Culver Academies product and former Outstanding Student Athlete Kayla Miracle competed in her first senior level Team USA event this week, at the 2014 Pan American Senior Women's Wrestling Championships in Mexico City.
Her run came to an end on Thursday, and while she did not make it onto the podium, she did help Team USA take home second place and the silver cup.
The following is a release from Campbellsville University, where Miracle is an incoming freshman:
Campbellsville University incoming freshman Kayla Miracle fell short of the podium individually but helped Team USA take home the silver cup at the 2014 Pan American Senior Women's Wrestling Championships Thursday, July 16.
Miracle, the youngest member of Team USA's Senior Pan Am roster, opened the day with a quick, 14-second pin over Claudia Garcia of Nicaragua during qualifying. The win set up a quarterfinal against defending Pan Am gold medalist Yaquelin Estornell of Cuba.
Estornell took a 2-0 lead with a takedown in 29 seconds, but Miracle challenged and quickly escaped a close second takedown to make it 4-1. Down 6-1 entering the second period, Miracle threw Estornell for a takedown and picked up a passivity point to pull within 6-4. Miracle ran out of time to even the score and was left her fate in Estornell's hands.
If the Cuban star made a repeat trip to the finals, then Miracle would have been pulled back into the repecharge bracket, but Estornell was pinned and upset late in her semifinal against eventual runner-up Yanet Sovero of Peru.
The upset ended Miracle's first senior level Team USA event.
"I'm young and new to the senior level, so I'm just trying to stay positive by learning something new every match and continuing to improve. Most importantly, I'm remembering to have fun and soak up the experience I have been blessed with," she said.
Campbellsville University head coach Lee Miracle helped coach his daughter Kayla during the tournament and was pleased with the performance, which was streamed live via FILA Wrestling.
"Kayla wrestled very well pinning Nicaragua in 14 seconds then losing a tough bout to Cuba," Coach Miracle said. "The top half of the bracket was loaded. There is no seeding here. It is always a random draw. Your draw can decide whether you medal or not. The only way to defend against a bad draw is to be the very best, and that is what we are working toward."
Team USA went on to finish second in the team standings with 54 points. Canada won the championship with 60 team points, and Colombia was third with 52 points.
USA had five individual medalists, led by 48kg gold medalist Victoria Anthony, who beat Campbellsville's Breonnah Neal in January for the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) national title. Four individuals took bronze medals in their weights: Haley Augello (53kg), Cheyenne Youngblood (60kg), Julia Salata (69kg) and Victoria Francis (75kg).
Miracle will now travel to Fargo, N.D. to compete in the USA Senior Women's World Team Trials for the non-Olympic weight of 60kg on Saturday, July 19 and then will compete in the ASICS/Vaughan Junior National Freestyle Championships July 21-22.