OKLAHOMA CITY – It was a fantastic end to a phenomenal season for the Menlo College Women's wrestling team. The Oaks, looking to build off of a program-best seventh place finish at nationals a year ago, did just that on Saturday afternoon in Oklahoma as they battled to a fifth place team finish. The fifth place finish is the best ever for the Oaks to headline a slew of accolades for the program. Menlo had six different individuals place and earn All-American status including: Hiba Salem (4th place 101 pounds) Cady Chessin (2nd place 116 pounds), Bianca Arizpe (7th place 123 pounds), Solin Piearcy (5th place 136 pounds), Rachael Chinn (6th place 143 pounds) and Iman Kazem (4th place 155 pounds).
Cady Chessin was on a quest to become a four-time All-American and attempt to claim a national title. She checked the All-American mark off the list with a remarkable tournament. Chessin began day one with a tech fall victory over Sidney Salinas of The University of the Cumberlands and followed that up by pinning Nathalie Barraza of Lindenwood Belleville in just 2:53. A 6-0 decision win in the quarterfinals over Christy Powell of Missouri Valley College set up a much-anticipated semifinal match against Simon Fraser's Abby Lloyd. Lloyd and Chessin have a long history against one another, dating back to last year when Lloyd handed Chessin her only regular season losses and eventually bounced Chessin from nationals. This year, Cady got the best of Lloyd, earning a thrilling 2-1 victory to punch her ticket to the finals for the second time in her storied career. She drew a big challenge in the finals in King University's Haley Augello and ultimately fell by an 8-3 decision. The impressive run marks the second time she has finished second in the nation, with the previous time coming during her sophomore season.
For the second time in her career sophomore Hiba Salem notched All-American status, finishing fourth place at 101 pounds. Salem finished in sixth place a season ago as she continues her climb up the ranks. She began the tournament with back-to-back wins via pin, each in less than 2:40 seconds. That punched her ticket into the quarterfinals where she drew Maia Phanthadara of Cumberlands whom she promptly defeated by way of a 5-2 decision to advance to the semifinals. The semifinals featured Salem and eventual national champion Marina Doi of King University. Doi shutout Salem 7-0 but Salem was not done quite yet. In the consolation semifinals Salem delivered a big 10-0 tech fall win over Rozlynn Vasquez of Wayland Baptist to advance the third place match. She fell 12-1 to Sarah Allen of Cumberlands in the third place match to claim a fourth place finish.
Another repeat All-American, senior Bianca Arizpe finished seventh at 123 pounds, improving on her eighth place finish a season ago. Arizpe won her first two matches by way of 10-0 tech falls before falling in the quarterfinals to Tarkyia Mensah of Wayland Baptist. Arizpe won two of her next three matches including an 11-0 tech fall in the seventh place match to conclude her impressive career at Menlo.
For the second time in as many years Menlo had a true freshman achieve All-American status. This year it was Solin Piearcy at 136 pounds. Piearcy finished fifth with a 4-2 overall record for the tournament. She began her first ever collegiate national tournament by winning 10-0 tech falls over her first two opponents to advance to the quarterfinals where she won when the match was cut short due to injury. Piearcy fell in the semifinals and consolation semis but got back to her winning ways in the fifth place match, downing Anna Poyner 12-2 to conclude her freshman campaign.
Earning All-American status for the first time in her career was senior Rachael Chinn. Chinn took sixth place with a 5-3 overall record for the tournament. Chen did it the hard way, dropping her second match of the day and coming all the way back through the consolation round with four consecutive wins (three via tech fall) to make it to the consolation semifinals where she ultimately fell to Desiree Zavala of Southern Oregon. Chinn ended her career on a high note when she won a high-scoring 12-6 decision over Jasmine Bailey of McKendree University in the fifth place match.
Menlo's final placer was sophomore Iman Kazem. Kazem became a two-time All-American with a fourth place finish, improving on her fifth place finish a season ago. Kazem won her first two matches by way of tech fall then lost in the quarterfinals to Kiera Gabaldon of Warner Pacific. Kazem then won three straight matches to wrestle back to the fifth place match where she again faced Gabaldon and lost via fall.
Six other Oaks picked up one or more wins at the national tournament including: Autumn Pacheco, Melanie Corderro, Dionnica Tolliver, Brittany Woods-Orrison, Marilyn Garcia, Celycia Sandoval and Christie Sandez.