|Sam Frank and her father, Ed.|
“She should be ranked number one,” said coach Aaron James. “You have a huge target on your back. The easiest title to win is the first.”
“I was hoping to get back into this position,” Frank said.
This year Frank has been working on little things to improve her technique. She knows that other competitors are watching everything she does to be able to defeat her. She is dropping a weight class this year from 110 which she weighed last year to 101 and lighter this year.
“It’s impossible to put into words how difficult it is to do something like that. You’re grumpy, hungry and tired,” James said. Frank has been doing two hour practices and then extra cardio work for a month to keep her weight where it needs to be. “But, the juice is worth the squeeze. She has a good head on her shoulders.”
“It’s pretty hard. I’ve always love eating and all food,” Frank said. She talked about struggles to live in the dorms where pizza, pasta and bagels are the foods of choice. “No thanks. I’ll stick to my can of tuna,” she said with a laugh. She started the season at 117 pounds after a season of rugby.
Her plan in Florida is to win. “I plan to do what I did last year and not psych myself out. I have a huge target because I’m a defending champion. I’ll have to watch my back, staying unaware even though I’m fully aware of what’s going on,” she said.
The competition is a three day, double elimination tournament.
The UMaine team is considered a club sport so there are no scholarships for the athletes. Frank beat girls this season who were on full wrestling scholarships to other colleges. This is the third year for the UMaine team and only has two girls. However, women’s wrestling is the fastest growing college sport in the last year or two, said James. It has grown by the thousands over the last 10 years.
“Things are going well,” Frank said. There are a lot of new wrestlers in the field and that means that she has more people to practice against.
“[James] has put in so much time with me. Getting my cardio up and training, and one on one practices,” Frank said. James told her that “If you work hard enough and no one has worked harder than you, you’ll remember that when you are on the mat.” He also told her that if she wants to be there best she has to train like it. So she has.
“It’s going to take one heck of a girl to beat her,” James said. “She’s tough.”
In addition to her nursing classes and wrestling, Frank is now a resident assistant (RA) and plays rugby. “It’s kind of hard to balance everything,” she admits.
Frank tours the state speaking to local wrestling clubs and also coaches for wrestling teams.
Updates from the competition can be found on University of Maine Orono – NCWA Wrestling Team.