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Skyview grad Michaela Hutchison chases Olympic dream

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Michaela Hutchison won't let herself look too far ahead.

Even if she did, no one could blame her.

Hutchison, 21, has a legitimate chance at making the women's Olympic wrestling team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In April, the Skyview grad will compete in the Olympic trials in Iowa City, Iowa, for one of four spots on the Olympic team.

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"I will probably set my goals when I get back to school," Hutchison said by phone last week. "Right now I'm just focused on wrestling more than winning, just wrestling my matches."

In 2006, Hutchison became the first girl to win a state wrestling title competing against boys. She enters her senior season at Oklahoma City University as one of the premier grapplers in the Women's College Wrestling Association.

At 5 feet, 4 inches, Hutchison won WCWA national championships for Oklahoma City as a freshman and sophomore and placed second as a junior.

Now the Soldotna native has a shot at qualifying for the Olympics.

Hutchison will wrestle Dec. 17 at senior nationals, which determines seeding for the Olympic trials. If she wins nationals, Hutchison gets a No. 1 seed for the trials and a clear path to London.

Four athletes qualify for the U.S. women's team - one apiece at 105, 121, 138 and 158 pounds.

Oklahoma City coach Archie Randall said Hutchison will compete at 121 for Olympics qualifying, though she will wrestle at 130 before the trials because she needs to gain more muscle.

What Hutchison doesn't lack is a strong work ethic.

"She is a working machine," Randall said. "She works and works and works. She is self-motivated - the total package."

Soft spoken, Hutchison said her biggest weakness is her mind.

After winning consecutive national titles in 2009 and 2010, she settled for second this past year because of a mental lapse in the championship match.

Hutchison held a 2-1 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the match before she lost focus.

"I mentally spaced and looked at the clock," she said.

Hutchison is ranked No. 3 on the Olympic ladder, Randall said, and is capable of beating anyone she faces - if her head's in the match.

"Her whole issue now is the mental game. She does everything she is supposed to, so that's the whole deal," Randall said. "We have to make sure she is mentally confident and doesn't worry about winning and losing, and just performs."

Hutchison was home for a month this summer, a brief break from a grueling training schedule that includes running, lifting weights and constantly honing of her technique.

The central Kenai Peninsula product said she is proud to represent the region and was flattered at the feedback she received during her recent visit.

"The people here have always supported me. It's kind of cool to come back," Hutchison said. "When you are in the Lower 48, people are like, ‘Oh, whatever.' Here, they are like, ‘Oh, my gosh.'

"They care."

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