Nevaeh Cassidy takes freestyle title at USA Wrestling
This is what a national championship feels like:
“It was just so emotional and amazing. I was crying, and I was smiling. Seeing my dad smiling from ear to ear, so happy. That made everything so perfect. That moment was so perfect.”
That moment is when Nevaeh Cassidy, a junior-to-be at Union High School, won the USA Wrestling cadet freestyle national championship in her 144-pound weight class earlier this week in Fargo, N.D.
“It’s very, just, strange to hear myself as a national champion. It is so unreal and so awesome to be part of that small group,” Cassidy said. “I’m the only cadet champion from Washington for boys and girls. That just makes it even more amazing.”
Cassidy defeated Sydney Manos of Illinoi, 14-7 in the championship match.
She got there, though, by rallying from a 13-8 deficit in the semifinals to beat Jayden Bentley of Iowa.
“It was looking not-so-hot for me,” Cassidy acknowledged. “I was looking at the score. ‘Oh crap. I’m down. Stay calm, relaxed, and reserved.’
“I threw her, got my four (points), and then I pinned her,” Cassidy continued.
She trailed early in the championship match, but remembered her training.
“I was trying some things that weren’t working. I had to stick to what I knew,” she said. “I ended up getting more and more points.”
Then came that perfect moment, with her arm being raised. Later, she stood on the podium. She had a picture taken with a U.S. Marine. Then she jumped into her father’s arms.
“Daddy, I did it,” she screamed as Nathan Cassidy embraced her.
Cassidy describes herself as a thrower, which is perfect for freestyle wrestling, which awards more points than in, say, a high school competition.
Wrestlers must qualify for the nationals through state or regional competitions. In all, four Union teammates and a handful of other Clark County high school wrestlers joined Cassidy in Fargo.
She returned home Thursday night, and she wanted to thank her support system, including her parents, her extended family, coaches, and “everyone who has been there for me.”
It was Nevaeh Cassidy’s perfect moment, but in a way, she wants to share her national championship with all of those loved ones.