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      Northern Michigan freshman Golden at National Boxing Championships

      (Courtesy of the USOEC)

      United States Olympic Education Center boxer Mikaela Mayer took first place at the 2011 Golden Gloves National Championships July 3-9 in Port Charlotte, Fla., advancing to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

      Mayer (West Hills, Calif.), a freshman at Northern Michigan University, will be the first USOEC female boxer to compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Women's boxing will make its Olympic debut in 2012.

      "It has been a tough past year and a half," said Mayer. "I've had more losses in the past year than wins. I kept learning from it which makes going to the trials ten times better. Hard work really does pay off."

      Coach Al Mitchell added, "I am very happy for her. She earned it. She's a very good athlete."

      In the final round, Mayer won a 5-0 decision over Selina Barrios, who had beat Mayer last year at nationals.

      "There was a lot of pressure going into the last match," Mayer said. "I had made it this far and I didn't want to lose the chance. I was confident of my training and just knowing that I was much better than the last time I faced her."

      On her way to the finals, Mayer had 5-0 decisions against Amorena Baca and Heather Hardy and a 3-2 decision over Caroline Barry in the first match of the tournament.

      "The toughest fight was against Barry, a four-time national champion. I had never fought her, but it was a huge relief to knock her out of the tournament," Mayer said. "Overall, I overcame two very strong opponents. I have to stick to my training. It was unreal winning the Golden Gloves. I have accomplished the first step of my dream, and it is the best feeling in the world."

      The women's U.S. Olympic Team Trials is slated for early next year.