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Top 50 Countdown - #36-#35

By MI Grappler, 03/23/20, 12:00PM EDT


36. Tricia (McNaughton) Sanders

Saunders was a trailblazer for girls wrestling in the US and the world over as she became the first American female to win the World Championships in 1992.  She'd go on to win four in total and added as silver medal as well.  An 11-time national champ, she was unbeaten in her career against American opponents. 

Another way of putting how remarkable her career was is to consider that the Tricia Saunders Award is given annually to the top female high school wrestler in the country; the Dave Schultz Award is given to the top male.

Saunders has been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the FILA(UWW) Hall of Fame, and was a coach for Team USA in the 2004 Olympics.   

Flowrestling Videos:
Tricia Saunders: A Sunkist Legend 

35. Joe Warren

The Baddest Man on the Planet hailed from East Kentwood where he was a three-time state placer (5th, 3rd, 1st) and won it as a senior in '95.  He held national records for most takedowns in a season and in a career when he graduated until 2008.  

Warren continued competing at Michigan and qualified for NCAA's in each of his final three seasons, capping it off with a 3rd place finish in 2000.  He placed top-three at Big Tens in each of those years and was a runner-up in '98 and '99.  

While at Michigan he competed in Greco-Roman at the University Worlds in 2000, placing 6th, and won the 1998 University Nationals.  He won US National titles in Greco from 2005 to 2007 and made Senior-level World Teams in 2005 and 2006.  In '06 he won the World Championships in Guangzhou, China.

Warren continued competing after the Senior level but inside the cage, when he transitioned to MMA and fought for Bellator.  He won titles at Bantamweight and Featherweight in that organization and is the oldest fighter to win a championship at nearly 38 years old.  

A return to the mats happened this year, at 43 years old, when he returned to Greco at the Bill Farrell Open in November, eying a 2020 Olympic Trials comeback.

Flowrestling Videos:
Baddest Man on the Planet
2007 World Team Trials