Menlo College freshman Lauren Richardson made sure her year ended on a high note.
Richardson won the 109-pound weight class at the Menlo Open women's wrestling tournament Saturday, helping the Oaks finish third in the team standings behind top-ranked Oklahoma City University and Simon Fraser.
She had to beat Oklahoma City's Kristi Garr, one of the nation's elite wrestlers, to do it.
"It felt really good knowing that I can beat some of the top wrestlers," Richardson said. "It's definitely a confidence booster as I set my sights on Nationals."
Confidence has been the key for Richardson according to Menlo coach and former U.S. national team member Marcie Van Dusen.
"The biggest improvement for Lauren was gaining more confidence," Van Dusen said. "She has always had the ability, but today she believed in herself and wrestled as if she had nothing to lose."
Menlo also received strong performances from freshmen Kalin Knight-Alvarez and Jasmine Yanez, and sophomore Michelle Jimenez.
Knight-Alvarez ended the afternoon with a third place finish while Yanez and Jimenez took fourth place honors.
"As a whole we are continuing to improve and make a lot less mistakes," Van Dusen said. "Moving into Nationals I think we are in a good position. Our biggest challenge will be trying to focus day in and day out."