UP senior first national champion in wrestling

Ira Navarro defeated teammate Erin Hikiji in the title match at 101-lbs on March 11 at the NAIA Women’s National Championships in Jamestown, N.D. to claim the first national championship for the University of Providence.

Navarro was sixth last season and wrestled all year as the top-ranked women at 101-lbs., finishing her title run with a 10-0 decision over Hikiji, according to UP.

The senior from Ewa Beach, Hawaii earned the first title in school history for women’s wrestling and ended her season with an 18-2 record.

Hikiji, a freshman from Mililana, Hawaii, ended her season 33-5.

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Both wrestlers also earned All-America status, according to UP.

Ashley Gooman was upset in the semifinals and the No. 1-ranked woman at 116 took third place. The senior from Ewa Beach, Hawaii finishes as an All-American with a record of 25-4, according to UP.

Taking fourth place and becoming an All-American at 130-lbs., was Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp.

The junior from Kahului, Hawaii, upset the No. 3-seed to reach the semifinals where she fell to the second-seeded Sarah Savidge of Life University in Georgia, then fell to Cristelle Rodriguez to finish 17-6 on the year, according to UP.

The No. 3-seed from UP at 136-lbs., Paige Respicio was upset in the quarterfinals and ended up in 7th place. Respicio is a junior from Ewa Beach, Hawaii and went 21-8 overall to became an All-American.

Lexi Tupuloa, a junior from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, earned All-American status at 191 finishing 8th overall.

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The six All-Americans sets a record for the UP women’s team which finished 5th at nationals with 102 points, the highest finish in school history, according to a UP release.

Southern Oregon claimed the National Championship with 160 points. The Raiders were followed by Life University with 139.5, Grand View, Iowa, with 123.5 points with Menlo College, Calif., in fourth with 123 points.

Three other Argos competed at the national championships with Sadie Antoque (155), Alyssa Poe-Hatten (109) and Alicia Frank (123) each losing out in the consolation bracket.

After the performance by the Argos, head coach Matt Atwood said in a release, “I am extremely proud of the girls this weekend. They gave an outstanding performance. They were able to make school history again this year with the most All-Americans in school history, highest team finish in school history and first ever national champion in school history. I still think we have not even scratched the surface of what this team is capable of in future years. We have had great leadership from our two senior captains Ashley and Ira, and we are returning four All-Americans, the team is still young and growing. I am already excited to see what next year looks like.”

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 Atwood said, “Ira winning a national title is well deserved. She has been one of the hardest workers in our room over the past three years, she is every coach’s dream athlete. Works extremely hard, does all the right things, maintains near a 4.0, and has amazing character and leadership. She is going to be greatly missed.”