Women’s Wrestling

Abby Green

The Waverly Wrestling Program started in the spring of 2018. In the beginning, no one knew what they were doing, or that high school wrestling didn’t involve hitting people with chairs. There were a lot of people who gave wrestling a shot, but later quit because they thought that it was too hard, they were scared, or that it was just too weird.  Now there are more and more students who are trying wrestling, and sticking with it.


From day one of Waverly’s Wrestling Program, there have been girls wrestling alongside guys. During the first year of competition, the girls in the program did not do very well.  There may have been two wins that came out of the two girls in the high school wrestling program at the time. The girls who have stayed with it have improved greatly since the beginning of the program. Trinity Shell, a current senior and captain of the women’s wrestling team, was one of the few girls who started and has stayed with the program. Trinity states, ¨The amount of girls coming out, not only the amount, but the effort, strength, and mindset that comes out of each and every girl.”   Now, there are girls who are placing in both girls and varsity tournaments.


The Waverly women’s wrestling team has gone extremely far since the first girls state tournament presented by OHSWCA (Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association) in 2020.  At this tournament the highest placer was seventh place, by current senior Savanna Johnson.  In the 2021 state tournament, the OHSWCA girls state tournament was broken down into several regional tournaments, where the top six from each regional would move onto the state tournament.  Waverly brought seven girls to their designated regional tournament. Out of these seven girls, Waverly had five venture into the state tournament, Savanna Johnson, Aiyana Tolliver, Aiden Peoples, Chloe Little, and Chloe Lemaster.  All of these girls performed tremendously and all got ranked top fifteen, in the state, in their weight class.  Head coach of the women’s team, coach Mindie Bond, states this about the Waverly women’s team, “Now we have four or five girls who are ranked in the top 15, in the state, in their weight classes [for girls]. When people think about girls wrestling in the state of Ohio, Waverly is one of those places they think about.”


Women’s wrestling in Ohio has not been sanctioned yet by OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) as a high school sport.  For 15,000 years wrestling has been a sport.  It has been altered into several different variations throughout these years.  Women have been wrestling for many of these years but haven’t gotten the same amount of publicity and popularity as then men who wrestle. OHSWCA has made it possible for the high school female wrestlers to be able to show off their talents at regions and state girls tournaments. Over the years the Waverly girls team has done a lot to try and get women’s wrestling sanctioned in Ohio as an OHSAA sport. “People are bigoted and they think that it’s a predominantly male sport, that girls can’t do it and they shouldn’t do it, but it all actuality, like not the case,” stated Aiden Peoples, a current two year junior.


Wrestling has and still does affect everyone in many different ways. Abbi Montgomery, alumni of Waverly Wrestling, who now wrestles on an all girls team at Tiffin University states, “It gave me a sense of community, which I never had before. I was able to learn how to socialize, I made friends. It really felt like a family.” Abbi was able to find a community, a family, and a sense of belonging through wrestling that she didn’t have before. Along with Abbi, wrestling had a large impact on Trinity Shell too, “It is an awesome and amazing sport, it showed me so many things and taught me many things. I have grown up throughout it.” She has improved a lot, both mentally and physically with wrestling.


As you can see, wrestling can change people for the better. It has become people’s love and purpose for years. Women’s wrestling has had a large shadow over it for many, many years.  The Waverly Wrestling team is helping lift this shadow alongside many other schools and clubs across the world.  If you are thinking about wrestling or helping our program grow, then maybe this from the head coach of the varsity  team, Scott Green, will help you with your decision, “Everyone starts out somewhere. If you immediately start out of the gate an expert at something, then everything you do, eventually, will be very boring. It’s worth the challenge.”