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Three state wrestlers win medals in debut of Sacred Heart women’s team – Connecticut Wrestling Online

four of the five wrestlers for Sacred Heart won medals at Sunday’s East Stroudsberg Open. (Photo courtesy Sacred Heart athletics)

It was a historic day for wrestling in Connecticut on Sunday as the Sacred Heart women’s wrestling team participated in their first varsity competition at the East Stroudsburg Open in East Stoudsburg, Pa.

The Pioneers are just the second women’s team in the country to be competing at the Division I level.

Giving up 20 pounds to most of her competitors didn’t stop Southington freshman Ashley Reed from winning her first collegiate tournament at 191 pounds. Freshman teammate Madison Sandquist was second at 143 pounds while Norwich freshman Savannah Vanase (136) finished fourth and Bridgeport freshman Jacklyn Smith (170) took fifth.

Competing with just five wrestlers, the Pioneers finished sixth with 31 points. Tiffin (Ohio) College won the meet with 113 points and four champions and seven finalists.

“I knew it was going to be a good day, I just didn’t know how good,” SHU head coach Paulina Biega said. “The only way from here is up and I’m very proud of them and their effort. There were definitely some butterflies this morning, but everyone was very excited. They were a team today and that’s the best feeling.”

Reed got a bye into the quarterfinals of 191 pounds then wasted little time in defeating ESU’s Shola Cascen with a 10-0 tech fall. Reed advanced to the finals with an 11-2 win over Kalani Rivas from Limestone University. Reed earned the championship by pinning NJCU’s Sandra Guerrero of New Jersey City University in 1:01.

Sandquist received a first-round bye then advanced to the semis when she recorded a 10-0 tech fall versus Paige Lenhardt from Tiffin. The Humble, Texas native cruised to the finals by taking down Limestone’s Mika Walter, 8-0. Unfortunately, Sandquist couldn’t pull out the championship, falling 11-0 to Kendall Bostelman from Wyoming Seminary.

“I think both of them are in a very good spot, but I think they will be even better at the end of the season,” Biega said. “Ashley was about 20 pounds lighter than everyone else in her weight class, but that shows how powerful she is.”

It took just 21 seconds for the first victory in program history when Vanse (136) pinned East Stroudsburg’s Carmelo Cancelmo.

Vanse, who wrestled at NFA, made her way into the semifinals by pinning NJCU’s Claire Daity in 1:12. She suffered her first loss to Adrian’s Zoe Nowicki, but pinned Hannah Mains from Limestone in just 1:11 to make it to the third-place match. Vanse was pinned by Lock Haven’s Madison Matta at 5:25 to finish fourth.

Recording a pair of pins to start her career was Smith at 170 pounds. She upset the top seed Nyere Grant from Tiffin in 1:41 then pinned Adrian’s Sienna Lejeue to get into the semifinals. Smith was beaten in the semifinals and dropped her two matches in the consolation bracket.

Sacred Heart’s Khadijah Sanusi, a freshman from Houston, Texas, lost her first round match at 155 pounds, but came back for the 12-0 tech fall over Leslie Monterrosa of Elmira College. Unfortunately, her day was ended in a 9-0 loss to EC’s Skylah Chakouian in the consolation bracket.

Sacred Heart is the second NCAA Division I school in the nation to put a women’s varsity wrestling team on the mat and first in New England. Presbyterian College in South Carolina is the only other school in the country currently competing at the Division I level.

Sacred Heart is on the road next weekend for the Adrian Open at Adrian College in Michigan.

East Stroudsburg Open
At East Stroudsburg, Penn.
Women’s tournament

Team results – 1. Tiffin (Ohio) College 113, 2. Gannon (Erie, PA) 70, 3. Adrian (Michigan) 57, 4. Lock Haven (PA) University, 54, 5. New Jersey City University 40, 6. Sacred Heart 31, 7. Limestone University (Gaffney SC) 19, 8. Wyoming Seminary (PA) 16, 9. Elmira (NY) College, 13, 10. East Stroudsburg State 11, 11. Greensboro (NC) College 8, 12. Hiram College 5. 13. Delaware State and Ferrum 0
Individual results
Final: Olivia Shore (Tiffin) pin Samantha Reitnour (Lock Haven), 1:06; 3. Katerina Pendergrass (Gannon) dec. Shanna Morris (Tiffin), 10-8
109 Final: Mikayla Vega (Gannon) pin Johnae (New Jersey City University), 2:03; 3. Julianne Moccia (Gannon) pin Izabella Frezzo (New Jersey City University), 1:36
116 Final: Sugey Ceja (Tiffin) dec. Grace Jones (Tiffin), 8-0; 3. Chloe Ayres Princeton, NJ (Unattached) technical superiority Carly Gross (Lock Haven), 10-0 0:53
123 Final: Solana Mottola (Tiffin) pin Angela Lorusso (Adrian), 0:43; 3. Alayna Gil (Lock Haven) tech superiority Stephanie Mondragon (Tiffin), 10-0 3:40
130 Final: Naomi Henry (New Jersey City University) technical superiority Anya Knappenberger (Gannon), 10-0 1:13; 3. Ariana Wolkerstorfer (Greensboro College) pin Lily Sherer (Lock Haven), 5:11
136 Final: Zoe Nowicki (Adrian) pin Michal Buska (Tiffin), 0:55; 3. Madison Matta (Lock Haven) pin Savannah Vanase (Sacred Heart) 5:25
143 Final: Kendall Bostelman (Wyoming Seminary) technical superiority Madison Sandquist (Sacred Heart), 11-0 2:41; 3. Nia Miranda (Tiffin) VSU Stephanie Floor (Gannon), 10-0 2:36
155 Final: Jessica Johnson (Lock Haven) dec. Taylor Hites (Tiffin), 8-0; 3. Skylah Chakouian (Elmira College) technical
superiority Megan Vondrasek (Adrian), 16-5 6:00
170 Final: Taryn Martin (Tiffin) technical superiority Aspen Dodge (Adrian), 10-0 5:44; 3. Annabelle Helm (Gannon) pin Morgan Davidson (Tiffin), 1:25; 5. Lily El-masri (Wyoming Seminary) dec. Jacklyn Smith (Sacred Heart), 8-0
191 Final: Ashley Reed (Sacred Heart) pin Sandra Guerrero (New Jersey City University), 1:01; 3. Amara Devericks (Gannon) dec. Kalani Rivas (Limestone Univ), 7-3

2021 East Stroudsburg Open

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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