Coming back from the USA Wrestling Junior National Championships in Fargo, N.D., last week, Michaela Hutchison was more proud of her older brother, Eli, who won a Greco-Roman title at 135 pounds, than she was of her own performance.
Which is OK, because Eli said he was more impressed with his younger sister’s women’s freestyle title at 119 pounds than he was with his own.
“Michaela had a super good trip,” Eli said. “(Mine) was OK. I blew out my knee in freestyle. I’ll probably have to have surgery, but I should recover pretty fast.”
Eli said he had a good Greco-Roman tournament, winning six matches on his way to the final, which he won by decision, 13-1 over Austin Enoch of Oregon.
Eli said it was his first junior national title at the Fargo tournament.
A four-time Alaska high school champion for Skyview High School, Eli was a runner-up in the Greco-Roman competition last year, and was a FILA Junior National champion last year.
Eli said the competition at the tournament was tough.
“There were a couple kids that won high school titles in Alaska that didn’t place there,” he said. “Sometimes it’s how good a draw you get, and your placement when you get to the tournament, but it’s tougher than a high school tournament, usually.”
Eli said being able to move up through the winners’ bracket also helped, because he didn’t have to wrestle as many matches to make the finals.
In the freestyle tournament, Eli was well on his way to the finals before injuring his knee.
“In the freestyle, I won five matches in a row. On the sixth one my knee went out on me, so I had to pull out of the tournament,” he said.
Eli is heading to Boise State University in Idaho this fall on a wrestling scholarship and is hoping his knee is healed by the time the collegiate season gets going. He underwent an MRI Tuesday and, depending on the degree of surgery needed, expects to be healed in two to four weeks.
Michaela, who is starting her junior year of high school, was a second-place finisher at the Fargo tournament last year and was pleased with her first-place finish this season. Good preparation is key to success at the tournament, and she said she felt pretty sharp heading into the competition.
“We did have a two-week camp before we went down. It was pretty tough,” she said.
Michaela said it was hard to rank her women’s junior national title with her other accomplishments on the mat, including the Alaska state high school title she won wrestling against boys last winter.
“It was pretty exciting, but so is everything else,” she said.
Michaela wrestled six matches leading up to the final, winning two by pin, three by technical fall and one by decision. She defeated Leanne Barney of Texas by a 9-1 decision in the final.
Michaela said she’s now getting ready for the high school cross country running season, then will be back on the mat for the Skyview Panthers this winter.
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