Kevin Black on the WCWA National Championships
Missouri Valley College was the host of the WCWA National Championships for the second consecutive year. The familiarity was nice for all who were involved. The weigh-in was held earlier in the day on Friday to allow plenty of time for the annual coaches meeting. Following the meeting, all of the athletes ate together at the banquet where the WCWA Scholar Athletes were recognized.
The tournament began promptly at 9:00am on Saturday morning. Wrestling took place on three mats for the first round and then two mats for the remainder of the tournament. Oklahoma City University ran away with the team title, but there seemed to much more parity across the entire field of wrestlers. Since last year, the depth and quality at each weight class improved immensely as well.
There were 12 teams represented at the national tournament this year and 10 teams had an individual in the championship finals. Many of the top college-aged women in the US and Canada demonstrated why we’ve come to expect so much from some fine ladies like Victoria Anthony, Katherine Fulp-Allen, Michaela Hutchison, Helen Maroulis and Danielle Lappage. These girls have multiple national titles and age-level world medals. Anthony was a junior world champion last season while Fulp-Allen was a University world champion.
A few athletes rose to the occasion and they competed their best at the national championships, establishing themselves as contenders in tournaments to come, most notably Stephanie Waters, Amy Whitbeck and Shauna Isbell. Waters and Whitbeck have extensive experience through USA Wrestling events, but Isbell was virtually unheard of coming into this event. She wrestled a very close finals match with Hutchison.
It’s great to see so many quality female athletes competing in the sport of wrestling. One of the largest hurdles that women’s wrestling faces is convincing the wrestling world that these women can wrestle very well. Unfortunately, we’re stuck in the rut of measuring the success of females in how they stack up against the men or if they can beat boys. This way of thinking is out-of-date and we need to move away from that and judge the women by how the compete with each other.
Congratulations to Oklahoma City for winning their second straight national championship and to Head Coach Archie Randall for earning Coach of the Year honors. Katherine Fulp-Allen was the WCWA Wrestler of the Year once again and she shared her national title with her family as her father, Lee Allen, was able to coach his daughter to her third national title in what was his final collegiate tournament as a coach. Lee announced his retirement on Friday. Thank you, Lee for all you’ve done for the sport.