Julia Salata, a sophomore at Canton High School and a member of the Canton High School Wrestling team, stepped onto the mat in statewide girls competition on March 1, and came home with the gold in the 137 pound weight class.
As great preparation for her girls wrestling tournament season, Julia wrestled at 119 pounds for much of the high school season, and did well in many Junior varsity tournaments wrestling against boys, winning her weight class in Macomb and Milan tournaments, and placing third in two others, including a large tournament held at Eastern Michigan University. At the Milan tournament, she was also selected as Tournament MVP in the lower weight classes by attending coaches, which was strong recognition for her ability to compete against boys.
But competing against other girls, as Julia and other woman wrestlers know, is not an easy task - state and national tournaments are extremely competitive. Julia put on weight to move up several weight classes for the state tournament, and weighed in as the lightest wrestler in her weight class.
In her first match, Julia scored a 20-5 technical fall against her opponent from Montague; pinned her next opponent in 1:45, and set-up what both she and her next opponent, Marian Bosma of Hesperia Michigan, knew was likely to be the Championship match. Bosma also came in to her match with Salata undefeated, and held a national ranking of No. 7 at 147 pounds in USGWA rankings (Salata was ranked 6th at 124 pounds). The match began as a stalemate, with both grapplers trying to find an opening that would not occur, with neither scoring a point in the first round. Opening the second round, Bosma chose the down position, a strategic decision made by many, an attempt to escape to the neutral position to score a point in a tight match. Salata gained and maintained control however, and at 1:26 into the second, pinned Bosma for the important win. She cemented her championship run with a pin of Grace Collette of Ann Arbor in 1:30.
Julia and other woman wrestlers are now preparing for the USGWA National Championships, which will be held March 20 and 21 at Eastern Michigan University. Julia is looking to improve on her 6th place finish of one year ago, with a goal of a top-three finish in the 128 or the 133 pound weight class.
For more information about the Michigan State Championships, the National Championships, or competitive girls wrestling, visit the USGWA website.