Worthen achieves All-American, continues to trailblaze

First ever female Union wrestler to earn prestigious honor

Union wrestler Jillian ‘Monster’ Worthen of La Porte City pictured back at home in Iowa with her ‘stop sign’ trophy after achieving All-American status and winning a national team title along with her Iowa 16U women’s freestyle teammates at the 2022 U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U National Championships in Fargo on July 16. –Photo courtesy of Joshua Worthen

It may be technically ‘offseason’ for high school wrestling, but for one of Iowa’s top female wrestlers – Union’s Jillian ‘Monster’ Worthen – there is no offseason and she proved that in the FargoDome on July 16 by earning All-American.

The rising La Porte City sophomore along with a record-setting seven of her Iowa 16U women’s freestyle teammates captured the prestigious All-American honor in addition to the national team title – a first-ever for Iowa – at the 2022 U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U National Championships held in Fargo, North Dakota, July 15-22.

The tournament is one of the largest and most competitive wrestling tournaments in the world and features a who’s who of high school wrestlers. This year’s event welcomed a record 6,646 participants.

Team Iowa’s 16U women’s freestyle squad took out nine-time champion California to earn the coveted ‘stop sign’ trophy – an octagonal USA Wrestling plaque.

Worthen all but cemented her status as a force to watch in girls’ wrestling this past January by winning the 100 pound girls state champion title at the 2022 Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) fourth annual interscholastic Iowa High School Girls Wrestling Championships.

Jillian Worthen (left) faces off against No. 28 Sky Langewicz of Michigan during one of four wrestlebacks she won during the 2022 U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U National Championships in Fargo. Worthen beat Langewicz 9-6. –Photo courtesy of Joshua Worthen

Her recent accomplishments at the FargoDome only reinforce the enthusiasm that has built up around her high school career.

At the National Championships in Fargo, Worthen took seventh place at 106 pounds in the 16U division by winning four straight wrestlebacks after suffering an early loss 2-2 on criteria.

Of her four wrestleback wins, her first was against Michigan’s Sky Langewicz who entered the tournament ranked 28th nationally. Leading 9-0 at one point in the match, Worthen beat Langewicz 9-6.

Worthen also competed last year at Fargo but came up short of placing – an outcome she was determined not to repeat this year.

“I knew I had to step it up this year,” Worthen told the Telegraph. “I trusted my training from this last year and knew I could All-American.”

When asked about the experience of competing with such an elite team of wrestlers, Worthen didn’t miss a beat, telling the Telegraph, “I was really excited! Everybody had a good attitude. [We are all] supportive of each other. I was surprised when we won because we didn’t have as many girls as some of the other states.”

In the weeks and months ahead, as Worthen inches ever closer to the inaugural season of Iowa High School Girls’ Wrestling – the sport was officially sanctioned for the 2022-2023 season this past January – she’s not spending her offseason in ‘off mode’ in any way, shape, or form, continuing to train with Immortal Athletics Wrestling Club in Cedar Falls under coaches Cruse Aarhus and Jake Hodges.

“[I’ll be] focusing on my strength training and working to improve for next season,” Worthen said when asked about future plans.

All-American indeed.