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Two state girls win national freestyle titles at Women’s Nationals

Five girls from Connecticut brought home medals from the USA Wrestling Women’s Nationals in Texas. (Photo courtesy Southside Wrestling Club)

Two girls from Connecticut won national championships in freestyle this past weekend at the USA Wrestling Women’s Nationals in Irving, Texas, with three sisters from Stratford earning medals.

Sarah Henckel with her national championship trophy. (Photo courtesy Blair Tugman)

Southbury’s Sarah Henckel won a national championship for the second consecutive year after winning the U15 (under 15 division) at 66 kilograms (145 pounds) while Bristol’s Ava Guilmette won a title for third straight time with a victory in the 12U division at 110 pounds.

The Batres sisters from Stratford — Kayla, Selena and Katrina – each won medals in their respective weight classes. Katrina had the highest finish, placing second in 10U at 60 pounds. All three train with Southside Wrestling in Bridgeport.

Henckel, who trains with Team Tugman out of Ansonia, went 4-0 in the tournament with two technical falls. She gave up just two points in the tournament. Henkel beat Sandilynn Tuinei of Nevada, 5-0, in the title match.

Henckel, who will attend Blair Academy next fall, won her quarterfinal match in 38 seconds with a 10-0 win over Paislee Chambers of Spartan Wrestling and took her semifinal match in 2:58 with an 11-0 win over Jahlia Miguel of Nevada.

The top eight placewinners from this event qualified for the U15 Pan American Trials, which will be held this summer. The U15 Pan American Games will be Oct. 21-24 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Henckel, ranked No. 15 in the country in the latest high school girls rankings at 138 pounds, won a national title at the Women’s Nationals in the 14U division a year ago at 136 pounds.

Henckel also competed in the U17 tournament at 65 kilograms and finished fourth with a 6-2 record. She won five straight bouts in the consolation round to get to the third place match where she dropped a tight 2-1 decision to Faith Bartoszek of Wyoming Seminary.

Bristol’s Ava Guilmette won her third national title at the Women’s Nationals (Photo courtesy Blair Tugman)

Guilmette, who trains with Team Tugman, went 3-0 and didn’t give up a point in the tournament. She won her third national title with a 10-0 win in 1:46 over Noemi Cordero of California’s Poway Wrestling.

Guimette won a national title last year in 12U at 95 pounds and in 2019 in 9U at 85 pounds. The 2020 national tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katrina Batres finished second in the 10U division at 60 pounds. She went 2-1 with a pin and a 10-0 tech fall over Hayden Robinson in the semifinals. Katrina Batres lost in the finals to Paitlyn McCann of the Lady Outlaws, 9-4.

Kayla Batres wrestled in two events. She was third in the U14 event at 105 pounds and fourth in the U15 event at 46 kg (101 pounds).

In the U14 tournament, Kayla Batres was 5-1. After winning her first match of the tournament, she was pinned by Lilian Rumsey of Pennsylvania, who would make it to the finals. Kayla won four straight bouts by technical fall, not giving up a point in the victories. She finished third with an 11-0 win in 1:30 over Sara McLaughlin of Riptide Wrestling Club.

In the U15 tournament, Kayla Batres was 4-2, finishing fourth with a 7-3 loss to New York’s Charlene Wylie. Kayla didn’t give up a point in her four victories.

Selena Batres finished sixth in the U15 tournament at 36 kg (79 pounds) and was fifth in the U14 tournament at 79 pounds. She beat Sophia Bennett of Lady Outlaws, 6-2, to finish fifth.

2022 USA Wrestling Women’s Nationals

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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