Ragan looking to add more success to young resume

Updated: June 11, 2014

(Editor’s Note: On May 31 and June 1, USA Wrestling hosted Phase I of the World Team Trials in Madison, Wisc., where 12 of the 24 spots on the 2014 World Team were filled in either men’s or women’s freestyle. Six Greco berths will be filled June 13 in Daytona Beach, Fla., while the remaining six spots over the three styles will be determined during the Junior/Cadet Nationals, July 19-24, in Fargo, N.D. In honor of this seven-week period of World Team Trials events, WIN is providing features on those who have qualified to compete in Uzbekistan in September.)

By Mike Finn

At the relatively-young age of 21, Alli Ragan has accomplished so much in her wrestling career.

That included becoming the first girl in the state of Illinois to win over 100 career prep matches while wrestling against boys and for her father, Dennis Ragan, at Carbondale (Ill.) High School through 2010.

Placing in four straight Junior National tournaments also led to earning bronze medals at two Junior World tournaments in 2011 and ‘12.

Such accomplishments then earned a scholarship to compete at King University in Tennessee, where she won national championships the past two years and did not allow a point to be scored on her this past winter.

And most recently, Ragan earned her second trip to the FILA Senior World Championships next September in Uzebekistan by defeating 2012 Olympian Kelsey Campbell in two straight matches — 4-2 and 10-0 — at 58 kilograms (128 pounds) in Phase I of the World Team Trials, May 31, in Madison, Wisc.

With such success comes confidence and hunger for more success for Ragan, who opened last year’s Worlds with a pin (at the old FILA weight class of 59 kilos) against Russia’s Svetlana Lipatova, but then lost 3-2 to Japan’s Ayaka Ito, a girl Ragan had defeated in last year’s University Worlds.

“You can only work to get better,” said Ragan. “You can’t look back at it.”

So what does Ragan believe she has to do to win a World Championship this fall?

“I have to work really hard on the mat and off the mat mentally,” said Ragan, who was thrilled to see FILA make 58 kilos an Olympic weight class.

In both the 2012 Olympic Trials and the 2013 World Team Trials, she entered the 63-kilogram (138.75-pound) weight class, but failed to earn a spot. But in a separate World Team Trials at the non-Olympic weight classes last summer, Ragan returned to 59 kilos and won that tournament.

“It showed me that I shouldn’t be a 63-kilo girl,” she said. “I think 58k is perfect for me so I’m excited.”