Published: August 3, 2013
Veronica Carlson walked into Saturday's U.S. World Team Wrestle-Off focused and it showed.
"I decided to do what I needed to do personally to be ready leading up to this," said Carlson, who skipped some earlier tournaments to heal from shoulder and elbow injuries. "The focus isn't so much the injuries but getting the mindset I needed."
The gamble - relying on her last and only chance at qualifying for the world championships in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 18-20 - did not look like one.
The U.S. Olympic Training Center resident dismantled Jackie Cataline of Long Beach, Calif., 8-0 and 7-0 to sweep the best-of-three series at 147? pounds to advance.
Carlson, 130-pounder Alli Ragan of Carbondale, Ill., and Victoria Anthony, 112?, of Huntington Beach, Calif., all won in two matches to claim the final three spots on the U.S. team. All three are first-time qualifiers, joining four others with world championship medals on their resume.
Most of the 27 wrestling Saturday at Palmer High School were moving up or down a weight class to give themselves another shot at the world team.
"I really think this second trials gives us our best team," national team coach Terry Steiner said. "I like the makeup of the team. We have some tough individuals."
Ragan recorded a two-point takedown with 35 seconds left in her opening match against OTC resident Erin Clodgo to pull out a 6-5 win. She cruised to an 8-0 victory in the second bout for the sweep.
"She's definitely someone you cannot underestimate," said Ragan, who had wrestled Clodgo at 138.75 pounds in the past. "I knew I had to keep moving or she would make her move."
Carlson and Ragan both came in as top seeds, receiving automatic championship series berths.
Anthony had to battle her way through the morning challenge tournament, recording three wins before downing top seed Jessica Medina 5-3 and 6-1.
"It (winning three earlier matches) helped me," said Anthony, who moved up from 105? pounds. "It helped me get my mind right."
Now, it's just a matter of getting her head around making her first world team.
"It may take a little while," Anthony said.
It didn't for Carlson, who was already focused on Budapest moments after her victory.
"I was confident I would win today and I am confident I will medal at worlds," she said.