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|Medina named Outstanding Wrestler, and the Cumberlands has three champions at the Body Bar University Nationals|
By Michelle Thilges USA Wrestling
COLORADO SPRNGS, COLO. - All Othella Lucas could think during the finals of the University Nationals against Shyla Iokia was the country of El Salvador. The University of Cumberlands wrestler knew if she beat Iokia of the USOEC, she would earn the right to compete in the Pan American Championships in El Salvador.
"I had just cheered on my teammate Jessica Medina and after she won we were yelling El Salvador," said Lucas, who won at 59 kg/130 lbs. "I had to win because I couldn't let her have all the fun without me in El Salvador."
Lucas won this tournament last year and took sixth at this year's U.S. Senior Nationals. Lucas wrestled Iokia in the semifinals of last year's University Nationals tournament.
"I can tell she has been training really hard. She wanted this as much as I did," Lucas said.
The University of the Cumberlands had three champions: Lucas, Jessica Medina at 51 kg/112 lbs., and Alaina Berube at 63 kg/138.5 lbs.
Berube, who also won last year's University Nationals, used a headlock to get the pin against Vanessa Oswalt, of Gator WC, at 1:59 in the first period. Berube also won against Oswalt at the U.S. Senior Nationals in early April and took third there.
Medina defeated 2007 FILA Junior National champion Whitney Conder of the USOEC, 2-0, 1-1. Medina was named Outstanding Wrestler and is the 2006 FILA Junior champion.
"Last year meant a lot winning the FILA Junior Nationals. This year I stepped up to another level and won. I'm glad I finished strong," Medina said.
Kip Flanik, Women's Coach for the University of the Cumberlands, said he was excited for the wins today.
"This is what we train for, to be the best in the world. This is what we teach at the university, that they can be student athletes," said Flanik. "You can do both and still excel."
Elena Pirozhkova, who received her U.S. citizenship recently and wrestled at 67 kg/147.5 lbs., said she didn't know what to expect coming into her first University Nationals.
"I have never wrestled on a college team. I wrestled some of these girls at (the Senior) Nationals," she said.
Although she didn't know what to expect, Pirozhkova took first place. She pinned two out of four of her opponents. Pirozhkova pinned Ashlee Evans-Smith of Menlo College in 1:11. In her second match Pirozhkova pinned Lauren Knight of the University of the Cumberlands in 55 seconds.
Brandy Rosenbrock, of the Michigan Wrestling Club, pinned her opponent, Dany Hedin of the USOEC at 1:03 in the second period at 55 kg/121 lbs. Hedin was last year's FILA Junior champion and is a two-time Junior World medalist. Rosenbrock was fourth at the 2007 U.S. Nationals.
"She's (Hedin) is really good," said Rosenbrock. "We are really good friends. I know she has wide shoulders and I just wrenched her shoulders."
Sara Fulp-Allen of Menlo College added 2007 University Nationals champion at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. to her resume this weekend. She was 4th in this year's U.S. Senior Nationals.
Fulp-Allen won a five-athlete roundrobin, including a win over runner-up Sadie Kaneda of the USOEC. Fulp-Allen won by technical fall against Krista Camarill of Missouri Valley College and Vanessa Nordstrom, also of Missouri Valley College. She also pinned Amantha Hordagoda of Spartan WC in 0:43.
"I have been in a really good mood this weekend. It has been go, go, go," she said. "It has been a different state of mind. It is more physical than mental. I thought a lot more in Vegas."
Fulp-Allen will be graduating from Menlo College in a couple weeks with a degree in international business. She plans to move out to the U.S. Olympic Training Center after graduation.
In her second national competition since knee surgery, Ashley Sword, of Colorado, took home the gold at 72 kg/158.5 lbs. Sword, who has moved up from 67 kg/147.5 lbs, said the tournament went well for her. She was a University Nationals champion in 2005.
"Everybody is really good at the University level. It is fun for me," she said. "Nationals was tough coming off the knee surgery, but I have been getting better."
Megan Goldsmith of Dinos captured a gold medal by defeating Amy Havens of Missouri Valley College in the best-of-three championship. Goldsmith won 6-0, 5-0 in the first match and pinned Havens in 39 seconds of the second period during the second match. Goldsmith also won the title at 77 kg/169.5 lbs. last year.
All winners are eligible to represent the U.S. at the Pan American Championships in El Slavador, May 16-20. In addition, the top two placewinners in each weight class qualify for the U.S. World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nev., June 8-10.
In addition to the U.S. Nationals, there were two True Second Place Matches.
If the tournament runner-up and third place finishers did not face each other, a True Second Place bout is held. The winner becomes the alternate at the weight class for the Junior World Team. The FILA Junior Nationals results do not change.
True Second Place Matches
69 kg/138.5 lbs. - Vanessa Oswalt (Gator WC) pin Sheila McCabe (San Diego Hot Beaches), 1:11
55 kg/121 lbs. - Dany Hedin (USOEC) win by forfeit against Cherae Pascua (USOEC)