2023 NWCA All-Star Classic

2023 Women's Freestyle All-Star Classic Preview

2023 Women's Freestyle All-Star Classic Preview

A preview of the four women's freestyle matches scheduled for the NWCA All-Star Classic on Tuesday, November 21.

Oct 31, 2023 by Kyle Klingman
2023 Women's Freestyle All-Star Classic Preview

The 2023 NWCA All-Star Classic features four women's freestyle matches that will eight of the best college wrestlers in the country. Below is a breakdown and preview of what you can expect. 

116: Jaslynn Gallegos, North Central (NCAA) vs Samara Chavez, King (NCAA)

This is a rematch of the 2023 National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships at 116 pounds. Chavez was ahead 8-1 early in the second period when she hit a blast double but Gallegos countered with a lateral drop and secured a fall. Gallegos picked up a fall in the first minute of their match at the 2023 National Duals.

That makes Gallegos the overwhelming favorite, right? Not a chance.

Chavez has been on a tear of late and is #4 in FloWrestling’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings while Gallegos is #12. The Arlington, Texas, native made the U.S. National Team by pinning Iowa’s Felicity Taylor — a 2021 national collegiate champion — at Final X during their third-place match after losing to her, 6-0, at U23 Nationals. Chavez also reached the 2023 US Open finals where she knocked out past World teamer Amy Fearnside, 18-17, in the semifinals. 

Gallegos is down to her final season and continues to be among the most consistent and dynamic wrestlers in the country. In addition to her NCWWC title, she won a 2020 WCWA title (all divisions) when she competed for Presbyterian and is a five-time All-American between the two divisions. 

Expect fireworks from this match. Both are high-octane and are fast-paced. Don’t be surprised if this one ends in a fall, either. Their last three matches prove that anything can happen. Just don’t blink. This could be the best match at the All-Star Classic. 

College Credentials
Jaslynn Gallegos, Senior
2023 - NCWWC Champ at 116
2022 - NCWWC 4th at 116
2021 - NCWWC 3rd at 116
2020 - NCWWC 3rd at 116 and WCWA Champ at 116

Samara Chavez, Junior
2023 - NCWWC runner-up at 116
2022 - NCWWC 3rd at 109

Match History: 2-2
2023 NCWWC (NCAA finals): Gallegos pinned Chavez, 3:35
2023 NWCA National Duals: Gallegos pinned Chavez, :55
2022 North Central Open: Chavez pinned Gallegos, 2:26
2018 Women’s Nationals: Chavez teched Gallegos, 21-11

Jaslynn Gallegos on competing in the 2023 All-Star Classic
“I’m so excited to compete in the All-Star dual. I know it’s going to be a fun event to start off my last year of collegiate wrestling.”

Samara Chavez on competing in the 2023 All-Star Classic
“I’m honored to be competing in the All-Star Classic. Always happy to be part of events that highlight women’s wrestling. No matter the outcome, there’s always room for growth. I’m just excited to be on this journey and with that I’m going to have some fun.”

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Gallegos vs Chavez is a rematch of the 2023 National Collegiate Women's Wrestling Championships

130: Sarah Savidge, Life (NAIA) vs Alexis Janiak, Aurora (NCAA)

This is the first competition for Janiak since her controversial bronze medal finish at the U20 World Championships. Janiak was ahead 8-8 on criteria at the conclusion of her semifinal match against Italy’s Aurora Russo. The Italian corner challenged the final seconds where a caution and one was awarded to Russo, giving her a 9-8 victory.

Confused? So were most U.S. wrestling fans who thought it gave the officials too much latitude to make a subjective call after a match. Janiak was likely the rightful gold medalist since Russo won in the finals.

It’s also oddly humorous that Janiak attends Aurora University and she faced Aurora Russo.

“Some of the guys from my team were saying whoever wins gets the right to the name,” Janiak said.

Making the U20 World team went through Sarah Savidge — a tough-as-nails wrestler who is enlisted in the National Guard. Her first college competition was — fittingly — the 2022 Soldier Salute, which was a week after she completed basic training. 

Savidge and Janiak have a history with each securing dominant wins. Janiak picked up the most recent victories during the best-of-three finals at Women’s Nationals. That gives Janiak the edge, but Savidge is more than capable of winning.

Both fell in the college national finals to high-level opponents, so this is a good way for both to get a tough match early in the season. Styles make match-ups and this one has every bit of that. Janiak uses a variety of colorful techniques while Savidge wrestles like her last name.

This one will be fun. 

College Credentials
Sarah Savidge, Sophomore
2023 - NAIA runner-up at 130 pounds

Lexi Janiak, Sophomore
2023 - NCWWC runner-up at 130 pounds

Match history: Janiak leads, 3-2
2023 U20 World Team Trials: Janiak pinned Savidge, 4:42
2023 U20 World Team Trials: Janiak over Savidge, 11-0
2022 Junior Nationals: Savidge over Janiak, 8-4
2022 Junior National Duals: Savidge teched Janiak, 13-2
2021 High School Recruiting Showcase: Janiak pinned Savidge, 5:49

Sarah Savidge on competing in the 2023 All-Star Classic

“It's a high-caliber match and an amazing opportunity to be recognized that I’m at that level to compete at this event. But at the same time, the match always starts 0-0, it’s just another wrestling match no matter what. So, I’m just going to go in there and be myself like I am any other match. 

“Whether it’s a high caliber tournament or just a little local laid-back tournament, I’m still going to perform the same as I would at either. I expect the match to be entertaining, but I’m excited to be wrestling in it. Really, it’s just another stepping stone in my journey. I’ve trained hard and have done everything I can to build myself up as an athlete. That includes training my body to be a well-rounded athlete, a good wrestler, an aggressive attacker, and tenacious.”

Lexi Janiak on competing in the 2023 All-Star Classic
“I love competing — especially high-level competition. I couldn’t say no. It just really kicks off that time of year when there’s consistent wrestling. It’s especially cool as I was watching this event last year at school hoping I’d have an opportunity at some point.”

136: Adaugo Nwachukwu, William Penn (NAIA) vs Yele Aycock, North Central (NCAA)

Adaugo Nwachukwu and Yele Aycock have only faced each other once, but there’s plenty of history behind this match.

Nwachukwu committed to North Central before switching to Iowa Wesleyan. The San Jose, California, native won a pair of NAIA titles for the Tigers but the entire school closed earlier this year. Former Iowa Wesleyan coach Jake Kadel accepted the William Penn job and Nwachukwu went with him to Oskaloosa, Iowa. 

Kadel starts his inaugural season at William Penn with the top pound-for-pound wrestler in the country. Nwachukwu won this year’s U.S. Open, competed in Final X, and wrestled at the U20 World Championships. Her explosive style makes her a fan favorite and a must-watch match every time she competes.

Aycock is the classic underdog story. She went 0-2 at the 2022 National Collegiate Wrestling Championships, worked tirelessly over the summer, and reached the national finals earlier this year. She’s known for her season-long rivalry with Augsburg’s Nina Makem, which currently stands at 3-3. The Gallup, New Mexico, native was a crucial part of North Central’s 2023 National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship. 

Nwachukwu is the odds-on favorite here. She won 10-0 over Aycock at the 2022 Women’s Nationals and has had senior-level domestic success. This match is about how well Aycock game plans and stays out of Nwachukwu’s explosive positions. 

College Credentials
Adaugo Nwachukwu, Junior
2023 - NAIA champion at 136 pounds
2022 - NAIA champion at 136 pounds

Yele Aycock, Junior
2023 - NCWWC runner-up at 136 pounds

Match history: Nwachukwu leads, 1-0
2022 Women’s Nationals: Nwachukwu teched Aycock, 10-0 

Adaugo Nwachukwu on competing in the All-Star Classic
“To be the best you have to knock out the best.” 

Yele Aycock on competing in the All-Star Classic
“I’m super excited to get out and compete. I’m really grateful to get this opportunity to represent my school and do it in an amazing environment.” 

160: Marlynne Deede, Iowa (NCAA) vs Latifah McBryde, Life (NAIA)

This is the first time Marlynne Deede will compete for the University of Iowa — sort of. Although the All-Star Classic is an exhibition, this is likely the first action Deede will see this season as a Hawkeye. 

The former Augsburg star transferred to Iowa after winning the 2022 NCWWC title at 155. This is her final season and she plans to make it count. She’s already a four-time All-American and will be the favorite to win a second title in 2024.

Latifah McBryde was a second away from winning the 2023 NAIA Championships against Kaylynn Albrecht of Baker. She was up 8-6 in the closing seconds when Albrecht hit a four-point throw to win 11-8 after a lost challenge by the Life University corner. 

Intrigue for this match will be high since Iowa is in its inaugural women’s wrestling season. These two met for third place at the 2021 Junior World Team Trials and Deede won, 10-4. This is the first competition for McBryde since the NAIA Championships since United World Wrestling does not allow full-body uniforms. 

Conditioning will be a factor when these two face off. McBryde has a motor and will need to force the action. Deede needs to take advantage of any openings that an aggressive pace provides. 

College Credentials
Marlynne Deede, Senior
2023 - NCWWC champion at 155
2022 - NCWWC 3rd at 155
2021 - NCWWC 3rd at 155
2020 - NCWWC 6th at 155

Latifah McBryde, Sophomore
2023 - NAIA runner-up at 155

Match history: Deede leads, 1-0
2021 Women’s Nationals: Deede over McBryde, 10-4

Marlynne Deede on competing in the All-Star Classic
“I am so excited to compete — I’ve only gotten better. I can score in all positions and I’m looking to attack. This is an awesome opportunity for me, and I’m thrilled to represent Iowa. There are a lot of cool moments on my radar this year. Competing in Carver and then Rec Hall the week after is definitely going to be a highlight in my college career.”

Latifah McBryde on competing in the All-Star Classic
“It shows the work that I’ve put in this year. Also, I’m trying to go into every opportunity I get with a sense of gratitude and take in every moment. I only have three years of eligibility left. With that being said we don’t know what’s going to happen with uniform rules with United World Wrestling, so these next three years really could be my last years competing in wrestling. So, I’m really just trying to take everything in and I’m super grateful for the opportunity."

2022 Women’s All-Star Classic Results
191: Sydnee Kimber (McKendree) over Kelani Corbett (Missouri Valley), 6-0
170: Yelena Makoyed (North Central) teched Jessie Lee (Life), 10-0
143: Adaugo Nwachukwu (Iowa Wesleyan) over Alara Boyd (McKendree), 6-0
109: Emily Shilson (McKendree) over Peyton Prussin (Life), 8-4