Two-time state runner-up headed to national wrestling tournament

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is Leavenworth junior wrestler Hannah Jackson at the 2021 Adidas Wrestling National Tournament in April. Jackson won the 171-pound class freestyle tournament and the 158-pound folkstyle bracket. Her performance earned her All-American status at the event.

Since falling in the 2021 girl's wrestling state championship, Hannah Jackson has not lost a match while competing in many high-profile national and regional tournaments. Strong performances on big stages led to Jackson earning the opportunity to wrestle at the USA Wrestling National Championship beginning Saturday at the FargoDome in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Leavenworth junior has been on a tear during the offseason with two first-place finishes at the Adidas Wrestling National Tournament – where she earned All-American status. She also won the Diamond in the Rough and Summer Scuffle tournaments while taking first in multiple Holton Summer League Tournaments. 

Jackson has reached the state championship in each of her first two seasons of high school and did it in different weight classes each season. As a freshman, Jackson reached the championship match in the 191-pound class and fell to a senior who capped an undefeated season. Nearly six months ago, Jackson returned to the state championship match, this time in the 170-pound class. She worked through the bracket with ease before falling to Bonner Springs' Olivia Stean – who handed Jackson all three of her losses in a 17-3 season. 

"We've been going over stuff a lot," Jackson said during a break at the Ottawa University wrestling camp she was attending prior to the tournament, "keeping our feet moving, staying active and trying to eat properly. I'm staying activated and giving all I have in practice."

Leavenworth head wrestling coach Matt Long said Jackson and his other wrestlers – on both the boy's and girl's side – have gotten a lot more mat time in the offseason as they work toward the 2021-22 season. 

"She's been exposed to several elite wrestlers and teams," Long said. "They've been noticing that she hasn't lost a match since high school."

One of those elite wrestlers Jackson took down was Sarina Bertram from Missouri in the Rogue Duals between the best high school girls wrestlers in Missouri and Kansas. She was dominant in the 159-pound class match, winning by a 9-1 major decision.

Now Jackson has cut even more weight and will compete in the 152-pound class at the national championship. Long said she may even attempt to cut down to compete in the 143-pound class by the time the regular season starts. 

Shown is Hannah Jackson competing during her sophomore season for Leavenworth High School.

"She's getting down to these lighter weight classes where she can be even more powerful," Long said. 

Jackson said wrestling at various weight classes during her high school career has been an adjustment but nothing too challenging.

"The only challenge has been trying to adapt to the different styles and how people wrestle," she said. "So I have to be more open to trying new things."

With the competition set the begin Saturday, Jackson said she is just trying to clear her head and is ready to push herself once she hits the mat. Long said he expects Jackson to come out on top as an All-American and have her wrestling future altered for the better.

"If the bracket falls right, I don't know if there are many 155's in the country that can beat her," he said. "She should get Fargo All-American status, which will be huge because she would get a national ranking so she could get a scholarship and potentially have her education paid for by wrestling."