BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Student Center Complex on the campus of King College was bumping with loud music, over 150 female wrestlers from all over the United States and Canada, and over 500 fans in attendance to witness the 2012 WCWA National Championships. The event lasted nearly 13 hours but after all was said and done King made its home crowd proud with a second place finish, crowned two national champions and saw two more in the finals round.
Emily Martin (Frisco, Texas) set a new high for individual performances in King Women's Wrestling three-year history, earning the WCWA's highest individual honor and being named King's second-ever individual national champion.
Martin, wrestling at 109 pounds, began her day with back-to-back pins over Gabriela Urzola of Jamestown College (1:00) and Missouri Valley's Sonia Smith in just 24 seconds. After making short work of her first two opponents, Martin decisively won her next bout with Waldorf College's Jessica Fresh in an 8-0, 4-1 decision before recording her third pin of the day and second in under a minute against Michelle Jimenez (Menlo, 0:51).
The senior defended her No. 1 ranking she entered the competition with against No. 3 Kristi Garr (OCU) in the finals round though it turned out to be the closest of her five matches of the day. After narrowly beating Garr in the first period, 3-2, Martin dominated the second period by shutting out Garr and winning the frame, 6-0. With her victory over Garr, Martin became King's second-ever national champion and first of two on the day.
Following the tournament's conclusion, Martin was honored with the WCWA's top individual award. She was named Wrestler of the Year by a vote of coaches from around the WCWA.
Freshman Krista Revelle (Meriden, Kan.) continued to make a splash in her exceptionally young collegiate career also recording a day of perfection in just her second tournament since joining the King program. Revelle entered the day as the No. 2 wrestler in the 136-pound division and marched all the way to the finals round with wins over Serrina Smith of Jamestown (5-0, 3-0) and a comeback win against No. 6 Danielle Curlis (Missouri Valley). Revelle fell behind in the first period, 0-4, but returned with a pair of shutout periods, 1-0 and 1-0, to steal the match away and advance to the semifinal round.
After the near-defeat, Revelle kicked it into gear in her next two matches. In the 136-pound semifinal, she faced off against No. 3 Tessa Plana (OCU) and pinned her in 1:36 of the first period to advance to the finals. Stephanie Geltmacher (OCU), who entered the match ranked fourth in the 143-pound class, advanced to the finals to meet the freshman in the title bout.
Revelle won the first period with a pair of force outs over Geltmacher and a swift takedown, ending the first frame, 3-0. In the second period, Geltmacher turned up the intensity and tried to rush Revelle with everything she had, but the freshman stood her up on nearly every attempt and won the second period by a duplicate 3-0 score to take home a national title at 136 pounds.
King featured two additional grapplers in title bouts for their respective weight classes. Alli Ragan and Sarah Hildebrandt (Granger, Ill.) each advanced to the finals round but fell in their matches by decision.
Ragan, a sophomore from Carbondale, Ill., rolled through her first three bouts registering one pin and not allowing a point in her first three bouts. She recorded a fall over Sonja Grant (Midland) in the second period and then put together four straight perfect periods with wins over Crystal Burrow (Lindenwood, 3-0, 6-0) and Tamyra Mensah (Wayland Baptist, 5-0, 3-0) in a pair of wins. In her title bout against rival Jennifer Page of Oklahoma City University, Ragan had the upper hand and an early 1-0 lead before Page stormed back in the last 40 seconds of the opening frame. In that short time, Page recorded a two-point flip and a force out to take the first period, 3-1. In the second period, Page took advantage of a failed attack attempt and reversed her for a two points and kept Ragan distant before the horn sounded. The loss is only Ragan's second in collegiate action this season.
Hildebrandt took a similar path to Ragan's, strolling through the first two matches with tech falls in each. She defeated Rio Crismore (NWKT), 6-0, 6-0, and Ricarda Garcia (Yakima), 6-0, 7-0, in her first two rounds. Hildebrandt, ranked fifth in the 123-pound class, returned with a win by decision over No. 6 Summer Sistad (Missouri Valley), 1-0, 3-0 before facing off against the defending two-time national champion, Michaela Hutchinson. Hildebrandt fell in the first period by a very close 2-1 decision that was given to Hutchinson for scoring last and both took the second frame to 0-0 before extra time was administered. Hildebrandt won the toss and took the advantage on the legs but did not register a point. The scoreless period gave Hutchinson the win, based on her scoring the final point of the first period.
After King placed two finalist and two national champions, their team point total reached 91.0 and was good for a second place finish. Oklahoma City University won its fourth consecutive WCWA National Championship with 141.0 points. Simon Fraser, ranked third in the WCWA, defended their ranking with 77.0 points while Lindenwood (64.0) and the University of the Cumberlands (39.0) rounded out the top-five schools.
The 2012 WCWA National Championships conclude the Lady Tornado collegiate season. Their next tournament will be the Dave Schultz International, held in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Feb. 3.