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One gold

Goodrich grappler on track to 2012 London Olympics

CC Weber (click for larger version)
December 30, 2009 - Goodrich- At about five-feet tall and just over 100 pounds, CC Weber could easily be overlooked in a crowded room. But given her relentless desire to succeed in Olympic wrestling, an event just a few years ago closed to women, she stands shoulders above many.

Weber, a 2009 Goodrich High School graduate, relocated to Colorado Springs, Colo. last summer and now practices at the U.S. Olympic Training Center while taking classes at the University of Colorado. At the time of the move, Weber was near the top of a short ladder to make the U.S. Olympic Team and compete in the London Summer Games in August 2012. She will wrestle at the 105.5 pound weight (48 Kilos) division.

"I have the ability to do this," said Weber. "I have a lot of work ahead of me and need the two-and-a- half years leading up to the Olympics. You have to believe in yourself and what you can really do."

Weber may already have an edge.

In 2009, Weber defeated 21-year-old Wisconsin native Alyssa Lampe (1-0) and currently, Clarissa Chun, a 28-year-old wrestler from Hawaii who placed fifth in the 2008 Olympics, is injured. Both wrestlers were on the short list of Olympic hopefuls taking aim at April 2012 when the Olympic trials are held.

"Wrestling is 40 percent physical and 60 percent mental," Weber said. "It comes down to who wants it more—when we go out on that mat at this level, physically we can match up—it comes down to the mental edge. The older wrestlers have just been in the game longer. For me, I wrestled boys throughout high school—they may have had the physical edge at the time. Now the transition to all women wrestling was made a lot easier."

Weber, who will turn 19 in March, said as few as 20 colleges in the United States offer women's wrestling programs.

"There are few options out there after high school," said Weber. "Typically, the Olympic team recruits from the college ranks—that's where the majority of athletes come from. But for me, after I left the Goodrich team, to which I was dedicated, I just did not think it would be the same on a college team. So it was time for me to go solo. Why not go to the best team right off—the U.S. team?"

Weber climbed the ranks as a wrestler while attending school in Goodrich and making the junior world team and qualifying for the senior world trials. She was part of two state championship seasons as a Martian, while qualifying for individual state competition three years at Goodrich. She finished with a 58-5 2009 season record and 162-34 for her career at GHS.

She is coached by Terry Steiner, who was named USA Wrestling's full-time National Women's Coach in April 2002, the first in USA Wrestling history. He is responsible for the training of America's elite women freestyle wrestlers, as well as coaching women wrestlers who are involved in the U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete program. For the first time, women's wrestlers competed in the Olympic Games in 2004. Steiner helped lead that Olympic team to one silver and one bronze medal, the second-highest medal count of any nation.

"You are reminded everyday why you are at the OTC. Every single person there is after the same thing. They share the same drive to be the best."

Weber said the athletes are tested for drugs at random and health is monitored by on-staff doctors.

"At the OTC they watch what is going on all the time—they know what cough syrup we are using, but I would do nothing to hurt my chances," she said.

"I still have fun on the weekends," she said. "I go out, but I stay focused. I'm with the best coaches at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and for me that's the place to be."

In March 2008, millions of viewers received their first glimpses of Martian standout grappler Weber, when sports network ESPN chose to feature her, along with teammate Kristi Garr, on "Outside the Lines," an Emmy-winning series that examines sports issues off the playing field.

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