“As soon as I stepped on the mat, they would know my name,” says the North Side wrestler who earned All-American status

FARGO, North Dakota (WWNY) – Two local wrestlers made the cross country to one of the most prestigious wrestling tournaments in the country this month and put their names on the national map with outstanding performances.

It’s been a big year for Gouverneur wrestler Zoe Griffith.

In March, she won the Section 10 championship at 126 pounds and last week earned All-American status at the 2022 US Marine Corps Junior 16U Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota.

“I knew going out there that I wasn’t ranked, and I kind of kept to myself. I probably should be because there are girls I beat who were ranked. But I really didn’t care because I knew people wouldn’t recognize me, but as soon as I got on the mat, they would know my name,” Griffith said.

Griffith started the tournament in the 16U division where he went 4-2 and lost in the blood round.

Not achieving his goal there, Griffith moved up to the juniors and wrestled at 132 pounds.

After losing her first match, she reeled off 7 straight wins to earn All-American status and reach the consolation finals, something she says she’s only just beginning to understand.

“It’s starting to. After that first loss I just changed my mindset and told myself I had nothing to lose. To wrestle in 7 straight games was definitely an accomplishment,” Griffith said.

“You know, she came here expecting All-American in the 16U, which you know, obviously she didn’t make it in the blood round, but she did. I told her it’s not what you get by achieving your goals, it’s what you become by achieving your goals,” Griffith coach Dylan Morrison said.

Griffith wasn’t the only North Country girl to earn All-American honors in Fargo.

General Brown wrestler Zoey Jewett was also an All-American in Fargo after placing 5th in the 16U 94-pound weight class, posting a 3-2 record.

“It felt good to go out there and just fight in the spotlight for Game 5 and Game 6. It was hard. It was different than what I’m used to, but I just stuck with the moves and the things I know,” Jewett said.

After falling to 1st place finisher Katie Valdez and 3rd place finisher Caley Graber, Jewett bounced back with a TKO over Kendall Moe to place 5th in the tournament.

“Yeah, it was non-stop, but I just went game by game and made sure I recovered well after the games,” Jewett said.

“Zoe Jewett had to fight. I think she won 3 or 4 games in the back end of the tournament to get where she fell. She beat a couple of nationally ranked girls, so she came out here unranked, worked hard, and now coming in 5th here at nationals, she’s going to be on people’s radars,” Adams said.

Two rising local wrestling stars making their mark on the national stage.

The Watertown Red and Black won 21-20 on the road Saturday night in Ithaca in a game that was scheduled at the last minute after Watertown’s contest with Syracuse was postponed.

With the win, the red-blacks improved their score to 3-0 for the season.

Next up is Watertown’s 4 final trip to open the season as they travel to Broome County for an EFL competition this coming Saturday.

“The first half, we turned the ball over 3 times I think. We just made a lot of mistakes. At halftime we were down 8-7 and in the 3rd quarter we went back and forth again for the entire 3rd quarter. They scored quickly in the 4th quarter, going up 14-7, but the boys didn’t stop playing. We played 60 minutes of football, scored late in the game with 2 minutes to go and went on and sealed the win there. It was a well-played game, you know,” Reds coach George Ashcraft said.

The Watertown Rapids enjoyed a rare day off Sunday after defeating Boonville at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds 8-7 on Saturday for their second straight win.

The Rapid are back in action on Monday as they travel to Utica to begin the final week of the PGCBL season.

Watertown returns home for games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, which is Fan Appreciation Night at the Stadium.

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