Soldotna's Michaela Hutchison made it to Saturday's semifinals at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials before her attempt to earn a spot on the Olympic women's wrestling team was derailed by a pair of one-point losses.
Hutchison, who recently wrapped up a successful college career at Oklahoma City University, lost a best-of-3 semifinal showdown with Kelsey Campbell. She lost both of the first two matches by scores of 1-0.
She was eliminated in a loser's bracket match against Shanuna Isbell. Isbell won the first match 3-1, Hutchison rebounded to win the second 1-0, and Isbell came back to win the third 3-1.
Wrestling in the 55-kilogram class (121 pounds), the 5-foot-4 Hutchison was trying to become Alaska's second Olympic wrestler. Tela O'Donnell of Homer made the U.S. team for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where women's wrestling made its debut.
Hutchison, a Skyview High graduate, is perhaps the state's most famous female wrestler. She made history in 2006 when she became the first girl in the nation to win a state high school championship in a meet featuring mostly boys.
At Oklahoma City University, she won Women's College Wrestling Association national championships as a senior, sophomore and freshman and placed second as a junior.
Hutchison received a first-round bye and swept her second-round opponent, Amy Whitbeck, by scores of 2-1 and 4-0.
Competition at the Olympic trials continues Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa, where both men and women are vying for berths in this summer's London Olympics.
On Sunday, Chugiak's Melissa Apodaca will wrestle for a chance to represent the United States in the 63-kilogram weight class (138.75 pounds).
There are four weight classes for women at the Olympics and the United States gets one berth in each division.
Reach Beth Bragg at email@example.com or 257-4335.
By BETH BRAGG
Anchorage Daily News