By Brian Jerzak
The last two years, two of the state of Minnesota’s most decorated young wrestlers have flown under the radar. They are known to wrestling insiders, but unless you have paid close attention to some of the coverage they have gotten on The Guillotine website, the general wrestling public might not know about a pair of sisters who are making noise in the wrestling world. The Tuttle girls from North St. Paul have been making noise both locally and nationally, and they don’t appear to be stopping any time soon.
Included in Faith and Amor Tuttle’s accomplishments in the last two years are two Fargo All-American finishes apiece and two-straight girls’ high school state championships apiece. This season both also placed at the Women’s Folkstyle Nationals.
Amor, who is currently a sophomore, caught the wrestling bug first.
“I started in 6th grade,” Amor said. “I was just looking for an activity, and my dad said why don’t you come to wrestling practice and try it out? I got a couple of practices in, and I thought it was kind of cool. I just continued to keep going.”
Faith is a senior and started in with the sport a few years later.
“My brothers started wrestling when they were little – when we moved to North St. Paul,” Faith told The Guillotine.
The youngest Tuttle brother is Cito, who is a youth wrestling state placewinner. Faith and Amor’s other brother, Antony, advanced to State in 2019 by taking second in the 160 4AAA bracket as a freshman for Stillwater.
“I would always go with them to their tournaments,” Faith continued. “I started wrestling when I was a sophomore.”
Amor’s influence on her older sister helped get Faith deeper into the sport of wrestling.
“There were girls’ only practices on Sundays that my sister went to,” Faith said. “It was through the Minnesota women’s national team. Amor told me to come to some of them. I started that at the same time as practicing with the high school team.”
The sisters became frequent practice partners.
“Amor needed a partner, and my dad thought I could be her partner,” Faith said.
It didn’t take long for the sisters to realize they enjoyed wrestling.
“I like that it was an individual thing,” Amor said. “Wrestling was the first time I had been to a sport that was individually based. It is something I can push myself to be the best I can be, and I don’t need to rely on anyone else.”
“Wrestling was different from all the other sports I had done,” Faith explained. “It is just you and your opponent. I liked that it was all yourself.”
The middle school season was not enough for Amor. She couldn’t get enough wrestling and soon she was wrestling freestyle.
“I was having so much fun that I didn’t want it to stop when the middle school season was over. My dad told me about the freestyle programs I could go to.”
Soon after, both sisters were competing in both folkstyle and freestyle. Each sister has developed a different set of skills that work for them.
“I didn’t know much when I started,” Faith admitted. “I knew some of the moves – I watched my brothers – but I had never done any of the moves. It was hard at first, but I got the hang of it. I am pretty good at pushing into people, and the basics are the first moves I want to use.”
“Speed is my strength,” Amor said. “I like to use leg attacks. I would watch tournaments and had seen some higher-level wrestlers use leg attacks and have success finishing the takedown, so I started practicing that.”
Two seasons ago, Faith’s junior year and Amor’s freshman year, both won their wrestle-offs and were in the starting lineup for North St. Paul’s varsity team. Both wrestlers saw significant improvements from year one to year two.
“I did better (in the high school season) this year than last year,” Faith – who posted double-digit victories during her senior season – explained. “This year I had a plan when I stepped on the mat.”
“This year went a lot better than my freshman year,” continued Amor. “This year I focused on preparing myself for guys – knowing they are going to be stronger. I wanted to crisp up my technique. Last year I had five varsity wins. This year I think I had twenty.”
Although the girls have won two girls’ state folkstyle titles and have done well in folkstyle nationally, where the girls have especially excelled is in freestyle.
“The offseason wrestling is much more involved than the high school season,” Faith – who in freestyle at Fargo two years ago took fifth and this year took sixth – said. “The Fargo tournament is the hardest tournament I have ever been in. It was a very different competition.”
“My first year at Fargo I was just out there just competing,” Amor – who placed eighth in 2017 – said. “With it being my first time in a big-time freestyle tournament I wasn’t expecting to place. Maybe I will get a win here or there, but I came out aggressive in my matches and dominated.”
“I was more prepared this year,” Amor – who took fifth place in 2018 – continued. “I knew the girls at the tournament are serious, and everyone wants a spot on the podium. Shortly after the folkstyle season ended, I started training freestyle because I was hoping to make the podium again in Fargo.”
Both sisters acknowledge how much their sibling has helped her career.
“We help each other a lot,” said Faith – who also trains in jiu-jitsu. “We can tell each other what we should be working on. We push each other during live wrestling.”
“My sister and I love wrestling,” Amor added. “I don’t know what we would do without it. When we are training together, sometimes we critique each other – what would this girl do if I had you in this position? What would she do if I had her in this scenario? We would troubleshoot ourselves.”
Neither Tuttle girl is interested in having their wrestling career end any time soon. Faith has committed to the recently announced Augsburg Women’s Wrestling Program.
“I am going to try to take wrestling as far as I can take it,” Faith – who is ranked fifth nationally at 180 pounds in the latest National Girls High School Rankings – explained. “I hope to keep going to tournaments even after college.”
Amor, who is ranked 16th nationally at 122 pounds, echoed her sister’s sentiment.
“I would like to wrestle in college. Even if it isn’t a high level of wrestling, I just want to continue wrestling and learning about wrestling.”
Wanting to continue to wrestle . . . spoken like a pair of wrestlers who won’t be under the radar in the local or national wrestling world anymore.