George Jenkins Senior Getting it Done on Mat
Sun. July 29, 2012 at 4:02 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
Katie Germain won the 130-pound ASICS Junior women's national high school championship on July 17 in Fargo, N.D. (Photo by MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER )
By SOLANGE REYNER | THE LEDGER
LAKELAND | Katie Germain beat an All-American wrestler in a championship match at a national tournament last week, and the win gave her some bravado.
But Germain, a rising senior at George Jenkins High School, still sticks by the motto her father, Brian, a U.S. Open Judo champ in the late 1980s, once impressed upon her: You can go from worst to first in one day, and vice versa.
Katie Germain won the ASICS Junior women's national high school freestyle championship in the 130-pound weight class in Fargo, N.D., on July 17, a tournament run by USA Wrestling and noted as one of the most prestigious of its kind in amateur wrestling.
Enter Germain's motto here because the week leading up to the event was a tough one, physically and mentally. Germain had re-injured her sternoclavicular joint in her chest four days prior at a wrestling camp and was treated for tonsillitis the day before the competition.
"I thought it was all over. I thought I wouldn't be able to compete after all of that hard work," Germain said.
But she and her dad took a wait-and-see approach, waiting for her tonsillitis to settle down with some medication and testing her injury at some light training sessions to see if she could handle competing.
The morning of the 17th came, and Germain said she would give it a go despite some soreness in her chest.
She took the first three matches with ease, winning all of them by early pins. She lost her next match but exited her bracket as the top seed, placing her in the finals against Rachel McFarland, an ASICS All-American high school wrestler.
At the start of that match, Germain felt her opponent's power quickly. McFarland, a Michigan native, took Germain down with a single leg and exposed her back to go up 3-0.
But Germain blocked McFarland's second attempt at a takedown and then muscled her down to the mat before hitting a headlock.
Forty-four seconds later, Germain secured a pin and the title.
"I couldn't stop her the first time she attacked," Germain said. "Rachel has always been a very strong competitor. But I knew I had to finish her when I had her in the headlock."
Germain's dominating performance in that final, and throughout the tournament, earned her the outstanding wrestler award, too. Her accolades include three state titles in the Florida girls' championships as a member of the George Jenkins wrestling squad but her win in Fargo is the biggest of her wrestling career, mainly because it puts her on a bigger radar.
"It puts the athletes on the radar for our national team and it puts them on the radar for colleges with women's wrestling programs," said Pete Isais, the director of national events at USA Wrestling. "Some of them get invited to our training camps at the training center if they compete well."
College is already in Germain's sights. She says she's deciding between Lindenwood University outside of St. Louis and King College in Bristol, Tenn.
It's a grand thought considering Germain, 17, didn't even want to start wrestling because she didn't want to be the only girl on the team. That frame of thinking is in the past. Germain isn't on the starting lineup at Jenkins, but she gives the boys a tough time when she practices against them.
"We won't name him, but she dropped someone on his head this year," her high school wrestling coach Jestin Bailey said. "He was pretty upset about it."
[ Solange Reyner may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-802-7526. ]