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No. 1 Life aims for NAIA Women’s Nationals title, with No. 2 Grand View, No. 3 Southern Oregon top challengers

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Peyton Prussin (Life) will seek a third NAIA women’s nationals title this weekend. Photo courtesy of Life Athletics.

It will be a historic weekend for women’s college wrestling, as the NAIA will host its first Women's Wrestling National Championships at Harold Newman Arena at Jamestown University in Jamestown, N.D., March 10-11.

Since 2019, the NAIA has held a National Invitational for women’s wrestling, also held in Jamestown. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Campbellsville won the last two National Invitationals in 2021 and 2022, and Menlo was the champion in 2019.

Based upon the rankings going in, a different school may emerge as the first official NAIA Women’s Nationals team champions.

In the final NAIA team rankings, posted right before the conference qualifiers, the top three teams are No. 1 Life, No. 2 Grand View and No. 3 Southern Oregon. It has been a volatile season in the team rankings. Campbellsville started at No. 1, then Southern Oregon was on top for three polls. Grand View held No. 1 for one ranking, then Life was No. 1 the final two rankings.

Four teams will have the maximum number of 12 wrestlers at nationals, Grand View (Iowa), Life (Ga.), Menlo (Calif.), and Southern Oregon. Others with large teams include Iowa Wesleyan with 11, plus Campbellsville (Ky.), Central Methodist (Mo.), and Indiana Tech with 10 each.

There will be two wrestlers who will be gunning for their third NAIA national title, Peyton Prussin of Life at 109 and Dymond Guilford of the Cumberlands (170). Both have the No. 1 seed in their weight class. Guilford won her first NAIA title for Missouri Baptist in 2019, then won her second for Cumberlands in 2020.

2022 NAIA champions who are seeking to repeat include Carolina Moreno of Southern Oregon (123), Lexie Basham of Texas Wesleyan (130), Aduago Nwachukwu of Iowa Wesleyan (136) and Kelani Corbett of Missouri Valley (191). All are top seeds. Corbett won her first NAIA title last season competing for Lyon, then transferred to Missouri Valley.

A 2021 NAIA national champion, Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp of Providence, is the No. 6 seed at 130 pounds. Estrella-Beauchamp won her 2021 NAIA title for Midland.

Joining Prussin, Guilford, Moreno, Basham, Nwachukwu and Corbett as No. 1 seeds are Ivy Navarro of Providence (101), Ashley Gooman of Providence (116), Alexis Gomez of Grand View (143) and Latifah McBryde of Life (155).

Two of the top seeds are members of the U.S. Senior Women’s National Team, meaning they are in the top three of their weight class at the Senior level: Basham and Guilford.

Let’s peek at the seeded wrestlers for the top three ranked teams going into the national tournament.

Life (12 seeds): Peyton Prussin (No. 1 at 109), Latifah McBryde (No. 1 at 155), Sarah Savidge (No. 2 at 130), Jamilah McBryde (No. 4 at 143), Catherine Palmieri (No. 7 at 191), Riley Dalrymple (No. 8 at 136), Jasaphine Lee (No. 8 at 170), Devyn Gomez (No. 9 at 101), Zaynah McBryde (No. 9 at 130), Madeline Welch (No. 9 at 191), Kory Phillips (No. 11 at 109), Olivia Mottley (No. 11 at 123)

Grand View (10 seeds): Alexis Gomez (No. 1 at 143), Catharine Campbell (No. 2 at 123), Abby McIntyre (No. 3 at 170), Andrea Schlabach (No. 5 at 130), Madison Diaz (No. 5 at 155), Cailin Campbell (No. 6 at 116), Shenita Lawson (No. 6 at 170), Jas Alexander (No. 8 at 101), Olivia Brown (No. 8 at 191), Maya Davis (No. 10 at 123),

Southern Oregon (10 seeds): Carolina Moreno (No. 1 at 123), Emily Se (No. 2 at 143), Joye Levendusky (No. 2 at 170), Esthela Trevino (No. 3 at 101), Natalie Reyna-Rodriguez (No. 3 at 109), Macie Stewart (No. 6 at 109), Bella Amaro (No. 6 at 136), Grace Kristoff (No. 10 at 191), Glory Konecny (No. 12 at 116), Bailey Dennis (No. 12 at 155)

Don’t be shocked if teams such as No. 4 Menlo, No. 5 University of the Cumberlands or No. 6 Texas Wesleyan make a run at being a top three team in the final standings. These teams all have the individual stars and team depth to score a lot of points, especially if they beat their seeds. Two-time defending champion Campbellsville is known to peak at the national championships over the years, and could do much better than their No. 10.

As you look through the brackets, you may recognize some names that used to be affiliated with NCAA teams. Last year, NCAA school McKendree (a three-time NCWWC champion team) had coaching changes, with its head coach Sam Schmitz taking over the men’s program at Central Methodist, and assistant coach Gabrielle Weyhrich taking over the women’s head coaching position at Southern Oregon. A number of athletes from McKendree ended up transferring to those schools.

At Southern Oregon, No. 2 seed Joye Levendusky (170) was a two-time NCWWC runner-up for McKendree, No. 3 seed Natalie Reyna-Rodriguez (109) was a three-time All-American there and No. 10 seed Grace Kristoff (191) was a two-time NCWWC All-American for McKendree. For Central Methodist, No. 5 seed Jayce Foeller (191) was a NCWWC runner-up for McKendree and No. 8 seed Hannah Hall (116) also transferred from McKendree.

The five conference tournaments were held in late February, where automatic qualifiers were set, and the NAIA completed the field with the selection of remaining at-large qualifiers.

Click here to view preliminary NAIA Women’s Brackets

The entire competition will be broadcast live on FloWrestling


At Jamestown, N.D.

Friday, March 10

10 a.m. Session I - 1st Round, 2nd Round, Consolations

6:00 p.m. - Session II - Quarterfinlals, Consolations.

Saturday, March 11

10 a.m. Session III - Semifinals, Consolation Quarterfinals, Consolation Semifinals, Placements (3rd, 5th and 7th place)

7 p.m. Session IV - Championship Finals