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Olympians Winchester, Miracle, Junior World champs Nelson, Blades, Welker reach World Team Trials finals in women’s freestyle

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Maya Nelson of the Sunkist Kids turns Xochitl Mota-Pettis of Rise WC in the 59 kg semifinals, Photo by John Sachs.

A ton of young talent was on display at the Senior World Team Trials in the women’s freestyle division, as the championships series finals has been set in the six weight classes being contested this weekend at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb..

A pair of 2020 Olympians who are seeking a spot on the Senior World Team won their semifinals, Jacarra Winchester of the Titan Mercury WC at 55 kg and Kayla Miracle of the Sunkist Kids at 62 kg.

Winchester, who was fifth at the 2020 Olympics down at 53 kg, won a 12-0 technical fall over Amanda Martinez of the Cardinal WC at 55 kg. Winchester was a 2019 World champion at 55 kg. She will battle 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up Jenna Burkert of Army WCAP, who also had a technical fall win in the semifinals. Burkert was second in the Olympic Trials up at 57 kg.

Miracle secured a pin 1:43 over Gracie Figueroa of the Titan Mercury WC in her semifinals. She will battle a familiar foe, 2017 World bronze medalist Mallory Velte of the Titan Mercury WC, who stopped multiple-time Senior Nationals champion Jennifer Page of Titan Mercury, 8-1.

Three of Sunday’s finalists have Junior World titles on their resume.

Both World Team Trials finalists at 72 kg were 2021 Junior World champions as teammates at the Junior Worlds in Russia this summer. Kennedy Blades was the Junior World champion at 72 kg and Kylie Welker won the Junior Worlds at 76 kg. Both secured pins in the semifinals, Blades over Dymond Guilford at 4:27 and Welker over Yelena Makoyed in 39 seconds.

2017 Junior World champion Maya Nelson of the Sunkist Kids is a finalist at 59 kg, after an impressive 20-7 technical fall over Xochitl Mota-Pettis of Rise RTC. Nelson will battle No. 6 seed Megan Black of Army WCAP, who defeated No. 2 seed Michael Beck of the Sunkist Kids, 5-3.

Two-time Senior World Team member Forrest Molinari of the Sunkist Kids is in the finals at 65 kg, after a technical fall win over Skylar Grote of NYAC, 12-2. She will battle Emma Bruntil of Titan Mercury WC in the finals, who also had a technical fall win in the semifinals.

Making a strong run at 53 kg is No. 7 seed Amy Fearnside, who edged two-time World bronze medalist and No. 3 seed Alyssa Lampe of the Sunkist Kids, 4-3. Fearnside also knocked off the No. 2 seed Dominique Parrish in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Fearnside will face No. 1 seed Ronna Heaton in the championship series.

Four 2020 Olympic medalists have chosen to compete at the World Championships, and their weight classes are not being contested this weekend: Olympic champion Tamyra Mensah Stock at 68 kg, Olympic silver medalist Adeline Gray at 76 kg, Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Hildebrandt at 50 kg and 2016 Olympic champion and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Helen Maroulis at 57 kg.

All of Sunday’s action will be live on FloWrestling. Consolation rounds are set for 10:00 a.m. CT and the Championship Series begins at 2:00 p.m. CT

Women’s freestyle championship series pairings

53 kg - Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids) vs. Amy Fearnside (Titan Mercury WC)

55 kg - Jenna Burkert (Army WCAP) vs. Jacarra Winchester (Titan Mercury WC)

59 kg - Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids) vs. Megan Black (Army WCAP)

62 kg - Kayla Miracle (Sunkist Kids) vs. Mallory Velte (Titan Mercury WC)

65 kg - Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids) vs. Emma Bruntil (Titan Mercury WC)

72 kg - Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids) vs. Kylie Welker (Titan Mercury WC)

Women’s freestyle semifinal results

53 kg

Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids) tech fall Arena Villaescusa (Army WCAP), 10-0, 4:29

Amy Fearnside (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Alyssa Lampe (Sunkist Kids), 4-3

55 kg

Jenna Burkert (Army WCAP) tech. fall Marissa Gallegos (Colorado Mesa WC), 14-4 , 2:26

Jacarra Winchester (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Amanda Martinez (Cardinal WC), 12-0 2:54

59 kg

Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids) tech. fall Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Rise RTC), 20-7 4:59

Megan Black (Army WCAP) dec. Michaela Beck (Sunkist Kids), 5-3

62 kg

Kayla Miracle (Sunkist Kids) pin Gracie Figueroa (Titan Mercury WC), 1:43

Mallory Velte (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Jennifer Page (Titan Mercury WC), 8-1

65 kg

Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids) tech. fall Skylar Grote (NYAC), 12-2, 5:39

Emma Bruntil (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Solin Piearcy (Menlo WC), 10-0, 1:50

72 kg

Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids) pin Dymond Guilford (Titan Mercury WC), 4:27

Kylie Welker (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Yelena Makoyed (Cardinal WC), 0:39

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