Sunday Sports: “As soon as I got out on the mat, they were gonna know my name” says North Country wrestler who earned All-American status
FARGO, North Dakota (WWNY) - A pair of area wrestlers made the trek cross country to one of the premiere wrestling tournaments in the country this month and put their names on the map nationally with outstanding performances.
It’s been a big year for Gouverneur wrestler Zoe Griffith.
In March, she won the Section 10 Championship at 126 pounds and last week earned All-American status at the 2022 U.S. Marine Corps Junior at 16U Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.
”I knew going out there that I wasn’t ranked, and I kinda kept to myself. I probably should be, because there’s girls that I beat that were ranked. But I really didn’t care, because I knew that people weren’t gonna know me, but as soon as I got out on the mat, they were gonna know my name,” said Griffith.
Griffith began the tournament in the 16U division, where she went 4-2 and lost in the blood round.
Not achieving her goal there, Griffith moved up to the juniors and wrestled in the 132 pound weight class.
After losing her 1st match, she reeled off 7 straight wins to earn All-American status and made it to the consolation finals, something she says is just starting to sink in.
”It’s starting to. After that first loss I really just changed my mindset and I told myself I had nothing to lose. Wrestling 7 straight matches was definitely an accomplishment,” said Griffith.
”You know, she came out here expecting to All-American in 16U which you know, obviously she fell short in the blood round but she pulled it together. I told her it’s not what you get by achieving your goals, it’s what you become by achieving your goals,” said Griffith’s coach Dylan Morrison.
Griffith wasn’t the only North Country girl to earn All-American honors in Fargo.
General Brown wrestler Zoey Jewett was also an All-American in Fargo after placing 5th in the 94 pound division in 16U, posting a 3-2 record.
”It felt good to go out there and just wrestle under the spotlight for the 5th and 6th match. It was tough. It was different than what I’m use to, but I just stuck to the moves and the stuff that I know,” said Jewett.
After falling to 1st place finisher Katie Valdez and 3rd place finisher Caley Graber, Jewett bounced back with a technical fall win over Kendall Moe to place 5th in the tournament.
”Yeah, it was non-stop, but I just went match by match and made sure I recovered good after the matches,” said Jewett.
”Zoe Jewett had to wrestle. I think she won 3 matches or 4 matches on the backside of the tournament to get where she fell. She beat a couple nationally ranked girls, so she came out here not being nationally ranked, working hard, and now taking 5th place out here at the national tournament, she will be on people’s radars,” said Adams.
Two rising wrestling stars locally making their mark on the national stage.
The Watertown Red and Black pulled out a 21-20 road win Saturday night in Ithaca in a game that was scheduled at the last minute after Watertown’s contest with Syracuse was postponed.
With the win, the Red and Black improved to 3-0 on the season.
Next up, the final road trip of Watertown’s 4 to open the season as they travel to Broome County for an EFL contest this coming Saturday.
“1st half, we turned the ball over 3 times I think. We just made a lot of mistakes. We were down at halftime 8-7 and the 3rd quarter we traded again back and forth about the whole 3rd quarter. They scored quick in the 4th quarter, went up 14-7, but the guys didn’t quit playing. We played 60 minutes of football, we scored late in the game with 2 minutes left in the game and went ahead and we sealed the victory there. It was a game well played, you know,” said Red and Black Coach George Ashcraft.
The Watertown Rapids enjoyed a rare off day Sunday after beating Boonville at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds Saturday 8-7 for their 2nd straight win.
The Rapids are back in action Monday as they travel to Utica to begin the final week of the PGCBL season.
Watertown is back home for games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, which is fan appreciation night at the ballpark.
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