Macey Kilty looks toward a future in wrestling
By Mike Warren
MARSHFIELD — Wrestling and hanging out with the guys is nothing new for Macey Kilty. The Stratford native has been doing that for years. Macey, 16, recalls starting to wrestle when she was 5 or 6 and knew in middle school she wanted to keep wrestling.
“It was something I really liked, and there wasn’t another sport that compared to it. Most of my friends did wrestling, so if I wanted to be with my friends when I was little, that’s what I did. And once I started high school, I really liked it,” Macey said.
She likes it. And she is really good at it.
In July Macey stole the show at the U.S. Marine Corps Cadet and Junior Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, where she won the women’s freestyle titles in both the cadet and the junior divisions, wrestling at 127 pounds. She was also named Outstanding Wrestler for both tournaments.
Dominating the competition, Macey tallied 47 points while notching five technical falls and three pins. In the cadet division, Macey did not surrender a single point. She had a tougher time at the junior level but still took top honors as she defeated defending champion Brenda Reyna of Washington in the semifinal round and then beat two-time Cadet World Finalist and past champion Ronna Heaton of South Dakota.
“Last year it was my goal to double up, and that was my same goal this year. For juniors, I knew I was going to have a pretty tough bracket. They actually said it was probably the toughest one in the tournament, but I knew I could win it. It’s kind of like the best of the best meet up there, and it’s just a cool atmosphere there,” Macey said.
Before that, Macey won a gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling at the Cadet level of the Pan-Am Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, while not surrendering a single point. To start 2017, Macey won the Klippan Open in Sweden. At the 2016 Cadet World Championships in Russia last year, Macey claimed third place and a bronze medal in her first international competition. Also in 2016, Kilty took first place at both the cadet and junior levels at the Oklahoma Nationals, and she won the Body Bar Women’s Nationals in Texas.
She did not wrestle at Stratford High School this past season, opting instead to focus on her national and international goals. And while her former high school team was winning a state championship, Macey was dominating elsewhere. She does not regret her decision and said she was happy for her former teammates.
“It was pretty cool to see them win it. I kind of knew they had a good chance at winning it, and I was happy for them,” said Macey.
Macey was a member of the state runner-up team from Stratford in 2016, but she wanted something more. She also knew national and international wrestling suited her style.
“The high school season is folk style. So if I want to do Worlds and the bigger tournaments or the Olympics, it’s freestyle. So if I want to get good at freestyle, I had to give up folk style. Folk style is still part of my training, but freestyle is my main style, so I just focused more on that this year,” Macey explained.
Macey is a member of the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation National team. She is coached by Kevin Black, who is the current head wrestling coach for River Falls High School, where he won four individual state championships with an impressive career record of 160-0. After high school Black wrestled for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was named an All-American after placing fourth at the NCAA tournament in his junior season. Since taking over the Wisconsin team for USA Wrestling, Black has twice been named USA Wrestling Women’s Coach of the Year (2009, 2011).
Kilty has made the difficult decision to move to River Falls this fall to be closer to her coach and Wisconsin National Team teammates. She will be a junior enrolled this fall at River Falls High School.
“I just thought I would better myself for my future. It’s going to be kind of hard, but I just know it’s best for me and my future,” Macey said.
Macey is training for her next tournament Oct. 8 in Pennsylvania and another tournament two weeks after that in North Carolina.