Kevin Black Discusses Women’s Junior Nationals
Another great summer wrestling season came to a conclusion last week in the FargoDome on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. The ASICS Junior/Cadet National Championships is the highlight of the summer for many wrestlers, coaches and wrestling fans. This summer, the women’s division was the best that it has ever been.
Individuals who have experienced success at the senior level internationally showcased their talent at the junior level here in the United States. Adeline Gray, a 2009 Senior World Team Member, US National Champion and 2008 Junior World champion won another Junior National title. She moved up to 165 pounds this year and went untested, as many expected. Other athletes who have had tremendous success at senior-level events and were crowned Junior National Champions were Victoria Anthony, CC Weber and Veronica Carlson. Similar to Gray, these fine young ladies were head-and-shoulders above the rest of the competition at their respective weight classes. Anthony, a native of Huntington Beach, California, was named Outstanding Wrestler and was a member of Team California who also won the dual meet championships. Anthony was also named themat.com wrestler of the week, gaining positive media coverage for women’s wrestling.
A lot of thankless hours and tireless efforts go into making the Junior National Championships the premier event in our sport. Coaches from across the country spend time training athletes, state directors put in many hours registering teams and making sure that everything runs smoothly for their state, and USA Wrestling employees spend ten days in Fargo working behind the scenes so everyone can have a positive experience. Year in and year out, we are fortunate to see many of our top athletes giving back to the sport by serving as coaches for various states. Team California was graced with the presence of Olympian Marcie Van Dusen and former National Team Member Emily Rinehart, among others. The team runner-up Texas, had Olympic Bronze Medalist Randi Miller on their coaching staff. Other current and former national team members that were seen in the corners were Alaina Berube, Sharon Jacobson, Leigh Jaynes, Jenna Pavlik and other great senior-level competitors.
Also, some of our top collegiate coaches were on the floor recruiting or coaching their home state. Kip Flanik and Carl Murphree have spent many consecutive years coaching Ohio and Missouri, respectively. Cisco Cole, Link Davis, Tony DeAnda, Shannyn Gillespie, Brian Jackson and Archie Randall were also in attendance. Similar to the path of success and opportunity for our country’s male wrestlers, the route to collegiate opportunities runs through Fargo and these coaches understand the importance of competing in the summer at freestyle events.
Next summer will be a terrific year to get involved at the Junior National tournament. Many of this year’s champions were high school graduates and multiple-time winners of the event. Next year we will look forward to new superstars rising to the top and taking advantage of opportunities to win a Junior National Championship. Contact your USA Wrestling state director or state coach to inquire about how to get involved in the biggest wrestling tournament in the world!