Shauna Kemp is leaving for Texas tomorrow and if all goes well she could be heading to Tokoyo this summer.

Kemp, the head coach for the University of Jamestown women's wrestling team, is traveling to the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials to compete for a spot on the 2021 U.S. Olympic women's wrestling team. Kemp qualified for the trials back in December of 2019 at the U.S. Open competition.

The trials were postponed a full year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The trials will be the first competition where Kemp is wrestling since qualifying for the contest 14 months ago.

"It's been going good," Kemp said of training to compete. "I've just been having to fit in training sessions wherever and whenever I could. It's definitely had its own difficulties with COVID in general, but whenever I could fit in one hour or two hours I would train."

Kemp will be competing Friday and the competition will conclude on Saturday. In order to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, wrestlers must win their weight class. Kemp will be competing at 57 kilograms -- 125 pounds -- a spot at which she feels comfortable for many reasons.

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"I kind of know everything about my competition," Kemp said. "One, a lot of the girls I will be competing against are girls that I wrestled prior to retiring. The No. 1 girl is the reigning Olympic gold medalist from 2016 and I've beaten her in the past.

"Some of the girls are old competition of mine and some of the girls are college girls that I actually coach against. So, I am pretty familiar with the whole field of athletes."

Shauna Kemp, women's wrestling coach at the University of Jamestown, will travel to Texas this week as she qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Shauna Kemp, women's wrestling coach at the University of Jamestown, will travel to Texas this week as she qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Kemp said that her game plan has always been to just wrestle the way she has learned to wrestle -- not changing her style to accommodate a competitor's technique. Kemp has been working on sharpening and refining her own skills to be ready for each of her opponents.

Kemp has also been busy rehabbing old injuries properly so she can be in the best shape possible down in Ft. Worth. In addition to the training hours, Kemp said she has been very conscious of her diet to make sure she stays at her standard 57-kilo mark.

No matter who gets thrown on the mat together, Kemp said she is just happy to be wrestling again and is excited to bring more exposure to the sport whether she ends up on the Olympic team or not.

"I really try to not stress about my opponents and what they do, but just have confidence in my own ability," Kemp said. "Honestly, I just love wrestling -- I love training, I love coaching -- everything about it.

"I just like having women's wrestling get the exposure so we can become normalized and sanctioned and be a representation in the state for making that happen."

U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials

Dickies Arena, Ft. Worth TX

April 2

Session I

10:00 am to 3:30 pm – Challenge Tournament

Preliminaries, Quarterfinals, Consolation Rd(s)

(ALL STYLES AND WEIGHTS)

Session II

6:30 pm – 10:00 pm – Challenge Tournament

Semifinals and Finals

April 3

Session III

12:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Challenge Tournament

Consolation, 3rd Place, True 3rd IF NEEDED

(ALL STYLES AND WEIGHTS)

Session IV

6:30 pm – 10:00 pm – Finals – Best 2 of 3 Series