U.S. World Team Trials womenâ€™s freestyle preview at 58 kg
By Gary Abbott
This weight class could draw athletes from the two non-Olympic divisions of 55 kg and 60 kg, making it possible that the World Team Trials will be stronger than the U.S. Open field. Regardless if anybody switches into this class, the talent at the U.S. Open here was considerable by itself.
The U.S. Open champion for the second straight year is Alli Ragan, who completed her college career this year with a WCWA national title. Ragan competed at the 2013 Senior World Championships and is a two-time Junior World medalist. By sitting out until the finals series, Ragan is looking to be fresh while her finals opponent could be tired from earlier bouts.
2012 Olympian Kelsey Campbell, who placed as high as fifth at the World Championships, becomes a top challenger in Madison. Campbell won a silver medal at this weight at the Grand Prix of Paris this winter, but also dropped to 55 kg to wrestle in the World Cup. After taking last year off, Campbell should be rounding into top form for the World Team Trials.
With the best performance of her career, Trinity Plessinger Griffin claimed the silver medal at the U.S. Open this year. A veteran who has struggled with injuries in the past, Griffin looked strong in Las Vegas until the finals, where she was pinned by Ragan. This could be the year that Griffin puts it all together when it counts.
Placing third at the U.S. Open was talented Michaela Hutchison. She was a three-time WCWA college national champion and has many high placements at the Senior level in the past. Now a college coach, Hutchison is capable of reaching the finals with a good run in Madison.
Othella Feroleto, a past U.S. Open runner-up, took fourth in Las Vegas, and won the Minnesota Storm Cup at this weight class. An Army teammate of Feroletoâ€™s and making a comeback after many years off the mat is two-time World bronze medalist Sally Roberts. Roberts finished fifth at the U.S. Open, and if she can reclaim the abilities she had prior to her retirement, she will be a major force at this division.
The U.S. Open finalists at 60 kg were champion Jennifer Page and runner-up Jenna Burkert are eligible to drop here for the Trials. Of the two, Burkert, a three-time Junior World Team member, is more likely to drop to 58 kg and make a run. The University Nationals champion at 58 kg was Jacarra Winchester, who had a solid college career and is showing strong freestyle abilities.
The finalists at 55 kg at the U.S. Open were champion Helen Maroulis and runner-up Sarah Hildebrandt. If either chooses to enter at the Phase I Trials, it is most likely that it will be Hildebrandt at this weight class. A WCWA college champion with extensive international experience, Hildebrandt could surprise people if she moves up to wrestle.
High school star Kayla Miracle entered her first Senior Open this year and placed an impressive sixth. A past Cadet World medalist and Junior World Team member, Miracle has a bright future ahead at both the college and Senior levels. Earning a spot in the field with her seventh place finish at the Open is 2012 Open runner-up Melissa Apodaca, who joined the U.S. Marines this season.
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