MAKUHARI, Chiba, Japan – Former Wayland Baptist wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock will wrestle for an Olympic gold medal.
Mensah-Stock, competing at 68 kg (149½ pounds), won all three of her matches at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, the first two by 10-0 technical fall then in the semifinals, 10-4.
The 2019 World champion who was a two-time WCWA national champion at Wayland in 2015 and 2017, Mensah-Stock will compete in the gold medal match set for 5:30 a.m. Tuesday (Central time). The Katy, Texas, native will face Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria, who won her semifinal, 7-2, over Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia.
Facing a tough draw, Mensah-Stock opened her Olympics with power and poise against 2016 Olympic champion and 2017 World champion Sara Dosho of Japan, getting a 10-0 first-period technical fall. Mensah-Stock opened with a takedown and ankle lace for a 4-0 lead. She added a blast double takedown to make it 6-0 and two more ankle lace turns stretched it to the 10-0 technical fall.
Dosho was fifth at the 2019 Senior Worlds, where Mensah-Stock defeated her 10-1 in the quarterfinals.
Her next opponent was two-time World medalist Feng Zhou of China, who also was unable to stop the powerful Mensah-Stock’s offense in another 10-0 technical fall. In this match, Mensah-Stock scored five straight takedowns, including three in the first period and two in the second period. Included were some powerful blast double legs for which Zhou had no ability to defend.
Mensah-Stock then battled 2018 World champion Alla Cherkasova of Ukraine in the semifinals round, which took place at 5 a.m. Central time. Mensah-Stock went to the break with a 2-0 lead. Cherkasova got a spin behind and a gut wrench for a 4-2 lead, but Mensah-Stock got two points on a reversal to tie it at 4-4.
Mensah-Stock continued on the attack, later putting Cherkasova on her back on a counter for a 10-4 lead. The clock ran out and Mensah-Stock won 10-4, to qualify for the gold-medal finals.
Mensah Stock was a 2019 World champion in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, and also won a World bronze medal in 2018. She was also a member of the 2017 Senior World Team. She won the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but did not compete in Rio de Janeiro because the U.S. did not qualify her weight class for the Games.
Mensah-Stock is one of three Olympians with WBU ties.
Benard Keter, who competed at Wayland in 2015, qualified for the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase after he ran a personal-best time of 8 minutes, 17.31 seconds in the preliminaries on July 29. Keter’s time was the 12th-fastest among the 15 finalists.
The fastest qualifying time among the 44 competitors, 8:09.83, was turned in by Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia.
A native of Kenya but competing for Team USA, Keter was the only one of three Americans to make the finals, set for 7:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 2.
Keter ran a time of 8:21.81 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., on June 25, finishing second and securing a spot on Team USA.
Keter still holds the Wayland record in the steeplechase, 8:42.94, and won NAIA titles in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. He later transferred to Texas Tech where he won NCAA Division I titles in the steeplechase in 2016 and 2017.
Meanwhile, current WBU senior Che Lara qualified with the Trinidad & Tobago 4×400-meter relay team. Preliminaries of that event are set for 6:25 a.m. Central time on Friday.
(Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling contributed to this article.)
OLYMPIC GAMES WRESTLING
At Makuhari, Chiba, Japan, August 2
U.S. women’s freestyle performances
68 kg – Tamyra Mensah Stock (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Sara Dosho (Japan), tech, fall 10-0
WIN Feng Zhou (China), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Semifinals – Alla Cherkasova (Ukraine), decision 10-4
Finals – vs. Blessing Oborududu (Nigeria), 5:30 a.m. Central, Tuesday, Aug. 3