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Auburn Mountainview grapplers prep for national tournaments
Former Auburn Mountainview wrestler Lilia Gudzyuk will have an opportunity to make her presence felt on the international stage on June 21.
Gudzyuk, 21, competes in the ASICS Senior U.S. World Team Trials in Stillwater, Okla., for a chance to represent the U.S. at the FILA Women’s Freestyle Wrestling World Championships in September at Budapest, Hungary.
For Gudzyuk, who wrestles at Jamestown College in North Dakota, it’s the culmination of a dream that began when she wrestled as a sophomore at Auburn Mountainview.
“I am so grateful to be able to go from high school to college,” Gudzyuk said. “(Lions coach Adam) France and the other coaches prepared me for this great opportunity. It’s great to be able to wrestle in college.”
After winning a state title as a senior, Gudzyuk moved on to Northern Michigan University to compete. An injury curtailed her first two seasons, but she rebounded after transferring to Jamestown College.
Since making the step up Gudzyuk has excelled, earning an All-American nod at the Body Bar FILA Nationals with a fourth-place finish at 155 pounds.
“It was a lot more competitive,” Gudzyuk said. “The pace is higher and you find yourself working much harder. The season is longer and you’re working out more. Everybody is fighting for the top.”
In April, Gudzyuk punched her ticket to the U.S. World Team Trials with a fourth-place finish in the 72-kilogram (158-pound) division at the ASICS U.S. Open women’s competition in Las Vegas.
Gudzyuk is training with France and the Auburn Mountainview club wrestling program.
“She’s a different breed. She started as a sophomore for us and just went full bore into it,” France said. “This last year she’s really been able to compete hard. She really has started to get her groove back. She came home after college and we’ve been training with her trying to get her ready.”
France added that he likes Gudzyuk’s chances at making the U.S. team.
“She’s so young, this is just the beginning for her. I think she has a number of years left of competing at this level,” France said. “I told her that I think this will be the last year she’ll be able to sneak up on people.”
For Gudzyuk – who has two years of college athletic eligibility left – she’s just happy to still be on the mat.
“You can pretty much wrestle in these competitions until your body gives out,” Gudzyuk said. “There are women in their 30s wrestling there. Right now I’m just trying to get as much wrestling in as I can.”
ALSO: Gudzyuk isn’t the only Lion stepping up this summer. Two Auburn Mountainview grapplers – freshman Joey Santos and sophomore David Boone – will compete in the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Freestyle and Greco National Championships on July 13-21 in Fargo, N.D.
Santos, a 132-pound grappler, was fourth in the freestyle competition at the Washington state championships, earning a spot at nationals.
Boone qualified for nationals with a third-place finish at 145 pounds in the Greco competition at the state championships.
Also appearing on the national stage is Brahm Trujillo, an eighth-grader at Rainier Middle School, who will wrestler for Auburn Mountainview next year.
Trujillo earned a berth on the Washington Schoolboy National Dual Team with 105-pound state titles in Greco and freestyle at the state championships.
Trujillo competed at the 2013 National Schoolboy Dual Team Nationals last weekend in Indianapolis, helping Team Washington finish fourth. He won his final match against Nolan Lange of Wisconsin with an 8-0 technical fall.
Trujillo, Santos and Boone compete for the 3D Wrestling club, run by France.