Yelena Makoyed and Angie Gomez win national titles; 12 others place at NCWWC


Fourteen wrestlers with CA backgrounds earned All-American status at the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships (NCWWC) held in Tiffin, OH on March 6. 20 teams attended the competition and 23 wrestlers with CA ties were in the draw. Importantly, each of the 10 individual champions advance to the US Olympic Team Trials, held in Fort Worth, TX on April 2-3.

Angelina Gomez (Emmanuel) wins the 101 lbs. title.
Yelena Makoyed (North Central) wins the 170 lbs. title.

CA wrestlers dominated the 101 lbs. class, sweeping the top 3 spots. Angelina Gomez (Emmanuel) was the #4 seed but found her finest form when it counted most, beating #1 seed Jaclyn McNichols (King University) 5-0 in the semifinals. The victory was especially sweet as Gomez had dropped two earlier matches to McNichols – 3-1 during a January dual meet and 4-0 at the Southeast Regional. In the finals, Gomez beat returning national champion and #3 seed Pauline Granados (McKendree) by a 3-3 decision in the finals. Teammate #2 seed Lizette Rodriguez (McKendree), who had beaten Granados 4-3 in the Southwest Regional finals, suffered an upset in the quarterfinals to the eventual 6th place finisher but the true freshman battled back to claim 3rd.

At 109 lbs., Aleeah Gould (King University) posted 2 pins and tech fall to reach the finals but ran into a dominant Emily Shilson (Augsburg), one of the nation’s top pound-for-pound college wrestlers. Gould lasted longer than Shilson’s previous two opponents combined, but fell to the Augsburg star by 10-0 tech fall at 3:28. Gould claimed her third All-American finish. Natalie Reyna-Rodriguez (McKendree) lost to Gould in the semifinals but lived up to her seed by finishing in 3rd place, her second All-American effort.

Sugey Ceja (Tiffin) reached the national finals as well at 116 lbs. with two tech falls and a pin. In the finals, she jumped out to an early lead but was unable to stave off McKendree’s Felicity Taylor, who went on to win 16-6. Taylor was a returning national finalist at the weight. Ceja had also lost to Shilson in last year’s 109 lbs. finals. True freshman Melanie Mendoza (King University) was successful in her first trip to the national tournament, placing 5th.

Last year’s runner-up at 170 lbs., Yelena Makoyed (North Central) dominated the same weight class this go-around and completed an undefeated season with her first national title. She laid absolute waste to the field with three tech falls (combined 32-2 score-line) and a first period pin.

CA represented well at the book-end weights, placing the top 3 at 101 and claiming 2nd, 5th, and 7th at 191. Tavi Heidelberg-Tillotson (King University) ran into a familiar foe in Sydnee Kimber (McKendree) and dropped the finals match by fall. Kimber had also beaten Heidelberg-Tillotson in the 2020 finals. Cristina Santoyo (Emmanuel) and Amara Deverick (Gannon) both placed for the second consecutive year, finishing in 5th and 7th place.

Also making the All-American podium were Emily Se (Emmanuel) 4th at 130, Julia Padilla (Emmanuel) 6th at 136, and Mia Dow (Lindenwood) 8th at 155. All three were returning national medalists from 2020.

Bolstered by key CA wrestlers in their line-ups, McKendree won the team title with 209 points. King University finished in 2nd with 171.5 points while Emmanuel rounded out the top 3 with 133.5 points. The tournament missed last year’s runner-up Simon Fraser University, as the British Columbia powerhouse cancelled their season. A number of CA wrestlers were on the roster, including a trio of former Sac Joaquin Section stars: 2020 national champion and three-time finalist Alex Hedrick (123, Bella Vista HS), three-time All-American and two-time 3rd place medalist Lauren Mason (136, formerly Woodcreek HS), and two-time 3rd place medalist Alyvia Fiske (155, formerly Vintage HS).

101 pounds

Angelina Gomez

Year: Junior
School: Emmanuel College (GA)
Region: 2nd Southeast
2019: 2nd WCWA Nationals (101)

Northview HS (Southern, 2018)
2018: 1st CA (101)
2017: 3rd Jr. Nationals Freestyle (100)
2017: 1st CA (101)
San Antonio Lee HS (Texas)
2016: 1st Texas UIL State 6A (95)
2015: 3rd Texas UIL State 6A (95)

101 pounds

Pauline Granados

Year: Sophomore
School: McKendree University (IL)
Region: 2nd Southwest
2020: 1st WCWC Nationals (101)

Carter HS (Southern, 2018)
2018: 6th Jr. Nationals Freestyle (100)
2018: CA state qualifier (101)

101 pounds

Lizette Rodriguez

Year: Freshman
School: McKendree University (IL)
Region: 1st Southwest

James Logan HS (North Coast, 2020)
2020: 1st CA (101)
2019: Qtrs., Top 12 CA (101)
2018: 3rd Jr. Nationals Freestyle (100)
2018: 2nd CA (101)

109 pounds

Aleeah Gould

Year: Senior
School: King University (TN)
Region: 1st Southeast
2020: 5th WCWC Nationals (109)
2019: 8th Sr. Nationals Freestyle (50kg)
2018: 5th WCWA Nationals (109)
2017: 7th WCWA Nationals (109)

Canyon HS (Southern, 2016)
2016: 8th Jr. Nationals Freestyle (105)
2016: 2nd CA (106)
2015: 2nd Jr. Nationals Freestyle (105)
2015: 2nd CA (106)
2014: 6th Cadet Nationals Freestyle (108)
2014: 5th CA (111)
2013: 7th Cadet Nationals Freestyle (108)

109 pounds

Natalie Reyna-Rodriguez

Year: Senior
College: McKendree University (IL)
Region: 1st Southwest
2020: 7th WCWC Nationals (109)
2019: 6th Sr. Nationals Freestyle (50kg)

Whittier HS (Southern, 2009)

116 pounds

Sugey Ceja

Year: Junior
College: Tiffin University (OH)
Region: 1st Northeast
2020: 2nd WCWC Nationals (109)
2020: 3rd WCWA Nationals (109)

Corona HS (Southern, 2018)
2018: 3rd CA (106)
2017: 2nd CA (106)
2016: 4th CA (111)
2015: 7th CA (106)

116 pounds

Melanie Mendoza

Year: Freshman
College: King University (TN)
Region: 4th Southeast

Selma HS (Central, 2020)
2020: 2nd CA (121)
2019: 4th CA (121)
2018: 4th CA (116)
2017: 7th Cadet Nationals Freestyle (112)
2017: 5th CA (101)

130 pounds

Emily Se
Year: Sophomore
College: Emmanuel College (GA)
Region: 2nd Southweast
2020: 3rd NCWWC (116)

Oak Ridge HS (Sac Joaquin, 2019)
2019: 3rd CA (126)
2017: 1st Cadet Nationals Freestyle (138)
2017: Qtrs., Top 12 CA (137)
2016: Qtrs., Top 12 CA (137)

136 pounds

Julia Padilla
Year: Junior
College: Emmanuel College (GA)
Region: 2nd Southeast 
2020: 6th WCWC Nationals (136)

Northview HS (Southern, 2018)
2018: 2nd CA (143)
2017: 8th Jr. Nationals Freestyle (144)
2017: 6th CA (143)
2016: 2-2 CA (131)
2015: Top 12 CA (126)

155 pounds

Mia Dow
Year: Senior
College: Lindenwood University (MO)
Region: 4th Southwest

MacMurray College
2020: 7th WCWC Nationals (136)

Walnut HS (Southern, 2017)
2017: 4th CA (121)
2016: 3rd CA (121)
2015: 7th Jr. Nationals Freestyle (125)
2015: 4th CA (121)
2014: 5th Cadet Nationals Freestyle (124)
2014: CA state qualifier (116)

170 pounds

Yelena Makoyed
Year: Sophomore
College: North Central College (IL)
Region: 1st Northwest 
2020: 2nd WCWC Nationals (170)

Bella Vista HS (Sac Joaquin, 2019)
2019: 1st CA (160)
2018: 2nd CA (160)
2017: 7th CA (160)

191 pounds

Tavi Heidelberg-Tillotson

Year: Sophomore
College: King University (TN)
Region: 1st Southeast
2020: 2nd WCWC Nationals (191)

McClatchy HS (Sac Joaquin, 2019)
2019: 1st CA (235)
2018: 1st CA (235)
Franklin HS (Sac Joaquin)
2016: 5th CA (160)

191 pounds

Cristina Santoyo

Year: Sophomore
College: Emmanuel College (GA)
Region: 2nd Southeast
2020: 4th WCWC Nationals (191)

James Monroe HS (Los Angeles, 2019)
2019: 2nd CA (235)
2018: 3rd Jr. Nationals Freestyle (225)
2018: 2nd CA (235)

191 pounds

Amara Devericks

Year: Sophomore
College: Gannon University (PA)
Region: 2nd Northeast
2020: 6th WCWC Nationals (191)

Corona HS (Southern, 2019)
2019: 5th CA (170)
2018: Top 12 CA (189)
San Clemente HS (Southern)
2017: Top 12 CA (189)
2016: Top 12 CA (189)