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Day 2 preview: Junior Women and 16U Women compete in finals, 16U team title truly up for grabs

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Allyssa Johnson (ND) hits a headlock in the Junior Nationals quarterfinals.
Allyssa Johnson of North Dakota hits a headlock at the Junior Nationals, and advanced to the semifinals at 138 pounds. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Day two of Fargo week brings us the completion of the women’s competitions, with both the Junior Nationals and the 16U Nationals finishing up. This will showcase the new format, with the gold-medal finals of both tournaments held side-by-side on the two raised mats at the end of the arena. Fans in the arena will be able to see a ton of great wrestling at the same time, with our nation’s best young women on display at the same time.

Junior Finals Pairings

100 pounds
Emaline Hicks (Michigan) vs. Gabriele Tedesco (Florida)
Katey Valdez (Colorado) vs. Valarie Solorio (Pennsylvania)

106 pounds
Heather Crull (Indiana) vs. Alexsys Jacquez (Colorado)
Chloe Dearwester (Ohio) vs. Harlee Hiller (Illinois)

112 pounds
Janessa George (Colorado) vs. Zao Estrada (South Carolina)
Gigi Bragg (Michigan) vs. Clare Booe (Florida)

117 pounds
Alexandra Szkotnicki (Maryland) vs. Angelina Cassioppi (Illinois)
Angelina Vargas (Missouri) vs. Calli Gilchrist (Connecticut)

122 pounds
Rose Kaplan (Indiana) vs. Aubre Krazer (Pennsylvania)
Olivia Moreno (Texas) vs. Lexie Lopez (Colorado)

127 pounds
Jaclyn Dehney (Massachusetts) vs. Kylie Rule (Wisconsin)
Emily Sindoni (New York) vs. Tyler Swanigan (Michigan)

132 pounds
Cadence Diduch (Illinois) vs. Hanna Errthum (Wisconsin)
Lilly Luft (Iowa) vs. Anna Vogt (Texas)

138 pounds
Allyssa Johnson (North Dakota) vs. Netavia Wickson (Illinois)
Bridgette Sotomayor (Arizona) vs. Kaidance Gerg (Idaho)

144 pounds
Sevreign Aumua (Missouri) vs. Nebi Tsarni (Maryland)
May Cuyler (Virginia) vs. Sydney Perry (Illinois)

152 pounds
Lizzie Shunn (Utah) vs. Stella Steigler (Virginia)
Eduarda Rodrigues (California) vs. Mishell Rebisch (Michigan)

164 pounds
Amarisa Manuel (Michigan) vs. Naomi Simon (Iowa)
Ella Pagel (Minnesota) vs. Alexandra Hofrichter (Wisconsin)

180 pounds
Sabrina Nauss (Michigan) vs. Isabella Renfro (Missouri)
Cheyenne Ruiz (Utah) vs. Bella Porcelli (Iowa)

200 pounds
Savannah Isaac (Ohio) vs. Zoe Adam (South Dakota)
Tirza Twoteeth (Montana) vs. Mariyah Brumley (Missouri)

225 pounds
Alysse Phillips (California) vs. Brenda Banks (Pennsylvania)
Fernanda Canedo (California) vs. Gemma Templeman (California)

Three key Junior semifinals matches to watch

112 pounds - Janessa George (Colorado) vs. Zao Estrada (South Carolina)
Estrada, ranked No. 5 at 117, has been excellent when down at 112, winning the title at the National High School Recruiting Showcase at this weight class. Although she has won the Showcase three times, she is still seeking her first title in Fargo. Estrada has the highest PIN of any athlete in the Junior division. George, ranked No. 5 at 112, comes in after a 7-1 record at the National Duals. A graduated senior, George is back for one more chance to get a Fargo stop sign. Should be an excellent scrap.

132 pounds - Cadence Diduch (Illinois) vs. Hanna Errthum (Wisconsin)
Diduch, ranked No. 4 at 132, won the Junior Nationals last year, with a big win over Emily Sindoni of New York (who is in the 127-pound finals this year). Diduch was second in the U17 Trials this year. The big question mark is Errthum, who at one point last year held a No. 1 national ranking in her weight class. Her last event was a sixth place at the 2022 U17 Nationals. Injury has kept her off the mats, and although she is a graduated senior, she is back for another run in Fargo. She was second in the 2021 Junior Nationals. To reach the finals again, she has to beat Diduch.

152 pounds - Eduarda Rodrigues (California) vs. Mishell Rebisch (Michigan)
Two of the highest ranked athletes in the event meet in this semifinal. Rebisch was a 2022 Junior Nationals champion at this weight class, and is ranked No. 4 at 164 pounds at this time. Rodrigues, who is ranked No. 3 at 152 pounds, was third at the 2022 Junior Nationals. Since then, Rodrigues has won the won the Preseason Nationals, the California states and the Recruiting Showcase. This will be a true battle between highly skilled wrestlers.

The Junior Team Race
Michigan leads the field with 42 points, and the most semifinalists with six, plus five in the consolation rounds. Illinois is close behind with 35 points, five finalists and six in the consolations. The next three teams are California, Colorado and Missouri, all with 28 points. All three of these teams have four in the semifinals. However California has a whopping 13 left in the consolations. If a large number of Californians power back in the wrestle-backs, plus their semifinalists step up, the Golden State has a chance to leap high in the standings.

16U Finals Pairings

94 pounds
Kendall Moe (Indiana) vs. Jaclyn Bouzakis (Pennsylvania)
Khyla Lipumano (Arizona) vs. Morgan Turner (Illinois)

Caley Graber (Minnesota) vs. Addie Morse (Oklahoma)
Elizabeth Valenzuela smith (Arizona) vs. Madison Nieuwenhuis (Michigan)

106 pounds
Reanah Utterback (Iowa) vs. Kayla Batres (Connecticut)
Nakayla Dawson (Michigan) vs. Mary Manis (Florida)

112 pounds
Emma Bacon (Pennsylvania) vs. Raenah Smith (Washington)
Aneishka n. Santos baez (US Territory) vs. Libby Roberts (Washington)

117 pounds
Noelani Lutz (Nevada) vs. Sierra Chiesa (Pennsylvania)
Alexis Lazar (Michigan) vs. Raeann Craft (New York)

122 pounds
No. 14 Kaylyn Harrill (Nebraska) vs. No. 13 Regina Stoeser (South Dakota)
Evelyn Holmes-Smith (Alabama) vs. Bella Williams (Oklahoma)

127 pounds
Carley Ceshker (Wisconsin) vs. Britney Rueb (South Dakota)
Lynn Horn (Oklahoma) vs. Peyton Hellmann (South Dakota)

132 pounds
Madeline Haynes (Missouri) vs. Jordyn Fouse (Pennsylvania)
Isis France (Arizona) vs. Timberly Martinez (Colorado)

138 pounds
Olivia Davis (California) vs. Zoe Griffith (New York)
Jayda Fulp (Texas) vs. Aleksandra Bastaic (Indiana)

144 pounds
Skylar Slade (Iowa) vs. Jayci Shelton (Missouri)
Rihanna Venegas (Michigan) vs. Morgan Lucio (Arizona)

152 pounds
Maddie Hayden (Michigan) vs. Brynn Shepardson (New York)
Mya Bethel (Florida) vs. Elly Janovsky (Indiana)

164 pounds
Piper Fowler (Tennessee) vs. Millie Azlin (Oklahoma)
Alexandria Alli (Ohio) vs. Alexandria Ray (Oklahoma)

180 pounds
Ylyana Sandoval (Oregon) vs. Brooklyn Graham (Iowa)
Brooke Huffman (Wisconsin) vs. Alexandria Perez (California)

200 pounds
Irelynn Laurin (Tennessee) vs. Keilikki Nau Rarick (Utah)
Mia Cienega (Washington) vs. Caroline Hattala (Pennsylvania)

Three key semifinals matches to watch

122 pounds - Kaylyn Harrill (Nebraska) vs. Regina Stoeser (South Dakota)
This is the deepest semifinals bracket of the 16U Nationals, with all four of the semifinalists holding a national ranking. Harrill is currently ranked No. 14, while Stoeser is at No. 23. Harrill is one of the young stars in the nation, just going into her freshman year. She went 6-0 at the Junior Duals, and placed second in the U15 Nationals and won the 16U Folkstyle Nationals. Stoeser will be going into her sophomore year, and was fourth in the Recruiting Showcase and won the Northern Plains Regionals. The winner of this bout is capable of reaching the top of the podium.

106 pounds
Reanah Utterback (Iowa) vs. Kayla Batres (Connecticut)
Batres just completed her eighth grade season, and has climbed to a No. 7 national ranking. Her third place in the Recruiting Showcase included wins over two ranked wrestlers. She was also second at the U15 Nationals and third at the U17 Trials. Utterback has a long track record of success in USA Wrestling events, but has slipped to a No. 22 ranking after a difficult spring season. She brings much more experience to the game than Batres, and looks for a strong Fargo finish to get back to winning big time.

144 pounds
Skylar Slade (Iowa) vs. Jayci Shelton (Missouri)
Slade, ranked No. 6 nationally, is one of those rising talents who have quickly established herself. Last summer, she was second at the 16U Nationals, and has continued entering all the big meets. A Super 32 champion, she won the U15 Pan Ams, won the Iowa states, won the 16U Folkstyle Nationals and was second in the Recruiting Showcase. Shelton, a rising star frohas m Missouri going into her freshman year, won the 2023 U15 Nationals and was a strong 5-2 at the Junior Duals. She has a number of ranked wins.

The 16U Team Race
Who would have predicted a three-way tie after the first day of Women’s 16U Nationals action? Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania all have 35 points, and they all have five in the semifinals. Pennsylvania has six in the consolations, while Oklahoma has just two and Michigan three. Arizona is also close with 28 points and four semifinalists. There are five teams with three semifinalists, but they will need some help to be able to catch those top four teams.

Iron Woman Update

Three girls decided to test themselves in both the Junior Nationals and the 16U Nationals this year, true Iron Women to the core. Only one has a chance to leave as a national champion.

Alexis Lazar of Michigan has reached the semifinals at 117 pounds at the U16 Nationals, where she will battle Raeann Craft of New York in Sunday’s semifinals. Lazar won all four of her U16 Nationals matches. In the Junior Nationals, Lazar went 3-2 and was eliminated from the tournament. One of her losses was a forfeit.

Margaret Buurma of Michigan went for it in both tournaments at 132 pounds. At the Junior Nationals, she opened with a win, then was beaten by Sophia Hejnal of California. On the back side, Buurma has won four straight matches, and will face Emily Frost of New York in the morning. At the 16U Nationals, she is also still alive in the consolations, winning her first two matches, losing one bout, then winning three straight. Her next consolation match is against Lilliana Banks of Wisconsin.

Olivia Polansky of Massachusetts made a run at 100 pounds in both tournaments. She had a 1-2 record in both the Junior Nationals and the 16U Nationals and will not be competing on Sunday.

Another Day at the Beach

For wrestlers who are no longer competing in the women’s events in Fargo, there is a Beach Wrestling Tournament set for 3:00 p.m. at Gastropub Volleyball. This is the second year of a Beach Wrestling option alongside this tournament, and wrestlers and their families are encouraged to compete and have some fun, as well.

Sunday, July 16th schedule

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM - Session III
16U Women/Junior Women: Semifinals (2 Mats); Consolation and Consolation Semifinals (5 rounds)

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM - Session IV
16U Women/Junior Women: 3rd-8th Medal Matches

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM- Beach Wrestling Competition at Gastropub Volleyball

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Session V
16U/Junior Girls: Parade of Champions and Championship Finals
USA Wrestling Logo Secondary Stroke

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