By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
April 8, 2006
Wy’east Middle School eighth-grader Catherine Kiyokawa traveled to Lake Orion, Mich., last weekend to compete in the United States Girls Wrestling Association National Championships. The two-day event brings together the top wrestlers from grade school through high school to determine who the best female wrestlers in the country are in each division and weight class.
And Kiyokawa, who wrestled at 128 lbs., placed second in the nation in the middle school division.
“It was hard,” she said. “The feeling is hard to explain. I feel like I have something to be proud of, but I was also disappointed because I had to stand on the number-two level, not on top.”
This year, out of the eight girls who entered the tournament in Kiyokawa’s weight class, seven were state champions from around the country. And Kiyokawa was one of them, as she recently won the Washington state title.
“The competition was tough,” she said. “They wouldn’t spend the time and money to wrestle there unless they are really into it.”
The middle school All-American’s road to the finals came from a pin in the first round over an Illinois opponent and a 9-1 win in the second round over the current California state champion. In the finals, Kiyokawa lost 7-0 after being taken down once in each round and being escaped on once.
With about a month to rest and prepare, the Wy’east Eagle heads next to Colorado’s Olympic Training Center for middle school freestyle nationals on May 5.
After graduating from Wy’east this spring, Kiyokawa plans to wrestle for Hood River Valley High School, as well as continuing to compete in USGWA tournaments.
“Guys are naturally a lot stronger,” she said. “But girls can have better technique. If I wrestle against guys, then wrestle girls I’m going to be a lot stronger. Basically, like anything, if you expand you’re going to get better and stronger.”