Wrestlers of the Week

Portillo Bros Wrestling - Wrestlers of the Week 17

Portillo Bros Wrestling - Wrestlers of the Week 17

NAIA/ NCWWC Women’s Nationals Finals:

Making history was in the air at both NCWWC and NAIA nationals where six wrestlers became first time nationals champions for their team and one team made a huge  jump from placing 33rd as a team last year to placing 4th as a team this year. Now let's jump into those girls that made a big difference this weekend at both nationals. 

NAIA nationals was held in Jamestown, North Dakota for the second year in a row where we saw some fireworks in the making and upsets happening left and right. Menlo claimed their first championship banner as they won the 2024 NAIA Women’s Wrestling Championship by 34 points and brought home 10 All-Americans and 1 champion at 191: Tavia Heidelberg-Tillotson. 

At 101 Stefana Jelacic of Lourdes made history by becoming the first national champion in her program history by taking out top-seed Erin Hikiji of Providence in the final winning 12-3. Last year, Jelacic took home 7th at 109 and this year she made a name for herself taking out last year’s runner-up at 101 and claimed her first national championship. For the last two years, Mia Palumbo has been runner-up to Peyton Prussin at 109 but this year she took the crown and won the 109 lb champion over Jasmine Howard of Texas Wesleyan. This match is one of the few close matches Palumbo had all weekend long. Palumbo was the first national finalist in William Penn program history and can now claim being William Penn’s first champion.

 At 123, Cristelle Rodriguez of Doane also made history for her program becoming the first national champion. Impressively, Rodriguez was only on the mat for less than 2 minutes in each of her matches this weekend before winning by pin or tech! Carolina Moreno of Southern Oregon captured her third NAIA national championship this weekend with a tech fall over Sarah Savidge of Life. Moreno became the first 3x national champion in Southern Oregon history! 

We can’t forget the other 3x national champion, Adaugo Nwachukwu of William Penn who had an amazing tournament pinning everyone who stepped foot on the mat against her. She currently seems unstoppable on her way to her fourth national title last year, but anything can happen! The last NAIA match we will highlight was, in our eyes,  the match of the night at 170 lb between Abby Mclntre of Grand View and Ashley Lekas of William Penn. This was the third time these two have wrestled. First, in the dual, Lekas teched McIntyre. Then, at conference, McIntyre pinned Lekas. Breaking the split in the series, Lekas won in the national finals. The match had fireworks at the end, as McIntyre seemingly scored on a 4-point move on the buzzer to win the match. The William Penn coaches challenged, and the call was overturned, giving William Penn their third national champion of the night. 

For the second year in a row, the NCWCC National Championships was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This year, the University of Iowa won the team title over North Central by a mere 6 points. North Central brought home 14 All-Americans compared to Iowa’s 12 All-Americans. Even at these nationals we saw: some major upsets, a 4-timer crowned, and even a first time national champion in program history! Let’s see what some of the more outstanding performances were.

Let’s start at 123, with national champion Amani Jones of North Central. She beat back-to-back King wrestlers to win the title, including Virginia Foard 3-1 in the finals. Foard beat Shelby Moore the prior match, who was the only woman to beat Jones this season. Jones has had an amazing career with the Cardinals, placing her freshman year and now a junior winning her very first national championship. 

McKendree has a newly minted 4-time national champion in their building: Cameron Guerin! She avenged her only loss this season to Maria Victoria Baez Dilone of King 2-1. Guerin could come back for one more run next year and become the first -and likely only-  5-timer in NCWWC, but we will have to wait and see what she decides to do. 

Talk about a tech fall machine… Look out for Claire DiCugno who basically teched anyone that stepped in her path to become a national champion this year at 136. In the quarterfinals, she teched #2 Taylor Graverman of North Central. In the finals, she teched #1 Yele Aycock of North Central. From placing 6th in 2022 to now a national champ as only a sophomore, DiCugno will be one to keep our eyes on moving forward. Finally, we have Sandra Guerrero who made history for her program becoming the first New Jersey City University national champion of all time. Her performance was highlighted with four pins and one decision. Guerrero is now a 3x All-American for New Jersey City, placing 8th in 2021 and 7th in 2022, while she missed the remainder of her 2022-23 season due to injury.    


Written By Justin Portillo & Joshua Portillo

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