FARGO, ND - Oakleaf High wrestler Kailani Barrientos finished seventh and Middleburg High’s state champion Cheyenne Cruce finished eighth as area wrestlers joined Team Florida at the 2023 U.S. …
“One thing I definitely learned was that I have to expand my offense and not rely on my one or two moves that work in Florida,” said Cruce, who finished unbeaten in Florida to get to her state title. “I got head-butted in my very first match and my tooth split my lip. The medics took care of it, but it hurt and I wrestled the rest of the tournament with it.”
Barrientos, at 127, competed in the 16Under bracket while Cruce, at 200 pounds, was in the Junior Women's bracket along with Broncos teammates Skyla Fisher, at 100 pounds.
“We went to three days of training three times a day to prepare for Fargo,” said Barrientos, in an interview by SE Wrestling. “It was a hard week but worth it to get ready for here.”
On the Florida team was also state champion Gabriela Tedesco of Lake Gibson (100lbs) and Clare Booe of Palm Harbor (112lbs) who both won national titles. Lake Nona state champion Milana Borrelli finished fifth at 122.
At 127, Barrientos opened with a BYE then won a 10-0 match against S Brown of Nebraska before losing 10-0 to T. McGown of New Jersey.
Barrientos, now dropped back into consolations, stormed back with an 11-6 win over Victoria Espinosa of California, 4-2 over Gwendolyn Jewell of California and 12-2 over Shelby Prather of Idaho to continue into the consolation elite eight.
In her first match toward the third place match, Barrientos beat Bailey Chafin of Oregon 11-0 before falling 4-0 to Julissa Ortiz of Pennsylvania, who finished fifth and won a first-ever Public League title in Pennsylvania this year, to drop off the third place path and get to the seventh place match where she won an 8-0 match against Ava Milliner, a Texas high school freshman and first-time state champion from her Ellison High School in Texas.
At 200, Cruce opened with a BYE, then scored back-to-back 10-0 wins to advance to the quarterfinals where she lost to eventual national runner-up Tirza Twoteeth of Montana 6-2. Twoteeth, a first-ever state champion for the Ronan High School Girls Wrestling Team in Montana, lost in the national championship to Savannah Isaac, ironically, 10-0. Isaac, from Whitmer High in Ohio, was the defending national champion.
Middleburg’s Memphis Moses was 1-2 at 16U women with teammate Skyla Fisher also 1-2 in Junior Women.