When she first took up wrestling this season, Madelyn Hartman, 9, was getting pinned quite frequently.
But the setbacks just made her more determined to succeed.
“I just focused a little more, put that frustration into energy, tried not to get pinned,” Hartman said. “You just have to keep at it.”
Hartman’s newfound wrestling desire paid off. She won five straight matches at a youth meet, against boys and girls wrestlers, on Feb. 8.
“My daughter went from getting beat every match early in the season by veteran wrestlers to taking first place over five boys/girls at a meet,” Steve Hartman, Madelyln Hartman’s father and coach, said in an email.
From there, Madelyn, who wrestlers for the LOUYAA Predators, began winning consistently. She won the 10-under 67-pound weight class championship at USA Wrestling’s Maryland State Girls Folkstyle Championships, held at Upper Marlboro’s Show Place Arena on March 1.
She also won her weight class at the Northeast Girls Folkstyle Championships in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Hartman was set to attend USA Wrestling’s Girls Folkstyle National later this month in Colorado Springs, Colorado. But the event, scheduled for March 26-29, has been postponed, according to the USA wrestling website. No make-up date is listed.
Hartman was one of three county youth wrestlers to win a state crown. Avery Huber, of Middletown’s Junior Knights Wrestling Club, won at 8-under 55, pinning all three of her opponents.
At 10-under 83, Maryland School for the Deaf’s Nikita Dzougoutov won a state title via pin.
During her run to the state crown, Hartman opened with an 8-6 overtime decision. She followed that up with a 54-second pin.
Hartman then earned a pin in 34 seconds to reach the final, which she won a 15-0 technical fall.
At regionals, Hartman went 3-0, pinning all of her opponents.
Hartman joined the LOUYAA Predators program this year because Steve Hartman was coaching his sons. There was only one other girl on the team, so having Madelyn Hartman join the team seemed logical.
Madelyn works out four hours per week. The success formula for girls is the same as the boys: use the opening moments of the match to size up an opponent, look for the opportunities to exploit weaknesses and try to get, and maintain, an early advantage, she said.
Catherine Orndorff, of Brunswick Junior Wrestling Club, finished third at 10-under 65 pounds. She was also fifth at 10-under 67.
Morgan Volz (Brunswick) was fourth at 10-under 61. Katharine Virgilio (Brunswick) was fourth at 12-under 75. Juliet Kenawell (Brunswick) got fifth at 10-under 57.
The uptick of girls wrestling continues, especially on the youth level.
Middletown Valley Athletic Association’s wrestling program started a girls team this year, according to MVAA wrestling director Mike Brull. The team finished third at the Tyrant Duals in Pennsylvania.
“We are continuing into spring season with an all-girls practice schedule and co-ed sessions at MHS in folkstyle, freestyle and Greco training,” Brull said in an email.
On the high school level, Middletown’s Kalin Bower, a former MVAA wrestler, won her second straight MPSSAA girls title at 138 pounds. Former MVAA wrestler Jennifer Hood, who wrestles at Smithsburg High School, won the girls 117 crown.