Williams wrestles at junior nationals, earns All-American status

Redmond High grappler is set for prep season.

A natural leader, a hard worker … and an All-American.

That’s Redmond High junior wrestler Molly Williams for you, according to her coaches and the national rankings. Over the summer, she snagged seventh place at 112 pounds at the Marines Cadet & Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, and attained All-American status. She’s ranked 14th nationally in the cadet women 112 weight class for Future Olympians by USA Wrestling.

“Molly is just all-around amazing,” said Mustang head coach Bob Kaneko.

Added RHS coach Lantz Schwabenbauer: “Molly is a great wrestler because she outworks all of her opponents. Both in the practice room and during a match. She is also one of the most coachable wrestlers I have ever coached.”

Williams said that Schwabenbauer informed her at the beginning of her freshman year that she was talented enough to grab an All-American spot. The Mustang coach persisted and brought up the All-American status again at the end of her sophomore year.

So Williams headed to Fargo and proved she could compete with the best wrestlers in the country.

“He told me I could be an All-American and I really believed it — turns out he was right,” Williams said with a laugh. “I just believe in myself. I train hard enough to beat anybody who comes out against me on the mat.”

Stellar coaching and sticking with her training regimen the whole way have been crucial to her success. She finished fifth in the state as a sophomore at 110 pounds (winning regionals before that) and seventh in the state as a freshman at 105 pounds.

“I learn all the sport has to offer. It gets me excited and blessed to be part of the sport,” said Williams, adding that it’s a tough road to success, but “I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Williams traveled the hard road in Fargo by wrestling with a sprained right ankle on the mend and a re-injured back. She was stressed and experienced a lot of pain, but she overcame the setbacks to make an impact at nationals and said she’s healthy now.

“The whole mind over matter, grit your teeth and suck it up and do what you gotta do to win” is what had her rising above the injuries, Williams said.

With the high school season on the horizon, she lifts weights with the Mustang squad three days a week and attends club practices at Chain Wrestling in Carnation twice a week.

“Everything I’ve achieved this summer has given me a lot of confidence and I’m hyped up for the season,” she said.

Adding to Kaneko’s earlier comment, he noted that Williams is sterling in the classroom with a 4.0 grade-point average, volunteers at the Special Olympics and with Mamma’s Hands (Hope in Every Individual) and volunteer coaches at Redmond Middle School, encouraging other girls to wrestle. She’s also a lifeguard and does additional grappling for the Redmond Wrestling Club and Team Washington for USA Wrestling.

Schwabenbauer weighs in about Williams’ personality: “Off the mat, Molly is reserved but is still social. She is easy to get along with, and usually when we have a new wrestler on the team, I ask Molly to show them what we are doing in practice.”

The Reporter asked Williams a series of questions for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Redmond?

I love to go to Red Robin.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Nails on a chalkboard… that grinding noise.

What’s something unique about yourself?

I’m left handed.

What’s your dream vacation spot?

Somewhere hot or near a beach, where you can have a lot of swimming.

Who’s your idol?

Recently, it’s been Helen Maroulis (In 2016, she became the first American female wrestler to win a freestyle gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games). It’s cool following her story.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

That you can do anything as long as you believe it.

What do you appreciate the most in life?

My friends, my family and my coaches. Having a really supportive circle of people. (And blessed to be involved in the sport of wrestling every day.)

What superhero would you like to be?