WSU’s wrestling team in Puerto Rico takes home All-American titles

Petra Bernsten and Julie Wilson are WSU wrestling All-Americans



The entire WSU wrestling team finished four in Nationals, March 18.

GABRIELLE BOWMAN, Evergreen news co-editor

WSU’s men’s and women’s wrestling teams traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico over spring break to compete in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championships where they brought back to the Palouse two women All-Americans. The teams took first place in the Academic All-American scores, College Cup for fourth place for the top two combined team scores. 

The women’s team finished fourth overall, behind Big Bend by only five points. The most exciting win for the women’s team, however, was freshman Petra Bernsten and sophomore Julie Wilson becoming All-Americans.

Julie Wilson and Petra Bernsten as All-Americans, March 18.

Bernsten took third place and Wilson took second place. Wilson is now WSU’s very first National Tournament Finalist. 

Wilson has become the third wrestler in WSU wrestling’s 10-year history to earn All-American Honors twice. 

“What kept me going is thinking about all the effort and time that my coaches have put into me. It’s a huge accomplishment to be able to give it back to them,” Wilson said. 

Being able to place at Nationals was a redemption for Bernsten’s high school years. 

“My high school coach recently passed and he was a big mentor to me so placing at nationals was really cool,” Bernsten said.

The women’s team, however, was not the only one who conquered their time at Nationals, the men’s team did as well. 

What the wrestlers refer to as the blood round, an elimination round, Kobi Bui and Bobby Shepard both brought their A-game in hard matches and went into overtime advancing to Saturday’s medal rounds. 

Head coach Phil Burnett said he has never had his wrestlers make it to the blood rounds which was another long list of firsts for the team that came out of wrestling at Nationals.

Shepard said, that simply making it to Nationals was an accomplishment for him and the entire team.

“You’ll be wrestling and your whole team will be cheering you on,” Shepard said. 

Bui said that he beat a lot of guys that were ranked higher than him and he was able to show off what he could do. 

“I set a goal for myself this year that I wanted to be an All-American,” Bui said. “I wasn’t able to get in, but I got, like super close and it was the best I’d say I’d ever wrestled before.” 

Bui said he was able to make a lot of mental breakthroughs, specifically at Nationals.

The team is not just proving themselves in the sport, they also have shown their dedication to the reason why players choose WSU: academics. 

Five men and four women became academic All-Americans and the women’s team won the National Championship for the academic award, Burnett said.

On top of achieving the All-American title for academics, the teams also received the fourth place College Cup Award for their combined scores from National Duals, Western Duals where they scored first place and National Tournaments where they scored 16th place. 

“They give out trophies to the top five teams in the country and we were the recipient of the fourth-place finish. That was a big highlight for us as a team,” Burnett said. 

It is safe to say the future looks very bright for the team, Burnett said.

“We have our entire female team back and the recruiting process is going extremely well. We have some really top-tier wrestlers coming into our program that have been accepted to WSU and have committed to come and further their education and their wrestling careers,” Burnett said.