I have been around wrestling since before I can remember. We always used to joke, that for me and my family, it was just a way of life.
My dad wrestled in high school and college for a little bit, and loved it. As the coach of the high school nearby, my dad was always at practice or tournaments, and I can remember going to their practice and sitting on the mat coloring and drawing pictures. The high schoolers my dad coached were like extra brothers who played with me and my siblings, and the coaches were like fun uncles that we loved.
Growing up, we played a lot. My dad would always play wrestle with my brothers and I so when my brothers got older, they wanted to give it a try too! My brothers started wrestling when they got old enough, and they wrestled all throughout middle and high school. As I watched them wrestle, I could see that they really enjoyed it, and one day, I decided that I needed to get in on some of that fun too.
In sixth grade, one day at lunch, I decided to sign up for the wrestling team. I went home and told my mom that I had to be back at school at six o’clock for practice. I still remember my first day of wrestling practice. I had been around it for so long, and it was so fun to be actually doing instead of just watching. Immediately, I was hooked.
My first few years of wrestling were full of new friends, lots of learning, and fun times. I caught on pretty quickly because I had seen so many before me doing these moves, so with a little direction, it came fairly easy.
My first match ever was at the 72 pound weight class. I don’t remember if I won or lost, but I do know that my life would never be the same. I loved my first few years of wrestling, and I look back even today and laugh about the fun we had or the things we did.
As I grew up, I wrestled every year. I soon went to high school, and was so excited to be on the team I had seen compete since I was a little girl. With of course, my dad as the coach.
I accomplished a lot in my four years of high school, and had the best time doing it. I became the most decorated wrestler in my high school’s history as a four-time Master’s Champ, State Champion, National placer, and others.
As high school came to a close, I needed to decide what I wanted to do. I had been wrestling for so long, but the wonderful journey I had had with wrestling, I had had with soccer, and cross country and track. This decision was one of the hardest I had ever had to make.
But, I decided to wrestle.
There is just something about the sport. The people who do it. The things you learn. I couldn’t let it end with high school.
Now here I am. A fourth year at Simon Fraser University. Wrestling, and still loving it. I have added many more accomplishments to my resume including third place at a few National level tournaments, and second place at World Team Trials.
As the Olympic year is upon us, I am a 2020 Olympic Hopeful. My goal is to represent my country in the Olympics and World Championships. There is so much to keep striving for in the years to come.
I was blessed with great coaches and mentors along the way. I have made some of my closest friends through the sport, and I have learned many things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I have had many highs and lows with the sport. The bad times only make the good times sweeter. I am grateful that I have experienced trials and loss through wrestling because it has not only pushed me to be and do better in my sport, but it has taught me that sometimes, that’s just how life is.
When I was younger, I was always the only girl on a boys team. Being the only girl was never tough for me. I had coaches who supported and pushed me, and my teammates were always respectful and made me feel like one of them. I am who I am because of the boys and men I was around growing up. It made me tougher, and I am grateful for that.
Now, I am on a women’s collegiate team. There is something about being surrounded with hardworking, talented women that has me constantly in awe. Here are these high level athletes who are beautiful, smart, brave, and constantly striving to be better. We have the best time, and I love them. I am so grateful for them as well.
Wrestling is a part of me.
It has helped me to grow into the woman I am today.
It motivates me daily.
It has brought me some of my best and most cherished friends.
It pushes me to be the best version of myself, and to give 100% in everything I do.
To me, there is no greater sport, no greater teacher, and no greater journey to be on.