Hard work, determination and a promise to grandma helps Hardy win national title
Brock Hardy and Sam Sasso scramble against each other in the national freestyle final match. Hardy won, 10-9.
Wrestler Brock Hardy has a deep understanding of a person being present “in spirit” following a run to capture his first national title int eh 138 weight class at the USAW Cadet Freestyle Nationals tournament—perhaps the toughest tournament in the country—in Fargo, N.D., last week.
In both his semifinal and final matches at the tournament, Hardy (141-5) had to dig deep, and when he did, he found the influence of his grandmother, Edna Hardy, who has been a constant fixture at Hardy’s tournaments over the years, but who now has to watch matches in her iPad from home after being diagnosed with ALS last year. Hardy promised his grandmother—who can now only communicate with nods and by typing with a single finger—he would come home with a “stop sign,” the name wrestlers have given the plaque awarded to national champions.
Hardy said he had trained particularly hard prior to the tournament, focusing more intently than he ever had before on the things he knew he needed to reach the top of the podium; lessons he had learned during his run to take two second-place finishes at the same tournament last year.
“I was going not to take second,” Hardy said. “I was going to get a national title.”
While Hardy’s training took him so far, he said it was his grandmother’s influence, and the promise he made to her, that pushed him over the top when the summit seemed so far.
In the semifinals of the freestyle tournament, Hardy faced Will Lewan (91-11) from Chicago, the same wrestler who had beat Hardy in the in Greco finals, 6-3, earlier in the tournament.
It might have been easy for Hardy to get wound up heading into the match, to think he had to push himself harder to beat an opponent who had already bested him once. However, Hardy said he was able to call on his promise to his grandmother to settle himself and allow him to “do my thing.”
And Hardy’s “thing” was absolute domination of Lewan. With just 30 seconds expired in the second period, Hardy had accumulated a 10-2 lead. A strong defensive posture helped Hardy cruise to a 12-5 win.
Hardy’s win set a finals match-up against Sam Sasso (96-12) from Nazareth, Penn. It was Sasso who sent Hardy home as the runner-up in last year’s freestyle tournament, and who was expected to take home a second national title this year.
Despite dealing with an injured hand, Sasso jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the match. With just two minutes left Sasso held an 8-6 advantage. Hardy said he again found the influence of his grandmother, and earned two takedowns to take his first lead, 10-8, with just 30 seconds remaining. In a complete defensive posture, Hardy got called for avoiding Sasso in the final seconds, a one-point infraction resulting in a 10-9 score.
“That kid was expected to win,” Hardy said. “thinking of my grandma was a calibrating moment and allowed me to be able to get to it.”
In addition to that, Hardy was focused on getting a measure of revenge against Sasso, and changed his mindset, he said. Last year, he went in a little timid, and wrestled not to lose, but this year, Hardy said, we wrestled to win.
Hardy is a multiple national championship winner, having won previously at nationals in the Kids division. This is his first Cadet-division national title, and with that, and the second-place finish in Greco, Hardy was named a double All-American.
Perry boy wins national championship with U17 Rampage 99 Black team
On July 17, the Rampage 99 Black U17 boys soccer team based out of Roy, but featuring players from several different areas, competed in and won the National President’s Cup tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
Local soccer standout, Hunter Satterthwaite of Perry, has played as the Rampage’s left defender for the last three seasons. Satterthwaite will play for the Box Elder High School soccer team in the spring.
Rampage has been striving to qualify for a national tournament for several years and finally made their breakthrough this last spring by qualifying for the West Regional President’s Cup, although the qualification wasn’t without hurdles.
To qualify for the regional tournament, teams must make it through their individual state tournaments. The champion from each state, plus a few wild card teams, qualify for regionals.
The Rampage thought their dream of making a national tournament was dashed when they came up short in the final of the Utah President’s Cup and finished in second place.
But the stars aligned for the team as they got their shot in the regional tournament as one of the wild card teams.
They made the most of it and earned a meaningful 1-0 win in the semifinal game against the same team that had beat them in the Utah championship match.
After a 0-0 first half, Satterthwaite was pushed up from his defensive position for a corner kick and was able to connect on a back-heel shot that gave his team a 1-0 lead and proved to be the only goal of the game.
Following the emotional semifinal win, Rampage went on to win the West Regional championship over a team from California to qualify for the National President’s Cup tournament.
The national tournament takes only the champion from each region. In the opening round of group play, all teams play against each other.
During the group stage, Rampage built on their momentum from winning the regional and won all three games to set up a matchup against a team from Florida for the national title.
In the championship match, the Soccer Pit Cobras gave Rampage all they could handle, battling to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation.
But in the overtime period, Rampage proved to have too much firepower, scoring twice in overtime to seal the win 3-1.
In addition to playing quality soccer, the Rampage team was also awarded the Fair Play Award during the national tournament, an award given to the team which demonstrated the best sportsmanship throughout the tournament and is voted on by both the coaches and referees at the tournament.
Utah was also represented at the national tournament by a younger boys team as the U14 Boys Fire FC, based out of Southern Utah, also qualified to compete. Fire FC finished in fourth place at the national tournament.