega battled hard against 2017 Cadet World silver and 2016 Cadet World bronze winner Alara Boyd, who won the 2021 Junior World Team spot earlier this weekend. At 72 kg, Blades dominated 2015 Cadet World bronze medalist Kayla Marano with a pair of technical falls.

Newcomers to the World Team include Sisenstein and Bruntil, who are both college stars at King University and McKendree University, respectively.

Find the complete results to this weekend’s event on

Finals results
50 kg: Emily Shilson (MN) df. Alleida Martinez (CA), two matches to none
Round 1 – Shilson df. Martinez, 12-2
Round 2 – Shilson df. Martinez, fall 3:19

3rd - Aleeah Gould (CA) VPO1 Nina Pham (CA), 10-1
5th - Jaclyn Mcnichols (TX) VPO1 Stefana Jelacic (AZ), 5-4
7th - Ava Bayless (PA) VSU1 Macie Stewart (OR), 14-4 2:34

53 kg: Ronna Heaton (WI) df. Alisha Howk (WI), two matches to none
Round 1 – Heaton df. Howk, 5-3
Round 2 – Heaton df. Howk, 1-1

3rd- Felicity Taylor (IL) VPO1 Samara Chavez (TX), 8-3
5th- Sage Mortimer (UT) VFA Taylin Long (IL), 6-3 4:07
7th- Autumn Gordon (OH) VSU Samantha Weeks (Nd), 10-0 1:18

55 kg: Alex Hedrick (CA) df. Sophia Mirabella (NY), two matches to none
Round 1 – Hedrick df. Mirabella, 10-1
Round 2 – Hedrick df. Mirabella, 8-0

3rd- Melanie Mendoza (CA) VPO1 Nichole Moore (KS), 6-3
5th- Anja Tschohl (CO) VSU1 Ashley Morris (TX), 14-3 1:53
7th- Tara Othman (OR) VIN Anya Knappenberger (MD), 0-0 0:00

57 kg: Cheyenne Sisenstein (NY) df. Amanda Martinez (IL), two matches to none
Round 1 – Martinez df. Sisenstein, 10-10
Round 2 – Sisenstein df. Martinez, fall 2:09
Round 3 – Sisenstein df. Martinez, 7-5

3rd- Lauren Mason (CA) VPO1 Gabrielle Skidmore (WI), 8-4
5th- Cameron Guerin (IL) VIN Vayle Baker (PA)
7th- Montana Delawder (PA) VFA Shaina Murray (NJ), 4-0 1:17

59 kg: Michaela Beck (NY) df. Brenda Reyna (WA), two matches to none
Round 1 – Beck df. Reyna, 5-0
Round 2 – Beck df. Reyna, 6-0

3rd- Nanea Estrella (HI) VFA Phoenix Dubose (WA), 6-5 2:17
5th- Xochitl Mota-pettis (TX) VFA Sofia Macaluso (NY), 7-6 1:46
7th- Serena Cervantes (TX) VFA Alexandra Baudhuin (Nd), 8-8 4:46

62 kg: Emma Bruntil (WA) df. Ana Luciano (FL), two matches to none
Round 1 – Bruntil df. Luciano, 3-0
Round 2 – Bruntil df. Luciano, 2-1

3rd- London Houston (WA) VSU1 Kendall Bostelman (OH), 14-3 5:35
5th- Andrea Schlabach (OH) VFA Jordan Suarez (TX), 8-5 5:36
7th- Anesia Ramirez (OR) VFA Rontaysia Payne (TN), 7-0 1:23

65 kg: Ashlynn Ortega (CO) df. Alara Boyd (IN), two matches to none
Round 1 – Ortega df. Boyd, 4-3
Round 2 – Ortega df. Boyd, 4-1

3rd- Zoe Nowicki (MI) VSU Destiny Lyng (CA), 10-0 2:17
5th- Felicity Bryant (GA) NC Marisol Nugent (MA)
7th- Kaylee Lacy (CO) VSU Maryellen Lafferty (TX), 13-0 1:29

68 kg: Alyvia Fiske (CA) vs. Tiyahna Askew (GA), two matches to none
Round 1 – Fiske df. Askew, 10-0
Round 2 – Fiske df. Askew, 7-2

3rd- Solin Piearcy (CA) VSU Jamilah Mcbryde (NY), 10-0 1:20
5th- Katerina Lange (MN) VFA Samantha Snow (CA), 2-0 0:16
7th- Zoe Gress (NY) VPO1 Adrianna Orozco (CA), 10-7

72 kg: Kennedy Blades (IL) df. Kayla Marano (GA), two matches to none
Round 1 – Blades df. Marano, 15-4
Round 2 – Blades df. Marano, 14-3

3rd- Breanna denise Jennings (TX) VSU1 Yvette Garcia (CA), 12-2 2:15
5th- Jennifer Tongi (WA) VFA Tiyanna Leal (OR), 6-0 1:04
7th- Mhina Oseitutu (TX) VSU Morgan Mayginnes (KS), 10-0 1:23

76 kg: Kylie Welker (WI) df. Yelena Makoyed (CA), two matches to none
Round 1 – Makoyed df. Welker, 7-2
Round 2 – Welker df. Makoyed, 3-2
Round 3 – Welker df. Makoyed, fall 5:37

3rd- Dymond Guilford (CA) VSU Sydnee Kimber (AK), 10-0 5:44
5th- Emily Cue (CO) VFA Marlynne Deede (UT), 4-0 0:52
7th- Joye Levendusky (NY) VSU1 Hunter Robinson (TX), 12-1 4:47