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Aaron Saunders , Published July 14 2012

Diminutive Cook secures women's 95-pound title at USA Junior and Cadet Wrestling Tournament

FARGO – Brittnee Cook may be small in stature. But she came up with a big victory Saturday night.

With a pin at the USA Junior and Cadet Wrestling Tournament, the diminutive teen defeated Rebecca Forsyth of Beaverdam, Va., in emphatic fashion to become the women’s cadet freestyle national champion at 95 pounds.

“This was exciting and kind of like a dream come true,” Cook said. “Wrestling is a lot of hard work and dedication. You have to have the goal set in your mind that tells you that you can do this no matter what. Don’t give up.”

While she has been wrestling for eight years, this is Cook’s first year competing in freestyle.

“I’m working on getting a scholarship for wrestling, and my coaches wanted me to try out freestyle to see how I liked it,” said Cook, who took fourth place in the Washington state girls championships this past year as a freshman at Kiona-Benton High School. “I think I have improved a lot since I started learning a different style of wrestling.”

It is fairly easy to underestimate Cook, because she falls short of five feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. But that would be a mistake because the newly crowned champion sure packs a wallop.

The 15-year-old from Benton City, Wash., was in control of the match from the start.

“I have wrestled boys my whole wrestling career, so it makes it easier to wrestles girls because I am used to the boys, who are stronger,” she said.

Many schools in America do not have female wrestling teams, which forces some girls to compete against boys. However, female participation has brought a breath of fresh air to a sport that’s always fighting for national attention.

“I think they still favor boys wrestling, of course, but I believe women’s wrestling is bringing back men’s wrestling,” she said.

Cook herself has aspirations of wrestling in college and in the Olympics someday. Her victory Saturday night cast a huge light on herself for both.

There are only 22 colleges that have a varsity women’s wrestling program, which can make it difficult to land a spot, even for someone as accomplished as Cook.

“At first I wanted to go to Michigan State, but now I want to go to Oklahoma City,” she said.

While Michigan State does not have a women’s wrestling team, Oklahoma City University does. It was the 2011 Women’s College Wrestling Association national champions.

“I haven’t talked to any coaches,” Cook said. “It’s just a long-term goal of mine.”

84 pounds

1st Place - Malie Gonsalves of Hawaii

95 pounds

1st - Brittnee Cook (Washington) over Rebbeca Forsyth (Virginia) Fall 7-0,0:50

101 pounds

1st - Jessica DeHart (Oregon) over Marizza Birrueta (Washington) Dec 6-0,1-0

3rd - Harriet Symington (Maryland) over Gabriella Garcia (California) Fall 0:50

5th - Kayla Walker (California) over Olivia LoGiurato (Pennsylvania) Fall 1:04

7th - Brooke Bunch (Indiana) over Stephanie Nadig (Illinois) Fall 4-3,0:36

108 pounds

1st - Cadence Lee (California) over Llanes Angelica (California) Fall 1:55

3rd - Arian Carpio (Washington) over Emily Pinson (Georgia) Fall 3-2,0:53

5th - Victoria Smith (California) over Isabell Nunez (Washington) Dec 1-0,0-1,1-0

7th - Kaitlin Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania) over Harmonie Roberts (California) Fall 1:55

115 pounds

1st - Cassandra Herkelman (Iowa) over Francesco Giorgio (Pennsylvania) Dec 0-4,1-0,2-1

3rd - Jessika Rottier (Wisconsin) over Courtney Gray (Indiana) TF 6-0,6-0

5th - Harmony Pacheco (Hawaii) over Hailey Huerta (Washington) Fall 5-0,0:31

7th - Lania Aguayo (California) over Amber Smith (Michigan) TF 7-0,6-0

124 pounds

1st - Teshya Alo (Hawaii) over Maya Nelson (Colorado) Dec 4-3,2-2,4-1

3rd - Kayla Miracle (Indiana) over Steffanie Hampton (Michigan) TF 8-2,7-0

5th - Amber Quintana (California) over August Smith (Minnesota) Fall 1:26

7th - Jenna Elminger (Wyoming) over Katherine Renz (Idaho) Fall 0:49

132 pounds

1st - Becca Leathers (Oklahoma) over Shannon Paaaina (Hawaii) Dec 2-0,1-4,5-1

3rd - Jasmine Mendoza (California) over Jessica Rodriguez (California) Fall 1:15

5th - Tatum Sparks (Washington) over Shannon Oryniak (New Jersey) Fall 1:08

7th - Destiny Espinoza (California) over Ramsey Minto (Texas) Fall 0:54

143 pounds

1st - Alexis Porter (New York) over Anna Naylor (California) Fall 1:32

3rd - Hannah Gladden (Alabama) over Marlie Gillis (Wisconsin) Dec 6-5,5-3

5th - Alyssa Hernandez (California) over Kennedie Eddings (New York) Fall 4-1,1:55

7th - Katie Sugden (Wisconsin) over Ariana Olivas (Kansas) Fall 7-0,0:50

154 pounds

1st - Autumn Rux (Michigan) over Samantha Cushard (Michigan) Fall 4-0,0-3,1:43

3rd - Alyssa Bambic (Arizona) over Miranda Lee (Montana) Fall 1:04

172 pounds

1st Place - Kaitlyn Hill of Michigan

2nd Place - Azusenna Molina of California

3rd Place - Yuneris Diaz of New York

4th Place - Alana Quackenbush of Wisconsin

Round Robin Matches

Kaitlyn Hill (Michigan) over Azusenna Molina (California) Dec 1-0,2-4,4-0

Kaitlyn Hill (Michigan) over Yuneris Diaz (New York) Fall 1-0,1:17

Azusenna Molina (California) over Yuneris Diaz (New York) Fall 2-0,0:59

198 pounds

1st Place - Ryan Gibbons of Washington

Forum reporter Aaron Saunders can be reached at (701) 241-5549