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Champion adds 11 in first recruiting class

Southern Oregon University's first class of women's wrestlers is official, as head coach Tony Champion has announced 11 student-athletes who have arrived on campus for the fall and the 2015-16 season.

Since announcing the program's first-ever recruit, Ashland High's Sydney Norvell, in early Apil, Champion signed 10 others to letters of intent: freshmen Jessica DeHart, Alejandra Rodriguez, Chloe Spencer, Latiana Tauaese and Shawnee Wallace; sophomores KT Grissom, Jasmine Ivey, Madelynn McIlwain and Tenaya Raives; and junior Kal Holliday.

"This team contains a lot of experience for being so young," Champion said. "There are several nationally-known wrestlers along with a few unknowns who will certainly be capable of making a splash in the women's ranks.

"With a lot of hard work, focus and commitment, the team could turn in a positive performance in the regular season and possibly into the postseason."

Following the Red & Black Intrasquad on Nov. 4, SOU's first dual meet is set for Nov. 6 against Menlo at Riehm Arena. The National Wrestling Coaches Association Women's Championships will start on March 11 in Houston, Texas.

Jessica DeHart, Hood River, Ore./Hood River High

Of note: DeHart became an All-American for the third time this summer at the Cadet/Junior National Wrestling Championships in Fargo, N.D. Earlier this spring, she was named the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award-winner that recognizes the top women's wrestler in the state. The 110-pounder won four consecutive OSAA women's state championships at Hood River and was also honored as the 2015 Oregon Wrestling Forum Wrestler of the Year and took the Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete award.

KT Grissom, Red Bluff, Calif./Red Bluff High

Of note: Grissom lettered at Red Bluff as a freshman and a senior. She arrived at SOU last fall as a 16-year-old freshman after graduating high school a year early.

Kal Holliday, San Diego, Calif./West Hills High/Rogue C.C.

Of note: Holliday has recently made waves in the mixed martial arts community with an amateur record of 6-0, including two titles in the bantamweight (135-pound) division and one most recently in the strawweight (115-pound) division. She graduated from West Hills High in 2007 and attended Rogue Community College the last two years.

Jasmine Ivey, Lathrop, Calif./Lathrop High/U. of Oregon

Of note: Ivey took a year off from wrestling while attending U of O last year, but had a decorated prep career at Lathrop High. As a senior she was named Lathrop's female athlete of the year, placing third at the state championships for the second straight year and winning the USA Freestyle state title. Ivey was also on the honor roll five times and a member of the Kiwanis Academic Excellence Club.

Madelynn McIlwain, Washougal, Wash./Washougal High/Oklahoma City U.

Of note: As a freshman at Oklahoma City University in 2010-11, McIlwain was a regular starter at 112 pounds for a team that won the national title. She went 12-13 overall. Prior to that, she won the 112-pound state title as a senior at Washougal High with a 31-4 record that included 28 pins. Overall, she was a three-time state qualifier.

Tenaya Raives, San Rafael, Calif./San Rafael High

Of note: Raives came to SOU out of high school after graduating from San Rafael High in 2014. There, Raives was a four-year scholar athlete, placed fourth at the California Interscholastic Federation Championships as a senior and received the CIF sportsmanship award.

Alejandra Rodriguez, Granger, Wash./Granger High

Of note: Rodriguez qualified for the Washington state championships four times as a prep, placing fifth at 145 pounds as a sophomore, second at 137 as a junior, and fourth at 135 as a senior. During her last two seasons, she posted a combined record of 57-6. At the World of Wrestling Reno World Championships this summer, Rodriguez won the 135-pound title and was named the 18-and-under girls MVP.

Chloe Spencer, Ephrata, Wash./Ephrata High

Of note: Spencer placed third this summer to become an All-American at the Cadet/Junior National Wrestling Championships in Fargo at 130 pounds, a year after reaching the quarterfinals at Fargo. She was a two-time state placer at Ephrata High.

Latiana Tauaese, Tacoma, Wash./Stadium High

Of note: Tauaese is a two-time champion at 170 pounds at the Reno World Championships. She has also been a part of the U.S. Women's Wrestling program.

Shawnee Wallace, Gold Beach, Ore./Gold Beach

Of note: In 2012, Wallace became the state of Oregon's first four-time women's wrestling champion. Now active in the ROTC program at SOU, she had been off the mat since high school while attending beauty school.