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College post-season kicks off with five NCWWC Regionals this weekend for NCAA women’s teams

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Sydney Kimber (McKendree) runs an arm bar at the 2022 NCWWC Nationals.
Sydney Kimber (McKendree) runs an arm bar at the 2022 NCWWC Nationals. Kimber seeks a fourth NCWWC national title this year. Photo by AJ Grieves, Mat Focus.

Are you ready for the college post-season? It arrives this weekend.

It all kicks off with five Regionals for NCAA women’s wrestling teams. These are the qualifying events for the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships, which are set for Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 3-4.

The NCWWC Nationals enters its fourth year, as the national tournament for NCAA women’s teams. Women’s wrestling is an emerging sport in all three NCAA divisions, but is not yet an official NCAA Championships event. This event will be held until the NCAA takes it over, a process which is expected to occur within a number of years due to the growth of women’s wrestling among NCAA schools.

Last year, there were four Regional qualifying events, which has expanded to five for this season. The top four wrestlers in each weight class from each Regional will advance to the national championships. There will be a true-fourth place match in any weight class where the fourth- and fifth-place wrestlers did not meet. This will expand the NCWWC Nationals field to 20 athletes in each weight class.

Three Regionals will be held on Saturday, Feb. 18, Region I (at Gannon), Region II (at King) and Region III (at UW-Stevens Point). The other two will be on Sunday, Feb. 19, Region IV (at North Central) and Region V (at Colorado Mesa).

Note: The NAIA women’s conference tournaments are also beginning next week, and will serve as qualifiers for the NAIA Women's Nationals for the first time. will publish updates from all of these qualifiers for both the NAIA and the NCAA. 

Below are summaries of each of the five regionals.


Hosted by Gannon University, Saturday, February 18

Alvernia University (DIII)
Cedar Crest College (DIII)
Delaware Valley University (DIII)
No. 9 East Stroudsburg University (DII)
Elmira College (DIII)
No. 11 Gannon University (DII)
No. 8 Lock Haven University (DII)
No. 15 (tie) New Jersey City University (DIII)
No. 10 Sacred Heart University (DI)
No. 19 (tie) Ursinus College (DIII)
Western New England University (DIII)
Nationally Ranked athletes by team
Sacred Heart (3): No. 5 Cara Broadus (170), No. 7 Aaliyah Payne-Parris (101), No. 7 Alexandra Fitzgerald (130),
Gannon (3): No. 5 Julianne Moccia (109), No. 6 Jewel Gonzalez (170), No. 7 Annabelle Helm (170)
East Stroudsburg (3): No. 6 Emily Klein (116), No. 6 Sofia Macaluso (123), No. 7 Zoe Gress (143)
Lock Haven (1): No. 4 Kaelani Shufeldt (109)
New Jersey City (1): No. 5 Naomi Henry (123)
Past Results
Returning or past NCWWC champions: None
Returning Regional champions expected: Julianne Moccia of Gannon, Emily Klein of East Stroudsburg, Skylah Chakouian of Elmira

Summary: This qualifier, featuring teams from the Northeast, has the most teams in the top-20 of the national rankings with six. The highest ranked team is No. 8 Lock Haven. There are 11 nationally ranked wrestlers in this Regional, with the highest ranked being No. 4 Kaelani Shufeldt of Lock Haven at 109. This could be one of the fiercest team races because of the balance, with a true fight to see which program qualifies the most for the nationals. There are three 2022 Regional individual champions expected to return: Julianne Moccia of Gannon, Emily Klein of East Stroudsburg and Skylah Chakouian of Elmira. Most of these programs are fairly new and are emerging, but there are strong individuals who should challenge for All-American honors at the nationals.

Hosted by King University, Saturday, February 18

Emmanuel College (DII)
Emory & Henry College (DIII)
Ferrum College (DIII)
Greensboro College (DIII)
No. 2 King University (DII)
Limestone College (DII)
Lincoln Memorial University (DII)
No. 7 Presbyterian College (DI)
University of Mount Olive (DII)
Nationally Ranked athletes by team
King (12): No. 1 Jessica Corredor (101), No. 1 Sage Mortimer (109), No. 1 Ashlynn Ortega (143), No. 2 Montana Delawder (130), No. 2 Ana Luciano (136), No. 2 Chey Bowman (170), No. 3 Samara Chavez (116), No. 4 Danielle Garcia (116), No. 4 Vayle-Rae Baker (123), No. 4 Viktorya Torres (136), No. 6 Tiffany Baublitz (155), No. 7 Melanie Mendoza (123)
Presbyterian (3): No. 3 Paige Wehrmeister (136), No. 5 Samantha Miller (101), No. 5 Ainslee Lane (116)
Past Results
Returning or past NCWWC champions: Ashlynn Ortega of King (2022)
Returning Regional champions expected: Samara Chavez of King, Montana Delawder of King, Ana Luciano of King, Ashlynn Ortega of King, Tiffany Baublitz of King

Summary: No. 2 ranked King is expected to dominate this regional, with 12 nationally ranked wrestlers on the team and a returning national champion in Ashlynn Ortega at 143 pounds. King has two others with No. 1 national rankings, Jessica Corredor at 101 and Sage Mortimer at 109. King boasts five returning 2022 Regional champions in Ortega, plus Samara Chavez (116), Ana Luciano (136), Montana Delawder (130) and Tiffany Baublitz (155). No. 7 Presbyterian is the only other nationally ranked team in this regional, with three nationally ranked athletes. It should be an interesting battle to see which of the non-ranked programs can push wrestlers into the top four to earn trips to the nationals.

Hosted by UW-Stevens Point on Saturday, February 18

No. 12 (tie) Adrian College (DIII)
Albion College (DIII)
Carthage College (DIII)
Hiram College (DIII)
Lakeland University (DIII)
No. 17 Northern Michigan University (DII)
No. 18 Tiffin University (DII)
Trine University (DIII)
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (DIII)
Ranked athletes by team
Adrian (2): No. 6 Clarissa Agostini (143), No. 8 Nyla Burgess (155),
Tiffin (1): No. 7 Jenavi Alejandro (109)
Northern Michigan (1): No. 6 Diana Dzasezeva (136)
Past Results
Returning or past NCWWC champions: None
Returning Regional champions expected: Angela Lorusso of Adrian, Aspen Dodge of Adrian

Summary: This could be the least competitive regional, with three nationally ranked teams and four nationally ranked athletes. No. 12 (tie) Adrian has a pair of nationally ranked wrestlers, while No. 17 Northern Michigan and No. 18 Tiffin each have one in the national rankings. Adrian has the only two 2022 Regional champions on their roster with Angela Lorusso and Aspen Dodge. With that said, this could be the toughest regional to handicap, as the team which comes in best prepared and wins the clutch bouts will win the team trophy. The name of the game is qualifying athletes for nationals.

Hosted by North Central, Sunday, February 19

No. 4 (tie) Augsburg University (DIII)
Augustana College (DIII)
No. 12 (tie) Aurora University (DIII)
Eureka College (DIII)
Fontbonne University (DIII)
No. 15 (tie) Lindenwood University (DII->DI)
No. 3 McKendree University (DII)
No. 1 North Central College (DIII)
Quincy University (DII)
Simpson College (DIII)
Westminster College (DIII)
William Jewell College (DII)
Ranked athletes by team
North Central (15): No. 1 Tiera Jimerson (155), No. 1 Yelena Makoyed (170), No. 2 Sydney Petzinger (109), No. 2 Jaslyn Gallegos (116), No. 2 Traeh Haynes (191), No. 3 Amani Jones (123), No. 3 Sara Sterner (130), No. 3 Brittyn Corbishley (191), No. 4 Maddie Avila (101), No. 4 Malea Palahniuk (155), No. 5 Yele Aycock (136), No. 5 Kendall Bostelman (143), No. 6 Kendra Ryan (109), No. 7 Salome Walker (136), No. 8 London Houston (143)
McKendree (8): No. 1 Payton Stroud (116), No. 1 Cameron Guerin (130), No. 1 Sydney Kimber (191), No. 2 Lizette Rodriguez (101), No. 4 Alara Boyd (143), No. 5 Jennifer Soto (130), No. 8 Pauline Granados (McKendree), No. 8 Alexandra Castillo (170)
Augsburg (6): No. 1 Nina Makem (155), No. 2 Marlynne Deede (155), No. 3 Katie Lange (143), No. 3 Ashley Lekas (170), No. 5 Brooklyn Hays (155), No. 8 Gabby Skidmore (123)
Aurora (1): No. 4 Alexis Janiak (130)
Lindenwood (1): No. 5 Sara Lake (191)
Past Results
Returning or past NCWWC champions: Emily Shilson of McKendree (2020, 2021, 2022 for Augsburg), Cameron Guerin of McKendree (2021, 2022), Yelena Makoyed of North Central (2021, 2022), Sydney Kimber of McKendree (2020, 2021, 2022), Alara Boyd of McKendree (2021), Pauline Grandos of McKendree (2020)
Returning Regional champions expected: Jaslynn Gallegos of North Central (won for Presbyterian in 2022), Emily Shilson of McKendree (won for Augsburg in 2022), Nina Makem of Augsburg, Yelena Makoyed of North Central

Summary: Without a doubt, this is the toughest regional. Three of the top five teams in the nation are here, No. 1 North Central, No. 3 McKendree and No. 4 (tie) Augsburg. In total, there are 31 nationally ranked athletes in the field. North Central has 15 nationally ranked wrestlers and could qualify a full 15-athlete team for nationals, including two No. 1 athletes, Tiera Jimerson at 155 and Yelena Makoyed at 170. McKendree has eight with national rankings, including No. 1 Payton Stroud (116), Cameron Guerin (130) and Sydney Kimber (191), a three-time NCWWC champion. Add in a three-time NCWWC champion who just transferred to McKendree, Emily Shilson (109) who was at Augsburg (and is not currently ranked) and the team race is a toss up. Augsburg has six in the national rankings, including No. 1 Nina Makem (155). This is so loaded, there are six past national champions in this field (who have won a combined 12 NCWWC national titles. Shilson and Kimber will be seeking fourth national titles this year. Expect a lot of the matchups from this regional to be repeated at nationals.

Hosted by Colorado Mesa, Sunday, February 19

Chadron State College (DII)
No. 4 (tie) Colorado Mesa University (DII)
Linfield University (DIII)
Minot State University (DII)
Pacific University (DII)
Schreiner University (DIII)
No. 6 Simon Fraser University (DII)
No. 12 (tie) Texas Woman’s University (DII)
No. 19 (tie) University of the Ozarks (DIII)
Ranked athletes by team
Colorado Mesa (7): No. 1 Marissa Gallegos (123), No. 3 Jennesis Martinez (101), No. 3 Dalia Garibay (155), No. 6 Hailey Chapman (130), No. 6 Jayleen Sekona (191), No. 8 Isabella Morales (101), No. 8 Holly Beaudoin (136),
Simon Fraser (5): No. 2 Victoria Seal (123), No. 4 Emily Cue (170), No. 7 Ivy Threatful (116), No. 7 Paige Maher (155), No. 7 Katya Osteen (191)
Texas Woman’s (1): No. 4 Aubrey Yauger (191)
Ozarks (1): No. 8 Rewa Chababo (191)
Past Results
Returning or past NCWWC champions: None
Returning Regional champions: Marissa Gallegos of Colorado Mesa, Maddie Mackenzie of Simon Fraser, Katja Osteen of Simon Fraser

Summary: Four nationally ranked teams are in this regional, with No. 4 (tie) Colorado Mesa joined by No. 6 Simon Fraser, No. 12 (tie) Texas Women’s and No. 19 (tie) Univ. of the Ozarks. There are also 14 nationally ranked individuals expected. Host Colorado Mesa has seven in the national rankings, including the region’s only No. 1 in the national rankings in Marissa Gallegos at 123. Simon Fraser, a traditional power, is a bit down this season, but still brings five in the national rankings to the regionals. Texas Woman’s and the Ozarks each have one in the national rankings. Colorado Mesa and Simon Fraser will try to secure large teams for nationals, and the depth of the other teams will be tested in the battle for national qualifiers.
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