One of the more emotional moments of the first NAIA Women's Wrestling Invitational unfolded during the title match at 170 pounds Saturday, March 16.
Sisters Dymond Guilford, of Missouri Baptist University, and Precious Bell, of Menlo College (Calif.), were slated to decide who'd become a first-time NAIA women's wrestling national champion at University of Jamestown's Harold Newman Arena.
Guilford, a sophomore, pinned Bell 2 minutes, 36 seconds into the championship match and was crowned the 170-pound champion. It was the seventh time in two years the pair had faced each other on the mat.
"It's a beautiful thing. I'm so excited to be a part of this huge moment in history," Guilford said, who also won the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association 170-pound title back on Feb. 9. "I'll look back at WCWA being awarded champion then and I want to be appreciated like that."
The Menlo Oaks won five individual national championships Saturday, followed by Texas' Wayland Baptist (3) and Kentucky's Campbellsville University (1). The Oaks crushed the team competition-winning with 230.5 points-followed by Oklahoma City University (154.5) and University of Jamestown (137.5).
But the highlight of the day belonged to Guilford and Bell.
Bell, a junior from Lancaster, Calif., said she grew up in the foster care system and was taken in by Guilford's family. She explained she used wrestling as a way to get out of her group home and out of trouble from fighting.
"It's meant everything for her," said Menlo coach Joey Bareng. "It's basically saved her life and it's given her an identity of who she is. She's young and wants to be an Olympian one day. This is just a stepping stone of where she'll be in the future."
Added Bell: "One thing my coach, Joey Bareng, always tells me is my whole life I've fought through adversity like when I'm going to eat. I've been fighting my whole life and this is another way to show it."
Bell asked her sister one day if she wanted to join the Eastside High School and Guilford, who was a cheerleader at the time, said yes.
"I was like, 'Oh OK,'" Guilford said. "I lost a lot of weight, fell in love with it and it just took off from there."
Next up for both wrestlers is the U.S. Open women's wrestling tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., April 25-27.
"I also want to try out for the U23 team too," Guilford said. "I just want to ride this till the brakes fall off, literally."
Added Bell: "I need to go back to the mat room and work harder to do the U.S. Open and get to the next level. Next year I want to win the whole thing."
Oaks crushes team competition
Menlo won the team competition by 75.5 points, sending eight grapplers to the finals and taking home five individual titles back to Atherton, Calif. The winners include: Alleida Martinez (109), Tiana Jackson (123), Solin Piearcy (136) and Marilyn Garcia (155).
"It's great to be the first team to ever do this," Bareng said as the University of Jamestown victory bell rung. "We're really excited and we're just happy. We can't believe we're the first team to ever do this and we're excited for the future of our sport and our team."
Menlo has won the Women's West Coast Tournament of Championships, a 21-team event, the 36-team WCWA nationals this season and the Menlo Open. The Oaks have also scored dual wins over Southern Oregon University (40-4, 38-6) and Emmanuel College (34-11).
"This is going to be one of the greatest years for sure," Bareng said. "This is the first time we won the WCWA about a month ago and was the first championship for our school. Now this is our second national championship for our school in the same year. We had multiple All-Americans, multiple national champions in both divisions. It means a lot for us going forward."
The future is looking bright as Menlo is only losing national tournament qualifiers Iman Kazem, Hiba Salem and Brittany Woods-Orrison to graduation.
"We have a super young team," Bareng said. "We graduate three seniors from this team right here. Most of our team is freshmen and sophomores, so we have a lot of girls that sat back home that can easily wrestle at this tournament. We're excited about the future of our program."
2019 NAIA Women's Wrestling Invitational
At Harold Newman Arena
1. Menlo College (Calif.) 230.5; 2. Oklahoma City University 154.5; 3. University of Jamestown 137.5; 4. Campbellsville University (Ky.) 126.5; 5. University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) 106.5; 6. Wayland Baptist University (Texas) 105; 7. Life University 102.5 (Ga.) 103.5; 8. Southern Oregon 66.5; 9. Midland University (Neb.) 45; 10. Missouri Baptist University 43; 11. Lyon College (Ark.) 40.5; 12. Missouri Valley College 39; 13. Eastern Oregon University 36.5; 14. Waldorf University (Iowa) 22.5; 15. Ottawa University (Kan.) 18; 16. University of Providence (Mont.) 17; 17. York College (Neb.) 6; 18. Brewton-Parker College (Ga.) 4; 19. (tie) Central Christian College of Kansas 2.5; Warner Pacific University (Ore.) 2.5.
(Grapplers finishing in the top four in each weight class are All-America. Places five through eight are All-America honorable mention.)
(Freestyle Wrestling Scoring Glossary: VFA--Victory by fall; VPO--Victory without points scored by opponent; VPO1--Victory with points scored by opponent; VSU--Victory superiority without points scored by opponent (technical fall); VSU1--Victory superiority with points scored by opponent (technical fall); VIN--Injury default.)
101: Asia Ray (Wayland Baptist) VSU1 Nina Pham (Wayland Baptist), 8-1 6:00.
109: Alleida Martinez (Menlo) VFA Mckayla Campbell (Campbellsville), 10-0 3:22.
116: Jathiya Isaac (Wayland Baptist) VSU1 Gracie Figueroa (Menlo), 3-2 6:00.
123: Tiana Jackson (Menlo) VSU1 Koral Sugiyama (Campbellsville), 5-2 6:00.
130: Andribeth Rivera (Campbellsville) VFA Cara Romeike (Jamestown), 6-2 1:47.
136: Solin Piearcy (Menlo) VSU1 Erica Sotelo (Life), 8-1 6:00.
143: Marilyn Garcia (Menlo) VSU Angela Peralta (Menlo), 2-0 6:00.
155: Iman Kazem (Menlo) VFA Anna Naylor (University of Cumberlands), 2-0 0:39.
170: Dymond Guilford (Missouri Baptist) VSU1 Precious Bell (Menlo College), 2-1 2:36.
101: Junnette Caldera (Jamestown) VFA Hiba Salem (Menlo), 8-7 3:30.
109: Tyesha Topps (Life) VPO1 Raven Guidry (Oklahoma), 6-2.
116: Cassidy Jasperson (Oklahoma) VSU Madison Angelito (Cumberlands), 12-0 6:00.
123: Dajan Treder (Providence) VPO1 Macy Higa (Eastern Oregon), 8-4.
130: Sydney Freund (Oklahoma City) VPO1 Anesia Ramirez (Southern Oregon), 2-1.
136: Destiny Lyng (Oklahoma City) VSU Bridgette Duty (Cumberlands), 10-0 3:00.
143: Maggie Douma (Oklahoma City) VFA Zoe Wight (Life), 4-0 1:21.
155: Myranda Velazquez (Jamestown) VSU Shamera Mctier (Missouri Valley).
170: Rachel Watters (Oklahoma City) VPO1 Mariah Harris (Campbellsville), 4-4.
191: Leilani Camargo-naone (Midland) VPO1 Agatha Andrews (Jamestown), 6-5.
101: Jessica Rodriguez (Cumberlands) VFA Kassidy Ramirez (Lyon), 8-0 1:50.
109: Brianna Ribucan-leong (Lyon) VFA Cassidy Freeman (Eastern Oregon), 8-0 1:22.
116: Glory Konecny (Southern Oregon) VFA Taryn Ichimura (Menlo), 8-2 3:35.
123: Alannah Vetterick (Midland) VFA Victoria Norris (Ottawa), 4-4 3:52.
130: Julissa Taitano (Southern Oregon) VPO1 Jocelyn Murphy (Missouri Valley), 14-9.
136: Akina Yamada (Waldorf) VFA Elissa Douglass (Lyon), 8-2 1:57.
143: Sienna Ramirez (Southern Oregon) VIN Cierra Foster (Oklahoma City).
155: Destinee Rivera (Life) VPO1 Gabriela Hunter (Midland), 4-1.
170: Jordan Nelson (Life) VSU1 Kenya Sloan (Campbellsville), 12-1 5:58.
191: Alexandra Castillo (Campbellsville) VPO1 Jesse Kirby (Cumberlands), 8-2.
101: Faye Cherrier (Life) VIN Amber Garriga (Life).
109: Diana Leyva (Waldorf) VSU1 Alessia Cokeley (Ottawa), 14-1 4:24.
116: Chelsea Dionisio (Jamestown) VSU Jamayia Blackston (Jamestown), 10-0 4:46.
123: Arianna Marrufo (Jamestown) VPO1 Daniela Flores (Oklahoma City), 6-5.
130: Breannah Duduoit-vasquez (Wayland Baptist) VSU Aysia Cortez (Life), 10-0 3:23.
136: Brittany Woods-orrison (Menlo) VFA Sophia Carson (Campbellsville), 7-4 4:25.
143: Joy Muniz (Jamestown) VFA Morgan Shines (Life), 7-0 2:07.
155: Sierra Talmadge (Jamestown) VPO1 Isabella Ricchiazzi (Cumberlands), 4-3.
170: Payton Rigert (Cumberlands) VPO1 Alyssa Schrull (Jamestown), 8-6.
191: Emily Sandoval (Menlo) VSU Angel Ochoa (Missouri Baptist), 10-0 0:33.