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|U.S. Nationals Women’s preview at 55 kg/121 lbs.|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
One of the most successful wrestlers on the women's scene this year has been Marcie Van Dusen of the Sunkist Kids, who holds the No. 1 ranking at this weight by TheMat.com. She has won either gold or silver medals in a number of events this season. Among her victories were at the Sunkist Kids International, the Dave Schultz Memorial International and the Tourcoing Golden Grand Prix in France. She also competed at the World Cup a week ago.
Van Dusen is a past University World champion and has considerable international experience for an athlete of her young age. She injured her knee last winter and missed the rest of the season due to surgery, but has returned to top form this year. Van Dusen has not yet made a Senior U.S. World Team, and this year offers another opportunity.
Two-time World silver medalist Tina George of the U.S. Army has been on seven World Teams, including last year's U.S. World Team. She seems to peak when the World Team Trials arrive. Last year, she was beaten at the U.S. Nationals and dropped out, but came back later in the year to take over the No. 1 spot. Her talent and experience makes her a threat at every event she enters.
The defending national champion is Sharon Jacobson of the Gator WC, who was Outstanding Wrestler at last year's U.S. Nationals. Jacobson beat Malinda Ripley of the Sunkist Kids in the champion finals last year by pin. Jacobson has been expanding her international experience recently, with a bronze medal at the Sunkist Kids International this fall. She is also training fulltime at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, after making her breakthrough nationally while part of Northern Michigan's USOEC program
Ripley, a veteran athlete and past U.S. Nationals champion, has not competed much during the past year. This field is loaded with talented young athletes who are looking to break through this year. Junior World medalist Danyelle Hedin of the USOEC is expected to challenge for a high place in the national standings, as will her USOEC teammate Nicole Darrow of the New York AC.
Former national team member Brandy Rosenbrock of Central Michigan has had a good season down at this division, including a victory over Van Dusen at the New York AC Holiday International. In past years, Rosenbrock wrestled at higher weight classes. Sara Peasley of Team Intensity has wrestled often this fall, winning a number of medals, and won the gold medal at Collegiate Nationals title against a competitive field.
Amy Borgnini of the USOEC has been ranked as high as No. 3 on the national team, but has not been consistent this year. Chelynne Pringle of the Minnesota Storm and Leann Barney of the Univ. of the Cumberlands are also expected to be in the mix. Barney placed second behind Peasley at the Collegiate Nationals.
Others from the college ranks to watch ar Missouri Valley College wrestlers Erica Chew and Clarissa Calibuso, as well as Sandy Do of the Univ. of the Cumberlands. Placing eighth at the U.S. Nationals last year was Shyla Iokia of Grapplers Edge. This weight class has as much depth and talent as any in the nation, so the early rounds in Las Vegas could lead to some upsets.
2006 U.S. Nationals results at 55 kg/121 lbs.
1st - Sharon Jacobsen, El Cajon, Calif. (USOEC/Gator WC) pin Malinda Ripley, Colorado Springs, Colo.(Sunkist Kids), 2-0, 0:47
3rd - Tina George, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army) dec. Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 2-1, 4-1
5th - Amy Borgnini, Terre Haute, Ind. (USOEC) dec. Tina Pihl, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Team Dream), 0-1, 2-1, 1-1
7th - Clarissa Calibuso, Honolulu, Hawaii (Missouri Valley College) dec. Shyla Iokia, Denver, Colo. (Grapplers Edge), 1-4, 4-0, 1-0
TheMat.com rankings at 55 kg/121 lbs. for February 2007
1. Marcie Van Dusen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Tina George, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
3. Sharon Jacobsen, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
4. Danyelle Hedin, Kailua, Hawaii (USOEC/New York AC)
5. Nicole Darrow, Lanesboro, Mass. (New York AC)
6. Brandy Rosenbrock, Harrison, Mich. (Central Michigan)
7. Chelynne Pringle, Hugo, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
8. LeAnn Barney, Austin, Texas (Univ. of the Cumberlands)
9. Amy Borgnini, Terre Haute, Ind. (USOEC)
10. Sara Peasley, Escanaba, Mich. (Team Intensity)