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Augustine, Rich capture New England titles

By Ken Waltz
VillageSoup/Knox County Times Sports Director

Logan Rich of Camden Hills pins Jessica Bennett in the New England tournament over the weekend. (Image courtesy of Penny Rich)
(March 17): Medomak Valley freshman Cheyenne Augustine and Camden Hills 
sophomore Logan Rich pinned down New England wrestling titles over the weekend.

Rich won the 106-pound championship and Augustine the 120-pound crown in the
United States Girls' Wrestling Association New England championships Saturday in
Dorcester, Mass.

Both young women will compete in the nationals Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30 in Lavonia, Mich.

At the New Englands in the 106-pound division, Rich pinned Lindsey Falcon in the first period, pinned Jessica Bennett in the first period (Bennett is ranked fourth nationally) and beat Kayleigh Longley 8-2 in the championship match.

Rich and Longley are friends. Rich will travel with Longley and her family to the nationals in Michigan. Rich will wrestle at 103 pounds at the nationals.

The results of Augustine's New England matches were unavailable. Augustine is coming off winning a state championship.

On Feb. 20 at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, Augustine won the 115-pound state title in the first Maine high school girls wrestling invitational championship meet.

More than 52 girls representing 31 schools competed in the event, which was sanctioned by the Maine Principals' Association. The MPA governs all participating schools' varsity sports in the state.

In the state 115-pound final, Augustine beat Meghan Wormwood of Oxford Hills 8-3 in overtime.

During the regular season, most female wrestlers match up against male grapplers, occasionally meeting other girls in matches. Both the state and New England meets were all-girls affairs, which allowed the females to compete on a level playing field, so to speak.

Additional information from the New England girls tourney was unavailable, but will appear later with this story.

Medomak Valley's Cheyenne Augustine. (Photo by Ken Waltz)


Photo Gallery : Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Maryland:

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Monica Hovermale, Smithburg, Maryland:

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A born fighter: Senior Tia Forrester's technique, endurance take her far By Brian Costa

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 Published on: 01/13/08
Her opponent was on the verge of tears, like many of them end up. This
 one walked off the mat, past his red-faced coaches and straight out of
 the gym, too embarrassed to return.
And in the center of the mat, there stood Tia Forrester, gasping for
 air, her dark blonde hair scrunched under her headgear.
The referee held her hand up high. Another win for the Buford girl who
 wrestles boys. And beats them.
Forrester, a senior, has already proven she can compete in a
 male-dominated sport. Now, she's trying to become one of Georgia's best Class AA
 wrestlers in her weight group. And that's making her opponents as
 uncomfortable as ever.
"I want to show these guys," Forrester said, " 'Hey, a girl can come
 out here and do this just as well as you can.' "
Or better. Forrester is 24-13 this year and has placed in every
 tournament she's been in. Last month, she became the first girl ever to place
 at the Gwinnett County tournament, finishing fifth in the 103-pound
And she's working toward another first for a female wrestler in
 Georgia: placing at next month's state tournament. She was one win short of
 doing it last year.
"If it happened, I wouldn't be shocked," said Pickens coach John
 Judkins, whose 103-pounder lost to Forrester last weekend. "She's a tough
 wrestler. I wish I had her."
At 5 feet 1 and 102 pounds, Forrester looks like she'd have trouble
 tossing around a wrestling dummy. But she overcomes her relative lack of
 strength with her technique. And she outlasts many opponents with her
There is something else, though. You see it when Forrester is close to
 being pinned, only to somehow get up. You see it in between periods
 when she bounces around on her toes, like a boxer in her corner.
"She's got it in her heart," said Wesleyan freshman Brooks Spraetz, who
 beat Forrester last month. "She's real motivated and she gets after
"She doesn't back down."
If she were any different, Forrester probably wouldn't be alive. She
 was born three months premature, just 3 pounds, and spent most of the
 first year of her life in and out of hospitals.
Between an intestinal blockage, a heart murmur and two major
 operations, she was an underdog at infancy.
"She's been fighting for a long time," said her father, Scott, a Buford
 assistant coach.
Scott Forrester, who wrestled at North Gwinnett in the early '80s, was
 reluctant to let his daughter get into the sport. But she persisted.
 She would wrestle her younger brother, Scottie, now a junior at Buford,
 after his youth practices. So when Tia was in sixth grade, her father
If only it were that easy for everyone else to accept her.
Nationwide, girls' participation in wrestling has grown exponentially.
 There are more than 5,000 female high school wrestlers, according to
 the National Federation of State High School Associations, up from 112 in
 1990. Several Western states have all-girls' teams.
But in Georgia, the sight of a female wrestler is still jarring to many
There were 155 in the state in 2006, according to the most recent
 Georgia High School Association survey. And, as in many states that do not
 have a girls' division, coed wrestling is controversial.
"There's certain people that think just because I wrestle, I want to be
 a guy," Forrester said. "That's not how it is. I can be as much of a
 girl outside of wrestling as any other girl out there. But when I'm on
 the mat, that's all I'm thinking about."
Gender still comes into play on the mat, though. Every year, there are
 a handful of schools that forfeit rather than face Forrester.
Some are uneasy about the idea of boys slamming girls to the ground,
 even in sport. But with Forrester, many are more concerned about the
 opposite happening —- and the public humiliation.
Spraetz, of Wesleyan, said wrestling girls is a no-win situation for
"It's awkward," he said. "You don't really want to go 100 percent
 because it's a girl. But you don't want to lose, because then it's like, you
 lost to a girl."
How does Forrester react to all this? Consider the time last year one
 father promised his son $100 as long as he didn't lose to her. The boy
 told Forrester about the offer just before their match. Then Forrester
 pinned him.
And, no, she didn't get the money, though she felt tempted to ask.
The only thing that gets to Forrester is the way people compliment her
 when she loses. After going to the state tournament the past three
 years, she expects more from herself now.
But many people still look at her as a girl first and a wrestler
 second. Which is why it's so important to her to make history this season.
"I'm still getting told, 'Good job, good job,' when I know I went out
 there and didn't do my best," Forrester said. "And they're like, 'No,
 you did good, he's a guy.'
"That's not why I'm going out there. I'm going out there to wrestle
 like a guy."
> School: Buford
> Age: 18
> Year: Senior
> Season record: 24-13
> Career record: 139-69
> Favorite movie: "Million Dollar Baby"
> Goals: To become the first female wrestler in Georgia to place at the
state tournament; to
earn a college wrestling scholarship.


Kodiak Boasts Two Nationally Ranked Girl Wrestlers

Girls Compete At US Girls Wrestling Association National Championships

14 January 2008
Casey Kelly/KMXT

            The unofficial girls state wrestling tournament took place over the weekend at Chugiak High School.  Alaska has six nationally ranked girl wrestlers, two of whom live in Kodiak.  KMXT’s Casey Kelly has more.

            Kodiak High School senior Michelle Canete says she never really planned on becoming a wrestler. It was something that her cousin did, and one day she just decided that she’d like to try it.

            (Canete 1                               :14s                 “…even really know about wrestling.”)

            Although a shoulder injury kept her out of this weekend’s state championship, Canete is currently ranked number 11 nationally among girl wrestlers in the 108-pound weight class. She earned the ranking by wrestling at the U-S Girls Wrestling Association National Championship last year outside Detroit, Michigan. She says the accolade is still sinking in.

            (Canete 2                               :13s                 “…so many girls in one gym before.”)

            Canete says she had to adapt to wrestling girls, which she says is much different from wrestling boys.

            (Canete 3                               :12s                 “…kind, you know, get out of it.”)

Kodiak’s other nationally ranked girl wrestler is sophomore Chloe Ivanoff, who is sixth in the 116-pound weight class. Ivanoff had older brothers who wrestled, and she got into it after watching them. She says the national ranking is pretty cool, but she’s just concentrating on improving.

            (Ivanoff 1                                :08s                 “…see how I do now against them.”)

            Both girls also run track and cross country, and Ivanoff says her favorite sport is gymnastics. But she says there’s something unique about wrestling.

            (Ivanoff 2                                :06s                 “…when it’s, like, an all girls team.”)

            Wrestling Coach Pat Costello says this is the first time that he’s had two girl wrestlers, let alone girls that are nationally ranked. But he says he’s not surprised that Ivanoff and Canete have achieved the recognition.

            (Costello 1                              :23s                 “…the combatant nature of wrestling.”)

            Ivanoff went 3-0 at this weekend’s girls’ state wrestling championship. Costello says he hopes both girls will be healthy and ready to perform at this year’s national championships, which are coming up in March.

           I’m Casey Kelly.

            HOST TAG: As Casey mentioned in his story Michelle Canete’s shoulder injury kept her out of this weekend’s state championships. However, another Kodiak girl did compete. Junior Gloria Roe, who wrestles at 145-pounds, went 2-1 to take second place.

Full Nelson

Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 11:02 PM AKST

WASILLA — When Kendra Nelson clinched her first career state tournament berth with a second-round pin at last year’s Northern Lights Conference championships, the Wasilla 103-pounder said it was far from a joyous scene.

“Everyone was crying.”

Winning a state-qualifying bout is an event usually accompanied by jubilant post-match celebrations from wrestlers, coaches and fans. But the scene at Soldotna’s Skyview High was much more somber, as Nelson spent the minutes following the match consoling her vanquished opponent.
Her little sister, Brooke.

“I was crying because I just made state, she
was crying because she lost,” Kendra remembered during a break in this year’s
NLC tournament.

Wrestling each other was nothing new for the

“Since we were little we’ve always wrestled at the house,”
Brooke said.

But having to wrestle an elimination match was something
altogether different, and not an experience either sister wanted to go through
again. So this year, Brooke, a 16-year-old sophomore, moved up to 112 pounds
while Kendra, 18, stayed at 103.

The move paid off.

On Saturday,
both sisters were all smiles as Kendra won her fifth-place match to improve on
her sixth-place showing a year ago, while Brooke got her first state bid by
placing sixth.

With their performances, Wasilla’s full Nelson duo joined
Skyview’s Michaela and Monica Hutchison in becoming the first sisters to reach
the state tournament in Alaska wrestling history.

Doing well in a
male-dominated sport is nothing new to the Nelson sisters, who started wrestling
in elementary school when Kendra brought home some paperwork for her parents,
Ken and Rose, to fill


“We had always wrestled at the house,”
Brooke explained. “Kendra went to school and was like, ‘Dad, I want to wrestle!
So she brought the papers home for both of us.”

With little choice but to
join her big sister, Brooke was on board.

“I’m like, ‘okay,’” she said.
“We’ve been in it ever since.”

The Nelsons’ father, Ken — himself a
former wrestler — said he started his daughters off early in the

“I started them off when they were about that high,” he said,
holding his hand near his knees.

From early on, Kendra and Brooke showed
promise in the sport. But Kendra said natural talent can only take female
wrestlers so far, explaining that it’s tougher for girls to stay competitive in
a traditionally-male sport.

“It took us a long time. You can tell, the
guys it takes a couple years and they’re awesome wrestlers,” she said. “We have
to wrestle continually to be even considered okay wrestlers.”

however, they’ve gotten better than many of their male peers in the sport —
something Kendra admitted is part of wrestling’s allure.

“Beating the
boys is cool,” she said.

Once a boys-only sport, wrestling has slowly 
opened its ranks to female competitors. A half-dozen girls qualified for this
year’s 4A tournament, and two years ago Michaela Hutchison became the first girl
in the nation to win an individual state title when she claimed first at 103

To continue beating the boys, the Nelson sisters said they have
to be constantly working on their sport.

“We’re wrestling all the time,”
Kendra said.

Even when they’re participating in other sports — both went
to state this year as members of the Warriors’ varsity cross country running
team — the Nelson sisters are essentially training for their chosen

“It’s what we’re known for,” Brooke said.

Wrestling is more
than just a sport for the two sisters. Both credit it with keeping them involved
in school and enhancing their lives overall.

“If I didn’t wrestle, I
would probably be a different person altogether,” Kendra said. “I wouldn’t know
very many people.”

The sisters said they’ve gained a large amount of
respect for their wrestling ability. Kendra, in fact, was named as one of
Wasilla’s three captains this season — and not by the team’s coaching

“The team votes on it,” Warriors head coach Shawn Hayes

Hayes said he felt Nelson’s election as a team captain was more
than justified.

“She’s one of the hardest workers in the room,” he

Hayes said he’s enjoyed coaching the sisters, but admitted this
season’s tournament was much easier to watch from a coaching

“It was nice not to have them wrestling at the same time,”
he said.

Although both Kendra and Brooke said they’re happy to have made
state, neither is predicting a state championship. Instead, Kendra said the
sisters’ only goal is to continue working hard and competing head-to-head with
the best athletes Alaska has to offer — boys or girls — and said anyone who
takes them lightly will be in for a surprise.

“We’ll give ‘em a run for
their money.”

Contact Matt Tunseth at 352-2265 or matt.tunseth@