- Man arrested in car bomb plot at Kansas airport
- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
Rockville’s Maroulis eyes spot on U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling squad
Blame it on Big Tony.
While she didn’t say it in exactly those words, Rockville resident Paula Maroulis might as well have.
That’s how her daughter, Helen, the middle child of three siblings, got her start in wrestling more than a decade ago.
If it hadn’t been for Tony, then 6 years old, being too big for all the other kids in his wrestling club, Helen, 20, and now a serious contender to make the London Olympics at 122 pounds/55 kg, might never have taken up the sport. Older by two years, she was the only child in the room big enough to match up with Tony.
“Just as a favor to her brother, I asked if she would practice,” Paula said. “It wasn’t something we would have done otherwise. I had visions of Helen doing all sorts of girly things — she did gymnastics, and dance class, and art camp and she just sort of fell into wrestling.”
While that was the genesis of her career, Helen Maroulis, who attended Magruder High School in Rockville through 11th grade, is on the verge of reaching her career’s apex. By winning the national championship in December, she earned a bye into the April 21 best-of-three finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Iowa City, Iowa.
“Getting that was a huge relief,” Maroulis said. “It’s a good advantage to have.”
But acquiring favored-wrestler status didn’t come easily. Just in the past four years, Maroulis has lived in four different cities: finishing her junior year at Magruder, where she placed in the Maryland state championship meet at 112 pounds; moving to Marquette, Mich., for an Olympic training program for high school students; starting college at Missouri Baptist in St. Louis; transferring to Simon Fraser University near Vancouver, British Columbia, for her second year of college; and last fall, moving into the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for her London push.
But before that, she was just one of Kevin Phelps‘ wrestlers, albeit his greatest success story.
“She’s the standout, and she’s in pretty good company,” the former Magruder wrestling coach said. “I had teammates in college that ended up being All-Americans. I’ve coached seven or eight state champs. She just makes you realize how good she is when you stack her up against everyone else.”
“We kind of knew she was coming,” Phelps said of Maroulis‘ success as a club wrestler during her middle school years. “It wasn’t a question of whether she was going to be on the team or if she was going to start. It was, ‘How well is she going to fare against the top-tier kids?’ “
Some coaches saw her as a novelty and didn’t know what to expect when she went up against boys.
“But she just destroyed them,” Phelps said.
Maroulis exceeded 30 wins in her first year and finished her Magruder career with 99 victories. Her most memorable accomplishment came at the Hub Cup, a tournament in North Hagerstown, Md., where she was voted the most outstanding wrestler without winning her weight class.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Obama birther theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- North Korea's official report on Jang Song Thaek
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- James Bond: The spy who is really an alcoholic
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Our Choice: Individual responsibility and self-government or the abandonment of the American Revolution
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
John Glaser turns his pen toward foreign policy and international relations around the world
A conservative commentator and satirist takes on the worlds of politics and entertainment in pursuit of truth, justice and all things America.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow