January 26, 2013

Ragan, Perez Crowned National Champions! King Places Third

Juniors Alli Ragan and Kat Perez won individual national championships for the Lady Tornado while the team placed third overall at the 2013 WCWA National Championships.

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Student Center Complex was filled with excitement and raging fans from all over the country for the final day of the 2013 Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) National Championships. Adding to the excitement was a new team National Champion and two individuals from King University that earned their first titles. Alli Ragan and Kat Perez won their first individual championships to compliment their three runner-up placements.

Alli Ragan (Carbondale, Ill.) earned three wins by technical fall leading into her championship bout against Monica Ramirez (Lindenwood). Though her championship was not won by tech fall, she completed the tournament without having allowed a single point with a 3-0, 6-0 win for her first national championship. In the first period, Ragan recorded three takedowns before cruising to a 6-0 second-period win, stopped with more than a minute remaining.

"It's awesome. It was one of my many goals to accomplish this year," said Ragan. "I knew coming into it, I was like 'okay, I can do it this year'. I was seeded number one and I was like 'this is my time'."

Katarina (Kat) Perez (El Centro, Calif.) entered the match against her teammate, Sarah Hildebrandt, riding off the emotional wave of defeating OCU's Brieana Delgado (5-1, 1-1). Both wrestlers entered the match cautiously but Perez went in for an attack as the final seconds of the first period began to wind off the clock. With a scoop and a slam, Perez dropped her teammate to the mat, barely inside the boundary, just before the buzzer sounded and was awarded a point for a takedown to win the first. Both went back to a tactical approach and deflected one another's attack attempts until the middle of the second when Perez wrapped herself around Hildebrandt following a reach in and put her to the ground, awarding her the clinching point and a national title.

"It feels absolutely great," said Perez. "I've had doctors tell me my career was over. I just sucked it up and accomplished my goals, and I finally did. I'm just speechless. It feels great."

"Kat did a great job," said King head coach Jason Moorman. "It was a little difficult to coach. I just let them go out and wrestle each other. She got her offense and won her first national championship. She wrestled really tough.

She has dealt with a lot of injuries since she's been here," continued Moorman. "When she does come back she gives 100 percent. This has been one of her goals since she's been here at King, to be a national champion. She has a lot of passion about accomplishing that goal."

The Lady Tornado placed third in the team standings, finishing behind new WCWA National Champion Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada) and runner-up Oklahoma City University. The Clan entered the finals round in second place but came back and won the final two bouts at 170 and 191 to overcome the five-time defending national champion Stars, 116-109. King finished with 87 points for a stronghold on the third position, overall.

King also featured three individuals that earned runner-up honors in their respective weight classes. Hildebrandt, who came into the tournament as the top-seed, allowed only one point heading into the title bout while accumulating three wins. After a pin and decision win on day one, the sophomore defeated Tiffany Sluik (Jamestown) in the semifinal round (0-1, 1-0, 1-0) with back-to-back wins in the clinch to set up a teammate-teammate title bout.

Defending 109-pound national champion Emily Martin (Frisco, Texas) battled a strong Victoria Anthony (SFU) in the title bout and displayed a well-balanced mix of aggressiveness and tactical strategy in a low-scoring affair. The former Olympic alternate, Anthony, won the first period with a single takedown (1-0). The second period, both dueled back-and-forth to a 0-0 score, leading to the tie-breaking clinch. Anthony won the draw and chose to take the bottom position. On the whistle, Anthony drove her to the ground for a one-point takedown and the victory, 1-0, 1-0.

Sophomore Julia Salata (Canton, Mich.) opened day two with a three-period win by decision over Derri Strub (OCU) in her semifinal bout, edging out her opponent in the second and third periods (0-3, 1-1, 4-3). She matched up against Danielle Lappage (SFU) in the championship round but lost 6-0, 2-0 to earn her runner-up honors.

Fourteen King wrestlers were awarded All-American honors for placing in the top-8 of their respective weight brackets. This included five fourth-place finishes (Shannon Constantine, 101; Kayla Brendlinger, 116; Amanda Hendey, 143; Lorrie Ramos, 170; Malexis McAdoo, 191), one fifth-place finisher in Samantha Klingel (116), two sixth-place finishers (Ashley Iliff, 101; Victoria Nguyen, 116), and Kerri Bumper's eight-place finish at 170.

Among the King All-Americans, two were freshman (Iliff, McAdoo) and three were participating in their first WCWA National Championship (Hendey).

 "We really were really to get that monkey off her [Alli Ragan] back. She finally got her national championship and I know she is feeling really good about that. We're really excited to just to start focusing on her Senior USA events.

Prior to the finals beginning, the WCWA recognized wrestlers and teams with strong academic standings. King was one of three schools that earned the Team Scholar Award, joining OCU and Wayland Baptist. To qualify, the team must sponsor a minimum of 10 wrestlers at the National Championships and have a team grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Victoria Nguyen represented King on an individual basis and was named a WCWA Scholar-Athlete, one of only 12 in the tournament (must be sophomore status and have a 3.5 GPA or higher).

Additional awards included Simon Fraser head coach Mike Jones earning WCWA Coach of the Year and 130 pounder Helen Maroulis (SFU) was named WCWA Wrestler of the Year.

Individual and team statistics as well as team-by-team results and scores can be found by clicking here. Additional information on the 2013 WCWA National Championships can be located here.

Photos, video, and interviews will be available at a later time. Please return to www.KingTornado.com for photo galleries and match replays.