BRISTOL, Tenn. –King Lady Tornado Wrestling was again well represented in high-level competition when four members traveled to Colorado Springs, Co. to compete in the 2012 Senior World Team Trials. The group returned with three medals, including one silver medal earned by sophomore Julia Salata.
King traveled four of its team members to the Senior World Team Trials, held in Colorado Springs, Co. this past weekend to participate in what would be many of their first senior-level competitions. Julia Salata, Alli Ragan, Sarah Hildebrandt, and Katarina Perez represented King at the event. After all was said and done, two bronze medals and one silver were returned to Bristol.
"I was really proud of how they competed and how they have handled their losses as well," said Head Coach Jason Moorman. "They are very motivated right now."
Salata, a Canton, Mich. native, needed only one match to reach the final round of the 72 kg division. On her way to the championship round of her weight class she defeated Brittany Roberts (OCU/Gator Wrestling) for the third time in her career with a 1-0, 1-1 victory. In the finals, Salata faced off against 2005 World Champion Iris Smith (Army) where she lost a best-of-three finals round 3-0, 4-0 and 6-0, 3-0. Despite the loss, Salata was awarded a silver medal.
Katarina Perez (El Centro, Calif.) began her 2012 season on the right foot with a third place finish in the 55 kg division. The up-and-comer opened with a win in her season debut, defeating Emily Ductoe (OCU/Gator Wrestling) by technical fall (6-0, 9-2). After losing her second round match to Michaela Hutchinson (OCU/Gator Wrestling) by fall, she avenged the loss with consecutive wins over Logan Rich (OCU/Gator Wrestling) and former Junior World bronze medalist, Amy Whitbeck (NYAC).
"Kat [Perez] had a great tournament, defeating two tough competitors in Whitbeck and Hutchison," said Moorman. "She picked up where she left off at the National Championships last year and is starting off very strong."
In the first period of her consolation round match against Rich, Perez wasted no time in pinning her opponent to advance to the third place match. Perez battled through two and a half periods of an even match when with 28 seconds remaining in the final frame, she pinned Hutchinson for the victory and a third place finish.
Alli Ragan (Carbondale, Ill.) earned the final medal amongst the group in the challenge tournament. In her first round match she defeated Michele Muscato (unattached), shutting her out 3-0, 3-0. In the second round of the tournament she avenged two previous losses to NYAC's Melissa Apodaca by defeating her 3-0, 1-0 to advance to the challenge tournament finals where she met Erin Clodgo (Sunkist Kids). Ragan took the first period by a 1-0 count, but Clodgo came back and won the final two frames, 0-4 and 0-1, to advance to the 63 kg finals and wrestle Olympian Elena Pirozhkova (Gator WC).
Also representing King was U.S. Junior World Team member Sarah Hildebrandt (Granger, Ind.). The sophomore wrestled in the 55 kg bracket with Perez where she finished 2-2 on the day. She opened up with former Junior World bronze medalist Amy Whitbeck, where she narrowly lost 1-0, 1-0 but pinned Emily Ducote in the first period of her consolation match. After defeated Katelyn Eddy (OCU) 2-0, 4-0 in her next round match, Hildebrandt was eliminated by Michaela Hutchinson, by decision.
"Sarah is right there, ready to break through," said Moorman. "I think it's just a matter of time for her."
Coach Moorman went on about his team's performance, "We had some good moments this weekend. Taking four and three in top three isn't bad, but we need to win the big matches."
King will take a group of individuals to Baku, Azerbaijan for the FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals this weekend. Representing the Lady Tornado will be returning National Champion Emily Martin, Samantha Klingel, and Amanda Hendey.
The team will open its collegiate season with the Navy/Scarlet intraquad match on Oct. 9 before their first dual meet of the season at defending WCWA National Champion Oklahoma City University (Oklahoma City, Okla.) on Oct. 20.