Julianna Ocampo brings new horizons to New Haven wrestling

January 31, 2022

Julianna Ocampo brings new horizons to New Haven wrestling


In the world of amateur wrestling, Julianna Ocampo takes on all-comers.

The New Haven High School freshman has taken wrestling in this region by storm, winning more than 93 percent of her matches this season, beating both boys and girls along the way.

“The mat is my home,” she tells the Parkview Sports Network. “In my head, it’s just another match--boy or girl. I don’t react differently if I beat a girl or a boy.”

January proved to be a fruitful month for the 14-year-old who stands 4’9” tall and wrestles in the 106-pound weight class.  She won her the girls state championship in her weight class on January 14. A week later, she clinched the Northeast 8 Conference title (against boys and girls) at 106 pounds. This past weekend, she won the 106-pound IHSAA sectional championship (against boys and girls) at New Haven, winning four matches throughout the day.

julianna usa
Julianna Ocampo won gold in October's U15 Pan-Am Championships in Mexico

“Her technique is impeccable,” New Haven head coach Jimmy Linn says. “Her work ethic, her leadership. What she does on the mat earns her respect.”

Julianna, who moved to New Haven from Granger, Indiana, at the start of the school year, comes from a wrestling family: her dad, Samuel, coached at Central Noble and runs Beast Mode Wrestling Academy in Waterloo. Julianna began wrestling at the age of 3, enamored by the sport her dad and siblings worked so hard at.

“It just looked fun. My whole entire life, it’s been fun. Win or lose, it’s just a sport. I usually tell myself that I need to work hard in practice and in life. You need to push yourself to the limit.”

julianna sectionals
Julianna Ocampo was the only girl to win an individual championship at the IHSAA New Haven Sectional

In Octoboer, Julianna was selected to represent the United States at the U15 Pan-American Championships in Oaxtepec, Mexico. She won the individual gold medal in the 46-kilogram weight class; the United States won the U15 Pan-Am team title. [Snider’s De’Alcapon Veazy won the U15 men’s gold medal at 85 kilograms.]

“Representing Team USA was pretty nice,” Julianna reflects. “As soon as I hit the age of 17, I plan on trying out for the Olympic team. Every year they hold the trials for the Olympic team, I’m going to try out for it and hopefully make it.”

In the meantime, Julianna serves as an inspiration for her New Haven squad, which fields about five girls each season, Linn points out.

“We finished fourth at girls [team] state this year with three placers," Linn adds. “I’m really looking forward to the future now that Julianna has put it out there that they can be successful not only against girls, but successful against the boys.”

The Bulldogs finished fourth as a team at the NE8 meet and placed second at the New Haven Sectional. Along with Julianna, Easton Doster (113 pounds), Camari Kirk (170) and Josh Clark (285) won individual sectional titles. Eight other New Haven wrestlers qualified for the Carroll Regional this coming Saturday. The Top 4 placers from each weight division will move onto the New Haven Semi-State held at Memorial Coliseum on February 12. The IHSAA State Finals are February 19 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

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