Since she began competing in the sport as a fourth-grader, Powell improved every year, rising up through Hillgrove’s junior program until landing a spot on the varsity team as a sophomore.
In her final year with the Hawks, Powell placed fourth at the Region 4AAAAAA traditional championship. That qualified her for the Class AAAAAA sectional, where she finished 10th at 106 pounds and fell one victory shy of advancing to the state meet.
Powell’s accolades this past season also included fifth-place showings at the Cobb County and Parlay invitationals, fourth place at the Lambert Holiday Clash, a runner-up finish at the Lassiter Invitational and a championship at the Fischer Wrestling Academy Santa Slam.
Powell also has three Team Georgia girls state championships to her credit, and she finished fourth at 117 pounds at this year’s 2013 USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Oklahoma City.
Such successful results can get a wrestler noticed, and that led Powell to sign a scholarship to compete for Missouri Valley College’s women’s wrestling team this upcoming season.
“I’m very excited to finally sign,” said Powell, who completed the 2012-13 season with a 41-21 record. “My family and I have been working on deciding on a school since January.
“There were lots to choose from, and I spoke with some great coaches, but I’m glad it’s finally over and I’ve decided.”
Missouri Valley competes as part of the Women’s College Wrestling Association since the NAIA does not sanction women’s wrestling. Powell selected the Lady Vikings’ program over Jamestown (N.D.) College and Wayland Baptist University in Texas.
Powell said she was offered 10 wrestling scholarships in all.
“I spoke to about 12 coaches in the beginning and narrowed it down to around 10 schools and visited all 10,” she said. “It was a hard process. I had to look up coaches’ emails and fill out online recruiting forms to get in their databases. I went to the girls college national championships and met up with the coaches, and from there I was able to narrow down my search and kept in contact with the coaches I felt most comfortable with.
“That was one of the most important parts for me — feeling comfortable with my coach. After that, it came down to college visits and fitting into a nice area, and that’s how I decided on Missouri Valley College. They didn’t give me the most money, but my family and I loved the school and decided on it.”
Powell’s career at Hillgrove went far beyond wrestling. She earned 10 varsity letters in four different sports — the only athlete to do so in the school’s history — including four in cross country, three in wrestling, two in track and field and one in lacrosse. She was also offered three cross country scholarships.
“I feel honored,” Powell said. “A lot of people have asked me if I was going to continue wrestling in college, and people have huge smiles on their faces when I tell them I am. They wish me luck, so it’s been a great experience.”
Powell’s family has played a big role in her development. Her father, Chris, owns a wrestling school in Powder Springs. Her mother, Karen, and brother Carlin — a teammate on the Hillgrove wrestling team — also supported her in her efforts.
Watching Carlin begin wrestling at 4 years old was a big reason why Christy got involved in the sport.
“It will be very different for me wrestling so far from home because I won’t have my fan club with me,” she said. “They’ve been very supportive of me my whole career, but I’m excited about going out and trying something different.”
The biggest difference will be the style Powell will compete in. The WCWA wrestles Olympic freestyle, as opposed to the folkstyle wrestling Powell has learned throughout high school.
There will be an adjustment, but she believes she’ll be able to handle it.
“Freestyle wrestling is different, so that part of it — learning freestyle — is a little scary,” Powell said. “But I’m really excited that I can continue my wrestling career in college.”