By MICHAEL LETENDRE
Once again, Bristol Eastern grappler Ella Nichols is making waves on the spring wrestling circuit and was off to an impressive performance at tournaments in Irving, Texas over the weekend of May 10-12. The soon to be sophomore qualified for a spot the United States Pan American Team.
At the 2019 USA Wrestling Women’s Freestyle National Championships, Nichols took second and third place in two tournaments – earning All-American honors at both competitions.
She finished second in the U.S. Cadet World Team Trails tournament at 65 kilograms and took third in the Under-15 competition at 145 pounds.
The Cadet program, with grapplers aged 14-17 competing, saw Nichols go undefeated to advance to the 65 kilogram championship round.
Nichols went 4-0, earning her way into a best-of-3 final against one of the top grapplers in the country.
She started the tournament with a 11-0 technical fall over Oklahoma’s Aliana Barnoski and then earned a 2-1 win against Hannah Strauss of Illinois.
Nichols moved on to the quarterfinal round and was able to top Missouri’s Jazzmine Seely by a 12-2 tech fall and then in a semifinals showdown, she pinned California’s Beyoncé Garcia in only 21 seconds to punch her ticket to the finals.
In the championship showdown, Nichols grappled against Lillian Freitas – a nationally ranked competitor from California.
The Mum City favorite fell to Freitas via pin (0:34) and then by a 10-0 technical fall but despite the ending, several doors opened for Nichols to expand her season into the late spring with her second place finish.
And then in the Under-15 event, Nichols won four of her five bouts – three of which were victories via pin-fall.
Nichols wrestled her way into the semifinals, fell via pin fall to Minnesota’s Ella Pagel (3:44) but was able to earn the win in the consolation round.
Nichols earned third place as she picked up a 3-1 decision over Plainville’s Dakota Marie Dinielli.
Off those excellent finishes, Nichols will join the U.S. Pan American wrestling team as the squad will compete in Mexico over the month of June.
Also, in the 9-and-under division, Bristol’s Ava Guilmette (85 pounds) was crowned a national champion off her outstanding effort.
To win the title at 85 pounds, Guilmette captured the victory by pinning Arizona’s Angela Lopez in just 18 seconds.
2019 WOMEN’S NATIONALS – CADET WORLD TEAM TRIALS
from Irving, Texas, May 10-12
First Place – Lillian Freitas (Team California) defeated Ella Nichols (Team Connecticut), two matches to none
Round one: Freitas pin Nichols, 0:34
Round two: Freitas tech fall Nichols, 10-0
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.