High hopes for restocked JCTony DeAnda’s relentless offseason recruiting has the Jimmie women’s wrestling team in a good spot. After injuries ravaged the squad last season, DeAnda needed to restock and he has, bringing in 16 wrestlers to more than double the size they were at the end of 2011.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Tony DeAnda’s relentless offseason recruiting has the Jimmie women’s wrestling team in a good spot.
After injuries ravaged the squad last season, DeAnda needed to restock and he has, bringing in 16 wrestlers to more than double the size they were at the end of 2011.
As a result, the second-year coach is hopeful of getting the Jimmies back near the top of the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association.
“I think we got a great team, actually,” DeAnda said. “You don’t ever want to put the cart before the horse, but we were able to fill up some holes with some young girls and combine them with the girls we have coming back and I believe we’re capable of competing at a national level.”
The Jimmies earned a top five national finish in 2010, but with DeAnda getting the head job late in the game, and then the injuries whittling down the roster, last season’s step back wasn’t entirely surprising.
“It was a challenging year, but I still thought we were able to implement our philosophy and style of coaching and what we expect of our girls in the (wrestling) room and in the classroom,” DeAnda said. “It’s been a lot different feel with this team. I feel I have more coaches in the room with the experienced girls and they’ve been able to help guide the younger girls.”
The Jimmies will field a full lineup today when they open the season at the Oklahoma City University Duals. It’s a tough way to open up. DeAnda said it’s the most challenging tournament of the season right off the bat.
“We’ll find out where we’re at, no question,” he said. “It will be good for us, though. We’re excited to see how we measure up at this early point in the season.”
The lineup features a handful of familiar faces, including Tiffany Sluik at 130 pounds. Sluik got a medical hardship, meaning an extra season, after suffering a knee injury after Christmas last year.
“We’re definitely expecting big things from her,” DeAnda said.
Other veterans back include returning All-American Chelsie Fleming at 191. Christine Zamora went to the Olympic Trials last season, but had to fend off promising freshman Mary Westman for her spot in the lineup at 155.
Catherine Kelly (116), Chaelynn Tan (125), Chai Mason (143) and Kayla Volin (170) returned and nailed down lineup spots.
Newcomers Gem Palencia, a sophomore from Hawaii, will occupy the hard-to-fill 101-pound spot. Freshman Amy Fearnside owns a great last name for a wrestler and she earned the nod at 109, while fellow first-year Jimmie Alyssa Luna will open at 130.
Building the team’s depth was critical and DeAnda got that done, too. He said they’re 2-3 deep at each spot.
With everything in place off the mat, it’s time to get on it.
“This tournament isn’t the be-all end-all or anything, but it’ll give us a good indication of where we’re at,” he said. “We’ll see a lot of good teams and a lot of good wrestlers and we want to perform well and get off on the right foot.”
2012 Jamestown College Women’s Wrestling Roster
Erie Bragg, Sr., 170; Michelle Canete, Sr., 116; Mykaela Ellis, Fr., 109; Amy Fearnside, Fr., 109; Chelsie Fleming, Sr., 191; Analy Gonzales, Fr., 130; Lilia Gudzyuk, Jr., 155; Rosie Guzman, Fr., 101; Alicia Hubbard, Jr., 123; Catherine Kelly, Soph., 116; Kasey Kruczek, Fr., 143; Alyssa Luna, Soph., 130; Shai Mason, Soph., 143; Daisy Mendez, Fr., 130; Joanna Navarro, Fr., 130; Justine Palabrica, Fr., 101; Geminette Palencia, Soph., 101; Natalie Rutt, Jr., 109; Renee Samano, Fr., 143; Elyssia Skillicorn, Fr., 130; Tiffany Sluik, Sr., 130; Allene Somera, Soph., 101; Chaelynn Tann, Sr., 123; Gabriela Urzola, Soph., 109; Kayla Volin, Jr., 155; Mary Westman, Fr., 155; Nichole Yarrington, Jr., 109; Christina Zamora, Jr., 143.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org