TMWC Women’s World Team Trials Preview
By: Jonny Ruggiano
Five-time Senior National Champions, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club are heading to Las Vegas with world team aspirations in mind. Thirteen of the club’s top wrestlers will look to claim a spot on team USA, in their respective weight classes. The 2017 U.S. Open/ Women’s World Team Trials will be held at the South Point Hotel and Casino and will feature the top wrestlers from around the nation on April 28th and 29th. Friday’s competition includes wrestlers at 53, 60, 63 and 69 kg. Saturday’s World Team Trials feature 48, 55, 58 and 75 kg. Below is a preview of TMWC’s squad heading into the weekend’s competition
Friday, April 28th 69 kg: Titan Mercury’s squad is lead by veteran Elena Pirozhkova. The two time Olympian, former World Champion and four-time World medalist leads the pack at 69 kg. Pirozhkova, along with training partner, Olympic Champion Helen Maroluis and coach Valentin Kalika, recently have moved to the NYRTC where they train out of the Edge Academy in Hoboken as well as at Columbia University. Her greatest competition for the world team spot will come from fellow TMWC wrestler, Tamyra Mensah. Mensah won the Olympic Trials at 69 kg this past year, however was unable to qualify the spot for the Rio Olympic. Since the Olympic games, Mensah has earned some prestigious accolades, most notably becoming only the sixth female wrestler to win the coveted Ivan Yarygin title earlier this year. Both Pirozhkova and Mensah are the favorites at this weight class.
Friday, April 28th 53 kg: Amy Fearnside is the lone TMWC wrestler at the weight class. Nevertheless, Fearnside enters the weight class with an impressive resume. As a Junior, Fearside was a World team member and a University World silver medalist. Fearnside has also placed runner up in the Henri Deglane International and the Bill Farrell Invite in 2016. Amy’s main competition will come from 2016 Olympian, Haley Aguello of NYAC as well as former Cadet World Champion Ronna Heaton of the Sunkist Kids. Former world team members Whitney Conder and Deanna Betterman will be in the hunt as well in what looks to be a very deep field of strong competition.
Friday, April 28th 63 kg: No other weight class will have as much depth for team Titan Mercury than that of 63 kg. Leading the pack for TMWC will be 2016 Senior National Champion and Outstanding Wrestler, Jennifer Page. Page will be accompanied by TMWC wrestlers Forrest Molinari, Mallory Velte and Randi Beltz. The young up and comer Molinari is a WCWA National Champion and placed third at the Senior Nationals. Along with Page, Mallory Velte comes into the World Team Trials with a stellar record as well. The two time WCWA and former Junior World team member will be looking to claim her first Senior world team spot. Also wrestling for TMWC is Randi Beltz. Beltz has been somewhat of a dark horse in many national level tournaments, however she poses a big threat to any opponent and will be looking to claim her spot on team USA.
Saturday, April 29th 48 Kg: TMWC boasts three very young and capable wrestlers at the 48 kg weight class. Cody Pfau comes into the field boasting a senior nationals title from 2015. However, she did not compete in the 2016 Senior Nationals. Pfau is know her aggressive style and unorthodox scoring. While Victoria Anthony of Sunkist Kids is the frontrunner of this weight class, many young talents are expected to battle for the World team spot. Twins Marina and Regina Doi, both who came through the TMWC youth program, will be in the hunt. Marina is a former Junior World Bronze medalist, and the WCWA National Champion for King University. Regina also boasts a former world medal and is a three time All American for King University. Both Doi sisters are know for their impeccable technique and solid leg attacks.
Saturday, April 29th 55 kg: The fifty-five kilo bracket is one of the most open brackets in the World Team Trials. While former Olympian Kelsey Campbell of Sunkist kids is the favorite, two Titan Mecury wrestlers will enter the field with great chances of dethroning the front runner. Becka Leathers has had a very solid showing this year both domestically and internationally. The WCWA National Champion claimed the title at the Bill Farrell International and was a runner-up at the Senior nationals. Also claiming a runner-up placing at Nationals was Jacarra Winchester. Both wrestlers are known for high scoring matches. Leathers is also known for her solid positioning. Also in the field of competition will be NYAC’s Sarah Hildebrandt. Hildebrandt is coming off her silver medal performance at the Ivan Yarygin.
Saturday, April 29th 75 kg: Victoria Francis enters the field at 75 kg as one of the top contenders for the World team spot. With former World Champion Adeline Gray out of competition for the year, many wrestlers are looking to seize the opportunity to position themselves as the future of this weight class. While Francis has missed several competitions, her resume speaks for itself. Victoria was the Olympic Trials runner-up, as well as a former WCWA and University Nationals Champion. Her two toughest challenges will come from seasoned veterans Julie Salata and Erin Clodgo.
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