Tricia Saunders

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Sunkist Kids, 1996 National Champions. Tricia Saunders, Jim Gruenwald, Tom Erikson, August Wesley, Kevin Jackson, Kendall Cross, Townsend Saunders, and others.

Tricia Saunders (born Patricia McNaughton, on February 21, 1966 in Ann Arbor, Michigan)[1] is an American amateur wrestler. She is a true pioneer[2] of the sport of Women's Freestyle Wrestling. She earned a total of five FILA Wrestling World Championships medals: four gold and one silver. Throughout her career she never lost to an American, and collected eleven national titles.

She was the first woman to be inducted to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma and the first American woman to be inducted into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame in Istanbul, Turkey.[3]


Saunders's grandfather was an All-American wrestler at the University of Michigan in 1930; her father, and her older brother, Jamie, were also grapplers. As a child, she would accompany her brothers to practice. Tricia then seven, announced she was bored with watching. Her father asked if she wanted to wrestle and she replied with a yes. In her first tournament, at nine years old, she won seven of her nine matches, all against boys.[4] By the time she reached the "Regional Nationals", she was a force to be reckoned with in the 50-pound weight class.

Saunders appeared as a featured guest on a 1975 episode of the syndicated version of To Tell The Truth[5].

She retired wrestling boys in folkstyle wrestling at age 12, compiling a record of 181-23. She later turned to freestyle wrestling, this time wrestling women internationally, after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, ten years later.[6]


Tricia is married to Townsend Saunders, the 1996 Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist. They have three children, two daughters, Tassia and Tatiana and a son, Townsend.


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