National Team member Amy Fearnside sets high goals for her wrestling future

By Viviane Fracasso, USA Wrestling | April 10, 2018, 6:20 p.m. (ET)
Amy Fearnside, found wrestling mid-season sophomore year after showing up for a practice to support a friend at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif. Instantly falling in love with the sport, Fearnside became a permanent part of the team after her first practice.

“I had a friend who really wanted to try out. I got so fed up with him talking about it as often as he did so I dragged him into the wrestling room,” Fearnside recalled. “He was 105 pounds and didn’t have anyone around his size to practice, I ended up going through that practice with him and I really enjoyed it. Before I knew it, I was on the team. It was kind of shocking,”

Fearnside wrestled three years in high school and went on the win the California state championships her senior year.

“Our team really started to grow, we started winning league championships for the first time in 30 years. It was a great feeling. I knew I loved it so much, I wanted to continue wrestling after high school,” Fearnside said.

Although having no prior experience in freestyle, Fearnside went on to compete at the 2012 Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, N.D., the summer after her senior year of high school. Despite the drawback, she still managed to finish fourth at 112 pounds.

“I had no idea what I was doing, I had only one-week experience with freestyle. I ‘folkstyled’ my way through. Toward the finals, people knew just how to turn me. I didn’t know what I was doing but I loved freestyle from the start,” Fearnside said.

Fearnside signed with the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, N.D., under Tony Deanda, where she competed all five years, redshirting her junior year.

“Coach Deanda knew what he was doing. He is a very technical. He took me from nothing and developed me over a five-year span into the person I am today,” Fearnside said.

At Jamestown, Fearnside was a four-time All-American. At the WCWA Women’s College National Championships, she placed fourth in 2013 at 109 pounds, second in 2014 at 109, third in 2015 at 116 pounds and second 2017 at 116 pounds.

A three-time USA Wrestling University Nationals champion, Fearnside also competed on an international level throughout the majority of her time in college. She has had the support of the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club as a sponsor since the beginning of her sophomore year of college in 2013.

“They have been helping me tremendously when it comes down to the financial aspects of things and competing internationally. All their support has helped in my development,” Fearnside said.

In 2017, Fearnside tore her MCL one week out of the World Team Trials and still managed to pull through and place top three, which qualified her for a spot on the U.S. National Team at 53 kg.

“At the Trials I had to decide, what’s more important to me? My injured leg or my future? I basically realized at that moment, Ronna Heaton was going to have to tear my leg if she wanted to win,” Fearnside said.

Fearnside defeated Heaton, 7-6, in the third place bout at the World Team Trials, clinching her National Team Spot. She has since become a full time resident athleye at the United States Olympic Training Center.

“I knew I wanted to further my wrestling career and I knew this would be the perfect start. I would be able to train at the United States Olympic Training Center and that’s exactly what I was able to accomplish. It’s been a blessing,” Fearnside said.

Fearnside represented the United States at the U23 World Championships in Bydoszcz, Poland where she finished in fifth place.

“On paper fifth looks like fifth but I know because of the way I was wrestling that day, I felt like I was on fire. I remember tossing Qi Zhang from China on her head,” recalled Fearnside. “I felt like I had energy forever. I had the right mindset. The funny thing is, I may have lost to the Chinese in the semi-finals but I was the one celebrating and she was the one crying. I rather have an amazing loss than a horrible win. That’s the truth of the matter.”

Fearnside will be looking for even more improvement at the U.S. Open, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nev. April 26-28.