Augsburg’s Emily Shilson qualifies for Olympic women’s wrestling trials

FORT WORTH, Texas — Augsburg University women’s wrestler Emily Shilson (FY, Maple Grove, Minn./Mounds View HS) qualified for the United States Olympic Trials with a fourth-place finish in the 50-kilogram weight class at the USA Wrestling Senior Nationals, held on Friday and Saturday at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Shilson went 4-2 on the weekend, with all four of her wins coming by technical falls (superior decisions). Her lone two losses came to the top two seeds in the field — to tournament runner-up and current Team USA member Victoria Anthony 2-0 in the semifinals, and to three-time All-American for Jamestown (N.D.) and current Team USA member Amy Fearnside, 6-4 in the third-place match. Five of the six wrestlers Shilson faced over the weekend ended up placing in the top eight in the field.

She will now qualify to compete for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held on April 4-5 at Penn State University in University Park, Pa.

Shilson, the top-ranked wrestler in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association NCAA individual national rankings and the Women’s Wrestling Coaches Association individual national rankings at 109 pounds, entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed. She scored three technical fall wins in her opening three matches, outscoring her opponents by a 34-1 margin. She opened with a 2:54, 10-0 win over Victoria Borrego of Simpson (Calif.), then scored a 3:11, 12-0 win over Alleah Gould of King (Tenn.), the No. 5-ranked wrestler in the NWCA/NCAA rankings at 109, and a 4:53, 12-1 win over Alleida Martinez of Menlo (Calif.), the top-ranked wrestler in the latest NAIA national rankings at 109. After being edged by Anthony, Shilson scored a 1:24, 10-0 technical fall win over Natalie Reyna-Rodriguez of McKendree (Ill.), the No. 6-ranked wrestler in the NWCA/NCAA rankings at 109, in the consolation semifinals.

One of the most accomplished young female wrestlers in American history, Shilson won the U.S. U-23 World Team Trials title at 50 kg this past summer, qualifying to represent the U.S. at the United World Wrestling U-23 World Championships in October in Budapest, Hungary. Shilson earned six junior and cadet national titles at the USA Wrestling/U.S. Marine Corps National Championships in Fargo, N.D., during her career, just the second woman ever to accomplish the feat.

Three other Augsburg wrestlers also competed at the USA Wrestling Senior Nationals, but were unable to finish among the top five in their weight classes to secure an Olympic Trials berth.

Gabby Skidmore (FY, Spooner, Wis./Cumberland HS), ranked No. 8 at 130 pounds in the NWCA and No. 5 at 123 pounds in the WCWA rankings, and Vayle-Rae Baker (FY, Benton, Pa./Wyoming Seminary), ranked No. 3 in the NWCA and No. 2 in the WCWA rankings at 123 pounds, both competed in the 57 kg (126 pounds) class, with Skidmore going 2-2 and Baker going 1-2.

Skidmore dropped her opening match 6-2 to eventual tournament runner-up Tiana Jackson of Menlo (Calif.), the top-ranked wrestler in the NAIA national rankings at 123 pounds, but followed up with a 1:24 pin of Isabella Gonzalez of Grand View (Iowa) in the consolations. Skidmore faced Baker in the next round, with Skidmore winning 8-2. Her tournament run ended with a 6-2 loss to 2012 Olympian (55 kg) Kelsey Campbell. Campbell placed eighth in the tournament.

Baker claimed a 1:30 pin over Cindy Zepeda of Colorado Mesa, the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the NWCA/NCAA rankings at 130 pounds, but suffered a 10-0, 4:14 technical fall loss to eventual tournament champion Abigail Nette of Campbellsville (Ky.), the top-ranked 130-pounder in both the NAIA and WCWA rankings, then saw her tournament run end with an 8-2 loss to teammate Skidmore.

Marlynne Deede (FY, Springville, Utah/Springville HS) went 1-2 in the 68 kg (150 pound) class. She suffered a 4:01, 13-0 technical fall loss to Ashlynn Ortega of King (Tenn.), the top-ranked wrestler in the NAIA 143-pound rankings, but rebounded with a 2:40 pin of Daniela Hechavarria of Brewton-Parker (Ga.) in the consolations. Her run came to end on Saturday when she was pinned in 2:03 by Hunter Robinson of Grand View (Iowa), the No. 5-ranked NAIA wrestler at 155 pounds.

Augsburg, ranked No. 6 in the NWCA/NCAA tournament national rankings, No. 9 in the NWCA/NCAA dual meet team rankings and No. 6 in the latest WCWA team rankings, will compete at the NWCA National Duals on Jan. 10-11 in Louisville, Ky.

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