Bettendorf's Ella Schmit adds Junior freestyle All-American to her growing wrestling resume
FARGO, N.D. — Ella Schmit's wrestling resume seems to grow every time she steps on the mat.
This past year alone, the senior-to-be from Bettendorf has won a girls' state wrestling title, her second; qualified for the boys' state wrestling tournament, where she won a match; and reached the semifinals of the Cadet women's freestyle world team trials.
On Wednesday, Schmit added another sterling accomplishment: Junior All-American.
Schmit solidified her case as one of the country's most talented women's wrestlers, earning a podium-finish at the Junior women's freestyle national championships here at the FargoDome. She went 6-2 and took fifth at 117 pounds.
In doing so, Schmit also fortified her spot as Iowa's premier female wrestler, the face of the state's push to grow women's wrestling — and Iowa's only Junior women's freestyle All-American this week, while Lewis Central's Sophie Barnes, Charles City's Lilly Luft, and Southeast Polk's Bella Porcelli all earned All-American honors in the 16U division.
The four total combined All-Americans between the 16U and Junior divisions ties for the second-most Iowa's ever had at the women's freestyle national championships, matching the 2013 total and trailing only the effort from 2011, when seven girls combined for eight All-American finishes between both divisions.
But Schmit also joined elite company when it comes to Iowa women's wrestling. She is just the fifth woman in state history to earn All-American honors in both the 16U/Cadet and Junior women's freestyle divisions. The others: Jasmine Bailey, Cassy Herkelman, Rachel Watters and Felicity Taylor.
And this week's accomplishment is just the latest in what's been a busy and eventful few months.
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In January, Schmit bullied her way to a second-straight girls' state championship, with a 5-0 record at 106 pounds with five pins, all in the first period. In the three years the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association has hosted a girls' state wrestling tournament, Schmit has reached the finals three times and won twice.
In February, Schmit and Ottumwa's Jasmine Luedtke became just the third and fourth girls ever to qualify for the Iowa High School Athletic Association's state wrestling championships. Schmit went 1-2 competing at 106 in Class 3A, advancing to Friday's bloodround. Both of her losses came to state medalists.
Then, in May, Schmit went to Texas for the Cadet women's freestyle world team trials with hopes of joining Southeast Polk star Nate Jesuroga on the U.S. Cadet world team. She reached the semifinals before falling to California's Katie Gomez — who ultimately made the team and will compete in Budapest later this week.
All of these accomplishments gave credence to Schmit's own national ranking. She was tabbed at No. 15 nationally at 112 pounds, according to USA Wrestling's latest national girls' high school rankings.
She may soon find herself a little closer to the top after her performance here in Fargo.
Within Schmit's 6-2 record included a number of notable wins. In the opening round, she soundly defeated Illinois' Maya Davis by a 12-2 technical fall. Davis was ranked No. 13 at 117 pounds in same national poll. In the Round-of-16, she pinned California's Arieana Arias, who was ranked No. 11 at 117.
Schmit also notched wins over 9th-ranked Elena Ivaldi (by forfeit), 12th-ranked Allison Hynes (10-0) and, for fifth, Indiana state champ Torieonna Buchanan (by pin). Her only losses came to Washington's Salyna Shotwell, who's ranked fourth, and Illinois' Taylin Long, who's ranked fifth. Shotwell and Long finished third and fourth, respectively.
This was always part of Schmit's plan, of course. She has long been outspoken about her goals, to not just qualify for state against the boys, but to win a medal; to not just compete at these national-level competitions, but to win them.
As she begins her senior season, all of those goals and more are still in front of her. And considering her progression over the last seven months, it shouldn't surprise anybody if Ella Schmit runs them all down sooner rather than later.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.