ADRIAN, Mich. — The women's wrestling team continues to make noise nationally and has risen to No. 16 in the latest team rankings, along with three individuals cracking the top 10. Adrian is tied with Grays Harbor College and Warner Pacific University for 16th while Menlo University is ranked No. 1.
"Our goal this season was to be top 15 and we are very close," said Head Coach Cliff Cushard. "These student-athletes have done a great job and we have a good shot at making that goal happen."
Freshman Zoe Nowicki continued her strong first season and is No. 6 at 130 pounds. She was previously ranked No. 8. "Zoe has been working hard all season and has been polishing her skills in the practice room," Cushard said. "I've been challenging her to step out of her comfort zone a little bit more and it is starting to pay dividends. By adding new twists to things that she is already doing it is opening up more possibilities and she is scoring at a higher rate. Zoe is right on track with where I expect her to be in her first season."
Sophomore Maggie Elliott was recognized in the preseason rankings at 155 pounds and currently holds the No. 10 spot. Elliot also had a strong fourth-place finish at USA Wrestling's U23 World Team Trials over the summer. "She started a little slower this season," Cushard said of Elliott. "Some early losses pulled her out of contention. We got her back on track and focused. She's peaking at the right time now and has earned this ranking. She is going to be fun to watch at the WCWA Nationals."
Freshman Lacey Jung-Michonski also is ranked No. 10 at 170 pounds. Jung-Michonski got off to a bit of slow start in her first year of college wrestling. The Bulldogs' 170-pounder dropped some early-season matches while working to transition to college wrestling. "Once we got her on the right path though, she's been on fire," Cushard said. "At the Cliff Keen Women's West Coast Tournament of Champions in mid-December she placed third behind only the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked wrestlers in the country."
An injury has kept Jung-Michonski off of the mat for the last two competitions, but she will be back for nationals. "She's on pace to be back and ready for the WCWA Nationals," Cushard said. "Watch for her to make a splash on the national stage."
LAST TIME OUT:
The Bulldogs had three wrestlers place at the McKendree Bearcat Open on Jan. 26 in the team's final preparation before WCWA Nationals.
Elliott led Adrian by going 4-2 with a fifth place finish at 155 pounds.
Nowicki wrestled up a weight class at 136 pounds, going 4-3 and finished in sixth. She had a notable win and beat the No. 8-ranked wrestler in the weight.
Freshman Angela Goldwire had a strong showing at 101 pounds and finished sixth. "She (Goldwire) continues to get better with each match as she feels more and more comfortable with freestyle," Cushard said.
Adrian will be off for the next two weeks as the Bulldogs prepare for WCWA Nationals Feb. 8-9 in Atlanta. "We've worked all season to peak right now. By resting those that needed it we'll be taking a solid group of well-prepared wrestlers," Cushard said. "I'm excited for these ladies and am looking forward to watching them reach for their goals to cap off the season."