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No. 1 Life edges No. 2 Campbellsville 24-23 in dual between NAIA top women's teams

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Competing in a tri-meet hosted by the University of the Cumberlands, the top two teams in NAIA women's wrestling met in an exciting dual meet, with No. 1 Life defeating No. 2 Campbellsville, 24-23.

In a match in which nine of the 10 bouts were either pins or technical falls, Life needed wins by pin in the last two matches to claim the win.

Campbellsville, which ran off five straight wins in the middle weights, led 23-14 after eight matches. At 170 pounds, No. 3 Jordan Nelson of Life pinned Leilani Martinez in 4:58. No. 2 Gabrielle Hamilton of Life secured the team win by pinning No. 12 Brianna Staebler at 191 pounds in 2:04 for the one-point victory.

This was rematch of the NWCA’s NAIA National Women’s Duals finals, won by Life, 25-19.

Life did not have No. 1 Peyton Prussin (109) and Campbellsville did not have No. 1 McKayla Campbell (116) in their lineups. A number of other ranked athletes were missing for both teams. In fact, only 10 of the 20 athletes in this dual meet competed in their showdown at the National Duals.

Life came out strong in the first three matches, with technical falls from No. 3 Katalina Bartelt (101) and No. 9 Kory Phillips (109), and a pin from Brianna Funakoshi (116).

Campbellsville went on a run of five straight wins, including three wins in which their wrestler defeated a higher ranked wrestler.

After a pin at 123 from No. 2 Leilah Castro, Campbellsville kept the momentum going when No. 5 Angela Vitiritti pinned No. 4 Julia Vidallon in 4:58 at 130 pounds. Next up, No. 8 Randi Robinson of Campbellsville pinned No. 7 Olivia Mottley in 2:06. Mottley had beaten Robinson at the National Duals.

No. 3 Emma Walker of Campbellsville kept it rolling with a pin of Angie Prado at 143. The fifth straight win for Campbellsville came at 155, when No. 4 Kenya Sloan edged No. 2 Destinee Rivera, 6-4.

Then the last two matches went to Life by pin, with Nelson and Hamilton coming home as heroes.

Life also defeated the University of the Cumberlands, 41-6. They have now completed their regular season with an undefeated 11-0 dual meet record and claimed the Mid South regular season title. Next for the Eagles is the Mid-South Conference Championships at Bowling Green, Ky. on February 20, where they will once again see Campbellsville with the conference tournament title up for grabs.

No. 1 Life 24, No. 2 Campbellsville 23

101 – No. 3 Katalina Bartelt (Life) tech. fall Mia Diaz (Campbellsville), 10-0

109 – No. 9 Kory Phillips (Life) tech. fall Gabrielle Medieros (Campbellsville), 11-0

116 - Brianna Funakoshi (Life) pin Anna Rusth (Campbellsville), 5:07

123 – No. 2 Leilah Castro (Campbellsville) pin Laila Sa (Life), 0:50

130 – No. 5 Angela Vitiritti (Campbellsville) pin No. 4 Julia Vidallon (Life), 4:58

136 – No. 8 Randi Robinson (Campbellsville) pin No. 7 Olivia Mottley (Life), 2:06 turn around

143 – No. 3 Emma Walker (Campbellsville) pin Angie Prado (Life), 1:41

155 – No. 4 Kenya Sloan (Campbellsville) dec. No. 2 Destinee Rivera (Life), 6-4

170 – No. 3 Jordan Nelson (Life) pin Leilani Martinez (Campbellsville), 4:58

191 – No. 2 Gabrielle Hamilton (Life) pin No. 12 Brianna Staebler (Campbellsville), 2:04