Hutchison as gracious as good (Wrestling)

January 11, 2011
Michaela Hutchison

Raised to be humble and stay modest, it’s no surprise Michaela Hutchison of Soldotna doesn’t consider her star-studded wrestling career to be a big deal.

But everyone else does.

The 21-year-old, 121-pound junior at Oklahoma City University is a two-time reigning national champion for the NAIA school and one of the toughest pound-for-pound wrestlers in the country.

Hutchison, of Skyview High fame, has won 95 of 102 career matches, a remarkable .931 winning percentage. She is so good, in fact, that she has wrestled for the Oklahoma City University men’s team at 125.

“There have been several that have tried it over the years, but I think she’s the only one to ever win any matches,” longtime head coach Archie Randall told me.

Of course, Hutchison is used to beating the boys.

In 2006, as a 103-pound sophomore, she became the first female in U.S. history to win a high school state wrestling title against boys when she defeated Aaron Boss of Colony in a 1-0 thriller. The roar and reaction of the crowd that night actually shook the ground at Chugiak High School. I know because I was there.

Today, Hutchison is rocking opponents at Oklahoma City University.

She didn’t always plan to go there, though. In the beginning she wanted to join her older brother Eli (a four-time Alaska state champ) at Boise State University. But the OCU coaches were persistent in their recruiting.

“Coach Davis would call me at 5 in the morning, trying to get me to come,” Hutchison told me. “I was pretty annoyed. But he coached me at Fargo and I liked the way he coached. I didn’t even talk to my dad. He was like, ‘What are you doing?’

‘Sorry dad. I think it’s a good thing,’ ” she told him. “They have a really good pre-med program. I like the teachers. It’s really good for school.”

Plus OCU boasts the country’s No. 1 women’s wrestling team in the nation.

“If you have the best competition in the (practice) room you’re going to get better more than if you’re the best on the team,” she said.

Turns out, though, Hutchison is the best of the best.

“She’s a coach’s dream,” Randall said. “Works hard, doesn’t get in trouble, does her school work. She does whatever you tell her to do. She’s not an issue like some of the other kids I got.”

There have been times, too, when opponents have called out Hutchison with hopes of making their name by taking down the champ. It happened recently at a national tournament when a woman challenged Hutchison to an exhibition match.

She would later regret it because Hutchison threw her to the mat with a belly-to-back move, a difficult and devastating maneuver comparable to a suplex you would see on TV.

But there is nothing fake about Hutchison.

“She’s the real deal,” Randall said. “There’s not a whole lot that bothers her when she wrestles.”

As expected, though, Hutchison played down the situation.

“It wasn’t a big deal,” she said. “She was just like, ‘I want to wrestle you.’ She wasn’t really trash talking. Afterwards she said good job and we were laughing.”

In many ways, Hutchison was born to wrestle. She is one of 10 children in her family and they keep a small mat in the front room to settle disputes. The competition is fierce, too, as at least four have placed at the state tournament.

But just because the sport dominates the household doesn’t mean it’s on her mind 24-7. In fact, when she talks to Eli on the phone the conversation always drifts to other things.

“We try not to (talk about it) because our life revolves around wrestling,” Hutchison said. “We’re like, ‘Yeah, practice sucked.’ Then we talk about something else.”