3 Paris Olympians Determined Tight 2018 WCWA Team Race

3 Paris Olympians Determined Tight 2018 WCWA Team Race

Olympians Dom Parrish, Kayla Miracle, and Grace Bullen were part of a down-to-the-wire finish at the 2018 WCWA Championships.

Jun 10, 2024 by Kyle Klingman

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As far as turning points go, none was more important for women’s college wrestling than the 2018 WCWA Championships. 

The Women’s College Wrestling Association (WCWA) held its first end-of-the-year championship in 2008.  Any women’s program from any division competed in a winner-take-all format where multiple wrestlers from each school participated.

“Basically, (2018) was our last real national championship with every team,” Campbellsville coach Lee Miracle said. “Then teams pulled out. It was a little bit different because McKendree didn’t show up and Simon Fraser didn’t show up. A couple of big teams didn’t show up and it weakened the competition.”

The 2019 WCWA Championships were full but NAIA programs hosted an invitational later that season while NCAA teams hosted the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships in 2020. 

Women’s college wrestling would never be the same. NAIA, NCAA, and NJCAA went separate ways as the sport began to explode. 

Tight Team Race

Campbellsville’s 2018 title was special because it featured a down-to-the-wire battle against Simon Fraser. It was an NAIA vs NCAA battle featuring three future Olympians. 

Simon Fraser’s Dom Parrish won the 123-pound title with a 5-4 win over teammate Alex Hedrick in the finals. Her teammates Abby Lloyd (116) and Mallory Velte (143) also won championships. 

Campbellsville’s Grace Bullen (130) and Kayla Miracle (136) secured falls in the finals to lift their team to a five-point win over Simon Fraser. 

Parrish (53 kg) and Miracle (62 kg) will represent the United States at the 2024 Olympics. Bullen qualified for Norway at the same weight as her former college teammate. 

Lee Miracle admits that everything had to go right for his team to win, including the addition of Bullen who was only in the line-up for the 2018 season. 

“We got her in time for the second semester and she was a difference maker and that’s why we won the national championship,” Lee said. "You take away any one thing and we don’t win.

“Simon Fraser was really good that year and that’s who we had to beat. It came down to them and us. It’s one of the five greatest moments of my life.” 


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Kayla Miracle's fall over Desiree Zavala of Grays Harbor secured the 2018 team title for Campbellsville

2018 WCWA Finals Results

WeightChampionFinals Result
101Regina Doi (King)Regina Doi (King) forfeit over Marina Doi (King)
109Cody Pfau (Emmanuel)Cody Pfau (Emmanuel) teched Maria Vidales (Emmanuel College), 14-4 3:57
116Abby Lloyd (Simon Fraser)Abby Lloyd (Simon Fraser) dec. Gabby Weyhrich (McKendree), 5-3
123Dom Parrish (Simon Fraser)Dom Parrish (Simon Fraser) dec. Alex Hedrick (Simon Fraser), 5-4
130Grace Bullen (Campbellsville)Grace Bullen (Campbellsville) fall Nicole Depa (Simon Fraser), 2:17
136Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville)Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville) fall Desiree Zavala (Grays Harbor), 2:50
143Mallory Velte (Simon Fraser)Mallory Velte (Simon Fraser) VSU Alexis Porter (McKendree), 10-0
155Niauhi Hill (Lindenwood Belleville)Niauni Hill (Lindenwood Belleville) dec. Tatum Sparks (Providence), 7-5
170Brittany Marshall (Wayland Baptist)Brittany Marshall (Wayland Baptist) dec. Mariah Harris (Campbellsville), 6-5
191Paige Baynes (Grays Harbor)Paige Baynes (Grays Harbor) tech Leilani Camargo-Naone (Midland), 10-0

Growing Pains

Justin Abdou remembers all the ways his team could have won. It was his first season as Simon Fraser's head coach and he was still learning women’s college wrestling and the nuances of the national tournament scoring system. 

The biggest loss was at 191 pounds where returning national champion Peyton Smith was pinned in the semifinals after leading 4-0 in the first period. She wrestled back for fourth but suffered a concussion in the consolation finals.

“We could have won had I understood the game better,” Abdou said. “You name your 10 scorers before the tournament and I picked a returning All-American over another wrestler. She went 0-2 and the other wrestler went 2-2. Also, Alyvia Fiske was ineligible and would have been seeded first or second at 155. I thought we had the team to win.”

A Seeding Miracle

A move by Lee Miracle in the seeding meeting was met with anger by some coaches but it may have won Campbellsville the title. Bullen was the clear favorite at 130 but a rule implemented the year before stated that a team could pull an athlete off the board if a coach didn’t want her seeded.

Miracle didn’t like the rule and protested against it, but used it to his advantage in 2018. He pulled Bullen from being seeded while Shelby Hall — Campbellsville’s other wrestler at 130 — was seeded second. That meant Bullen would face McKendree’s top-seeded Megan Black in the semis, a match she won 12-0. 

Bullen blazed through the bracket with three techs and two falls for her lone WCWA title. Her pin in the finals over Simon Fraser's Nicole Depa ultimately decided the team race. 

Campbellsville scored 196.5 points to Simon Fraser's 191.5 in a thrilling finish. 

Click here for full 2018 WCWA brackets.

2018 WCWA Championships: Top 10 Teams

2Simon FraserNCAA191.59
7Grays HarborJUCO105.55
8Wayland BaptistNAIA1044
9Oklahoma CityNAIA97.55