Roberts wins national wrestling title


Sports editor

Sally Roberts is a national champion.

A title that sounds pretty good coming out of her mouth — the 1999 Federal Way High School graduate proudly admits.

“It is just great,” Roberts said. “It is a dream come true.”

Roberts recently won the 59-kilogram title at the United States Senior Women’s Open National Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas. The championships were held May 8-10.

Roberts’ national title puts her on a collision course toward the ultimate in amateur athletics — the Olympic Games.

Next year, women’s wrestling will be a part of the games in Athens, Greece, during the 2004 Summer Olympics.

“Everyone has their sights set on Athens,” she said. “That would be awesome.”

Roberts’ championship is not something she earned overnight or because she has all the natural talent in the world. It came because of good, old-fashioned hard work.

Back in her Federal Way High School days, Roberts was one of the only girl wrestlers in the South Puget Sound League and the only female to last through an entire Eagle wrestling season.

Not an easy task in the testosterone-driven sport.

“I first started wrestling at Sacajawea in the eighth grade,” Roberts said. “And I wrestled all through high school in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade. I just remember being a little, twerpy girl. I wanted something to do in my spare time and I loved wrestling.”

At Federal Way, Roberts never won a varsity wrestling match.

“I had quite a streak,” she joked.

After high school, Roberts went on to the University of Minnesota-Morris, where she wrestled for two years at the first college to offer women’s wrestling, before transferring to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.

“College wrestling for women was pretty new,” Roberts said.

Following her tenure in Oregon, Roberts was presented with the opportunity of moving to the prestigious United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. She has lived at the complex since last summer and works as a coach and trainer with USA Wrestling, the national governing body of the sport.

“I just wrestle,” she said. “I usually practice from 8-9 in the morning and then go to work and come back and practice again from 6-8 at night. I love everything about wrestling.”

Roberts also said she spends four to five hours a week training on her own. Like most male wrestlers, she also has some problems making weight on a week-to-week basis. Her 59-kilogram weight class equals out to about 130 pounds. In high school she wrestled in the 148-pound weight class, which is, year-in and year-out, one of the tougher classifications in Washington.

“I usually walk around at 140 to 145 pounds, so I need to do some extra conditioning on my own.”

For now, Roberts is training hard for the 2003 World Team Trials, which are scheduled for June 20-22 in Indianapolis. She finished up in third place at last year’s World Team Trials in St. Paul, Minn.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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