A dozen Colorado Mesa wrestlers qualified for the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships during Sunday’s Southwest Regional Qualifier in Lebanon, Illinois.
The Mavericks, who entered 14 wrestlers, finished second to top-ranked McKendree University, scoring 129.5 points. Mc- Kendree scored 189.5 points and won all 10 weight classes, with CMU placing second in six divisions.
Freshman Tristan Kelly’s championship match at 170 pounds against McKendree’s Joye Levendusky ended in a 0-0 tie, so it went to referee criteria. Kelly was cautioned twice for passivity and Levendusky once, giving the McKendree wrestler the 2-1 victory.
Marissa Gallegos, ranked second nationally at 123 pounds, needed only 41 seconds to pin Emalie Olson of Lindenwood in the semifinals. A minor injury during practice last week prompted the Mavs to have Gallegos default out of the championship match as a precaution so she’s healthy for nationals in two weeks in Tiffin, Ohio.
After winning her semifinal match at 130 pounds by technical fall, Nanen Aguilar lost by technical fall in the championship. Dalia Garibay, after a semifinal victory by pin, lost the 136-pound championship match by technical fall.
At 143 pounds, Kaylee Lacy of Grand Junction won her semifinal match by technical fall but was pinned by McKendree’s Emma Bruntil in 1 minute, 22 seconds to place second.
Zoe Gress was also a regional runner-up, getting pinned in the championship match at 155 pounds.
Jennesis Martinez lost in the first round and finished third in the three-woman bracket at 101 pounds. Also placing third to qualify for nationals were Anja Tschohl at 116 pounds, Elizabeth Miller at 123, Caylee Collins at 170 and Isabeau Shalack at 191.
Ja’Mae Barnes finished fourth to give the Mavericks two national qualifiers at 130 pounds.
Women’s wrestling is an emerging sport at the NCAA level as it works to have the required 40 varsity programs to qualify for full championship status.
The fifth-ranked Mavericks remained undefeated despite some offensive struggles, riding their defense to a 25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 25-21 victory at Chadron State.
Colorado Mesa (8-0, 5-0 RMAC) got 13 kills from Maddi Foutz and 12 from both Gabrielle Vogt and Sierra Hunt, a career high for the freshman outside hitter. Hunt took a spot in the rotation in the second set when Holly Schmidt was injured.
Both defenses kept balls off the floor, leading to poor hitting percentages on both sides. CMU hit a season-low .167, but the Eagles (2-3, 1-2) had a .098 hitting percentage, with 26 errors and only 39 kills. In the second-set loss, the Mavericks hit .000, with 11 kills and 11 hitting errors, but responded in the final two sets with 10 total errors and 28 kills.
Foutz recorded another double-double, leading CMU with 18 digs, and libero Emily Tucker had 12. Savannah Spitzer led Mesa’s middle defense with two solo blocks and two assists. Haley Hahn had one solo block and three assists.
Swimming and Diving
After the grueling four days of the RMAC Championships, a handful of swimmers and divers entered the Grand Junction Invitational as a last chance to reach national qualifying standards.
Senior diver Kaylee Eakman made the most of her chance, scoring 421.5 points to qualify on the 1-meter board at El Pomar Natatorium.
No swimmers reached national times, but Maddie Pressler recorded a personal-best time of 57.10 seconds in the women’s 100 butterfly and Adam Hartwell had a PR of 1:54.0 in the men’s 200 butterfly.