Saturday night saw 10 champions crowned and 10 tickets punched to the U.S. Olympic Women's Wrestling Team Trials.
One of those champions came from Campbellsville, Kentucky.
The University of Jamestown successfully wrapped up its third year hosting the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women's Wrestling Invitational Saturday evening at Harold Newman Arena. Campbellsville University (KY) took home the team championship eclipsing the rest of the field by more than 50 points. The Tigers scored a collective 185 points.
Campbellsville head coach, Lee Miracle, said that he was pleasantly surprised with how his team wrestled over the course of the weekend. Miracle said that his wrestlers focused on the basics and executed the fundamentals well which landed seven of his 12 competing athletes in the championship bracket.
Of Miracle's seven, five wound up in the finals bracket.
"They came in this morning and just wrestled fantastic," Miracle said. "They kind of ran away with things. I think we had almost every one of our wrestlers outwrestle their seeds. When a team does that, it really has a lot of power because there are just so many girls working together."
After the semifinals wrapped up around 11 a.m., the Tigers were waiting for the championship action to kick off at 7 p.m.
McKayla Campbell got things going for the Tigers once the event started. The 109-pound senior looked at first to be outmuscled by Wayland Baptist's Asia Ray. Ray's lead grew to three points when she charged and took down Campbell outside the main circle. Campbell rebounded and threw Ray on her back with little time remaining to end the match up 16-14.
"That was an amazing match," Miracle said. "That's the definition of a gut-check performance. The thing she did well was she never quit and she believed in herself all the way until the last second. She just kept firing."
Charlotte Fowler was not as lucky as her 109-pound counterpart. Peyton Prussin was aggressive from the first whistle charging the legs and throwing the 5-foot-nothing graduate student off balance. Prussin pitched a 10-0 shutout to secure her ticket to Fort Worth. Angela Vitiritti (130-pounds) and Randi Robison (136) also fell in their title matches.
"We didn't win the other ones but it felt really good to have them in the finals," Miracle said. "Some of them are really young so it's great to see them there already."
Alexandra Castillo had put up an impressive weekend heading into her 170-pound championship match. Castillo entered the match as the No. 1 seed. The junior allowed just two points across her four matches. Unfortunately, she gave up five more in the biggest match of her collegiate career.
Second-seeded Jordan Nelson of Life University held Castillo to one point in the championship go-around. The two were in a headlock most of the match with Nelson finally putting a spin move on Castillo and nailing down some points. Time expired before the junior could rebound.
"They all represented well," Miracle said of his athletes who were unable to clinch a win. "It's remarkable to see how far they can come in just one year. It's just amazing how much they can learn and grow as wrestlers and athletes."
2021 marked the third-straight year the Tigers had traveled to Jamestown for the national invite. Miracle said that while the previous two years had proven to be a little rocky due to a record snowstorm and a COVID-19 shutdown, the third year proved to the tournament and NAIA officials why the tournament should be held in Jamestown.
"I think they did a great job," Miracle said of the tournament organizers. "The community around here is very supportive, the University is very supportive. Shauna (Kemp) does a great job coaching Jamestown and she ran a heckuva tournament."