BETHLEHEM, Pa. – On a night where the King University women's wrestling program knew that would have two former grapplers earn a spot on the U.S. World Team at the last Final X competition taking place at Lehigh University, Sarah Hildebrandt and Forrest Molinari claimed the final two spots with wins over their former Tornado teammates. Hildebrandt swept her series over Haley Augello at 53 kilograms and Molinari swept Julia Salata at 65 kilograms.
In a rematch of the U.S. Open final, where Hildebrandt defeat Augello, Hildebrandt didn't allow Augello to score in two matches on Saturday night. Hildebrandt took the first match 6-0 before coming back with an 8-0 win in the second bout, earning her spot on the Senior World Team for the second time.
The last time she made a Team USA for the World Championships was in 2016 where she finished 10th. A season ago, Hildebrandt couldn't compete in the final matches at the 2017 World Team Trials, and she talked about that following the match.
"It was a matter of putting it behind me and pushing me as well. I did a little bit of both. I couldn't put it in front of me, where it was crippling me and making me afraid. I put it behind me to where I said, 'look, it is time for you to get the job done.' I doesn't matter what happened before. Right now is your time," she said.
In another matchup of former Tornado teammates and a U.S. Open final rematch, Molinari avenged the U.S. Open defeat to Salata with a pair of wins on Saturday night. Molinari took the first match 5-0 before jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the second bout, taking the match 10-2 and earning a spot on her first Senior World Team.
"This is very different than the usual Trials process. It was hard, but I am so glad I got to go to all three. I got to experience it all, and know my teammates. It has been an awesome year, going to all of these tournaments, helping my teammates out, and finally making that Senior team," said Molinari.
This duo, along with Alli Ragan will compete at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on October 20-28. Ragan earned the spot at 59 kilograms by winning the Final X two weeks ago. This marks the second time King will have three World Team members. The last time was in 2016 when Augello qualified for the Olympic Games and Ragan and Hildebrandt were on the World Team.