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Union HS wrestler earns national championship

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.”

Nevaeh Cassidy, who will be a junior at Union High School, stands atop the podium after claiming the USA Wrestling cadet freestyle national championship at the 144-pound division. Photo courtesy of Nevaeh Cassidy
Nevaeh Cassidy, who will be a junior at Union High School, stands atop the podium after claiming the USA Wrestling cadet freestyle national championship at the 144-pound division. Photo courtesy of Nevaeh Cassidy

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.”

Nevaeh Cassidy shares a special moment with her dad and coach Nathan Cassidy after Nevaeh won a freestyle national title in Fargo, N.D. Photo courtesy of Nevaeh Cassidy
Nevaeh Cassidy shares a special moment with her dad and coach Nathan Cassidy after Nevaeh won a freestyle national title in Fargo, N.D. Photo courtesy of Nevaeh Cassidy

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.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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