Skyview graduate Michaela Hutchison is preparing to tackle the biggest accomplishment of her life, one that is bigger than her 2006 state high school wrestling title, the first ever for a girl wrestling in a coed competition in the nation.
She will be attempting to qualify for this summer’s Olympic games in London and it starts in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday and Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“I’m nervous, but I’m not really thinking about it quite as much yet,” Hutchison said. “I do during practices, but really not as much because of schoolwork. I get on the bus tomorrow at noon, so after that I’ll probably be pretty nervous.”
Hutchison wrestles for Oklahoma City University currently as a senior, and has won Women’s College Wrestling Association national championships for Oklahoma City her freshman, sophomore and senior years and placed second as a junior. At 5 feet, 4 inches, she will be competing in the 55-kilogram class, which is equal to about 121 pounds.
“The only thing I can do is let it go, and do whatever I can, wrestle hard, and believe in myself,” Hutchison said about the pressure to perform at her peak.
Hutchison says her biggest weakness is the nerves she gets before matches, but her father, Mike Hutchison, who is the chairman of Alaska USA Wrestling, says when she is focused, she is hard to beat.
“I think she can beat just about anybody in this country, but a lot of this isn’t just about the physical part, it’s a lot about mental ability too,” he said. “She’s competing against a lot of people who do nothing but train, and she’s balancing her training with school, so she’s at a disadvantage there, but at the same time, she is very competitive, so she has a good chance.
“She’s handling it very well, and in some ways the college courses she’s taking is kind of a good distraction. I don’t think she has time to dwell on any stressful part. The hardest part is to get in enough training in to keep her weight at the right level.”
The winner at the Women’s Nationals tournament back in January gets an automatic pass into the qualifying stage, while the other qualifiers, like Hutchison, wrestle in a mini-tournament to determine who will face up against the top seed.
If they can win two out of three matches against the Nationals champion, then they qualify for the Olympics, and there are four spots available on the women’s Olympic team — one apiece for the 105-, 121-, 138- and 158-pound weight classes.
Hutchison is set to graduate next month with a degree in biomedical sciences, so it’s understandable that her life is pretty busy for the time being. She hopes to be a graduate assistant in the nursing field after this semester, and eventually become a nurse.
“I just really want to help people, and be in the medical field,” she said.
Of course, that begs the question, how much longer will she wrestle?
“I’m thinking after this, I’ll be done, but who knows?” she said. “I made the university college team going to Finland this year, but after that, I think I’ll be done.”
Hutchison will represent the United States in the University World Championships this October in Kuortane, Finland, and she says it’s important to do something else other than wrestling.
“It’s good to do both,” she said. “You can’t just wrestle your whole life, you get old. You have to use your brain sometimes.”
Should Hutchison make it to London in July, it would be the ultimate achievement for her.
“That would be amazing, and I’ve dreamed about it since I was little, so that would be awesome,” Hutchison said. “I always wanted to wrestle for God’s honor, and when I was younger, I told my dad I wanted to be on the Olympic wrestling team.
“Going to the Olympics would be the biggest thing I could accomplish.”
As the biggest, and perhaps final, chapter of her life unfolds, Hutchison knows that her roots are where she can look to for help.
“The biggest strength is just knowing that my family is on my side, just knowing how hard I’ve worked for it, and how many people have helped me, like my coaches,” she said. “They’ve taught me a lot of how to just push through, and keep up the effort.
“All you can say in the end is what you’ve done, not what you wish you’ve done.”