The fourth-best female wrestler in the United States is an unassuming teenager from Soldotna.
Melina Hutchison, 18, placed fourth out of 23 in the 51-kilogram weight bracket at the U.S. Women's Nationals in Las Vegas two weeks ago.
"I didn't wrestle my best," she said. "I was really excited. It was really fun."
There were more than 100 wrestlers in the tournament for women 18 and older. They were divided into six weight classes for competition.
It was the first time in her four-year carreer that she wrestled against women outside of her age group.
"Most of them were in college or out of college," she said.
"It wasn't as tough as I expected, but it was pretty tough."
She wrestled in five matches in the double elimination tournament, winning three times.
Hutchison qualified for the Womens World Team Trials June 4 in Battle Creek, Mich., with her finish. She is also scheduled to compete for a spot on the Junior World team this summer.
Hutchison has traveled to competitions all across the United States and in Europe. She said she has gone so many places she no longer gets jet lag.
However, she said she would like to have more opportunities to compete in Alaska.
"I don't like to travel," Hutchinson said. "I'd rather just wrestle here. But it's kind of fun to see new places.
"When you go from weather that's 40 degrees to 80 degrees it slows you down a bit."
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.