Sgt. Jenna Burkert fought her way to a third-place victory in the women’s 55kg freestyle weight class at the 2021 Wrestling World Championships in Oslo, Norway, Oct. 10.
Burkert, a Rocky Point, New York, native, is a Soldier-athlete in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. After falling short to a spot on the 2020 Summer Olympic team, Burkert came back to win a bronze at Worlds.
“This medal has been a long time in the making, and I look forward to the journey ahead into the 2024 Olympic year with our program,” said Burkert, a seven-time National team member.
Burkert was the Olympic alternate in the women’s 57kg freestyle weight class for the 2020 Summer Games. She had to cut weight and compete in the 55kg weight class at Worlds because the 57kg weight class slot for America was already taken by the Summer Olympic medalist that Burkert lost to in the trials.
Burkert, a unit supply specialist, said that her medal would not have been possible without the support of the Army and WCAP.
“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to bring home this World bronze medal back to the U.S. Army,” said Burkert, a three-time Junior World team member.
WCAP wrestling coach Sgt. 1st Class Jermaine Hodges, said that Burkert deserves this title because of her dedication and love for the sport.
“She has committed countless hours to getting in the room and grinding,” said Hodges.
Before making it to Worlds, Burkert endured a tough year. Right before the Olympic trials her mother passed away.
“Going into the first match, there was a lot of weight on her shoulders,” said Hodges. “She didn’t realize all she needed to do was go out there and wrestle.”
Hodges said that the “Jenna he knew” showed up to wrestle in her second and third matches.
“She was a totally different beast in the last matches,” said Hodges. “Some things that happen in life put you over the edge to be a different athlete.”
The next big competition the wrestlers are training for is the Bill Farrell International tournament in New York, in April 2022. This tournament qualifies them for the 2022 Pan American Championships.
All WCAP Soldier-athletes, who compete in summer sports, are training for the next Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France, July 26-Aug. 11, 2024.
Winter sport Soldier-athletes are gearing up for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Feb. 4-20, 2022.
To learn more about WCAP, visit www.armywcap.com