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Multiple World medalists Kilty, Elor win USMC U23 Nationals titles; California high school star Valencia named OW

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Macey Kilty of the Sunkist Kids takes down Zoe Nowicki of the Bulldog WC. Photo by AJ Grieves

FORT WORTH, Texas – Two of the nation’s best age-group stars claimed individual titles with championship series victories at the 2022 USMC U23 Nationals, held on Sunday.

Five-time age-group World medalist and 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up Macey Kilty of the Sunkist Kids captured the title with two straight victories over 2022 NCWWC National champion Zoe Nowicki of the Bulldog WC at 62 kg. Kilty opened by pinning Nowicki with a cradle, which injured Nowicki. In the second match, Nowicki was not able to compete, and Kilty won by injury default.

Kilty has won five age-group World medals, including a 2018 U17 World title. Her medals have been won at the U17, U20 and U23 levels.

Two-time 2021 age-group World champion Amit Elor of the Titan Mercury WC swept her championship series over NCWWC All-American Maryunne Deeds of the Twin Cities RTC at 72 kg. Both wins were by technical fall in the first period, with Elor winning 11-0 in bout one and 10-0 in bout two.

Elor won her 2021 World titles at the U17 level and the U20 level. She has three career age-group World medals, plus an age-group Beach World title. On Saturday, Elor earned a spot on the 2022 U20 World Team.

California high school star Nyla Valencia of the Bulldog WC was named the Outstanding Wrestler after a two-match sweep over two-time NAIA champion Nina Pham of the Texas WC, who competes for Wayland Baptist University. Both were technical falls, with Valencia winning 19-8 in bout one and 10-0 in bout two.

Valencia rocked the wrestling world on Saturday, when she beat 2021 U23 World champion Emily Shilson of the Titan Mercury WC, 8-5. Shilson has won World titles on the U17, U20 and U23 levels, and is a three-time NCWWC champion for Augsburg. Valencia has signed with the University of Iowa.

Nine of the 10 championship series were completed in two straight matches, and many were dominant wins by the champion.

2022 U.S. Senior Open champion Felicity Taylor of the Titan Mercury WC was powerful in her two-match sweep at 53 kg, beating Texas native and NCWWC All-American Samara Chavez of Team Tornado WC, who competes for King University. Taylor pinned Chavez in 1:07 in bout one, then secured a first-period 10-0 technical fall in bout two.

Two-time NCWWC national champion Yelena Makoyed of Titan Mercury WC/Cardinal WC also had a dominant sweep at 76 kg. She pinned Ashley Lekas of Texas Pride twice in a combined 2:08, getting the first pin in 1:28 and the second pin in 40 seconds.

Brenda Reyna of Army WCAP, a past star for McKendree, had a pair of technical falls in the 59 kg finals, beating Niya Teresita Gaines of the Cardinal WC, who was second in the 2022 NCWWC Nationals for North Central College. Reyna won the first bout 12-2, and finished it off with an 11-0 technical fall.

King’s NCWWC All-American Ana Luciano of the Team Tornado WC had little trouble with high school star Lydia Krauss of the Simmons Academy of Wrestling in Michigan at 68 kg. Luciano pinned Krauss in 2:02 in match one, then scored a 10-0 technical fall in bout two in 1:58.

Nichole Moore of Kansas, who was fifth in the 2022 NAIA Championships for Baker, lit up the scoreboard at 57 kg, with two technical falls over Sara Sterner of the Morro Bay WC of California. The first match ended 12-2, and the second was a 10-0 triumph.

Two-time age-group World Team member Alisha Howk of the Sunkist Kids claimed the only series in which both matches were won by decision. She beat Menlo College’s Alana Vivas of the Menlo WC, who placed third at the NAIA Nationals this year, two times at 55 kg, taking bout one 6-2 and bout two 7-1.

The 65 kg weight class was the only one that went three matches, and featured two of the best from college wrestling, King’s 2022 NCWWC national champion Ashlynn Ortega of Team Tornado and Campbellsville’s 2022 NAIA national runner-up Emma Walker of Tennessee. Walker pinned Ortega in bout one in 5:15. Ortega rallied with two close victories, 2-0 in match two and 3-1 in match three.

The U23 World Team will not be determined until after the Senior World Team Trials process ends. Any age-eligible member of the 2022-23 Senior National Team may elect to compete at the U23 World Championships. In weights in which there are no such Senior National Team members, the U23 Nationals champion gets the chance to compete, with additional criteria if the U23 Nationals champion does not take the spot.

Click here for U23 World Team procedures.


At Fort Worth, Texas

50 kg - Nyla Valencia (Bulldog WC) dec. Nina Pham (Texas WC), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Valencia tech. fall Pham, 19-8, 5:33

Bout 2 – Valencia tech. fall Pham, 10-0, 1:44

3rd Emily Shilson MN (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)) pin Danielle Garcia CA (Team Tornado Wrestling Club), 2:08

5th Alexandra Szkotnicki MD (HeadHunters Wrestling Club) dec. Dianna Holmes GA (Georgia), 13-4

7th Jasmine Howard TX (High Ground Wrestling) dec. Kaelani Shufeldt CA (California), 5-0

53 kg - Felicity Taylor (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Samara Chavez (Team Tornado WC), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Taylor pin Chavez, 1:07

Bout 2 – Taylor tech. fall Chavez, 10-0, 2:29

3rd Chloe Ayres NJ (New Jersey RTC) dec. Avery Ashley TX (Lovejoy Wrestling Club), 8-8

5th Angela Lorusso FL (Florida) pin Itzel Medina-valdez CA (California), 11-6 5:37

7th Angela Ruth Dela Cruz CA (California) dec. Katherine Heath TX (Texas), 16-14

55 kg - Alisha Howk (Sunkist Kids WC) dec. Alana Vivas (Menlo WC), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Howk dec. Vivas, 6-2

Bout 2 – Howk dec. Vivas, 7-0

3rd Torieonna Buchanan IN (Red Cobra Wrestling Academy) tech fall Trinity Howard AZ (Arizona), 18-8 6:00

5th Nia Perez RI (Rhode Island) dec. Julian Yates WA (Grays Harbor Wrestling Club), 11-8

7th Annathena Pontillo ME (Maine Trappers Wrestling Club) tech fall Ariana Jones CO (Betterman Elite Wrestling), 12-2 2:26

57 kg - Nichole Moore (Kansas) dec. Sara Sterner (Morro Bay Wrestling), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 –Moore tech fall Sterner, 12-2, 4:16

Bout 2 –Moore tech. fall Sterner, 10-0, 3:47

3rd Melanie Mendoza CA (Team Tornado Wrestling Club) pin Charlotte Kouyoumtjian MN (Twin Cities Regional Training Center), 4:04

5th Ashley Whetzal AR (Arkansas) pin Jerzie Estrada SC (ET Wrestling), 1:01

7th Elvie Villa IL (McKendree Bearcat Wrestling Club) tech fall Josie Davis OH (Ohio), 12-2 5:27

59 kg - Brenda Reyna (Army WCAP) dec. Niya Teresita Gaines (Cardinal WC), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Reyna tech. fall Gaines, 12-2, 3:09

Bout 2 – Reyna tech fall Gaines, 11-0, 4:03

3rd Lexie Basham TX (Spartan Mat Club) pin Lana Perez HI (Hawaii), 1:33

5th Montana Delawder PA (Team Tornado Wrestling Club) pin Alexandra Baudhuin ND (North Dakota), 3:48

7th Hailey Corona UT (Utah) tech fall Marissa Riojas WA (Grays Harbor Wrestling Club), 10-0 3:00

62 kg - Macey Kilty (Sunkist Kids WC) dec. Zoe Nowicki (Bulldog WC), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Kilty pin Nowicki, 0:53

Bout 2 –Kilty inj. dft. Nowicki

3rd Alexandria Liles CO (Army (WCAP)) dec Madyson Gray KS (Lawrence Elite Wrestling Club), 12-5

5th Louisa Schwab CA (California) tech fall Ellyana Kuzma MI (Michigan), 10-0 3:10

7th Sierra Brown ton TX (Twin Cities Regional Training Center) forfeit Emmily Patneaud CA (McKendree Bearcat Wrestling Club), 0-0

65 kg - Ashlynn Ortega (Team Tornado WC) dec. Emma Walker (Tennessee), 2 matches to 1

Bout 1 – Walker pin Ortega, 5:15

Bout 2 – Ortega dec. Walker, 2-0

Bout 3 – Ortega dec. Walker, 3-1

3rd Maya Letona CA (New York City RTC) pin Viktorya Torres WA (Team Tornado Wrestling Club), 5:12

5th Salome Walker IN (Cardinal Wrestling Club) pin Grace Stem PA (Team Pennsylvania), 1:02

7th Hailey Chapman CA (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)) tech fall Jamilah Mcbryde NY (New York), 11-0 4:00

68 kg - Ana Luciano (Team Tornado WC) dec. Lydia Krauss (Simmons Academy Of Wrestling), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Luciano pin Krauss, 2:02

Bout 2 – Luciano tech. fall Krauss, 10-0, 1:58

3rd Kaylynn Albrecht TX (All American Wrestling Club) tech fall Dalia Garibay CA (Colorado Mesa Wrestling Club), 15-4 3:25

5th Aspen Barber CO (Betterman Elite Wrestling) inj dft Sarina Bertram MO (Kansas City Wrestling Club)

7th Tiyahna Askew GA (Missouri Baptist Wrestling Club) pin Leah Brown CA (California), 4-4 1:30

72 kg - Amit Elor (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Marlynne Deede (Twin Cities RTC), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Elor tech. fall Deede, 11-0, 2:13

Bout 2 – Elor tech fall Deede, 10-0, 2:27

3rd Kenya-lee Sloan TN (Tennessee) pin Latifah Mcbryde NY (Bulls Wrestling Club), 2:32

5th Malea Palahniuk OR (Cardinal Wrestling Club) tech fall Alicia Pieper MI (Michigan), 10-0 2:35

7th Leila Martin CA (Morro Bay Wrestling) dec Jessica Kemgne NY (New York City RTC), 10-7

76 kg - Yelena Makoyed (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Ashley Lekas (Texas Pride WC), 2 matches to 0

Bout 1 – Makoyed pin Lekas, 1:28

Bout 2 – Makoyed pin Lekas, 0:40

3rd Joye Levendusky NY (McKendree Bearcat Wrestling Club) inj dft Tristan Kelly CO (Army (WCAP))

5th Brooklyn Hays UT (Champions Wrestling Club) pin Bailey Dennis OR (Southern Oregon Regional Training Center), 1:50

7th Tabitha Breitrick WI (Rabid Dawg Wrestling Club) pin Nikita Dhaliwal CA (California), 4:08