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Leopards' Hovermale gets USA recognition

May 29, 2010|By ANDREW MASON
  • Monica Hovermale, Smithsburg
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SMITHSBURG -- Monica Hovermale's success against boys has earned her top honors among girls.

The Smithsburg senior was one of roughly 50 high school girls nationwide to be selected to the 2010 Girls Wrestling All-America Team by USA Wrestling, the national governing body of the sport.

Hovermale is recognized for the honor in the May 30 issue of Wrestling USA Magazine.

"It's unreal, totally shocking," she said. "I definitely did not see it coming."

It also came as a surprise to Smithsburg wrestling coach Joe Dietrich.

"I nominated her for the award, sent it to the magazine and then basically forgot about it," Dietrich said. "Then, on Monday, a cardboard thing came in the mail, and I was like, 'What the heck is this?'" And it was her certificate."

Hovermale's status as a Girls All-American hardly seems shocking, though.

Her career high school record was 103-35 with 69 pins, as she became the first girl in Maryland history to reach 100 wins.

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As a senior, Hovermale went 30-8, won her fourth straight Washington County title at 103 pounds and became the first female state placewinner in Class 2A-1A history with her sixth-place finish at 103.

"This year I had so many goals, and I accomplished them --100 wins, winning at counties and placing at states," she said. "Placing at states was the big one, because it was my senior year. I just had to go out there and give it everything I had."

Dietrich simply said that Hovermale is "a phenomenon."

"It's few and far between that you have a national governing body of the sport present an award like this to one of your kids," he said. "It's a huge deal. We've been fortunate enough to have three guys and now her in the program's 40 years."

Hovermale joins former Leopards Steve Shifflett (1986), Chris Kretsinger (1992) and Doug Batey (1992) as high school All-Americans.

Hovermale's future plans include joining a women's college program.

"I would like to go to Lock Haven, but it's a club team, so they can't offer a lot of money," she said. "I'm also looking at King College in Tennessee. They have women's wrestling and can give me a little more money, but it's a little farther away."

Competing against wrestlers of her own gender will be a change for Hovermale. But she does have some experience.

She went 4-1 at the U.S. Girls Wrestling Association National Championships at Eastern Michigan University in early April, placing third at 108 pounds.

"It was different," Hovermale said. "The girls weren't as strong as the boys here, but they were more technical. It was all about technique."

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