Women's Weekly

Women's Weekly: Historic Tournament Still Producing Results

Women's Weekly: Historic Tournament Still Producing Results

This edition of Women's Weekly reflects on a historic national tournament and looks ahead to the upcoming collegiate wrestling season.

Nov 17, 2021 by Kyle Klingman
Women's Weekly: Historic Tournament Still Producing Results

It’s fun to look back now that the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) and its end-of-year national tournament will likely disband. This was THE women’s national collegiate wrestling championship that counted for years since it combined schools from every division. 

Perhaps no national women’s collegiate tournament in the future will compare to the 2014 WCWA Championships held in St. Louis on January 24-25. Here are a few of the impressive statistics that came from the 10 women who won titles. 

— Every champion won at least two WCWA titles apiece during their collegiate careers for a total of 28 WCWA titles between all 10 wrestlers.

— Victoria Anthony of Simon Fraser became the first four-time WCWA champion at the 2014 tournament.

— Helen Maroulis of Simon Fraser became the second four-time WCWA champion at the 2014 tournament.

— Emily Webster of OCU won her third WCWA title in 2014 and became the third four-time WCWA champion at the 2015 tournament. 

— Five of the champions reached the WCWA finals four times (Webster, Anthony, Maroulis, Sarah Hildebrandt, and Alli Ragan)

— Two members of the 2016 Olympic team (Haley Augello and Maroulis).

— Three members of the 2020 Olympic team (Hildebrandt, Maroulis, Tamyra Mensah-Stock)

— The first American to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling (Maroulis).

— The second American to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling (Mensah-Stock)

— Three future senior-level World champions (Maroulis in 2015, 2017, and 2021; Justina Di Stasio in 2018; and Mensah-Stock in 2019). 

— 24 senior-level World/Olympic medals between five women (Hildebrandt, Maroulis, Ragan, Mensah-Stock, Di Stasio).

— 33 senior-level World/Olympic team spots between seven women (Anthony, Augello, Hildebrandt, Maroulis, Ragan, Mensah-Stock, Di Stasio).

— The tournament also had three place winners make World teams: Mallory Velte (fourth at 130), Forrest Molinari (third at 143), and Victoria Francis (second at 170). Velte was a bronze medalist at the 2018 World Championships and Molinari was a bronze medalist in 2021. 

— Top three teams: King (229), Oklahoma City (227), Simon Fraser (219)

— Nine of the champions came from the top three teams.

— Julia Salata clinched the team title for King with a 5-1 win in the 155-pound finals over Kayla Aggio of Oklahoma City.

Below is a complete list of all 10 WCWA champions with career highlights — so far.

2014 WCWA champions

101: Emily Webster (Oklahoma City)

— Four-time WCWA champion (2012-15)

— 118-0 career college record

109: Victoria Anthony (Simon Fraser)

— Four-time WCWA champion (2010-11, 2013-14)

— Two-time Junior World champion (2009-10)

— Two-time World teamer (2013, 2017)

116: Haley Augello (King)

— Three-time WCWA champion (2014-15, 2017)

— 2016 Olympian

— 2017 World teamer

— Cadet World champion (2011)

123: Sarah Hildebrandt (King)

— Two-time WCWA champion (2014-15)

— Four-time WCWA finalist (2012-15)

— Two-time World silver medalist (2018, 2021)

— Olympic bronze medalist (2020)

— Five-time World/Olympic teamer (2016, 2018-19, 2020-21)

130: Helen Maroulis (Missouri Baptist/Simon Fraser)

— Four-time WCWA champion (2010-11, 2013-14)

— Olympic gold medalist (2016)

— Olympic bronze medalist (2020)

— Three-time World champion (2015, 2017, 2021)

— World silver medalist (2012)

— World bronze medalist (2014)

— 10-time World/Olympic team member (2011-18, 2020-21)

136: Alli Ragan (King)

— Two-time WCWA champion (2013-14)

— Four-time WCWA finalist (2011-14)

— Two-time World silver medalist (2016-17)

— Six-time World teamer (2013-17, 2019)

— Two-time Junior World bronze medalist (2011-12)

143: Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Wayland Baptist)

— Two-time WCWA champion (2014, 2017)

— Four-time WCWA placer (2012-14, 2017)

— Olympic champion (2020)

— World champion (2019)

— World bronze medalist (2018, 2021)

— Five-time World/Olympic teamer (2017-19, 2021)

155: Julia Salata (King)

— Two-time WCWA champion (2014-15)

— Three-time WCWA finalist (2013-15)

— Four-time WCWA placer (2012-15)

— University World bronze medalist (2014)

170: Justina Di Stasio (Simon Fraser)

— Three-time WCWA champion (2012-14)

— Four-time WCWA placer (2011-14)

— World champion (2018)

— World bronze medalist (2017)

— World University champion (2016)

— Three-time World teamer for Canada (2015, 2017-18)

191: Jenna McLatchy (Simon Fraser)

— Two-time WCWA champion (2013-14)

— Four-time WCWA placer (2011-14)

Border Battles

Simon Fraser University is an NCAA-sanctioned school located in Burnaby, Canada. They happen to have one of the best women’s wrestling programs in the country — actually, in two countries.

SFU placed second to McKendree at the 2020 National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships in Adrian, Michigan, on March 6-7. As a refresher, that’s the championship tournament for NCAA-affiliated women’s wrestling programs. That will change once women’s wrestling becomes an NCAA-sanctioned sport.

Those championships were the last time SFU head coach Justin Abdou led his team into competition until this year. COVID-19 protocols canceled the entire 2020-21 season for the Canada-based program while border restrictions made it nearly impossible to travel between the two countries. 

Abdou should feel good about what is returning. Simon Fraser has a solid line-up with age-level World teamers Alyvia Fiske, Alex Hedrick, and Karla Godinez-Gonzalez entering their senior seasons. There’s also a chance returning place winner Lauren Mason appears in the line-up after the first semester. 

Adbou’s team competed in the United States at the Mike Clock Open in Oregon on November 14 after a Canada-only tournament the week before. It was the first time they wrestled as a team on U.S. soil since the national championships in Adrian. 

“It’s been an interesting restart for us,” Abdou said. “The university held us accountable. The provincial health order was constantly changing so we had to get creative. We would wrestle outside and we used on-the-mat fitness techniques that included non-touching wrestling. 

“We have a group of seniors that are leaders and examples along with lots of youth. I haven’t watched some of our young wrestlers compete that much so I’m excited to see what they can do this season.”

Iowa Leading and Lagging Behind

The University of Iowa made headlines by becoming the first Power Five school to add women’s wrestling. There are currently 10 colleges in the wrestling-rich state that sanction a women’s program, including:

Grand View
Indian Hills CC
Iowa Central CC
Iowa Wesleyan
Iowa Western
William Penn

However, Iowa has not sanctioned girls' high school wrestling even though the IWCOA has sponsored a girls' tournament during the season. We’ll keep an eye on where Iowa goes on the high school and college front. 

Slowly Getting Started

Delaware Valley coach Leigh Jaynes will lead her team into its second full season of varsity competition, but it will be her first with a full line-up. She currently has an 11-woman roster so she essentially has one wrestler for each weight.

It’s been a long journey to get to this point for the 2015 World bronze medalist. She had nine wrestlers on her team last season and six opted not to compete, which left her with three wrestlers at regionals.

This season will bring a full slate of duals and more national competition after a bizarre 2021 COVID year.

“This season is all about having a good wrestling experience and getting some matches in,” Jaynes said. “We don’t have depth right now. Our recruiting class for next year is looking really good. 

“I’m proud of us for hanging in there. Getting this program off the ground was difficult because of how things were laid out. I like challenges so I made it my personal mission to drive this ship.”