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Vision quest

Alaskan girl wins state H.S. wrestling title over boys

Posted: Monday February 6, 2006 1:37AM; Updated: Monday February 6, 2006 1:43AM
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Michaela Hutchison
Girl power: Michaela Hutchison finished the season at 45-4 with 33 pins.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Michaela Hutchison became the first girl in the nation to win a state high school wrestling title while competing against boys.

Hutchison won the final of the 103-pound weight class during Alaska's big school wrestling championships. The Skyview High sophomore entered the state tournament ranked No. 1 in her weight class.

Amid chants of "C'mon Michaela" and "Girl Power," Hutchison earned a 1-0 victory Saturday over Colony High School's Aaron Boss.

She scored an escape with 16 seconds left to beat Boss for the second time in as many weeks. Family and friends mobbed Hutchison as she walked away from the mat with a bloody nose, while the crowd rose in a standing ovation.

"They were helping me," Hutchison told the Anchorage Daily News.

She finished the season with a 45-4 record that included 33 pins, one shy of the state single-season record. Hutchison is the third in her family of 10 children to win a state title, joining brothers Zeb and Eli.

Hutchison has dreamed about beating the boys ever since she started working out at Skyview High as a seventh grader. She came close last year, losing in the 103-pound final.

Other boys who have wrestled against her said it wasn't a big deal to lose to a girl who is extremely talented and tough. Kodiak's Tucker VanMatre said Hutchinson pinned him in 47 seconds at the region championships two weeks ago.

"It was quick," VanMatre said. "She got me in an arm bar and turned me [over]."

"I expected it. She's good," VanMatre added.

Kent Bailo, director of the U.S. Girls Wresting Association, believes Hutchison's victory will help girls wrestling become a varsity sport. He estimates 4,000 to 5,000 girls wrestle in high schools nationwide. Only Hawaii and Texas offer it as a girls sport.

"I think coaches would want girls to have their own varsity sport," Bailo said. "Their boys would be so embarrassed if a girl won state. The coaches don't want girls taking away their medals."

Last year, 17 girls nationwide qualified for high school state championships that included boys. One of them, Deanna Rix of Maine, finished second at 130 pounds. Michaela's sister, Melina, placed third at state six years ago.

Now Hutchison is in a class by herself.

"I don't care about [the significance] right now," she said. "I was excited to get done with the season. I'm been waiting for this for a while."

Hutchison is the third in her family of 10 children to win a state title, joining brothers Zeb and Eli.

Skyview coach Neldon Gardner said Hutchison's victory was one of the highlights of his coaching career.

"After 23 years of coaching you remember a lot of things. I'll never forget this one," he said. "I can't think of anybody more deserving than Michaela. She works as hard as any boy I've ever had."