Sophomore Cady Chessin leads a group of Menlo wrestlers into this weekend's NWCA national championship, which opens Friday at Missouri Baptist in Marshall, MO.
Chessin has won all but two of her bouts this season, including winning four by technical fall in winning her division at the recently concluded Bearcat Open in Illinois.
Cady Chessin/Menlo Athletics
The Oaks enter competition ranked 13th in the nation. Four wrestlers are among the top 10 in their respective divisions.
Chessin, last year's national runner-up at 127 pounds, is ranked seventh.
"Cady has a tough weight class and will have a tough road to the finals but she has only lost two matches this year and is well-prepared to make a run," Menlo coach Joey Bareng said.
Knight-Alvarez, an All-American at Menlo two years ago, placed third at the nationals last year competing for Missouri Baptist. Returning to Menlo this season, she enters the weekend ranked fifth at 116 pounds.
"I feel great and have been training hard and really sharpening my mental game all season long," Knight-Alvarez said. "I'm going into nationals focusing on one match at a time and looking to put on a show, wrestle my best and put myself on the top of the podium."
A key point for her this year is focusing on the small things and allowing herself to compete at the level she knows she's capable of.
"I'm really just trying not to put as much pressure on myself as I have in past years," Knight-Alvarez said. "I know I can battle with the best wrestlers in the country. I've lost to a few competitors by a few points because I made little mistakes. I've been working on fixing those and believe that will make all the difference in those tough matches."
Added said Bareng: "Kalin started off fast this season and blew through a lot of her competition. She only has three losses this year, one that she has already avenged and the other two were by one point. She stands to have tough quarter and semifinal matches but I think she has a good chance to go far this weekend."
Senior Jessica Marso currently sits at ninth at 109 pounds and sophomore Rachel Chinn is 10th at 155 pounds.
Senior Lauren Richardson and sophomore Bianca Arizpe will also be competing.
"I feel really comfortable with where we are at as a team right now," Bareng said. "The girls have been working really hard and we have two wrestlers seeded in the top six with 14 total wrestlers competing. Our goal is a top 10 finish."