Returning champions Pastoriza, Ward, Jimenez reach finals of USMC Women’s U17 Nationals

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

U17 World champion Erica Pastoriza of Wyoming Seminary competes at the U17 Nationals. Photo by AJ Grieves.

FORT WORTH, Texas – Three members of the 2021 U17 World Team won their semifinal matches and have reached the finals of the 2022 USMC Women’s U17 Nationals on Saturday.

Punching their ticket to Sunday’s best-of-three Championship Series are returning champions Erica Pastoriza of Wyoming Seminary (43 kg), Missouri’s Ava Ward of the Sunkist Kids (49 kg) and Arizona’s Audrey Jimenez of the Sunkist Kids (43 kg).

Pastoriza, a 2021 U17 World champion, will battle Colorado’s Katey Valdez of Betterman Elite Wrestling in the finals series. Pastoriza scored an 11-0 technical fall over Emaline Hicks of the Michigan Revolution in the semifinals.

The 49 kg finals will be a battle between 2021 U17 World Team teammates. Ward was a U17 World bronze medalist at 46 kg last summer, while Jimenez was a bronze medalist at 49 kg. Just last week, at the Girls High School National Showcase 106-pound semifinals in Las Vegas, Jimenez beat Ward, 8-0.

Earlier today, Jimenez won the U20 Nationals at 50 kg and earned a spot on the U20 World Team. To reach the finals, she won a tight 3-1 decision over Indiana’s Julianna Ocampo of the Beast Mode WC, who won the U15 National title earlier in the day.

The Championship finals series will feature 17 athletes who are ranked in the most recent National Girls High School Rankings.

Jimenez is currently ranked No. 1, as is 57 kg U17 Nationals finalist Shelby Moore of Takedown Express WC of Washington. Moore, who also won the Girls High School National Showcase last week, will battle No. 11 ranked Skylar Little Soldier of the Hastings WC of Minnesota in the finals series.

Besides Jimenez and Moore, three other Girls National High School Showcase champions from last week have advanced to the U17 Nationals finals this week. No. 18 Gabriella Gomez of Illinois at 46 kg, No. 9 Perseaus Gomez of Pomona Elite WC of Colorado at 53 kg and No. 9 Amarisa Manuel of the Michigan Revolution at 73 kg.

Gabriella Gomez will face No. 9 ranked Valarie Solorio of Florida in the championship series.

Perseaus Gomez will battle No. 2 ranked Elena Ivaldi of MatTime of California in the finals series. Ivaldi beat Girls National High School Showcase champion and No. 5 ranked Karlee Brooks of Thorobred WC of Arizona, 8-2 in the semifinals.

Manuel has drawn No. 5 ranked Piper Fowler of the Higher Calling WC of Tennessee in her finals series.

Making the finals at 61 kg is Marissa Rumsey of Team Pennsylvania, who has an honorable mention ranking on the high school level. She upset No. 1 ranked Hanna Errthum of the Combat W.C. School of Wrestling of Wisconsin, in a 4-4 criteria decision in the semifinals. Rumsey will face No. 10 Valerie Hamilton of SOT-C of Illinois in the finals.

Other finals pairings include:
• No. 11 Lizzie Shun of Champions WC of Utah vs. No. 7 Sydney Perry of Illinois at 65 kg
• No. 4 Jasmine Robinson of Best Trained WC of Texas vs. No. 17 Mishell Rebisch of Michigan Revolution at 69 kg

There was a five-athlete round robin at 40 kg, with Megan Valdez of California placing first and Annalise Maralit of Misfit Girls Wrestling taking second. They advance to the best-of-three Championship Series. Valdez beat Maralit 14-12 in their round robin match, and that counts as the first match of their best-of-three series. Valdez only needs one more victory to make the World Team, while Maralit would have to win two straight times.

Winners of the Championship Series on Sunday will earn a spot on the U17 World Team, which will compete at the U17 World Championships in Rome, Italy, July 25-31.

The best-of-three Championship Series at the U17 level will begin at 9:30 a.m. CT on Sunday. All of the action will be live on FloeWrestling.

at Fort Worth, Texas

Championship Series pairings
(with current national high school ranking)

40 kg - Megan Valdez (California) vs. Annalise Maralit (Misfit Girls Wrestling), Valdez leads 1 match to 0
43 kg – No. 11 Erica Pastoriza (Wyoming Seminary Wrestling Club) vs. Katey Valdez (Betterman Elite Wrestling)
46 kg – No. 9 Valarie Solorio FL (Florida) vs. No. 18 Gabriella Gomez (Illinois)
49 kg – No. 4 Ava Ward (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs. No. 1 Audrey Jimenez (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
53 kg – No. 2 Elena Ivaldi CA (MatTime) vs. No. 9 Persaeus Gomez (Pomona Elite (PWCC))
57 kg – No. 11 Skylar Little Soldier (Hastings Wrestling Club) vs. No. 1 Shelby Moore (Takedown Express Wrestling Club)
61 kg – No. 10 Valerie Hamilton (Sot-c) vs. HM Marissa Rumsey (Team Pennsylvania)
65 kg – No. 22 Lizzie Shunn (Champions Wrestling Club) vs. No. 7 Sydney Perry (Illinois)
69 kg – No. 4 Jasmine Robinson (Best Trained Wrestling) vs. No. 17 Mishell Rebisch (Michigan Revolution Wrestling
73 kg – No. 5 Piper Fowler (Higher Calling Wrestling Club) vs. No. 9 Amarisa Manuel (Michigan Revolution Wrestling Club)

Round Robin weight class

40 kg
Championship Series - Megan Valdez (California) vs. Annalise Maralit (Misfit Girls Wrestling)
Bout 1 - Valdez dec. Maralt, 14-12
Bout 2 - on Sunday morning
Round Robin placements
1st - Megan Valdez (California)
2nd - Annalise Maralit (Misfits Girls Wrestling)
3rd - Elizabeth Brunson (Legends of Gold Las Vegas)
4th - Abigail Mendoza (Texas Style Wrestling Club)
5th - Kendall Moe (Contenders Wrestling Academy)

Semifinals results

43 kg
Erica Pastoriza AZ (Wyoming Seminary Wrestling Club) tech fall Emaline Hicks MI (Michigan Revolution Wrestling Club), 11-0 1:51
Katey Valdez CO (Betterman Elite Wrestling) tech fall Kennedy Farrar AZ (Arizona Girls Wrestling), 10-0 1:11

46 kg
Valarie Solorio FL (Florida) dec. Rianne Murphy IN (Wyoming Seminary Wrestling Club), 7-0
Gabriella Gomez IL (Illinois) tech fall Avy Perez CA (Birmingham Community Charter High School Wrestling), 12-0 3:16

49 kg
Ava Ward MO (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) tech. fall Clare Booe FL (Palm Harbor University High School Wrestling), 11-0 3:54
Audrey Jimenez AZ (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Julianna Ocampo IN (Beast Mode Wrestling Club), 3-1

53 kg
Elena Ivaldi CA (MatTime) dec. Karlee Brooks AZ (Thorobred Wrestling Club), 8-2
Persaeus Gomez CO (Pomona Elite (PWCC)) dec. Bella Williams OK (Husky Wrestling Club), 5-2

57 kg
Skylar Little Soldier MN (Hastings Wrestling Club) dec. Emily Frost NY (Curby 3 Style Wrestling Club), 4-0
Shelby Moore WA (Takedown Express Wrestling Club) dec. Haylie Jaffe PA (Team Pennsylvania), 5-1

61 kg
Valerie Hamilton IL (Sot-c) dec. Zaynah Mcbryde NY (Bulls Wrestling Club), 5-1
Marissa Rumsey PA (Team Pennsylvania) dec. Hanna Errthum WI (Combat W.C. School of Wrestling), 4-4

65 kg
Lizzie Shunn UT (Champions Wrestling Club) dec. Maggie Graham TN (Bluff City Wrestling Club), 10-2
Sydney Perry IL (Illinois) dec. Faith Bartoszek WI (Wyoming Seminary Wrestling Club), 8-5

69 kg
Jasmine Robinson TX (Best Trained Wrestling) dec. Genevieve An GA (Level Up Wrestling Center), 12-4
Mishell Rebisch MI (Michigan Revolution Wrestling Club) pin Anya Hatch UT (Legends of Gold Las Vegas), 14-10 2:41

73 kg
Piper Fowler TN (Higher Calling Wrestling Club) tech. fall Kaylee Ricketts NE (Nebraska), 10-0 0:31
Amarisa Manuel MI (Michigan Revolution Wrestling Club) pin Naomi Simon IA (Iowa), 1:52

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