Lindenwood University-Belleville women’s wrestler Niauni Hill nearly made history at the recent 2016 Olympic Trials as she just missed out qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team, ending up in fourth place.
“I was blessed with the opportunity to compete at the next level, the United States Olympic Team Trials,” said Hill. “Last year, I was also given the opportunity to attend this event, but wasn’t able to go due to the lack of funds. I am truly thankful to everyone who donated and made this dream come true
for me though.”
Competing at 75 KG (165 pounds), the top three winners would make the Olympic Team. Whoever finished in first qualified, while the second and third place finishers would be alternates.
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Hill, an Oakland, California, native, entered the tournament as the No. 9 seed and right out of the gate, she faced Julia Salta, who’s been a national champion.
Hill was able to defeat Salata 3-0 by decision and advance on to face Hannah Hall out of the University of Campbellsville. The sophomore would continue rolling with a 7-4 decision victory, which moved her onto the semifinals against Victoria Francis.
There, Francis was able to squeak past Hill by getting the final point, winning by criteria (2-2) and would later defeat Jackie Surber for the overall win.
Hill, meanwhile, moved into the consolation bracket and faced Jessika Rottier, who’d beat her earlier this season. This time around though, it was Hill winning by an 8-3 decision and moving onto the consolation finals.
There, standing in the way of Hill’s ultimate goal was Forrest Molinari. It was an epic battle between the two competitors, but Molinari would defeat Hill by fall at 3:51.