Williamsport’s Marissa Rumsey finishes top 8 at 16U tournament
Marissa Rumsey finished the 16U women’s freestyle tournament in Fargo, North Dakota, last week as one of the Top 8 wrestlers in the country at 117 pounds. Her reaction?
“I wanted to be at the top,” the Williamsport sophomore said.
It’s not as if she was disappointed to be the area’s lone female All-American at the country’s toughest youth tournament. It just wasn’t what she was hoping for.
But considering where Rumsey has come from in the past eight months, just competing in a monumental landmark like the FargoDome was a win in and of itself. In December, Rumsey was told she had a fractured hip. In March, she returned without much practice to finish second at the girls state tournament. And then just last week, she finished eighth at 117 pounds among four nationally-ranked wrestlers.
“It was good. I worked really hard for it,” Rumsey said. “All I did was wrestle smart and stay calm with what I was going to do.”
“I wasn’t sure what to expect because it was her first time out there,” her father, Lewis, said. “We’re absolutely happy with the results. I know she was disappointed, but she expects a lot out of herself. But with how hard she works with everything, she knows what to expect now and I’m sure she wants to be coming back at a way higher place.”
Neither Lewis nor Marissa know when or how she fractured her hip. All they know is coming into the start of the high school season she was experiencing some pain. When they got X-rays, they found a fracture which wasn’t quite entirely through the bone, but close. Doctors told Rumsey she had to stay off of it.
So for three months, all Rumsey could do was rest. She was able to lift some weights with her upper body during that time, but there was no wrestling.
“It was so boring sitting out,” Marissa said. “All I do is wrestle. So sitting out was really boring.”
When she was finally cleared to wrestle, it was just about a week before the MyHouse Girls PA State Championships. Initially, there was no plan to enter, but Lewis suggested jumping right into it with no expectations and seeing what happened.
To Marissa and Lewis’ surprise, she won her first two matches by a combined score of 12-0 to reach the 122-pound final. There, she faced Kennett’s Haylie Jaffe, who Rumsey defeated in the PJW Junior High final the previous winter.
And even though Rumsey lost that championship match, 16-2, she could be pleased with the result considering the lack of preparation time she had before the tournament.
“I just went out there and tried my best,” Marissa said. “Taking second was pretty good for just being out for a few months and all the girls were really tough.”
“It was a little nerve-wracking, but I’m confident in her and she knows her limits,” Lewis said. “I told her before the tournament if you feel any pain to let us now and we’ll pull you right out. There were some movements and stuff she was limited to do, but she wrestled through that and had a good run.”
That result allowed Rumsey to continue her training which, between practices and time in the weight room, may take up to five or six days of her week. She prepared with an eye on Fargo and being 100% in time for her first foray into the national level competition which can quickly make stars out of those who succeed.
Rumsey didn’t get off to a great start, dropping her first match, 6-2, in the Round of 32. But Rumsey rattled off four consecutive victories, including a fall in the blood round to guarantee herself a spot in the Top 8 and an All-America finish.
Rumsey lost her final two bouts of the tournament, one to nationally-ranked Elena Ivaldi, to finish eighth in the 38-person bracket. After dropping her first bout, Rumsey won by technical fall, grinded through a 6-4 win, and then recorded back-to-back falls to earn a spot on the podium.
“I was a little bit nervous, but I was confident,” Rumsey said. “It’s a bunch of girls from all over the nation and I knew they were good, but I knew I was good, too.”
“She worked her butt off,” Lewis said. “She does wrestling and boxing and I told her you have to pick one or the other to focus on leading into a big turnament like this. She picked wrestling and she still has physical therapy and is going to chiropractors to keep her body healthy. She worked her butt off to get to this point and I’m super proud she got to go wrestle the girls in Fargo. It was a big challenge.”