2022 USMC US Open Wrestling Championships

Get Ready For Vegas With The U.S. Open Women's Freestyle Preview

Get Ready For Vegas With The U.S. Open Women's Freestyle Preview

Some of the best Senior-level women in the country will square off this weekend at the prestigious U.S. Open in Las Vegas.

Apr 26, 2022 by Derek Levendusky
Get Ready For Vegas With The U.S. Open Women's Freestyle Preview

All eyes are on Las Vegas. The U.S. Open is here. This week, some of the best Senior-level women in the country will square off at the prestigious event that has been a hallmark experience over the last 50 years for our country’s best. For some, it’ll be a fight for seeding at the upcoming Senior World Team Trials in Coralville, Iowa, in the hope of advancing to Final X. For others, well hey, this is the U.S. Open. It’s an opportunity to compete in the big leagues. 

The event will be held at the South Point Hotel & Casino from April 26-May 1. The women will wrestle on Thursday and Friday, April 28-29. 

Take a look at the women's freestyle seeds, along with a deeper dive into each weight. 

50 kilograms

Victoria Anthony hasn’t wrestled much since last year’s Olympic Team Trials — she did win a match at February’s Bout at the Ballpark — but has been busy tinkering with the start of an MMA career, and looks to be in combat shape for the challenge of the U.S. Open. She’ll have an old rival in her way, as Alyssa Lampe is back for more. The two split their last two matches, with Lampe winning in dramatic fashion by fall in the 2019 Senior Nationals, and Anthony getting the best of Lampe in the rematch at Olympic Team Trials 7-6. They could hit again, and expect it to be worth the price of admission. The field also includes college national champions Alleida Martinez of Menlo and Nina Pham of Wayland Baptist along with King’s young star freshman Sage Mortimer.

53 kilograms

Ronna Gross (Heaton) looks to be the #1 seed, and if she wins, it would go a long way toward setting herself up at Senior World Team Trials to advance to Final X. She’ll have to get through veteran Areana Villaescusa and young star Tiare Ikei, both of whom she’s beaten within the last two years. Ikei won the event in 2019 and made the Junior World Team last year before withdrawing due to concussion issues. 2021 NCAA champ Felicity Taylor is also entered at this weight.

55 kilograms

2019 world champion Jacarra Winchester is entered at this weight, and is the hands-down favorite to win it all. If she does, she’ll be a step closer to a rematch with Jenna Burkert, last year’s 55-kilogram rep at the World Championships. Burkert beat out Winchester in a best-of-three that may have been one of the closest, most exciting three-match series in the history of women’s wrestling. Assuming Winchester takes care of business in Las Vegas and Coralville, a rematch looms in Stillwater. There’s a strong chance the USA rep at 55 kg brings home a World medal, if not a title belt, too, from Belgrade. Two exciting young wrestlers to keep an eye on at this weight are Alisha Howk and Marissa Gallegos, both of whom have had big Senior level wins in their young careers. And don’t sleep on Lauren Mason and Payton Stroud.

57 kilograms

Titan Mercury’s Cameron Guerin recently won her second college national title for McKendree University. Alex Hedrick did too, for Simon Fraser. They’re the obvious favorites at this weight to face each other in the finals for the prize, as they should be the top two seeds. Hedrick was the 2018 U.S. Open winner. Cardinal Wrestling Club’s Amanda Martinez, a two-time college national finalist who took fourth last fall at the World Team Trials, is also a formidable opponent for anyone. 

59 kilograms

Xochitl Mota-Pettis is on fire. She made it look easy at the Bill Farrell earlier this month, getting a quick technical fall over Ronna Gross, who took second. Currently ranked #2 at 59 kg in our Senior Women’s Freestyle rankings, she’s racked up big win after big win since she arrived at the Senior level, introducing herself to us with a thunderous throw to upset Alli Ragan at the 2020 Senior Nationals. Bridgette Duty is also entered at this weight, the Cumberlands star who had a dominant college season last year en route to an NAIA national title, along with 2021 NCAA champ Brenda Reyna. Both athletes are now part of the Army/WCAP program.

62 kilograms 

It looks like Kayla Miracle wants a tune-up. She already has a bye to Final X by virtue of her silver medal last year at the World Championships but has only had two matches since February. 2014 U.S. Open champion Jennifer Page is also in the field, and you can expect her to give Miracle a good scrap if they hit. The rest of the field seems to be a tier below Miracle and Page, though it will be fun to watch California sensation Adaugo Nwachukwu, who just won a national title for Iowa Wesleyan, and did it in dominant fashion, taking out the talented Gracie Figueroa 13-3 in the NAIA finals. Army/WCAP’s Alex Liles is also a familiar name, and has the stuff to compete at the Senior level.

65 kilograms

The two names that jump to the top of this heap are Titan Mercury’s Emma Bruntil and Mallory Velte. They have a history, a 2-2 series between them in the last few years. After splitting matches at the Bill Farrell in 2019, it was Velte who got the upper hand at the Captain’s Cup in 2021 with an 8-0 victory. But it was Bruntil who won the big one at Olympic Team Trials, a razor-thin 2-2 win. A few more interesting names are Dalia Garibay, who gave Bruntil her only college loss; 2022 NAIA champ Destiny Lyng; and Amanda Hendey, who was ranked #3 at the Senior level in 2014. 

68 kilograms

A small group with some firepower. If we’re talking experience, you have two-time college national champ Solin Piearcy, who won Senior Nationals last year and has made a name for herself on the USAW circuit. Army/WCAP’s Nahiela Magee is also entered, an athlete that has some wrestling miles under her belt with a fourth-place finish at the event in 2018. Southern Oregon 2021 national champ Sienna Ramirez is also coming, and keep an eye on the gritty young Katerina Lange out of Minnesota. A lot of people expect her to be a star at the college and Senior level. She wrestles like someone who doesn’t know or care who she’s “supposed to” and “not supposed to” beat, which makes her a crowd stopper.

72 kilograms

Here we go. Amit Elor. One of the darlings of the youth movement. After winning a Junior World title last year, along with teammates Blades, Welker, and Shilson, Elor is ready to start her Senior-level career. It’s hard to see anyone beating the young star in this group, even though Skylar Grote, Marlynne Deede, and Aury Naylor are all big match wrestlers with a lot of accolades. Grab your popcorn. The next chapter of the Elor story starts here.

76 kilograms

This is perhaps one of the deepest weights at this year’s U.S. Open, and there’s a lot of familiarity between these women. Victoria Francis is a multiple-time World teamer who took fifth at Worlds in 2019, and she’s had an ongoing back-and-forth rivalry with 2021 Senior Nationals champion Dymond Guilford, with Francis owning the most recent win. The rest of the group is a web of rivalry, with many of these women having faced each other in college and on the USAW circuit. The Guilford-Bell and Guilford-Makoyed rivalries both have a lot of recent history. Yelena Makoyed recently became a two-time college national champion, beating Levendusky in the national finals two years in a row. She also won a Junior Pan Am gold last year. There will be a lot of entertaining matches at this weight. Don’t touch that dial!

The U.S. Open will stream live on FloWrestling.