World Team Trials Challenge Women’s Freestyle Preview: World champions Gray, Winchester headline loaded field
by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
2019 World champion Jacarra Winchester is among the stars competing in Colorado Springs at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.
The final four women’s freestyle athletes for Final X will be determined on Sunday, May 21 at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament at Discovery Canyon High School in Colorado Springs.
The weight classes being contested are 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg and 76 kg. The winner of the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in these weight classes will compete in Final X against the 2023 U.S. Open champion.
The other six women’s weight classes have already determined its two Final X competitors, which will be held in Newark, N.J., June 10.
Leading the field of competitors are six-time World champion and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Adeline Gray at 76 kg, as well as 2019 World champion and 2020 Olympian Jacarra Winchester at 55 kg.
A pair of past Senior World Team members will compete at 76 kg, 2021 World Team member Kylie Welker and 2022 World Team member Dymond Guilford. There are 17 current or past college national champions are scattered throughout the four weight divisions.
Here is a look at the competitors in each of the weight classes:
Champion to face U.S. Open champion Alisha Howk (Sunkist Kids) in Final X
2019 World champion and 2020 Olympian Jacarra Winchester, who did not compete at the 2023 U.S. Open, received the No. 1 seed in Colorado Springs and is a strong favorite at this weight class. Winchester made the Olympic team at 53 kg, but has mostly competed at 55 kg, including the year she won her World title. Lauren Mason, second at the U.S. Open and a National Team member in 2022-23 earned the No. 2 seed, while Areana Villaescusa, a past National Team member who was third in the U.S. Open this year, secured No. 3 seed. Dropping down in weight is 2022-23 National Team member Amanda Martinez, who placed third at the U.S. Open at 59 kg and is seeded fourth in the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. Jaslynn Gallegos, a 2023 NCWWC national champion at 116 pounds, moves up in weight to take the fifth seed. The other two competitors were U.S. Open place winners at 55 kg, college wrestler Gabrielle Skidmore (who placed sixth at the Open) and high school star Virginia Foard (who placed seventh). Foard recently was second at the U20 Trials. Somebody in this weight will need to step up in performance if they wish to keep Jacarra Winchester out of Final X,and make their own run for a Senior World Team berth.
55 kg seeds
1. Jacarra Winchester, Titan Mercury WC/USOPTC
2. Lauren Mason, Brunson UVRTC
3. Areana Villaescusa, Army WCAP
4. Amanda Martinez, Cardinal WC
5. Jaslynn Gallegos, Cardinal WC
6. Gabrielle Skidmore, Minnesota Gold WC
7. Virginia Foard, Wyoming Seminary WC
Champion to face U.S. Open champion Michaela Beck (Sunkist Kids) in Final X
This weight class is a nice mix of athletes who have competed well in three different weight classes, 57 kg, 59 kg and 62 kg. The No. 1 seed went to 2023 U.S. Open runner-up Maya Nelson, who reached a medal match in the 2021 Senior Worlds. Nelson was a U20 World champion earlier in her career. Moving down in weight is the No. 2 seed Jennifer Page, who was second on the National Team at 62 kg last year and was also the 2023 U.S. Open runner-up at 62 kg. Page seeks her first berth on a Senior World Team. Brenda Reyna placed third in the U.S. Open at 59 kg, beating Army teammate Abigail Nette in the bronze-medal match. Nette was the 2022 U.S. Senior World Team member at this weight class. Another Army wrestler, Bridgette Duty, placed third at the 2023 U.S. Open at 62 kg and secured the No. 5 seed. Alex Hedrick, a 2022 U23 World medalist, moves up from 57 kg, where she was second in the 2023 U.S. Open and has been No. 2 on the National Team twice. Last year’s Final X runner-up at 59 kg, Lexie Basham, received the No. 6 seed. The final two seeds were 59 kg placewinners in Las Vegas, SaVannah Cosme (sixth place) and Lauren Louive (seventh place). Louive is a past National Team member. This weight has a ton of depth. Six of the nine wrestlers in this bracket have been on the Senior National Team at one point during their career. Likewise, six of the nine wrestlers have been college national champions. Don’t be shocked if somebody gets on a run and busts this bracket up.
59 kg seeds
1. Maya Nelson, Sunkist Kids
2. Jennifer Page, Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC
3. Brenda Reyna, Army WCAP
4. Abigail Nette, Army WCAP
5. Bridgette Duty, Army WCAP
6. Alex Hedrick, Titan Mercury WC/USOPTC
7. Lexie Basham. Titan Mercury WC/Spartan Mat Club
8. SaVannah Cosme, Sunkist Kids
9. Lauren Louive, New York AC
Champion to face U.S. Open champion Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids) in Final X
Coming back to competition after missing last season is 2023 U.S. Open runner-up Alexandria Glaude, who gets the No. 1 seed. Glaude was a U23 World medalist and a Senior National Team member, as well. Glaude hopes to advance to Final X for a rematch with U.S. Open champion Forrest Molinari. Her top challenger could be Katerina Lange, who was third in the 2023 U.S. Open at this weight and was a 2023 NCWWC college national champion. Moving up in weight is multiple Senior National Team member Emma Bruntil, who was the 2023 U.S. Open runner-up at 65 kg. Bruntil has won a pair of U.S. Open titles. Solin Piearcy, a 2022-23 National Team member at this weight class, finished fourth at the 2023 U.S. Open and secured the No. 4 seed. Ana Luciano, who was fifth at 65 kg at the 2023 U.S. Open and was an NCWWC college national champion, moves up in weight and was given the No. 5 seed. Chloe Ogden, fifth at 68 kg at the U.S. Open, is seeded sixth. Marilyn Garcia was on the Senior National Team last year at 68 kg and drops in weight to compete in Colorado Springs. Kaylyn Albrecht, a 2023 NAIA national champion, has the No. 8 seed. Albrecht was fifth in the U.S. Open at 72 kg. It will be interesting to see if any of the athletes moving into this weight from a different weight class will be able to punch their ticket to Final X, or if one of the 68 kg All-Americans emerge as champion.
68 kg seeds
1. Alexandria Glaude, Titan Mercury WC/Beaver Dam RTC
2. Katerina Lange, Minnesota Storm
3. Emma Bruntil, Titan Mercury WC/USOPTC
4. Solin Piearcy, Menlo WC
5. Ana Luciano, Team Tornado WC
6. Chloe Ogden, Florida/Tarheel WC
7. Marilyn Garcia, California
8. Kaylynn Albrecht, Wildcat Elite
Champion to face 2023 U.S. Open champion Kennedy Blades in Final X
This weight class had considerable experience and talent at the U.S. Open, and we should expect some similar fireworks when they return with a Final X berth up for grabs in the Springs. Easily, the most successful athlete in the entire World Team Challenge Tournament is six-time World champion and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Adeline Gray. At the 2023 U.S. Open, Gray came from behind to beat 2022 World Team member Dymond Guilford in the semifinals, then was beaten in the finals by young star Kennedy Blades. Gray has a decisive advantage in experience on this field, but the top challengers are super talented. Getting the No. 2 seed is Yelena Makoyed, who was third at the U.S. Open. Makoyed won the 2023 USA Wrestling Women’s College Wrestler of the Year after winning her third NCWWC title. Guilford, a U23 World medalist last year, is a three-time NAIA national champion. Looking to bounce back from Las Vegas will be 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up and 2019 U20 World champion Kylie Welker. Guilford fell way behind Welker in the U.S. Open quarterfinals before rallying back for a pin. If seeds hold up, Welker would get a 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials finals rematch with Gray. The rest of the weight class is also deep. 2022 U20 World medalist Tristan Kelly gets the No. 6 seed. Ashley Lekas, who was seventh at the 2023 U.S. Open, is seeded No. 7. Skylar Grote, a Final X runner-up at 72 kg last year and a past U.S. Open champion, is at No. 8. Add in veteran Nahiela Magee and college star Brooklyn Hays, both who moved up from 72 kg, and you have an exciting weight class to enjoy.
76 kg seeds
1. Adeline Gray, New York AC
2. Yelena Makoyed, Titan Mercury WC/Cardinal WC
3. Dymond Guilford, Titan Mercury WC/USOPTC
4. Kylie Welker, Titan Mercury WC/Iowa Women’s WC
5. Tristan Kelly, Army WCAP
6. Precious Bell, Titan Mercury WC
7. Ashley Lekas, Minnesota Gold WC
8. Skylar Grote, Titan Mercury WC/Beaver Dam RTC
9. Nahiela Magee, Army WCAP
10. Brooklyn Hays, Minnesota Gold WC
Single day and all session ticket options are available to purchase online through USA Wrestling.
Those unable to attend the event can stream every match from Colorado Springs live on FloWrestling