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Southbury’s Sarah Henckel wins U16 national title in Fargo

Southbury’s Sarah Henckel won the USA Wrestling U16 national title in women’s freestyle Sunday in Fargo, N.D. (Photo courtesy Sarah Jadach)

When she was younger, Southbury’s Sarah Henckel loving watching wrestling, seeing her older brother William compete.

Competing? Not really interested.

“I never really wanted to wrestle. I loved watching it. But when I was 11, (William) said I should try it,” Henckel said Sunday at the USA Wrestling U16 freestyle national championship meet in Fargo, North Dakota.

But eventually she got on the mat. Sarah won her first national championship Sunday with a takedown with two seconds remaining for a 3-2 win over Wisconsin’s Faith Bartoszek in the competition at 138 pounds.

With her championship, the Henckels become the first brother and sister from Connecticut to win USA Wrestling national championships in Fargo. William won at 145 in U16 freestyle in 2021.

Six Connecticut girls competed in the U16 freestyle event, which used to be called Cadet Division for wrestlers 16 years and under. Norwalk’s Calli Gilchrist was the other medalwinner from Connecticut with a sixth place medal at 112 pounds.

Henckel looked sharp rolling through the tournament with a 6-0 record – becoming just the second girl in state history to win a title at Fargo. Plymouth’s Cara Broadus won a Cadet freestyle title at 115 in 2016.

Henckel had two pins in her first three wins, including a pin in 2:42 of Texas’ Annabelle Davis. In the semifinal, Henckel took control early in an 8-1 win over Florida’s Sofia Delgado.

In the finals, Henckel met Bartozek for the second time in four months. At the USA Wrestling’s U-17 Women’s Nationals in Texas in April, it was Bartozek, who is ranked No. 5 in the country, with a 2-1 win to finish third.

Bartjoszek had a 2-0 lead going into the third period on a pair of one-point moves. But Henckel kept working and got a takedown with two seconds left. With seconds remaining, Henckel snapped Bartoszek down and ran to get the angle. Bartoszek tried to hold her position, but dropped, and the clock wasn’t able to save her.

Bartoszek’s coaches challenged the call but lost and Henckel picked up another point for a 3-2 decision. Even without the challenge, Henckel would have won on criteria for scoring a two-point takedown.

With her thrilling finish, Henckel, who will attend Blair Academy in New Jersey in the fall, was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Bartoszek came into the match ranked No. 5 in the country while Henckel was ranked No. 13 at 144 poynds.

“I have been practicing getting better with hand fighting,” Henckel said. “Practicing with my brother helps because he stronger and more technical (than I am).”

Gilchrist earned her second straight U16 freestyle medal with her sixth place finish. She was third a year ago at 112 pounds.

This year, she went 6-3 with three pins and two technical falls. Gilchrist won four straight matches in the consolation round to earn a medal.

Stratford’s Lindsey Rywolt (122) went 3-2 in the tournament with two pins and a forfeit while Newtown’s Esther Ribeiro (127) also went 3-2 in the tournament with three wins by tech fall. Norwalk’s Rylee Donohue (127) went 2-2 with one tech fall victory. Milford’s Kelly Aspras (138) went 1-2.

Connecticut finished 15th as a team in women’s freestyle.

2022 USA Wrestling 16U and Junior Nationals tournament results

At Fargo, N.D., July 17, 2022

Women’s freestyle results

16U Girls Team Standings
1. Iowa 90; 2 Missouri 87; 3 California 86; 4 Michigan 82; 5 Minnesota 81; 6 Colorado 74; 6 Pennsylvania 74; 8 Arizona 72; 9 Illinois 71; 10 Indiana 54
11 Florida 50; 12 Wisconsin 49; 13 Ohio 46; 14 Oklahoma 42; 15 Connecticut 32; 16 Washington 31; 17 New York 26; 18 Maryland 25; 18 New Jersey 25; 20 Utah 24
21 Texas 22; 22 Montana 21; 23 (tie) Georgia Idaho Kentucky Tennessee 20; 27 Virginia 16
28 (tie) Arkansas and Kansas 15; 30 South Carolina 12; 31 Alabama 9; 32 Hawaii 7; 33 (tie) North Dakota and West Virginia 5; 35 Nebraska  2

Individual results
94 LBS
1st Katey Valdez (Colorado) tech fall Joely Slyter (Idaho), 10-0 1:32
3rd Caley Graber (Minnesota) tech fall Annalise Maralit (South Carolina), 12-2 2:54
5th Zoey Jewett (New York) tech fall Kendall Moe (Indiana), 10-0 1:35
7th Kyler Menza (Washington) dec.Alexandra Sebek (Illinois), 4-4

100 LBS
1st Rianne Murphy (Indiana) pin Mary Manis (Florida), 3:20
3rd Gigi Bragg (Michigan) tech fall Lauren Nguyen (California), 10-0 3:17
5th Gabriele Tedesco (Florida) dec. Madison Heinzer (California), 9-9
7th Mia Galindo (Virginia) pin Avy Perez (California), 0:37

106 LBS
1st Ava Ward (Missouri) tech fall Heather Crull (Indiana), 10-0 1:34
3rd Angelina Cassioppi (Illinois) dec. Ana Malovich (Pennsylvania), 7-4
5th Aspen Blasko (Minnesota) pin Mikayla Garcia (California), 3:02
7th Jillian Worthen (Iowa) tech. fall Harlee Hiller (Illinois), 12-2 0:52

112 LBS
1st Molly Allen (Iowa) pin Karlee Brooks (Arizona), 1:08
3rd Aubre Krazer (Pennsylvania) dec. Cecilia Williams (Michigan), 4-1
5th Reanah Utterback (Iowa) pin Calli Gilchrist (Connecticut), 1:04
7th Angelina Vargas (Missouri) pin Bk Martinez (California), 1:47

117 LBS
1st Persaeus Gomez (Colorado) tech fall Isabella Marie Gonzales (California), 12-2 3:26
3rd Bella Williams (Oklahoma) dec. Ashley Naranjo (Washington), 6-2
5th Kira Cole (Ohio) dec. Evelyn Holmes-Smith (Alabama), 2-2
7th Isabella Cepak (Michigan) pin Jessa Joiner (Missouri), 2:23

122 LBS
1st Everest Leydecker (Arizona) dec,Carley Ceshker (Wisconsin), 8-4
3rd Haylie Jaffe (Pennsylvania) dec. Alejandra Valdiviezo (California), 4-2
5th Savannah Witt (Pennsylvania) tech. fall Audrey Rogotzke (Minnesota), 11-0 2:56
7th Sophie Bowers (Illinois) dec. Ella Gahl (Indiana), 5-0

127 LBS
1st Skylar Little Soldier (Minnesota) dec. Cadence Diduch (Illinois), 3-2
3rd Alicen Dillard (Texas) pin Kayla Edwards (California), 2:56
5th Jordyn Fouse (Pennsylvania) pin Dealya Collins (Wisconsin), 3:35
7th Ciara Riner (West Virginia) pin Regan Rosseter (Nebraska), 2:24

132 LBS
1st Carina Giangeruso (New Jersey) dec. Lauren Walton (Kentucky), 3-3
3rd Isis France (Arizona) tech, fall Morgan Lucio (Arizona), 10-0 3:11
5th Janiah Jones (Missouri) dec. Mackenzie Pratt (Illinois), 6-3
7th Isabella Dias (Pennsylvania) dec. Janessa O’connell (Washington), 7-4

138 LBS
1st Sarah Henckel (Connecticut) dec. Faith Bartoszek (Wisconsin), 3-2
3rd Madison Westerberg (New York) tech fall Gianna Dibenedetto (California), 13-2 3:34
5th Sofia Delgado (Florida) tech. fall Annabelle Davis (Texas), 10-0 1:24
7th Taydem Bylin (Washington) dec. Lena Johannson (Alabama), 9-2

144 LBS
1st Nebi Tsarni (Maryland) dec. Skylar Slade (Iowa), 10-2
3rd Sydney Perry (Illinois) dec. Emma Peach (Iowa), 4-2
5th May Cuyler (Virginia) pin Jahlia Miguel (Hawaii), 0:43
7th Madeline Haynes (Missouri) dec. Raegan Snider (Pennsylvania), 7-3

152 LBS
1st Mishell Rebisch (Michigan) dec. Genevieve An (Georgia), 9-6
3rd Skylur Lewis (Arkansas) dec. Savannah Holderby (Ohio), 2-1
5th Alison Evans (Colorado) dec. Cali Dupree (Missouri), 3-3
7th Lexi Ritchie (Illinois) pin Adriana Palumbo (New York), 1:42

164 LBS
1st Ella Pagel (Minnesota) tech. fall Piper Fowler (Tennessee), 10-0 2:53
3rd Olivia Stean (Kansas) dec. Naomi Simon (Iowa), 8-7
5th Kylee Lindsley (Montana) pin Jael Miller (Pennsylvania), 1:53
7th Bella Porcelli (Iowa) dec. Rachel Schauer (Wisconsin), 13-4

180 LBS
1st Sabrina Nauss (Michigan) pin Kali Hayden (Oklahoma), 2:28
3rd Aurellia Ramos (Utah) tech. fall Tirza Twoteeth (Montana), 10-0 3:02
5th Isabella Renfro (Missouri) dec. Symphony Veloz (Oklahoma), 9-0
7th Ellie Poulette (Missouri) pin Taylor Waddy (Virginia), 1:08

200 LBS
1st Savannah Isaac (Ohio) pin Mariyah Brumley (Missouri), 0:20
3rd Blythe Cayko (Colorado) pin Cheyenne Cruce (Florida), 2:57
5th Tilisa Matakaiongo (Utah) pin Kiona Michel (Washington), 0:26
7th Phoenix Lindseth (North Dakota) pin Savannah Sistad (Iowa), 1:57

Outstanding Wrestler
138 – Sarah Henckel of Connecticut

Most Falls
117 – Isabella Cepak, 6 falls in 7:00

Connecticut national championships
USA Wrestling U16 and Junior Nationals

Year: Name Weight Division
1985 John Meyers Hall 121 Cadet freestyle
1998 Nick Ciarcia, Xavier (Berlin) 152 Cadet Greco Roman
2004 Anthony Valles, South Windsor 91 Cadet freestyle
2005 Anthony Valles, South Windsor 98 Cadet freestyle
2010 Ross Spencer, East Lyme 105 Junior freestyle
2016 Cara Broadus, Plymouth 115 Women’s Cadet freestyle
2021 William Henckel, Southbury 145 16U freestyle
2022 Sarah Henckel, Southbury 138 Women 16U freestyle

Prior to 2019, 16U division was Cadet

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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