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|New dream, new goal: Brittney Roberts ready to make impact on Senior level|
By Meagan Templeton-Lynch USA Wrestling
Brittney Roberts at 72 kg wrestling for OCU. Oklahoma City University Athletics photo.
Just three months ago, Brittney Roberts hadn’t decided to make wrestling into a career.
Now, she’s dreaming of Olympic and World medals.
“Before I went to the Dave Schultz Memorial, I hadn’t really made up my mind [about continuing wrestling],” Roberts said. “I honestly thought I would just carry out my academic career and get a job, but doing well this semester has boosted my confidence and helped me believe I can be the best.”
Roberts said she plans on wrestling at least until 2016. She will graduate this May with her degree in biomedical science from Oklahoma City University.
This season, Roberts won at 72 kg and earned the title of Outstanding Wrestler at Women’s University Nationals in Oklahoma City, Okla. on her home mats at OCU. She earned the right to compete at the University World Championships in Kazan, Russia, July 10-16.
Most recently, Roberts traveled to Panama City, Panama for the Pan American Championships, where she took home a silver medal against some tough competition, helping the U.S. take third as a team.
Roberts also went 2-2 at the Women’s World Cup in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, March 2-3. This tournament, she said, gave her confidence to power through the competitions that followed.
“I basically fed off of the World Cup tournament and kept my momentum going for University Nationals as well as the Pan Am Championships,” Roberts said. “I was able to secure a national championship at University Nationals and that was really big for me because I’d never done that before.”
Roberts is still riding that momentum and hopes to see it take her to the top at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, Nev. next week.
“I am definitely looking forward to the tournament in Vegas. I think it’s going to be a great trip. I just plan on moving forward in each match and go one period at a time,” she said. “I plan to go for gold. That’s always my plan.”
Looking ahead, Roberts is getting prepared for the World Team Trials this summer as well, hoping to make her first World Team and head to Hungary in September for the Senior World Championships.
A huge supporter, Brittney’s mother Joan Roberts, tries to attend all of her daughter’s competitions.
“My family is really supportive of my wrestling. Every time I have a tournament, my mom tries to come. She was at the Pan Am Championships recently; she’s going to be in Vegas,” Roberts said. “I like to wrestle for her. I try to compete well for her and give her my medals.”
It isn’t just medals that motivate Roberts, however. An honor student at OCU, she has a passion for learning and improving.
“Gold is always my goal, but I also want to execute things that I haven’t executed before, you know, hit new moves and get comfortable with those moves and open up,” she said. “My goal for the coming tournaments is to open up and wrestle like I do in the practice room. I hope to do well in all of those tournaments and keep striving to hit moves and keep my endurance up and out-wrestle all the people I come up against.”
Roberts plans to continue her education in the medical field to become either a nurse or physician’s assistant.
“Everything about the body fascinates me. I love to learn how the body works the way it does,” Roberts said. “I think that ties in a lot to sports and athletes as a whole because we have to take care of our body and treat it right. Maybe I can do something with wrestling and medicine one day.”
As a pre-med student, Roberts has little free time outside of wrestling and school. Luckily, her organizational skills have been fine-tuned over the years and she does get the occasional chance to spend time with teammates outside of the wrestling room. The discipline that wrestling teaches is another vital ingredient for her success in school as well.
“You don’t have to be smart; you don’t have to have money [to wrestle]. All you have to have is work ethic,” Roberts said. “Keeping going is a key part to my success. If I were to stop and laze about, I would not be successful. I like to keep a fast pace and do well at each tournament and boost my confidence a little more, which helps me with school and with wrestling.”
In high school, her best friend’s brother wrestled, so she and her friend decided to give the sport a try as well. Her friend lasted two weeks. Roberts ended up quitting all her other sports to focus on wrestling. She credits her very first wrestling coach, in particular, for getting her to where she is now.
“My high school coach, Bill Durning, had a lot to do with the reason I stayed with wrestling after my friend got me started with it,” she said. “He passed on his technique to me and helped me develop the passion I have for the sport. And I continually want to thank him for the world of opportunity he helped open up for me. You meet a lot of great people on the way, a lot of great coaches that just want to see you do well and you just want to do well for them, too. That’s what keeps me going.”