National champ: Grand Valley grad Cody Pfau wins women’s wrestling title
The girl from Grand Valley High School with big dreams had one of them become a reality on Saturday.
Cody Pfau, a sophomore All-American wrestler at Oklahoma City University, won a national championship with her pin of Simon Fraiser’s Abby Lloyd in the 109-pound title match of the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships at the Perry Sports and Recreation Complex in St. Louis. And even after a full day had passed since she won the title, it still hadn’t sunk in.
“I’ve barely slept in the last day,” said Pfau, who spoke by phone on Sunday about how giddy she still was after winning the title. “There’s still so much adrenaline going through me even now.”
Pfau, who came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation, finished the season with a 34-1 record and her second All-American accolade since graduating from Grand Valley as the school’s valedictorian in 2013. She pinned Lloyd, a relative unknown going into the tournament, at the 2 minute, 45 second mark of the match, helping the Stars to a third-place team finish behind King and Campbellsville in the women’s wrestling national tournament.
She’s racked up a long list of accomplishments over the course of her wrestling career, including a national title at 48 kg (105.75 pounds) during the Body Bar FILA Junior Nationals that took place in Irving, Texas, last year. As a freshman, she went 18-1 with eight pins and seven technical-fall victories on her way to a fourth-place finish at 116 pounds in the WCWA tournament in January of last year.
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Her most notable accomplishment for many in Colorado, however, came during her senior year at Grand Valley under former Cardinals coach Rick Gallegos. She became the first female in Colorado history to reach the championship round of the state wrestling tournament when she beat Ferdinando Martinez of Fort Lupton, 6-5, in her first-round match at 106 pounds. She wound up losing in the second round, then went 1-1 in the Class 3A tournament’s consolation bracket to barely miss a spot on the podium.
Two years later, just the thought of that upsets her — and motivates her.
“I was just one match away, and I’m still bitter about it,” Pfau said. “The fact is that I was so close, and I’m never going to get that back. I never want to feel that again, so that’s why I work as hard as I do to make sure I never have to feel like that again.”
And it paid off on Saturday against Lloyd, who Pfau admitted that she didn’t know much about going into the national title match. Pfau was the aggressor throughout the match, which is where Lloyd tried to fend off her shots with throws in attempts to gain position and takedowns.
Pfau, however, caught Lloyd in a bad position after a shot and, instead of Lloyd throwing her, Pfau was able to toss Lloyd straight to her back.
The celebration, however, was delayed.
“Sometimes in freestyle [wrestling] they don’t slap the mat. They’ll raise their hand instead,” Pfau said. “He just stopped it, and I was wondering, ‘Hey, why are you blowing the whistle? I’m so confused!’
“At that point, he said, ‘Are you going to get up? You just won,’” Pfau continued. “It was at that point when I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’”
Pfau, of course, has had the benefit of wrestling for an Oklahoma City University program that has won four national championships in its history. She’s also had the benefit of having a wrestling partner named Emily Webster, who on Saturday became a four-time national champion at 101 pounds.
All of that has only helped Pfau get better since she was in high school. And she knows it.
“Going against the best competition is the only way to get better,” Pfau said. “I know I’m going to keep getting better.”
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