2024 Olympic Trials Watch Party

2024 Olympic Wrestling Trials: Women's Freestyle Takeaways

2024 Olympic Wrestling Trials: Women's Freestyle Takeaways

The 2024 Olympic Trials are in the books. Here's a breakdown of what happened during the women's freestyle competition.

Apr 22, 2024
2024 Olympic Wrestling Trials: Women's Freestyle Takeaways

The Olympic Trials are over and the women’s freestyle team is set. All six weights qualified for Paris so the U.S. Olympic team (with ages) is as such:

2024 Olympic Team

WeightNameAgeKey Accomplishments
50 kgSarah Hildebrandt302020 Olympic bronze, 4x Senior World medalist
53 kgDom Parrish272022 World champion, 2023 Senior World team
57 kgHelen Maroulis322016 Olympic gold, 2020 Olympic bronze, 4x World champion, 9x World/Olympic medalist
62 kgKayla Miracle272020 Olympian, 2x World silver, World medal at every age level
68 kgAmit Elor202x Senior World champion, 6x age-level World champion
76 kgKennedy Blades202021 Junior World champ, 2023 U23 World silver and U20 bronze

Hildebrandt (bronze), Maroulis (bronze), and Miracle were on the 2020 Olympic team, while Maroulis became the first American woman to win a wrestling gold medal during the 2016 Rio Games.

Parrish and Elor made their first Olympic teams but are senior-level World champions. Blades reached the 2020 Olympic Trials finals at 68 kg but fell to eventual Olympic champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock in straight matches. 

Here’s a look at how each of the six 2024 Olympians fared in their best-of-three series. 

50 kg: Sarah Hildebrandt over Audrey Jimenez, 2 matches to 0

Match One: Hildebrandt tech over Jimenez, 10-0
Match Two: Hildebrandt tech over Jimenez, 10-0

Takeaways: High schooler Audrey Jimenez had a memorable run through the challenge tournament to reach the best-of-three finals. Hildebrandt didn’t get to her world-famous leg lace but looked sharp on her takedowns and used impeccable defense to counter any attempts by Jimenez. 


53 kg: Dom Parrish over Haley Augello, 2 matches to 0

Match One: Parrish over Augello, 2-1
Match Two: Parrish over Augello, 5-2

Takeaways: Parrish faced 2016 Olympian Haley Augello who returned to competition following a four-year layoff. Augello made consistent improvements since the Bill Farrell Memorial International in November but came one step short of making her second Olympic team. Parrish made her third straight senior-level team at 53 kg. 


Hear from Dom Parrish after making the Olympic Team

57 kg: Helen Maroulis over Jacarra Winchester, 2 matches to 0

Match One: Maroulis pinned Winchester, 2:41
Match Two: Maroulis over Winchester, 6-0

Takeaways: This was the only best-of-three series that featured two returning senior-level World champions. Winchester won a silver medal at the 2023 World Championships at 55 kg for a spot in the challenge tournament semis but moved up to 57 despite talk of cutting down to 53. Maroulis controlled both matches to make her third Olympic team. 


Hear from Helen Maroulis after making the Olympic Team

62 kg: Kayla Miracle over Macey Kilty, 2 matches to 0

Match One: Miracle over Kilty, 8-5
Match Two: Miracle over Kilty, 4-1

Takeaways: This was a rematch of the best-of-three 2020 Olympic Trials finals and this year's Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier Trials. Miracle won matches one and three in the previous series but won straight matches to make her second Olympic Team. 


Hear from Kayla Miracle after making the Olympic Team

68 kg: Amit Elor over Forrest Molinari, 2 matches to 0

Match One: Elor over Molinari, 6-0
Match Two: Elor over Molinari, 2-1

Takeaways: Elor, a two-time World champion at 72 kg, outlasted Molinari, a 2021 World bronze medalist at 65 kg. Molinari gave Elor her toughest domestic match to date but it wasn’t enough to overcome Elor’s two-on-one and underhook. The 20-year-old superstar used a double in the first match for a 6-0 shutout. 


Hear from Amit Elor after making the Olympic Team

76 kg: Kennedy Blades over Adeline Gray, 2 matches to 0

Match One: Blades over Gray, 11-6
Match Two: Blades over Gray, 8-3

Takeaways: Blades won three matches in the challenge tournament and two over Gray to make the Olympic team. Gray is a six-time World champion and 2020 Olympic silver medalist who defeated Blades in straight matches at last year’s Final X. 


Hear from Kennedy Blades after making the Olympic Team

King’s Court

A quarter of the Olympic Trials finalists attended King University in Bristol, Tennessee. Hildebrandt, Augello, and Molinari were national champions and teammates for the Tornado. Simon Fraser had two wrestlers in the finals that made the Olympic team: Parrish and Maroulis. Jimenez was the lone high schooler to reach the finals. 

Mini-College Nationals

The 50 kg challenge tournament had 10 participants and eight currently compete in college. Erin Golston, who turned 31 on April 20, and Jimenez (high school) are the outliers. Iowa had three wrestlers in the bracket but Sage Mortimer finished the highest of any college-eligible athlete in the bracket. 

NCAA Finals Rematch

Iowa teammates Felicity Taylor and Brianna Gonzalez squared off at the Olympic Trials in a National Collegiate Women's Wrestling Championship finals rematch. Click here to read more about their three-match series this year.

NAIA Defeats NCAA In Mythical College Tournament At Olympic Trials…

There is an unspoken rivalry between women’s freestyle NAIA and NCAA programs. The Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) hosted an end-of-the-year championship that included teams from every division. 

The WCWA held its final tournament in 2020 as each division went separate ways, but the interdivisional competition is real. Current NAIA wrestlers won more matches against current NCAA wrestlers at the Olympic Trials. 

Below are NAIA vs NCAA match results with wrestlers who have college eligibility or completed their senior seasons in March. A wrestler’s most recent school is listed if a school is unknown. Menlo is transitioning to the NCAA but is currently an NAIA school.

NAIA Wins Over NCAA (8)
50: Mia Palumbo (William Penn) over Emilie Gonzalez (Iowa), 11-0
50: Mia Palumbo (William Penn) over Ava Bayless (Iowa), Fall 3:50
50: Mia Palumbo (William Penn) over Kendra Ryan (North Central), 2-0
57: Cristelle Rodriguez (Doane) over Alexis Janiak (Aurora), 13-2
57: Cristelle Rodriguez (Doane) over Cameron Guerin (McKendree)
62: Adaugo Nwachukwu (William Penn) over Katie Lange (Augsburg/transfer portal), 6-4
62: Adaugo Nwachukwu (William Penn) over Claire DiCugno (King), 13-3
68: Kaylynn Albrecht (Baker/undecided) over Alara Boyd (North Central), 7-0

NCAA Wins Over NAIA (4)
50: Sage Mortimer (Grand Valley State) over Mia Palumbo (William Penn), 10-2
57: Amani Jones (North Central) over Carolina Moreno (Southern Oregon), Inj. 1:42
68: Reese Larramendy (Iowa) over Kaylynn Albrecht (Baker/undecided), 8-4
76: Marylnne Deede (Iowa) over Tavia Heidelberg-Tillitson (Menlo), 10-0

…But The NCAA Had The Most Participants

NCAA programs had the most representatives at the 2024 Olympic Trials with 37 current or former wrestlers. Below is a complete breakdown. 

High School (1)
50: Audrey Jimenez (Sunnyside High School)

NCAA (32)
50: Nyla Valencia (Iowa)
50: Ava Bayless (Iowa)
50: Kaelani Shufeldt (Lock Haven)
50: Samara Chavez (King)
50: Kendra Ryan (North Central)
50: Emilie Gonzalez (Iowa)
50: Sage Mortimer (King/Grand Valley State)
50: Sarah Hildebrandt (King)
53: Vayle Baker (Augsburg/King)
53: Sydney Petzinger (North Central)
53: Haley Augello (King)
53: Felicity Taylor (McKendree/Iowa)
53: Brianna Gonzalez (Iowa)
53: Dom Parrish (Simon Fraser)
57: Cam Guerin (McKendree)
57: Shelby Moore (McKendree)
57: Amani Jones (North Central)
57: Lexi Janiak (Aurora)
57: Amanda Martinez (North Central)
62: Mallory Velte (Simon Fraser)
62: Claire DiCugno (King)
62: Ashlynn Ortega (King)
62: Katie Lange (Aubsburg)
68: Alara Boyd (McKendree/North Central)
68: Reese Larramendy (Iowa)
68: Brooklyn Hays (Augsburg)
68: Alex Glaude (McKendree)
76: Maddie Sandquist (Sacred Heart)
76: Tristan Kelly (Colorado Mesa/McKendree)
76: Yelena Makoyed (North Central)
76: Marlynne Deede (Augsburg/Iowa)
76: Kylie Welker (Iowa)

NAIA (15)
50: Mia Palumbo (Iowa Wesleyan/William Penn)
53: Amy Mason (Jamestown)
57: Bridgette Duty (Cumberlands)
57: Carolina Moreno (Southern Oregon)
57: Cristelle Rodriguez (Doane)
57: Jacarra Winchester (Missouri Valley)
62: Lauren Louive (Cumberlands)
62: Adaugo Nwachukwu (Iowa Wesleyan/William Penn)
62: Jennifer Page (Oklahoma City)
62: Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville)
68: Solin Piearcy (Menlo)
68: Kaylynn Albrecht (Baker)
68: Caitlyn Davis (Southern Oregon)
76: Dymond Guilford (Missouri Baptist/Cumberlands)
76: Precious Wieser (Menlo)

NAIA and NCAA (4)
57: Abby Nette (Emmanuel/Campbellsville)
57: Helen Maroulis (Missouri Baptist/Simon Fraser)
68: Forrest Molinari (Missouri Baptist/King)
76: Tavia Heidelberg-Tillitson (King/Menlo)

NJCAA and NCAA (1)
68: Aine Drury (Cerritos/King)

U Sports (Canada) (1)
76: Skylar Grote (Brock)

No College Wrestling Affiliation (may have attended college but didn’t wrestle for a sanctioned program) (12)
50: Erin Golston
53: Alisha Howk
53: Areana Villaescusa (WCAP)
53: Katie Gomez
57: Xochitl Mota Pettis
62: Maya Letona (Columbia)
62: SaVannah Cosme (Arizona State/Sunkist Kids)
62: Macey Kilty
68: Chloe Ogden
68: Amit Elor (Diablo Valley College)
76: Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids)
76: Adeline Gray (Colorado - Colorado Springs)