Litchfield native Victoria Francis is one of six captains for USA Wrestling’s Captains’ Cup, presented by Titan Mercury Wrestling Club on Feb. 13-14, in Iowa City, IA.
The event will feature six teams of elite women’s freestyle wrestlers from the United States competing for $50,000 in prize money. Each team will have six athletes, covering the six Olympic weight classes in women’s freestyle.
“I am fired up about Captains’ Cup and honored to be a captain,” Francis said. “I love having the opportunity to be a leader to this team and believe we have the right athletes to make this a winning team.”
Francis, a two-time Senior World Team member and 2016 Olympic trials runner-up, picked fifth in the Captains’ draft on Jan. 23, which also included world champions Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Jacarra Winchester, world silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt and fellow world team members Kayla Miracle and Jenna Burket. In addition to drafting her team, Francis will also be competing in the dual team event at 76 kg.
Francis drafted Emily Shilson at 50 kg, Peyton Prussin at 53 kg, Desiree Zavala at 57 kg, Emma Bruntil at 62 kg and Skylar Grote at 68 kg. Francis’ coach, Ashley Sword of Life University, will be the coach of Team Francis.
While the team is young, with Francis the only member not in college currently, they are far from inexperienced.
“Other than myself, the team is loaded with college athletes who are accustomed to the dual meet format and who are hungry to make a name for themselves on the senior level,” Francis said.
Shilson is a two-time U23 national champion, a 2020 junior national champion and the 2018 cadet world champion. Prussin, who Francis helps coach at Life University, was fifth at the 2019 U.S. Open, while Zavala was the U23 national champion in 2020.
Bruntil wrestles just down the road at McKendree University in Lebanon and was a 2020 women’s college national champion and a 2019 senior nationals champion. Grote, Francis’ first pick and a 2020 U23 national champion, rounds out the list for Team Francis.
Francis, who was ranked second in FloWrestling rankings at 76 kg, also hit the mats on Tuesday, Jan. 26, competing against Dymond Guilford, a sophomore at Missouri Baptist University and the third ranked wrestler at 76 kg. Guilford would eek out a 4-2 win over Francis in the event, which was hosted by the Pittsburgh Wrestling Club.
Francis will get another chance at Guilford in the Captains’ Cup as the U23 national champion was the first overall pick for Team Mensah-Stock, who joins Team Hildebrandt and Team Francis in Pool B.
On Feb. 13, Team Francis will wrestle back-to-back, facing Team Hildebrandt at 7 p.m., then Team Mensah-Stock at 8 p.m. Day two of the event will see the crossover between the two pools, with the third place teams wrestling for fifth and sixth, the second place teams wrestling for third and fourth and the first place teams wrestling for gold and silver.
While no fans will be allowed into the event, FloWrestling will be broadcasting the event live to subscribers on Feb. 13-14.