LEAVE IT ALL ON THE MAT

Emma Karhu places third in USAW Girls' Folkstyle National Championships in Oklahoma

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ABOVE AND BEYOND
May 22, 2019
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LEAVE IT ALL ON THE MAT

Wrestling coach Mrs. Jessica Brenton and PHS sophomore Emma Karhu pose after the Folkstyle tournament in Oklahoma.

Wrestling coach Mrs. Jessica Brenton and PHS sophomore Emma Karhu pose after the Folkstyle tournament in Oklahoma.

Photo courtesy: Rory Karhu

Wrestling coach Mrs. Jessica Brenton and PHS sophomore Emma Karhu pose after the Folkstyle tournament in Oklahoma.

Photo courtesy: Rory Karhu

Photo courtesy: Rory Karhu

Wrestling coach Mrs. Jessica Brenton and PHS sophomore Emma Karhu pose after the Folkstyle tournament in Oklahoma.

Sophomore Emma Karhu represented the Powell High School wrestling team in their 2018-19 competition season as the only female wrestler and continued on to compete in the USAW Girls Folkstyle National Championships in Oklahoma this year.

“The USAW Girls Folkstyle National Championships is a national tournament sponsored by the US Marine Corps,” Karhu said. “There are different age groups and weights, and you go wrestle different girls from all over the US.”

According to www.teamusa.org, “This event is respected as the best national Girls Folkstyle tournament in the nation each year.”

Karhu competed at this event with her Wyoming Women’s Coach of two  years Mrs. Jessica Brenton.

“I’ve worked with Emma for the past two years,” Mrs. Brenton said. “She came to Freestyle Nationals with me last year and Folkstyle Nationals so far this year.”

Added PHS head wrestling coach Mr. Nate Urbach: “Emma has put in a ton of time and effort into the sport of wrestling and her accolades at girls’ nationals are not a surprise to those that have worked and followed her. Personally she has been a joy to work with, serving as an inspiration to the high school team for the past two years. I feel honored to coach her and am beyond excited to see the doors open for an outstanding student athlete.”

Karhu competed in the 117-pound weight class against about 30 girls.

“The junior weight class with the most nationally ranked entries is 117 pounds, which has 11 entries from the current rankings,” Gary Abbott, author for www.teamusa.org, stated.

Folkstyle wrestling isn’t exactly traditional wrestling.

“Folkstyle is different in many ways as far as rules go, but to know multiple styles of wrestling helps anyone become a better wrestler,” Mrs. Brenton said. “They learn new moves that they might not have before and it keeps them competing year round.”

Preparation for this National Championship begins with plenty of practice.

“After the season, track started and I would come into open mat after practice trying to get in as much time as possible” Karhu said. “Before we left, we stopped in Natrona [where Karhu’s coach lives] and had a practice there.”

Mrs. Brenton attributes Karhu’s success as a wrestler to her hard work ethic, coachable attitude and the fact she practices with boys year-round.

“Emma is a one of a kind person; she is the sweetest girl I’ve ever met, then she turns around and is super aggressive, not afraid of any challenge on the wrestling mat,” Brenton said. “She pushes herself past her limits, and is a huge role model for young girls that see her step on that mat.”

Karhu had a 5-1 record, placing her 3rd overall in her bracket.

“I am very happy with Emma’s performance,” Mrs. Brenton said. “She showed up to wrestle 100% and left everything she had on the mat.”

She showed up to wrestle 100% and left everything she had on the mat.”

— Wyoming Women's Coach Jessica Brenton

Karhu enjoyed her experience at the USAW Girls Folkstyle National Championships and is grateful for the opportunity to wrestle against all girls.

“Boys are stronger, but girls are really flexible and able to do a lot,” Karhu said. “It was just different to wrestle girls, but I liked it.”

Placing was not the most memorable part of this weekend for Karhu, instead it was developing friendships with the other female competitors.

“Just being able to go down and hang out with the other girl wrestlers in that setting was really fun,” Karhu said. “We all have a lot in common and a similar sense of humor.”

Karhu hopes to compete again next year.

Added Mrs. Brenton: “Emma keep up that hard work girl; you will be/do anything you pursue in this life. You work ethic and drive reminds me a lot of myself, and I know you’ll do great things in wrestling and bring that into everyday life with you. Keep grinding and I’ll see you at Freestyle Nationals.”

 

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