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Girls wrestling officially sanctioned by OHSAA

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ALBANY, Ohio (WOUB) — After a unanimous vote, the OHSAA decided to add girls wrestling for the 2022-2023 season.

This comes to the delight of a lot of schools who already had female wrestlers, including Alexander, home to the Spartans first state placer, Jocelynn Malone and up and coming freshman Grace Ford to name a few.

Jocelynn Malone state placer plaque
Malone took placed third in the state for female wrestlers in 2022

This opens up official OHSAA state tournaments to athletes like Malone who have been wrestling for a long time, and are in need of new outlets to showcase their talent

“My brother used to wrestle, and I used to wrestle all the boys in the stands,” Malone said of her journey to the mat.

That journey took her a long way, as she was able to place third in the state for girls in 2022, which is the first time in Alexander High School history they have had a state placer, which means her plaque stands alone in the wrestling room.

And because of the things wrestlers like Malone are doing, Alexander’s head wrestling coach Bryan Cooper thinks more girls are going to start to follow along,

“These girls that are showing ultimate, just really good success at the state level, I think it makes other girls go ‘why can’t I do that’,” Cooper said.

There has been a bit of a stigma around girls wrestling for a while, but it’s not just the allure of success that female wrestlers like Malone offer to drive other girls into the wrestling program. It’s their mentorship. and having a mentor as soon as you join the sport makes it easy for new female wrestlers to join

“She’s taught me almost everything, and so it’s really cool to see her do everything,” Ford said of Malone.

That kind of teaching ability from female wrestlers like Malone certainly helps make the transition process easier for the new female wrestlers, but an athlete like Malone helps everyone in the wrestling room get better

“I saw her really pushing it, and since I was her drill partner a lot last year… it really pushed me harder and it gave me a of of motivation,” said Alexander’s state qualifier Tanner Allen.

An official sanction from OHSAA should only mean that the sport becomes more and more popular among high school girls, and that change is going to have a positive effect on everyone in a school’s wrestling program.