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Kevin Schnepf, Published July 21 2009

Female wrestlers claim championships, eye trip to Olympics

Adeline Gray remembers the days when female wrestlers would don panty hose or swim caps on their heads to protect their hair. She remembers wearing swimsuits.

“The more colorful the better,” she said.

Those days are long gone. Female wrestlers, like the ones who competed in the ASICS USA Wrestling Junior Nationals championships Monday at the Fargodome, were dressed just like the boys – and improving upon some already-impressive resumes.

With a quick pin in the 165-pound finals, Gray claimed her third junior national championship about an hour after she was named USA Wrestling’s female wrestler of the year. The Denver wrestler is also a Senior World Team Trials champion and a Senior Nationals champion this year.

In the next three months, she will be competing at the Junior World tournament in Turkey and the Senior World tournament in Denmark before reporting to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

“Plus, school will be starting,” Gray said of her first year as a college student at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

“She’s amazing,” said Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling, who has helped oversee female wrestling since it was introduced to this tournament five years ago.

Like most female wrestlers, Gray grew up wrestling against the boys. Her father, George, who came from a family of seven boys, was a wrestler. George and his wife, Donna, saw two of their four daughters wrestle at this tournament.

“I was 6 years old when I started and fell in love with it,” Gray said.

Competing on the Bear Creek High School boys varsity team in Colorado, Gray produced a 62-37 record – competing in the 125-, 130- and 140-pound weight classes her freshman, sophomore and junior years. She finished high school in Marquette, Mich., so she could work on her wrestling skills at an Olympic Training Center.

Now invited to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Gray is going back home.

“It’s awesome …. that was the plan from the beginning,” Gray said. “Wrestling for girls has really evolved. Now I can see where it takes me.”

For Gray and C.C. Weber of Michigan, they are hoping wrestling takes them to the gold medal stand of the Olympics. With only three states (Hawaii, Texas and Washington) offering high school wrestling for females and only 15 colleges – mostly NAIA schools – offering the sport, the Olympics seems to be the logical path for standouts like Gray and Weber.

“Olympic champion, that’s the goal,” said Weber, a Goodrich, Mich., 109-pounder who won her third junior national championship Monday. “I want the gold. I want everything. I’m greedy.”

At last season’s Michigan boys state tournament, Weber placed fourth and finished with a 53-9 record. She was a three-time state qualifier competing against the boys.

“I wasn’t very happy I didn’t get first place, but considering everything, I guess it was a good accomplishment,” said Weber, who like Gray, will be competing at the World Junior tournament in Turkey and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

“I’ve been wrestling against guys forever … in fact, I’ve probably wrestled more guys than girls during my career,” said Gray, whose brother was a four-time state champion who now wrestles at the University of Michigan.

Brieanna Delgado of South Carolina, who won a 124 Junior National title Monday, said wrestling against boys was like having brothers. Delgado’s older sister Brittany, a two-time Junior National champion, is now wrestling at Oklahoma City University.

“I was 4 years old when I got into and wrestled on a team with boys,” Delgado said. “It’s like having a big group of big brothers who were always overprotective. It was kind of nice.”

So is the way female wrestling has evolved.

“The quality jumps every year,” Abbott said of the female field at the USA Wrestling tournament. “The girls are getting tougher and tougher every year. We hope to continue to get more people involved because it is a tough international field.”


95 pounds

Championship

Emily Webster (Missouri) over Carlene Sluberski (New York) Dec 4-0,0-1,1-0

Third place

Erin Golston (Illinois) over Hanna Grisewood (New York) Dec 2-0,2-0

Fifth place

Brianna Rahall (Virginia) over Erin Uehara (Hawaii) Dec 2-0,0-3,1-0

Seventh place

Kristi Garr (Michigan) over Meghan Chun (Hawaii) Fall 2-0,0:41

102 pounds

Championship

Victoria Anthony (California) over Alex Gomez (California) TF 7-0,7-0

Third place

Brittney Taylor (Nebraska) over Kayleigh Longley (Maine) TF 7-0,6-0

Fifth place

JoMae Alewine (Washington) over Jenna Pisarski (Texas) Fall 1:39

Seventh place

Sierra Snay (Virginia) over Megan Garcia (Colorado) Dec 8-1,1-1

109 pounds

Championship

C.C. Weber (Michigan) over Kayla Brendlinger (Pennsylvania) TF 6-0,6-0

Third place

Paige Nemec (Ohio) over Sarah Hildenbrandt (Indiana) Dec 2-0,2-0

Fifth place

Malia Medeiros (Hawaii) over Kalin Alverez-Knight (California) Fall 0-4,0:41

Seventh place

Lauryn Bruggink (Colorado) over Taylor Busboom (Texas) Fall 1:23

116 pounds

Championship

Hanna Martin (Oklahoma) over Natalie Rutt (Minnesota) Fall 4-0,1:00

Third place

Tanya Kusse (New York) over Chrissy Chow (Hawaii) Dec 0-1,1-0,2-0

Fifth place

Brazel Marquez (California) over Miranda Bennett (Missouri) Dec 2-0,4-1

Seventh place

Megan Yamaguchi (Hawaii) over Kyah Larson (Idaho) Fall 3-0,1:05

124 pounds

Championship

Brieanna Delgado (South Carolina) over Alli Ragan (Illinois) Dec 1-0,3-1

Third place

Logan Howard (New York) over Katy Yoder (Ohio) Fall 5-4,0:35

Fifth place

Roni Goodale (Iowa) over Brittney Faust (Pennsylvania) ID

Seventh place

Gabrielle Klein (Wisconsin) over Tianna Camous (California) Dec 4-0,6-4

132 pounds

Championship

Jenna Burkert (New York) over Randi Beltz (Missouri) Fall 1:31

Third place

Katarina Perez (California) over Kirsten Strickler (Texas) Fall 1:46

Fifth place

Haylee Childs (Florida) over Kerstin Harmon (Ohio) Dec 0-6,1-1,2-0

Seventh place

Anna McAleavey (Texas) over Cassie Laslo (Michigan) Dec 5-1,6-0

139 pounds

Championship

Veronica Carlson (Illinois) over Audrey Morehouse (California) TF 7-0,6-0

Third place

Sheridan McDonald (Washington) over Jenny Ojerio (Hawaii) Fall 1-1,1:59

Fifth place

Krista Revelle (Kansas) over Demi Strub (Indiana) Dec 3-0,2-0

Seventh place

Shana Lee Prifte (New York) over Lorrie-Ann Ramos (Florida) Dec 5-0,4-0

146 pounds

Championship

Julia Salata (Michigan) over Brittany Goebel (Illinois) Dec 1-0,2-0

Third place

Laura Ponshock (Texas) over Francisca Harriss (California) Fall 0:37

Fifth place

Mary Westman (New York) over Alexis Willcher (Washington) Dec 6-1,4-10,4-0

Seventh place

Chelsea Taylor (Nebraska) over Carmen Orozco (Arizona) Dec 6-1,1-0

153 pounds

Championship

Annelise DeAragon (Idaho) over Karra Stratton (Texas) Fall 1-8,0:22

Third place

Brittney Roberts (Texas) over Kim Spiegel (Pennsylvania) Dec 2-0,2-0

Fifth place

Lilia Gudzuyk (Washington) over Michaela Ecklund (Washington) Fall 7-0,1:23

Seventh place

Tonya Keegan (Pennsylvania) over Erin English (Ohio) Dec 2-4,2-1,2-0

165 pounds

Championship

Adeline Gray (Colorado) over Jessica Smith (Ohio) Fall 0:52

Third place

Jordan Hagerman (Missouri) over Jennifer Spitza (Michigan) Dec 6-0,3-1

Fifth place

Elda Mendoza (Texas) over Casey Silkwood (Wisconsin) Dec 3-0,2-0

Seventh place

Stephanie Tucker (Michigan) over Alexandrea Holt (California) Dec 4-3,7-0

190 pounds

Championship

Alisha Beach (Washington) over Angela Vyborny (California) Fall 2-6,2-0,0:47

Third place

Alana Jimenez (Texas) over Pamela Abshire (Texas) Dec 1-0,0-3,3-0

Fifth place

Morgan Touhey (California) over Indya Randall (Texas) Dec 0-4,2-1,7-0

Seventh place

Kayla Orr (Michigan) over Melissa Reyes (Texas) Fall 0:34

220 pounds

Championship

Yadinma Nwaiwu (Texas) over Ronny Elor (California) Dec 3-2,6-3

Third place

Jami Moore (Texas) over Miriam Moreno (Texas) Fall 0-3,0:31

Fifth place

Angel Brewer (South Carolina) over Melissa Bublitz (Missouri) Fall 1:40

Seventh place

Kendra Cremeans (Washington) over Hayley Mitchell (Texas) TF 7-0,6-0


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com