The Lady Oaks opened their 2011-12 season with arguably their toughest challenge of the year, the Sunkist International Open in Mesa, Arizona. The Olympic Qualifying Tournament saw wrestlers from all across the world grace the mats, putting up impressive showings throughout the entire day.
As far as Menlo was concerned, the Lady Oaks were able to compile a few solid showings throughout the afternoon in preparation for the rest of the season. "We knew Sunkist was going to be hard, but it can highlight our flaws," commented Menlo Head Coach Marcie VanDusen. "It was good that we hit this tournament this early in the season."
Among the highlights, freshman Brazel Marquez was the only Lady Oak to earn two victories, taking out Lindenwood's Priscilla Caldera before beating Air Force's Kaleolani Souza in the 55kg consolation bracket. In the same bracket, Menlo's Vanessa Gonzalez picked up a victory against fellow teammate Zhavon Resendez.
The Oaks were also the beneficiary of a stellar performance from Michelle Jimenez who came out on top in her first match against OCU's Brianna Rahall in the 48kg bracket.
Menlo's difficult day should help them going forward, just as the aforementioned VanDusen who took a "big picture" attitude. "This tournament should serve as motivation for our girls," claimed VanDusen on the significance of the afternoon. "We had a chance to go against top level wrestlers."
The Lady Oaks will look to build off Sunkist as they travel to Missouri Valley College this Friday, November 4th. The team will hit the mats at 7:00pm.