Hou has competed in several tournaments from Canada to Venezuela, culminating in an opportunity to represent her country in the FILA Cadet World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 21-27.
Rome High wrestling coach Bryan Aspera trains with Hou for her tournaments, and isn’t surprised to see her succeed.
“She works every day,” said Aspera. “It helps that she’s a perfectionist, so she works until everything is just right. It’s her mind. You have to be mentally tough. Mentally, I’d put her up against anyone — boys, girls, whoever. She gets it done.”
In May, Hou won the FILA Cadet Body Bar National Women’s Championship in Lakeland, Fla., which qualified her for the world championships. In July, she went to Guelph, Canada, and won gold in the Canada Cup.
She then took part in a four-day camp in Georgia before taking silver in the Cadet Pan Am Championship in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
She followed that up with a trip to Fargo, N.D., for the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet National Championships, which she won on very little rest and preparation.
The win was the first for a wrestler from Georgia.
Hou is now concentrating on the world championship, and will leave Sunday for Colorado for two weeks of training.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Aspera. “She’s going to be facing a whole bunch of different styles.”
“The biggest competition will come from Japan and the other Asian countries, but her mental toughness will kick in. She’s going to get some great coaching.”
Hou is confident as the event approaches, and is looking forward to training with the USA team.
“I feel ready,” she said. “I have everything down from defense to offense. I think I’m ready. Since the weight class is 101, which is close to my natural weight, and a lot of girls try to get their weight down, I’ll be going up against a lot more strength.”
The world championships is just another goal Hou is looking to meet. She’s determined not to stop until she reaches her ultimate goal of competing in the Olympics.
“That’s long term. I’m hoping for the Olympics in Rio. Short term is (world championship).
“I have my priorities set,” added Hou. “While other teenagers go out and party every weekend, they see it (wrestling) as more of a hobby. I focus my time on it and make it my No. 1 goal. I don’t make it second and I don’t make it third. I’ve put in so much time and effort … it would be a waste to just stop right now.”