Marissa Rumsey entered the U17 World Team Trials not expecting too much. As a non-ranked contender stacking up against the top high school girls wrestlers in the nation, Rumsey, on paper, might’ve seemed like a minnow in a shark tank.
“Before the tournament even started, I would tell myself they’re probably better than me. It doesn’t really matter, go have fun,” Rumsey said. “So, that’s what I did and I started winning matches.”
That she did.
Match by match, Rumsey ran the gauntlet and reached the 61-kilogram semifinals, where she defeated Hanna Errthum — the top-ranked wrestler in the country — to reach the best two of three.
Rumsey’s defeat of Errthum (4-4) earned her a spot on the Team USA national wrestling team, where she’ll compete at the Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina this June.
“I think that was the best part of the whole trip because I was non-ranked, so beating someone who’s a lot better than me, I thought was pretty cool,” Rumsey said on her semifinal win.
Before she travels outside the United States for the first time, the Williamsport sophomore will head to Colorado Springs next month to train at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center ahead of the Pan American Games. A GoFundMe has been set up for Rumsey’s travel costs.
During the World Team Trials, Rumsey made three pins in elite company on her way to the semifinals. She kept hitting her opponents with an outside trip and knocked them down in order before her matchup with Errthum.
“They kind of all fell for it,” Rumsey said. “I think my teammates and coaches helped me a lot and kinda got me to be where I am when I placed.”
Rumsey’s high school coach, Brian Nasdeo, texted her after each match to tell her that she wrestled well, informed her of her mistakes and how to correct them.
“I really appreciate him because he helped me through a lot and throughout the season, I’d get really tired and he would push me through it,” Rumsey said. “I think that kinda helped me.”
Rumsey was defeated by Valerie Hamilton of Illinois in the second round in the best of three.
This past winter, Rumsey won the 136-pound state title and became the first girl from Williamsport to do so at Central Dauphin High School. She also won the MAWAS national championship title as well.