Amy Hou captured the women’s 97-pound junior division freestyle title Tuesday, earning All-America accolades in the process, while teammate Emily Pinson placed fourth nationally in the 108-pound cadet women’s freestyle division Saturday to also earn All-America honors.
Also earning All-America nods were rising Kennesaw Mountain sophomore Justan Rivera, who finished fourth at 182 pounds in cadet Greco-Roman, and junior Greco-Roman wrestlers Hunter Kelley and Jason Grimes. Kelley was fifth at 113 pounds, Grimes, a Cobb County resident who recently graduated from Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, was eighth at 170.
“We’re really happy for our all-Americans and happy with what we can get any time we come to the national championships,” said Team Georgia coach Sean Moistner, also the head coach at Alexander High School in Douglasville. “That’s big. We wanted more and felt like we left four guys that should have gone deeper into the tournament, but we’re excited for the group that made it.”
Hou went 6-0 to claim her first national championship, but it wasn’t easy. After four solid wins took her to the semifinals, she came from behind to topple Texas’ Vanessa Smith, needing all three bouts in a best-of-three match. Hou then advanced to the championship match, where she squeezed out a 1-0, 1-0 win against Hawaii’s Thai Ha Sloan.
Rivera went 4-3 in his matches at 182 pounds. A 3-0, 1-0 win over Minnesota’s Wyatt Richardson put him into the semifinals, where he fell for the second time to Missouri’s Michael Pixley. That setback sent Rivera into the match for third place, which he lost by pin to Wisconsin’s Nick Osowski.
Kelley won his fifth-place match by forfeit over Oregon’s Ronnie Bresser III and finished with a 5-2 mark, while Grimes lost 4-0, 0-1, 1-0 to Indiana’s Sean Mappes to go 5-3.
“Hunter did a tremendous job at a tough weight class,” Moistner said. “Jason’s a leader on and off the mats for us and he had a very good tournament. All three of his losses went into the third period, and Justan is just an incredible specimen. He doesn’t practice Greco-Roman and just goes out there and wrestles off his natural ability.”
Rising Wheeler freshman Aslan Kilic saw action in the cadet flight at 106 pounds, where he went 0-2. Rising Walton junior Jacob Murphy won his first bout in three periods, but then dropped his next two.
Rising Pope junior Tyler Haskin was 3-2 and fell one match shy of reaching the all-American rounds at 126 pounds. Rising Pope senior Brooks Climmons, a cadet Greco-Roman champion in 2010, fell one match shy of all-America status in the junior flight at 182, finishing with a 4-2 record.
“Haskin had a good tournament,” Moistner said. “He ran into some tough guys in his later rounds.”
Competition will continue through Saturday with the junior and cadet freestyle championships. Cadet finals will be held Friday, followed by the junior finals Saturday.