Freshman Julia Salata (Canton), ranked third in the nation at 143 pounds, was one of two additional King wrestlers to place inside the top-seven in their respective weight class in the tournament, thus earning an automatic bid to the U.S. Olympic Trials in April. Salata split her first two matches (72 kg) by decision but won three of her next four matches to earn a fifth place medal in a 5-1 victory by decision over Christen Dierken (UC). Along the way to her medal bout, Salata pinned Derri Strub (OCU) and won her next two battles by decision including a come-from-behind, third-period 5-3 victory over Kendra Lewis (Lindenwood).
Top-ranked Alli Ragan once again made her mark by finishing fourth at the 63-kilogram (136#) group. The sophomore won each of her first three matches in pool play, pinning two of her opponents in the first period. After suffering a 3-2 defeat to Melissa Apodaca (NYAC), Ragan came from a four-point, first-period deficit to overcome Veronica Carlson (NYAC) by a 3-1, 3-0 decision, recording three points in the third period for the win. Her run ended in a 7-2 defeat by Erin Clodogo (Sunkist) in the third place bout.
In the 55-kilogram (116#) weight class, Sarah Hildebrandt (Granger, Ind.) advanced the farthest in the brackets falling a win short of getting a chance to move on to a medal match. She earned wins in her first two matches by defeating Sherri Berube (Sunkist) and Schuyler Brown (Gator Wrestling Club) by a combined score of 20-5 in a pair of decisions. The CLASS recorded a takedown as time expired to defeat Brown, (0-5, 4-3, 1-1). She was eliminated late by Shauna Isbell (Lindenwood) in a three-period decision, 4-1. Hildebrandt entered the tournament ranked fifth in the 123-pound division, nationally.
Samantha Klingel (55kg) lose first round battle but rebounded by winning her next two matches, finishing 2-2 on the day. Klingel is currently ranked second nationally in the 116-pound weight class. Teammate Victoria Nguyen (Johnson City, Tenn.) also finished 2-2 on the day.
Lorrie Ramos (Orlando, Fla.) took to the mats at 72 kilograms and opened her day by defeating Brittany Jones with a second-period pin (1:09) before falling to Oklahoma City's Kristie Davis and then defeated by Dierken, Salata's medal round victim.
King will compete in the NWCA National Duels, held on Jan. 7 in Springfield, Illinois. They will then engage in two dual meets with No. 1 Oklahoma City University (Jan. 15, 10:00 a.m.) and No. 5 University of the Cumberlands, both held in the Student Center Complex (Bristol, Tenn.). The Tornado will then host the Women's College Wrestling Association (WCWA) National Championships on Saturday, Jan. 28.
*all rankings mention are WCWA administered rankings