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|U.S. Nationals Women’s preview at 59 kg/130 lbs.|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Erin Tomeo of the Sunkist Kids had her best international performance last year, placing seventh at the World Championships on her second trip to the World meet. She lost to two-time World medalist Sally Roberts at the U.S. Nationals last year, but came back to defeat Roberts at the World Team Trials
Tomeo has not competed much in recent months, but has extensive experience. She has had injuries, and was recently cleared to compete. If she enters in Las Vegas, it will not be with very much preparation. Roberts is also recovering from injury and may not be ready to compete until the World Team Trials. Both Tomeo and Roberts have tremendous experience and have held the edge over their opponents in recent seasons. If neither enter the field in Las Vegas, this weight class becomes wide open, and could see some new faces emerge in the finals.
An interesting twist came at the Women's World Cup when Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann of the Sunkist Kids competed at this division. McMann has wrestled exclusively at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. for many years. She helped make the U.S. World Cup team stronger by dropping down for the event. However, there was a two kilogram allowance at the World Cup, so McMann is not expected to be down for the U.S. Nationals or any other events.
Veteran Leigh Jaynes of the Gator WC has had a busy and successful season, winning bronze medals at Sunkist Kids International, Dave Schultz Memorial and Guelph Open this year. Jaynes is now training fulltime at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Last year at the U.S. Nationals, she dropped all the way down to 121 pounds and pinned two-time World silver medalist Tina George of the U.S. Army in an early round, ultimately placing fourth. She has been competing exclusively at 130 pounds this season. Jaynes made headlines last year in other styles of wrestling, winning World bronze medals in both Sombo and Beach Wrestling.
Another top challenger is Othella Lucas of the New York AC, a college star at the Univ. of the Cumberlands, who has been competitive on the national level for many years. Lucas was fourth at the Sunkist Kids International, and has lost twice to Jaynes this year. Lucas placed fourth at the U.S. Nationals last year, and has been very successful on the age-group levels throughout her career. Lucas won the Women's College Nationals at this weight class, and has had a ton of matches leading into the U.S. Nationals.
Former U.S. Nationals champion Na'Tasha Umemoto of the Sunkist Kids is talented and experienced. Her only major event this year was the Sunkist Kids International, where she placed seventh. Umemoto has competed at a number of weight classes in the past, so she could be entered elsewhere this year.
Another athlete who could be a major player at 130 pounds is Deanna Rix, who was third in the U.S. Nationals at this weight a year ago. Rix, who has been a star on the age-group levels and also has a number of achievements on the Senior level, has had difficulty making this weight class, and often wrestles up. If she is down to weight, and has gotten in top form, she is capable of making the finals of this tournament.
Other athletes to watch include Collegiate Nationals champion Kelsey Campbell, who attends Arizona State and won her college title competing up at 138.75 pounds. Campbell has competed at 130 pounds in the past and would have her best chance at success at this division.
Amberle Montgomery has been very active at this division, with a bronze medal at the Clansman International and matches in a number of other international tournaments. Veteran Tina Pihl has been competitive on the national level, and has a chance to be a challenger at this weight class. Two athletes who were national placewinners last year, Brooke Bogrem of Missouri Valley College and Erica Hazen of Team Hazen have not been active this year, but would be contenders if they enter.
Erica Chew of Missouri Valley was sixth last year at 130 pounds, but has competed down at 121 pounds during the college season. College wrestlers to watch include Rachel Hubbard of the Cumberlands, Samantha Fee of Missouri Valley College and Michelle Ludwig of Pacific. Jen Chu of W.O.W. has also been active in recent seasons, and would be capable of winning matches at this weight division.
2006 U.S. Nationals results at 59 kg/130 lbs.
1st - Sally Roberts, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) dec. Erin Tomeo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 0-6, 3-3, 4-1
3rd - Deanna Rix, South Berwick, Maine (New York AC) pinned Othella Lucas, San Diego, Calif. (New York AC), 7-6, 1:10
5th - Chelynne Pringle, Hugo, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) pinned Erica Chew, Houston, Texas (Missouri Valley College),1:53
7th - Brooke Bogren, Carbondale, Kan. (Missouri Valley) dec. Erica Hazen, Pleasanton, Calif. (Team Hazen), 5-0, 3-0
TheMat.com rankings at 59 kg/130 lbs. for February 2007
1. Erin Tomeo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
2. Sally Roberts, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)
3. Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army)
4. Othella Lucas, San Diego, Calif. (New York AC)
5. Amberle Montgomery, Kent, Wash. (Vision Quest Sports/Fitness)
6. Na'Tasha Umemoto, Portland, Ore. (Sunkist Kids)
7. Tina Pihl, Colorado Springs, Colo. (unattached)
8. Jen Chu, Philadelphia, Pa. (W.O.W.)
9. Kelsey Campbell, Oregon City, Ore. (unattached)
10. Erica Chew, Houston, Texas (Missouri Valley College)