World Championships

The World Championships were last week! And they were awesome!

This year, the World Championships were in Nur- Sultan Kazakhstan, and they were held September 14-22nd. This tournament also served as a qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. (Each country must qualify the six weight classes at a major tournament to then be allowed to wrestle in the Olympics. This World Championship was the first tournament in which weight classes could be qualified for the Olympics.)

There are ten weight classes for each division, and there are three divisions. The divisions are; Men and Women’s freestyle and Men’s Greco. All of the international tournaments wrestle their weights in Kilograms, so in Men’s Freestyle the weight classes are: 57, 61, 65, 70, 74, 79, 86, 92, 97, and 125. For Women’s Freestyle, they are 50, 53, 55, 57, 59, 62, 65, 68, 72, and 76. And last but not least, the Men’s Greco weights are, 55, 60, 63, 67, 72, 77, 82, 87, 97 and 130.

The United States came away with five individual gold medals; three for women’s freestyle and two for men’s freestyle. The US also earned two individual bronze medals; both from men’s freestyle. The US Men and Women’s Freestyle teams placed both also placed third as teams respectively.

For the Women’s Freestyle division, it was the first time in history that three women from the United State have won. Those women were Jacarra Winchester at 55 Kilograms, Tamyra Mensah at 68 Kilograms, and Adeline Gray at 76 Kilograms.

This was Winchester and Mensah’s first time winning the World Championships; an incredible feat. However, this was Adeline Gray’s fifth World Championship Gold.

A FIVE TIME World Champion. Talk about an incredible feat…

Gray is the first woman in US history to win five World titles. She won the World Championships in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019, along with being a 2016 Olympian.

In the Men’s Freestyle division, two men won World titles; Kyle Dake at 79 Kilograms, and J’den Cox at 92 Kilograms. This is the second back to back Gold at the World Championships for both men.

As the World Championships come to a close, many athletes look to future competitions, especially to the Olympics in 2020. Many will be looking to make an Olympic Team at the Olympic Trials Tournament in April of 2020. To make that team, one must win the Olympic Trials Tournament, a difficult task with so many talented wrestlers returning.

Lots of talent returning, lots of World Champs returning. This is going to be a good year!

Real Life Superheroes

During the Final X Tournament this year, all of the Rudis athletes wore Marvel themed singlets. Pretty cool right?

You might be confused at the moment, so here’s a little clarification:

Final X is the last tournament in the series of tournaments that decide the World Team Members for the United States of America. This person will represent the United States at the World Championships at the end of the year. There are ten weight classes for the Men and Women’s Freestyle division, and ten weight classes for Men’s Greco.

Rudis is a wrestling company that sells shoes, gear, and other items that wrestlers would need to do what they do. They often will also create custom singlets, as is true in this case. Their company tagline is “Rudis. The Most Authentic Expression of Wrestling.” Along with selling wrestling gear, the company also sponsors certain athletes as well.

There were a few Rudis athletes who competed at the Final X Tournament, and the company made them singlets to wear as they competed; those singlets were Marvel Superhero themed. Each wrestler wore a singlet designed to look like a different superhero. They got to wear singlets of heroes they admired; there was Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Black Widow and more.

These wrestlers are the best in the United States. So many people look up to them, and see them as heroes. They work hard, have integrity, and motivate people every day. Wrestlers like Kyle Snyder, Kayla Miracle, Sarah Hildebrant and many others.

“The Armor worn by our heroes”. This was the slogan Rudis used during this time, and how true it is.

Our heroes.

These wrestlers that so many people admire and see as heroes were literally dressed as heroes from their childhood. Heroes in the wrestling world represented by heroes in the fictional world. With superhuman strength, and courage as they do what they love.

I think that if the Marvel Avengers were in their positions, they would do the same as the wrestlers do. Work hard, compete at high levels, and motivate people. And I think if they were to meet the wrestlers who wore their singlets, they would be proud of them.

Often times we think of heroes as make-believe, however, there are many all around us daily; in our lives, people we are around all the time, people we work with, people we pass on the street. In my case, they are the people I get to see represent the country I love, while doing the sport I love.

How it all Began

I have been around wrestling since before I can remember. We always used to joke, that for me and my family, it was just a way of life.

My dad wrestled in high school and college for a little bit, and loved it. As the coach of the high school nearby, my dad was always at practice or tournaments, and I can remember going to their practice and sitting on the mat coloring and drawing pictures. The high schoolers my dad coached were like extra brothers who played with me and my siblings, and the coaches were like fun uncles that we loved.

Growing up, we played a lot. My dad would always play wrestle with my brothers and I so when my brothers got older, they wanted to give it a try too! My brothers started wrestling when they got old enough, and they wrestled all throughout middle and high school. As I watched them wrestle, I could see that they really enjoyed it, and one day, I decided that I needed to get in on some of that fun too.

In sixth grade, one day at lunch, I decided to sign up for the wrestling team. I went home and told my mom that I had to be back at school at six o’clock for practice. I still remember my first day of wrestling practice. I had been around it for so long, and it was so fun to be actually doing instead of just watching. Immediately, I was hooked.

My first few years of wrestling were full of new friends, lots of learning, and fun times. I caught on pretty quickly because I had seen so many before me doing these moves, so with a little direction, it came fairly easy.

My first match ever was at the 72 pound weight class. I don’t remember if I won or lost, but I do know that my life would never be the same. I loved my first few years of wrestling, and I look back even today and laugh about the fun we had or the things we did.

As I grew up, I wrestled every year. I soon went to high school, and was so excited to be on the team I had seen compete since I was a little girl. With of course, my dad as the coach.

I accomplished a lot in my four years of high school, and had the best time doing it. I became the most decorated wrestler in my high school’s history as a four-time Master’s Champ, State Champion, National placer, and others.

As high school came to a close, I needed to decide what I wanted to do. I had been wrestling for so long, but the wonderful journey I had had with wrestling, I had had with soccer, and cross country and track. This decision was one of the hardest I had ever had to make.

But, I decided to wrestle.

There is just something about the sport. The people who do it. The things you learn. I couldn’t let it end with high school.

Now here I am. A fourth year at Simon Fraser University. Wrestling, and still loving it. I have added many more accomplishments to my resume including third place at a few National level tournaments, and second place at World Team Trials.

As the Olympic year is upon us, I am a 2020 Olympic Hopeful. My goal is to represent my country in the Olympics and World Championships. There is so much to keep striving for in the years to come.

I was blessed with great coaches and mentors along the way. I have made some of my closest friends through the sport, and I have learned many things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I have had many highs and lows with the sport. The bad times only make the good times sweeter. I am grateful that I have experienced trials and loss through wrestling because it has not only pushed me to be and do better in my sport, but it has taught me that sometimes, that’s just how life is.

When I was younger, I was always the only girl on a boys team. Being the only girl was never tough for me. I had coaches who supported and pushed me, and my teammates were always respectful and made me feel like one of them. I am who I am because of the boys and men I was around growing up. It made me tougher, and I am grateful for that.

Now, I am on a women’s collegiate team. There is something about being surrounded with hardworking, talented women that has me constantly in awe. Here are these high level athletes who are beautiful, smart, brave, and constantly striving to be better. We have the best time, and I love them. I am so grateful for them as well.

Wrestling is a part of me.

It has helped me to grow into the woman I am today.

It motivates me daily.

It has brought me some of my best and most cherished friends.

It pushes me to be the best version of myself, and to give 100% in everything I do.

To me, there is no greater sport, no greater teacher, and no greater journey to be on.