Former Blue Jay Hannah Sjostrom competing well at Jamestown

Jan. 9—JAMESTOWN — Hannah Sjostrom made a jump last year.

In February, she was counted as one of the best prep female wrestlers in the state of North Dakota.

Now, she's looking to be counted as one of the best in the country.

Sjostrom is in the midst of her first year of collegiate wrestling at the University of Jamestown. Sjostrom officially committed to wrestling for UJ during her senior year at Jamestown High School.

After wrapping her second official season of competing, Sjostrom finished her senior year playing soccer, then got back to training for her first go-around with the Jimmies.

Sjostrom said most of the summer she was recovering from a previous injury, which made it difficult to train, but she did what she could without pushing things too far.

Whatever she did must have worked.

The Jimmies had their first inter-squad Orange vs Black dual on Oct. 20, but the team opened the season officially on Nov. 12 at the Luther College (Iowa) Open.

Sjostrom lost a 10-0 tech fall to start the day but came back with a 22-second pin and 62-second pin in her next two matches to end 2-2 at her first official collegiate competition.

On Dec. 2, she placed first in the 170-pound division at the Jimmie Invite after pinning Michelle Klein of Minot State in 1:20 and teammate Makayla Roebuck in 47 seconds.

"I would say my season is going pretty good," Sjostrom said. "So far, I have four wins underneath my belt, but I still have a lot to learn if I want to continue competing at this level. Coach (Amy) Golding has taught me a lot in the few months I have been training with her, with only wrestling freestyles a few times in my wrestling career, I feel she has brought me a long way in a short amount of time."

Technically speaking, this winter marks Sjostrom's third year as a wrestler.

Sjostrom was on the Blue Jay basketball team in her freshman and sophomore seasons but decided to switch up the pace of her winter when wrestling became available to girls at JHS.

The 2023-24 season marks the third official sanctioned season for the sport of girls wrestling in the state of North Dakota. Jamestown is one of 53 Class A and Class B schools that have listed girls wrestling as an official sport. Three years ago when Sjostrom began wrestling there were only 42 schools that had an official girls wrestling team

While she only just joined the sport two years ago, Sjostrom has made quite a splash in the girls wrestling world.

In her junior year, Sjostrom placed third in the 190-pound bracket at the first-ever North Dakota High School Activities Association-sanctioned state meet.

In terms of WDA duals, Sjostrom went 4-1 as a senior and was the second-seeded wrestler in the state at 170 pounds.

At the second-ever State Girls Wrestling Tournament, Sjostrom cruised her way to the state semifinals and while she got handed a loss that round, the Blue Jay senior delivered a pin of Devils Lake's Isabelle Berg at the 2:00 mark of the first period to earn the third-place trophy for the second-straight year.

"The biggest difference I have noticed between the high school and college level is the competition," Sjostrom said. "Mostly everyone at the college level wants to be there and some have been wrestling for many years."

The University of Jamestown women's wrestling program was the first in the state of North Dakota. Minot State University has since joined the ranks bringing the state's collegiate wrestling program total to two. UJ's program first started in 2017 under former head coach Shauna Isbell-Kemp.

In the U.S. there are 115 collegiate women's wrestling programs. Most U.S. women's wrestling programs compete against each other as part of the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA), regardless of whether the school is an NCAA Division 1, 2, 3 institution or an NAIA or NJCAA university.

"My goal for the rest of my freshman year is to wrestle to the best of my abilities and learn from my mistakes so I don't make the same mistakes next year," Sjostrom said. "At this point in the season, I just want to keep my conditioning and technique increasing."