ALLEN, Texas — In the fall of 2017, Umpqua Community College jumped into the world of women’s collegiate wrestling.
Sunday, the Riverhawks will board their flight home from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with six All-Americans.
Freshman Grace Miller and sophomore Jade Piper pinned their way to national championships in their respective weights and sophomore Mariah Annis earned a runner-up finish for the Riverhawks, who had six wrestlers place in the top four and finished second in team points to Schreiner University of Kerrville, Texas.
“This was a good year for us. It was pretty exciting,” UCC head coach Craig Jackson said. “One of our goals this year was to get to this tournament will a full lineup and win it. We didn’t quite achieve either of those, but with what we brought, we’re pretty happy.”
What the Riverhawks brought to the Allen Events Center was a nine-wrestler roster which claimed six All-Americans and an additional sixth-place finisher.
Miller, the No. 1 seed in the 143-pound bracket, needed just one victory (a pin) to reach her title match, where she took Schreiner’s Mackayla Rosales down to her back and scored a first-round pin for her first national championship.
“It’s crazy. I don’t really know how to process it right now,” Miller said. “I was feeling really confident. I knew I could make the finals, and I just kept picturing myself winning the match.”
Miller and Rosales jousted for the first 90 seconds of the match before Miller took advantage of a missed shot by Rosales, scored the takedown, and used an arm bar maneuver to record the first-round pin.
Piper, seeded fourth at 170, scored a pair of pins to reach her championship final, where she stuck Pacific Lutheran’s Lena Flanagan in just 25 seconds.
“Overall, I just wanted to go out and wrestle my hardest,” said the sophomore from Gold Beach. “That last match, finishing my sophomore season, I just wanted to end with a win.”
It was an outstanding end to her junior college career for Piper, who hadn’t planned on continuing wrestling after high school.
“When I got the opportunity, I took it, and honestly, it was the best thing I could have done.”
Annis and sophomore Esthela Trevino — who claimed a Women’s College Wrestling Association National champions last month — were Umpqua’s only two qualifiers for the 2019 NCWAs.
Trevino scored a first-round pin over Big Bend (Moses Lake, Washington) Community College’s Kayla Rogers to claim third for the Riverhawks at 101 pounds.
Freshman Lillian Restrepo, unseeded at 155, rebounded from a 7-5 loss on the championship side to post three consecutive pins to reach the consolation championship, where she dropped a 5-1 decision to Grays Harbor’s Emma Justo, the No. 4 seed.
At 170, sophomore Sienna Lejeune went 3-2 to reach the fifth-place match, which went down as a no-contest against top-seeded Mikayla Mata of Schreiner.
Freshmen Abe Jolley (155) and Richelle Rolfe (136) both placed eighth.
With several freshmen returning — including some who missed most of this past season with injuries — the Riverhawks will try and continue to build on this season’s success.
“We’re still trying to build, but for the first time we’re going to have a returning All-American (Miller) coming back,” Jackson said.
“I know that we can grow and be even better,” added Miller. “We have amazing girls on this team. We just have to keep striving and go to get that championship.”
National Collegiate Wrestling Association
Women’s National Championships
At Allen, Texas
Team scores (top 10) — Schreiner (Texas) 170.5, Umpqua 119.5, Grays Harbor (Wash.) 105.5, Liberty (Va.) 77.5, Big Bend (Wash.) 50, Pacific Lutheran (Wash.) 37.5, UCLA 31, Texas A&M 27.5, Rensselaer (N.Y.) Polytechnic 22, Springfield (Mass.) Technical 22.
101 — Katlin Wells, Springfield Tech, pinned Cecilia Saavedra, Grays Harbor, 2:53.
109 — Chelsea Wilson, Rensselaer Poly, dec. Allicia Mahoe, Schreiner, 6-3.
116 — Kamile Begeal, Schreiner, p. Jazelyn Ruelas, Schreiner, 2:05.
123 — Allie Mahoe, Schreiner, dec. Mariah Annis, Umpqua, 9-2.
130 — Serena Cervantes, Schreiner, p. Serenity Thomas, Toledo, 4:05.
136 — Aliyah Yates, Big Bend, dec. Charise Manley, Liberty, 4-2.
143 — Grace Miller, Umpqua, p. Mackayla Rosales, Schreiner, 2:09.
155 — Cendall Manley, Liberty, dec. Megan Thomas, Schreiner, 5-0.
170 — Jade Piper, Umpqua, p. Lena Flanagan, Pacific Lutheran, 0:43.
191 — Kamila Montenegro, Grays Harbor, p. Kyndra Wooten, Liberty, 3:21.
235 — Lavenia Fotu, Grays Harbor, p. Quinn Lacy, Grays Harbor, 2:16.
UCC placement matches
101 — Esthela Trevino, Umpqua, p. Kayla Rogers, Big Bend, 1:21.
130 — Tatum Pine, Umpqua, dec. Terri Ajifu, Pacific Lutheran, 4-1.
155 — Emma Justo, Grays Harbor, dec. Lilliann Restrepo, Umpqua, 5-1.
170 — Sienna Lejeune, Umpqua, vs. Mikayla Mata, Schreiner (no contest).
136 — Richelle Rolfe, Umpqua, vs. Katelyn Pham, UCLA (no contest).
170 — Abe Jolley vs. Iraiz Rodriguez, Fresno State (no contest).