The National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced the regional winners of the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award (TSHSEA).
First presented in 2014, the TSHSEA is named for Tricia Saunders, a four-time World Champion and women’s wrestling pioneer. Saunders was the first woman to be inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006 and was inducted into the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.
The TSHSEA recognizes and celebrates the nation’s most outstanding high school senior female wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship, and community service.
The national winner of the TSHSEA will be announced on May 26. Regional winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award will be announced on Thursday and the national winner on May 28.
For the third consecutive year, the Hall of Fame recognized a record number of state winners with 46, up from 35 winners in 2019 and 32 winners in 2018.
Winners are evaluated and selected on the basis of three criteria: success and standout performances and sportsmanship in wrestling; review of GPA and class rank, academic honors and distinctions; and participation in activities that demonstrate commitment to character and community.
The regions and the states that they are comprised of are:
West (11) – Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
Midwest (10) – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Central (7) – Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
Southeast (10) – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia
Northeast (8) – Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island
2020 Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award Regional Winners
Central Region: Camille Fournier of Weatherford, Texas, is a three-time Texas girls state folkstyle champion and a four-time finalist. Ranked third at 117 pounds in the National Girls High School Rankings, she has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Texas Wesleyan University. The daughter of Mervin and Alicia Fournier, she was the Weatherford High School Wrestler of the Year all four years and served as team captain as a junior and senior. She was named Most Outstanding Wrestler for the University Interscholastic League 6A Regional and the 6A Girls State in 2019. Fournier was also named High School Spotlight Athlete of the Year by Fox Sports Southwest and is a nominee for USA Today’s Dallas Wrestler of the Year. She finished fifth in the senior division at the 2020 Lady Klippan Open. Fournier finished third at Fargo and at the UWW Freestyle Cadet Nationals in 2019. She was the 2018 USA Wrestling Cadet Folkstyle Nationals champion and USMC Folkstyle champion while finishing second at Fargo, fourth at the Junior Folkstyle Nationals and eighth at the 2018 UWW Cadet Nationals. Fournier won a bronze medal at the 2016 Schoolgirl Pan American Championships. A member of the National Society of High School Scholars, she volunteers at Northside Baptist Church and is a leader assistant for Revive Class, which helps children with special needs.
Midwest Region: Leilah Castro of New Lexington, Ohio, won the 121-pound state title at the inaugural Ohio girls wrestling state tournament in 2020 and was named Outstanding Wrestler after pinning every opponent. The daughter of Josh and Angie Castro, she was selected to be the inaugural recipient of the Toccara Montgomery Most Outstanding Wrestler Award from the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association. Castro finished second in the boys league conference tournament in 2019 and qualified for the boys district tournament in 2018. Ranked third at 122 pounds in the National Girls High School Rankings, Castro has verbally committed to Campbellsville University. She won the USA Folkstyle Nationals in 2019 and finished fifth at the 2018 Cadet World Championships. Castro was a two-time Super 32 champion and also lettered in soccer for New Lexington High School, where she was team captain and named Most Valuable Player. A member of the National Honor Society, she received a Perry County proclamation from Mayor Trent Thompson and was honored by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio.
Northeast Region: Mia Macaluso of Otisville, New York is a two-time girls New York Public Schools Athletic League state champion and a three-time New York State freestyle state champion. Ranked second at 127 pounds in the National Girls High School Rankings, she has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at East Stroudsburg University. The daughter of Heath and Nikki Macaluso, she finished fourth at the boys 2020 Section IX, becoming the first girl in the section to make semifinals. She won the Woodlands Varsity boys tournament, earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honors, and the Gene Brigham tournament, becoming the first girl in Section IX to win a varsity tournament. Macaluso was the first girl in history to make the Minisink Valley High School varsity team, lettering five years, and helping the team win the 2020 NYS Championship D1 boys dual team title and the Section IX D1 boys dual team title in 2018, 2019 and 2020. She received the Robert Feldmeier Award from the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for being the outstanding female wrestler in NYS. Macaluso won a gold medal and the Golden Boot, awarded to the Outstanding Wrestler, at the 2019 Pan American Cadet Championships and a bronze medal at the 2019 Pan American Junior Championships. Macaluso won a silver medal at the 2019 Austrian Flatz Open and also competed in the German Open and the Russian Open. She won the Cadet title at Fargo and the USA Folkstyle Nationals in 2018 and finished second at USA Folkstyle Nationals and fourth at Fargo in 2019. Macaluso won the NYS-USA freestyle state championship three times and was the 2019 National High School Coaches Association national champion. She also started four years on the varsity lacrosse team and played on the varsity soccer team since eighth grade. Macaluso is a member of Future Business Leaders of America and “Study Buddies,” an after-school club where high school students assist middle, intermediate and elementary school teachers in the classroom.
Southeast Region: Jessica Corredor of Orlando, Florida, was a two-time state champion and a four-time state finalist for Dr. Phillips High School. Ranked seventh at 100 pounds in the National Girls High School Rankings, she has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Missouri Baptist University. The daughter of Carlos and Dianna Robles, Corredor finished seventh at the 2017 UWW Cadet Nationals and sixth at the 2018 UWW Cadet Nationals while finishing second at the 2019 Wyoming Seminary International. She won the 2018 Gotham Open and finished fourth in 2019 while finishing second at the Super 32 in 2019 after a sixth-place finish in 2017. Corredor was team captain for two years and received the Dr. Phillips High School Female Sportsmanship award. She also lettered four years in weightlifting, setting the school bench press record for 101-pound and 110-pound weight classes while capturing district and regional titles and qualifying for state twice. Corredor assisted and tutored special needs students while also working on school sock and school supply drives.
West Region: Nanea Estrella of Makawao, Hawaii, was a four-time state champion for Lahainaluna High School. Ranked second at 132 pounds in the National Girls High School Rankings, she has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Menlo College. The daughter of Isaac and Johanna Estrella, she had runner-up finishes at the Cadet Nationals in 2018 and the Junior Nationals in 2019, and won both freestyle and Greco-Roman at the 2019 Western Regionals. She earned a triple crown and was named Outstanding Wrestler in Greco-Roman at the Turf Wars in Pocatello, Idaho, and placed third at the 2019 Cadet World Team trials. Estrella was team captain for three years and has been ranked in the Top 10 nationally since her sophomore year. She also lettered in track and field and was a two-time Hawaii state qualifier in the 4×100-meter relay, 4×400-meter relay, 400-meter dash, 200-meter dash and long jump. Estrella tutored fourth-grade students and is also a member of Lahainaluna High School’s Aloha Club, which performs community outreach activities including beach cleanups, food drives and preparing and serving meals to the homeless. She is also a finalist for the 2020 Pele Award, which honors creative excellence in the art of advertising and design. Estrella submitted a PSA video called “Don’t Be A Drip” about water conservation. She has received the A&B scholar athlete award and is a CTE pathway completer in broadcast media.
Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing high school sports and there are more than 27,000 female high school wrestlers competing across the nation.
From 1998-2015 there were six states with a sanctioned girls state wrestling championship: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Since 2015, 16 additional states have created an official girls wrestling state championships, or have started the path leading to official sanction: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah.
Georgia, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri and New Jersey held their first official state championship in 2018-19 while Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland and New Mexico held an official state championship for 2019-20. Colorado voted for a two-year pilot program for 2018-19 with an official state championship for 2020-21. Arizona voted girls wrestling as an emerging sport for 2018-19 and will host an official state championship in 2020-21. Connecticut held a girls wrestling invitational tournament in 2019-20.
Sixteen states have held unofficial girls state championships, organized and run by coaches, state wrestling associations or officials associations. The 16 states with unofficial girls state championships are: Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
There are 81 intercollegiate women’s wrestling teams. The NCAA has approved “Emerging Sport Status” for women’s wrestling at the Division II and Division III levels, and women’s wrestling supporters are hopeful that it will approve it for Division I this summer. The NAIA also recognizes women’s wrestling as an emerging sport.
The Hall of Fame accepts nominations for its high school excellence awards from state chapters and coaches. The nominations are reviewed by a committee, which selects state and regional winners. The committee then determines the national winners from the regional winners.
2020 Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award State Winners
State – Name, High School, Hometown, College Attending
Alabama – Shelby Fugate, Russell County High School, Fort Mitchell, Central Methodist University
Alaska – Rayana Vigil, Homer High School, Fritz Creek, Southern Oregon University
Arizona – Stefana Jelacic, Chandler High School, Fountain Hills, Lourdes University
Arkansas – Riley Holman, Pulaski Academy College Preparatory School, Little Rock
California – Francesca LoPresti, Albany High School, Richmond
Colorado – Tristan Kelly, Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, Erie, Colorado Mesa
Connecticut – Lilly Schwartz, Northwestern Regional School District No. 7, Salisbury
Florida – Jessica Corredor, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Missouri Baptist University
Georgia – Tiyhana Askew, Collins Hill High School, Lawrenceville, Emmanuel College
Hawaii – Nanea Estrella, Lahainaluna High School, Makawao, Menlo College
Idaho – Payton Lanningham, Columbia High School, Nampa
Illinois – Louisa Schwab, Joliet West High School, Plainfield, Menlo College
Indiana – Larresha Bryant-Coleman, New Haven Jr./Sr. High School, Ft. Wayne
Iowa – Tateum Park, Davenport North High School, Davenport
Kansas – Elisa Robinson, Junction City High School, Junction City
Kentucky – Savanna Bacon, Union County High School, Sturgis, University of the Cumberlands
Louisiana – Anya Broussard, University View Academy, Baton Rouge, Wayne State University
Maryland – Maggie Palmore, Northwest High School, Germantown
Massachusetts – Marisol Nugent, Phillips Academy Andover, Boxford, Lehigh University
Michigan – Rayana Sahagun, Sparta High School, Rockford, University of Jamestown
Minnesota – Kya Rybacheck, Hibbing High School, Mountain Iron, Augsburg University
Missouri – Autumn Flanigan, Troy Buchanan High School, Troy, Augsburg University
Montana – Brooke Cicierski, Billings West High School, Billings, University of Providence
Nebraska – Jerzie Menke, Bridgeport High School, Bridgeport
Nevada – Tehani Soares, Shadow Ridge High School, Las Vegas, Indiana Tech
New Hampshire – Shandria Waters, Keene High School, Surry, East Stroudsburg University
New Jersey – Jewel Gonzalez, Phillipsburg High School, Phillipsburg, Gannon University
New Mexico – Selvi Gallegos, Sandia High School, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City University
New York – Mia Macaluso, Minisink Valley High School, Otisville, East Stroudsburg University
North Carolina – Brooklyn Hermel, Havelock High School, Havelock, Oklahoma City University
North Dakota – Sierra Ramberg, West Fargo High School, Fargo
Ohio – Leilah Castro, New Lexington High School, New Lexington, Campbellsville University
Oklahoma – Janene Perry, Stilwell High School, Welling
Oregon – Olivia Robinson, Glencoe High School, Hillsboro, Eastern Oregon University
Pennsylvania – Caitlyn Walker, Wyoming Seminary Prep School, Hatboro, Columbia University
Rhode Island – Amber Aguilar, Central Falls High School, Central Falls
South Carolina – Elisha Thaxton, West-Oak High School, Westminster
South Dakota – Alisha Van Scoy, Stevens High School, Rapid City, University of Saint Mary
Tennessee – Emma Walker, Rossview High School, Clarksville, Campbellsville University
Texas – Camille Fournier, Weatherford High School, Weatherford, Texas Wesleyan University
Utah – Kathleen Janis, Layton High School, Layton, King University
Virginia – Elizabeth Dosado, Caroline High School, Ruther Glen, University of the Cumberlands
Washington – Molly Williams, Redmond High School, Redmond
West Virginia – Samantha Miller, Parkersburg South High School, Parkersburg, Presbyterian College
Wisconsin – Marta Jasperson, Hudson Senior High School, Hudson
Wyoming – Charmayne DeLong, Moorcroft High School, Weston, Indiana Tech University
All-Time National Winners of Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award
2019 – Emily Shilson, Mounds View High School, North Oaks, Minnesota
2018 – Alleida Martinez, Selma High School, Selma, California
2017 – Cierra Foster, Post Falls High School, Post Falls, Idaho
2016 – Katie Brock, Sequatchie County High School, Whitwell, Tennessee
2015 – Marizza Birrueta, Grandview High School, Grandview, Washington
2014 – Marina Doi, Kingsburg High School, Kingsburg, California