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Five champions claim their first US Open title during exciting women’s freestyle finals

by Koral Sugiyama, Special to

Photo of Emma Bruntil attacking her opponent in the US Open finals. Photo by Tony Rotundo/WrestlersAreWarriors

SOUTH POINT ARENA, Nev. – The energy was high and loud during the US Open women’s freestyle finals. Erin Golston, Jacarra Winchester, and Dymond Guilford repeated their 2021 championship wins while five others battled for their first title. 

No. 1 seed Erin Golston of NYAC wrestled three-time NAIA National finalist and two-time champion Nina Pham of the Texas WC. The last time these two athletes wrestled one another, Golston won 2-2 at the Olympic Team Trials last year. This time, Golston widened the gap on her win and defeated Pham, 6-0. The 50 kg champion is now a two-time US Open champion, also winning  last year’s event in Iowa. 

Felicity Taylor of McKendree Bearcat WC upset No. 2 seed and two-time World Bronze medalist Alyssa Lampe of SKWC/DAMRTC after she locked up a leg lace following her first take down. Taylor even strategically redirected her lace to keep Lampe in the circle to obtain the technical fall. The two-time age-group World Team member defeated Lampe, 14-3 to become the 53 kg US Open champion.

Winchester of the Titan Mercury WC and Ronna Heaton of SKWC/WRTC last wrestled in the Olympic Team Trials finals where Winchester won both bouts, 7-4 and 12-2. Winchester did not let the outcome change for this match, beating the South Dakota native, 8-1 in the 55 kg finals. Winchester was a 2020 Olympian and 2019 World champion.

The 57 kg match was a heart-thumper towards the end. No. 2 seed Cameron Guerin of TMWC scored big with four points right off the whistle. No. 4 seed Adriana Dorado Marin of U.S. Army WCAP kept herself within striking distance with pushouts and takedowns. The Pan-Am bronze medalist lead 10-6 with 20 seconds left in the second period, but Dorado Marin didn’t let off the gas and scored the six points she needed to take home the title for a final score of 12-10. This was the first finals appearance for both athletes. Guerin has only ever placed third–twice in 2019 and the first time in 2018. 

2022 NAIA runner-up Nanea Estrella of Spartan Combat RTC defeated Xochitl Mota-Pettis of Rise RTC, 9-3, in the 59 kg finals bout. This is the third time Mota-Pettis has placed at the US Senior Open and the second time she’s leaving runner-up. These two last saw each other at Women’s Nationals last May where Mota-Pettis won via technical-fall over Estrella, 14-4, but Estrella came back and beat her, 6-4. 

At 62 kg, both athletes came into the tournament as three-time US Senior Open champions. In 18 seconds Kayla Miracle of the Sunkist Kids locked up a cradle and pinned Jennifer Page of NLWC/TMWC to earn her fourth US Open stop sign and Outstanding Wrestler. Miracle, a 2020 Olympian, was also a 2021 World silver medalist.

Emma Bruntil of TMWC defeated Mallory Velte of TMWC/DAMRTC, 4-4 in the 65 kg finals. Similar to their previous match-ups, this was close.

Velte scored her first, and only, points in the first minute of the match. Bruntil put herself on the scoreboard, but Velte held her lead in the second period. With only 12 seconds in the match left, Bruntil secured the takedown she needed to win. This was Velte’s third US Open finals appearance. The World Bronze medalist championed the event in 2017 before coming back the next year to earn runner-up. Velte and Bruntil have been exchanging victories since 2019. Before today it was Bruntil three, Velte two. The Washington native claimed the first win, then Velte with two wins, and finally Bruntil held the two latest victories. Bruntil, a two-time NCWWC champion, also won the 2019 Senior Nationals and adds this 65 kg title to her accolades. 

At 68 kg, No. 3 seed Sienna Ramirez of the Southern Oregon RTC faced Junior Pan-Am Gold medalist, Katerina Lange of the Twin Cities RTC. This was the first time either of these wrestlers have placed at this event, but unfortunately Lange had to forfeit via injury before any points were even scored. 

Skylar Grote of NYAC/DAMRTC shut out Augsburg junior, Marlynne Deede of TCRTC, 10-0, in the 72 kg finals match. This is Grote’s third finals appearance and her sixth placing match at the U.S. Open while last year Deede, a three-time NCWWC All-American, took fourth. 

Precious Bell (TMWC)  and Dymond Guilford (TMWC) are no strangers to wrestling one another for a title at 76 kg. In 2019, Bell won two U.S. Open title, one in April and one in December, which was the last time Bell beat Guilford. Today’s 76 kg finals was a rematch of last year’s finals where Bell was up 5-1 before getting pinned by Guilford. The two-time NAIA National champion Guilford was able to put more points on the board this time, and got her winning takedown with almost 30 seconds to go. to win 6-4 and claim her second US Open title. 

We’re about halfway through the five days of wrestling here in Vegas. Wrestling returns tomorrow morning with both men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman which can be followed on FloArena.  


At Las Vegas, Nev. April 29, 2022


50 - Erin Golston (NYAC/WRTC)

53 - Felicity Taylor (McKendree Bearcat WC)

55 - Jacarra Winchester (TMWC)

57 - Adriana Dorado Marin (WCAP)

59 - Nanea Estrella (Spartan Combat WC)

62 - Kayla Miracle (SKWC)

65 - Emma Bruntil (TMWC)

68 - Sienna Ramirez (Southern Oregon RTC) 

72 - Skylar Grote (NYAC/DAMRTC)

76 - Dymond Guilford (TMWC)

Outstanding Wrestler

62 kg - Kayla Miracle of Sunkist Kids WC

Team Race Results

Division 1

1st - Titan Mercury WC - 88

2nd - Sunkist Kids WC - 28

Division 2

1st - World Class Athlete Program - 40 

2nd - Twin Cities RTC - 27

Final Results

50 KG

1st - Erin Golston (New York Athletic Club) dec Nina Pham (Texas WC), 6-0

3rd - Charlotte Fowler (River Valley WC) no contest Sage Mortimer (TMWC)

5th - Arelys Valles (Grand View WC) fall Caitlyn Walker (New York City RTC), 4-2 1:42

7th - Mariah Anderson (Air Force RTC) tech Victoria Nunez (McKendree Bearcat WC), 12-2 5:29

53 KG

1st - Felicity Taylor (McKendree Bearcat WC) tech Alyssa Lampe (SKWC/DAMRTC), 14-3 4:30

3rd - Danielle Garcia (California) fall Haley Franich (Air Force RTC), 7-0 2:01

5th - Estrella Dorado Marin (Army (WCAP)) no contest Hannah Hall (Colorado)

7th - Angela Ruth Dela Cruz (California) inj Areana Villaescusa (Army (WCAP))

55 KG

1st - Jacarra Winchester (TMWC) dec Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids WC), 8-1

3rd - Lauren Mason (Brunson UVRTC) inj Marissa Gallegos (Colorado Mesa WC / TMWC)

5th - Alisha Howk (Sunkist Kids WC) fall Cara Romeike (Bronco Womens WC), 11-0 2:36

7th - Victoria Smith (Grand View WC) inj Payton Stroud (McKendree Bearcat WC)

57 KG

1st - Adriana Dorado Marin (Army (WCAP)) dec Cameron Guerin (TMWC), 12-10

3rd - Alexandra Hedrick (TMWC) tech Amanda Martinez (Cardinal WC / TMWC), 14-3 5:12

5th - Jerzie Estrada (ET Wrestling) fall Elvie Villa (McKendree Bearcat WC), 8-0 1:54

7th - Tateum Park (Twin Cities RTC) no contest Ngao Shoua Whitethorn (Victory School of Wrestling)

59 KG

1st - Nanea Estrella (Spartan Combat RTC) dec Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Rise RTC), 9-3

3rd - Claire Dicugno (Colorado Mesa WC) dec Bridgette Duty (Army (WCAP)), 5-4

5th - Hailey Corona (Utah) no contest Sophia Mirabella (Team Tornado WC)

7th - Esther Han (Bruin WC) tech Isabell Nunez (Ascend Wrestling Academy), 12-2 4:19

62 KG

1st - Kayla Miracle (Sunkist Kids WC) fall Jennifer Page (Nittany Lion WC / TMWC), 2-0 0:18

3rd - Adaugo Nwachukwu (Swamp Monsters WC) tech Andrea Schlabach (Grand View WC), 12-2 4:28

5th - Emmily Patneaud (McKendree Bearcat WC) dec Nina Makem (Twin Cities RTC), 2-2

7th - Cierra Foster (Team Idaho WC) dec Alexandria Liles (Army (WCAP)), 7-2

65 KG

1st - Emma Bruntil (Titan Mercury WC (TMWC)) dec Mallory Velte (TMWC/DAMRTC), 4-4

3rd - Maya Letona (New York City RTC) dec Amanda Hendey (Titan Mercury WC (TMWC)), 8-5

5th - Emily Se (El Dorado Hills WC) fall Destiny Lyng (California), 8-0 2:55

7th - Rachel Watters (Hawkeye WC / TMWC) tech Carrieann Randolph (Tennessee), 18-7 1:57

68 KG

1st - Sienna Ramirez (Southern Oregon RTC) inj Katerina Lange (Twin Cities RTC), 0-0 0:16

3rd - Nahiela Magee (Army (WCAP)) tech Dalia Garibay (Colorado Mesa WC), 14-4 4:52

5th - Solin Piearcy (Menlo WC) tech Olivia Pizano (Oregon), 10-0 3:46

7th - Kairah Cantillo CA (Grand View WC) dec Anayka Besco (Kansas), 10-6

72 KG

1st - Skylar Grote (NYAC/DAMRTC) tech Marlynne Deede (Twin Cities RTC), 10-0 5:28

3rd - Michelle Montague (Florida) fall Aine Drury (California), 4-0 2:00

5th - Marilyn Garcia (California) dec Aury Naylor (Georgia), 6-1
7th - Jessica Kemgne (Beat the Streets New York)

76 KG

1st - Dymond Guilford (TMWC) dec Precious Bell (TMWC), 6-4

3rd - Yelena Makoyed (Cardinal WC / TMWC) tech Victoria Francis (Hawkeye WC/TMWC), 12-0 3:53

5th - Tristan Kelly (Army (WCAP)) dec Emily Cue (Colorado), 7-0

7th - Jordan Nelson (Hawkeye WC / TMWC) tech Ashley Lekas (Texas Pride WC), 12-0 3:37

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