Photo by John Sachs
Photo by John Sachs

If you have spent much time following wrestling you have undoubtedly heard of the coveted “Junior Triple Crown”. This is a rare occurrence in which a Junior-level-athlete wins, in the same season:

USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals

USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Nationals (Fargo)

USA Wrestling Freestyle Nationals (Fargo)

It is an amazing accomplishment with a short list of members who have achieved this level of success.

Female wrestlers (who do not currently have the opportunity to wrestle Greco-Roman) have their own “Junior Women’s Triple Crown” with an even shorter list of athletes who have accomplished the goal.

Winning the following three events in the same season has been dubbed the “Junior Women’s Triple Crown”:

USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals

UWW Freestyle Nationals/Body Bar (World Team Trials)-Junior Only

USA Wrestling Freestyle Nationals (Fargo)

To accomplish the “Junior Women’s Triple Crown”, the athlete must win the national championship in traditional folkstyle, as well as the national championship in freestyle (Fargo). To add to the difficulty, the wrestler must also win the UWW freestyle national championship at the Junior level to make the World Team. The UWW age groups are different from USA Wrestling, so a Junior level victory at UWW Freestyle Nationals pits high schoolers against a field of college-age wrestlers.

The “Junior Women’s Triple Crown” has been in existence since the addition of the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals, which added a women’s division in 2008.

In the nine years of the Triple Crown, there have been only seven athletes who have accomplished this goal, three of which did so in the very first year. The “Junior Women’s Triple Crown” winners have been:

Helen Maroulis-2008

Tatiana Padilla-2008

Adeline Gray-2008

Cody Pfau-2013

Marina Doi-2014

Becka Leathers-2015

Rachel Watters-2016

Photo by John Sachs
Photo by John Sachs

To bolster the significance of the “Junior Women’s Triple Crown”, two past winners will be competing within the next few days in the Olympic Games (Helen Maroulis, Adeline Gray) and a third winner (Becka Leathers) is currently in Rio as the training partner for Olympian, Haley Augello. In addition, the last three “Junior Women’s Triple Crown” winners (Marina Doi, Becka Leathers, Rachel Watters) will all be competing at the UWW Junior World Championships later this month in Macon, France.

While completing the “Junior Women’s Triple Crown” does not guarantee success at the highest level, it does point to an elite group of wrestlers with impressive resumes; wrestlers who have gone on to great accomplishments in women’s wrestling.

As Iowans it is extra special to see one of our own, Rachel Watters accomplish the “Junior Women’s Triple Crown” this year.

Coming off of an exciting High School Folkstyle season, Watters won her sectional middle weight (145 pound) title wrestling for Ballard High School. Watters followed the season up with a 159 pound USA Wrestling Folkstyle National Championship in March, a top-six finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April, a UWW World Team Trials National Freestyle Championship in May at 72 kg (158.75 pounds), and a 159 pound USA Wrestling Freestyle National Championship (Fargo) in July. Watters’ became only the seventh athlete to obtain the “Junior Women’s Triple Crown”.

Rachel Watters leaves for Oklahoma City University on Monday where she will compete for the Stars at 155 pounds.




One thought on “Junior Women’s Triple Crown Places Watters In Good Company”

Comments are closed.