After executing the most shocking title run of any anyone at the NAIA Championships, Southern Oregon’s Grace Kristoff has been selected as the Cascade Conference Rize Laboratory Women’s Wrestler of the Year on a vote by the CCC’s coaches.
Kristoff won the NAIA’s 191-pound championship as the No. 10 seed in her bracket last Saturday in North Dakota, pushing the Raiders over the top as they captured their first team national title.
Her run included upsets of the Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 7 seeds, three of which she pinned. In the championship match, she completed a win by fall over No. 5 Jaycee Foeller with one second left in the final period.
“Grace is a perfect example of what I want this program to be – she’s a great person on and off the mat, and can brighten any room with her smile and personality,” SOU coach Gabrielle Weyhrich said. “Many were calling her the dark horse of the NAIA Championships, but to me she finished right where she was supposed to: on top of the podium. I’ve watched her every day in the practice room for years and I am so happy she was finally able to show everyone else her full potential. Proud is an understatement.”
Kristoff joined SOU as a graduate student after competing and earning All-America status at McKendree (Ill.), where Weyhrich was an assistant coach, from 2018-22.
She went 22-5 overall for the Raiders and finished second at the Cascade Conference Championships. There, she lost the first-place match to Menlo (Calif.)’s Tavia Heidelberg-Tillotson – against whom she would eventually get her revenge in the national semifinal round.
Kristoff was also perfect in three outings at the NWCA National Duals. She won dual-clinching matches in the semifinals against Menlo and in the finals against Grand View (Iowa), helping the Raiders also win that championship.
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