Puyallup High School 2006 graduate Whitney Conder is brimming with confidence as she prepares for the biggest wrestling tournament of her life this September.
Conder, who wrestles in the 53 kilograms (116.6 pounds) weight class, clinched a berth at the 2014 FILA World Championships in Uzbekistan with a pair of wins (3-0 and 5-0) over Katherine Fulp-Allen. Conder clinched first place in her weight class on June 1 at the 2014 United States World Team Trials in Madison, Wisconsin. Conder is thrilled to have a second chance at the FILA World Championships, which takes place Sept. 13-15.
“My goal is to win it,” she said. “I’m very excited and very eager to get on the mat and show the world what I can do. My go-to move is my double leg takedown. One of my best strengths is that I just keep going and I never stop pressuring on the mat.”
Following her graduation from Puyallup in 2006, Conder wrestled at Northern Michigan University for two years before making the switch to the Colorado Olympic Training Wrestling Center. In September 2012, she joined the U.S. Army — proudly hailing the choice to serve her country as of the best decisions she’s ever made.
“Being in the Army wrestling program has been just great for me,” Conder said. “I’m not only an athlete, I’m also a soldier serving my country while being a wrestler in the military. My coaches are very good and are very knowledgeable.”
Conder is currently training with both female and male wrestlers, something she says is helping her get better results in tournaments.”
Conder earned a seventh place finish in the 103-pound weight class at the Class 4A Mat Classic as a senior in high school in 2006. Conder’s showing was all the more impressive considering there was no girls-only tournament like there is now at the Mat Classic. She said Puyallup coach Bryan Bartelson didn’t treat her any differently because she was a girl, which was just the way she liked it.
“I didn’t want to be treated as a girl, I wanted to be treated as a wrestler,” Conder said. “Coach Bartleson treated me just like any other wrestler, which was the best thing for me.”
Conder said she has enjoyed mentoring Bartelson’s daughters Brooklyn and Jordyn on the mat. The Bartelson sisters are two of the top high school female wrestlers in Washington. Jordyn won a state title in the 118-pound weight division and Brooklyn captured second place in the 112-pound weight class at the girls state tournament.
“I want his daughters to learn from me and see what I go through,” Conder said. “I hope I’m able to help them just like their dad helped me. My brothers coach with (Bartelson) now and my nephews have him as a coach.”