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Louden

Very proud of this girl.... been wanting to experience this for decades!

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Be prepared for a long story of me being a proud dad willing to brag on his girl a bit!¬† Anyone who follows youth wrestling on Facebook has likely heard some of this tale already...¬† What do you want from me?¬† ūüôā

I've been among the missouriwrestlingdotcom community since 2002, I believe, when I was a young lad of 22.  So long ago that I remember when Mickey Joe Stern did the State Rankings.  Anyone who has been around during that time knows I came from Northwest and was/am a die hard supporter of the Lions and the Wilhelm Regime that runs it.  I even ran the State Rankings myself one year, in 2004 if I recall.

I had very little wrestling experience myself.  I came more from the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world and didn't try out wrestling until I was a senior in High School and did so really only to get better at takedowns to help my BJJ game.  I didn't fall in love with wrestling until 2001 when I began going to all of my school's wrestling meets to support a friend who was in his final year.  After that I stayed involved and went to pretty much every dual or tournament for the next 6 years.  I fell off the map because I moved an hour away from Northwest and worked a later shift at my new job, which all prevented me from devoting as much time to wrestling as I used to.

I always wanted to experience being the parent of a wrestler, and used to say as much often while in my early 20's.  A wrestler friend of mine joked that with as much as I wanted to have a son that wrestles, I'd probably end up with all daughters.  His joke ended up becoming a reality, as I have 2 girls and no boys with no future children on the agenda.

Over the years I did sometimes entertain the thoughts of my eldest daughter wrestling, but in all my years involved with the sport I only knew of two girls that were competitive with the boys, Ashley Hudson and Randi Beltz.  Because of the lack of competitive girls wrestling I only rarely thought about asking my daughter to wrestle but never *really* considered it. 

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Fast forward to the 2018-2019 inaugural Girls High School Wrestling Season.

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Even though I found out about this sometime in 2018 and my eldest daughter was 9 or 10, it *still* didn't occur to me to ask my daughter about wrestling.  She was playing soccer at the time and was good at it, getting a lot of praise from her coaches.  She was aggressive and fast and fearless, so I thought maybe she had a future in soccer (a sport I really didn't care much about).  It was in late January of 2019 when I was on Facebook watching my friend post his sons (Cohenn and Carter Stark) matches that I finally had it hit me... "Hey, Mialee can do this!" so I asked her if she wanted to try.  She shrugged her shoulders kind of indifferent, so I began looking around to where she could go to practice.

First I had to contact her soccer team, because we had JUST paid for her next session, and asked if we could pull her and get a refund.  Second, it was the end of the Youth Season, so I had to find a place to go.  At the time we lived in the Zumwalt West School District (but now live in Francis Howell School District), but online I didn't see much about their Youth Program.  What I did see was Francis Howell and Fort Zumwalt North.  I decided to contact Howell and ask if she could come out for a couple practices to see if she liked it.  The coach said it was okay and gave me their practice times.  A week or so later I took Mialee to her first practice.  She said she liked it alright after going to the final 5 practices of the season so I looked for a place to put her in the off-season.  Purler seemed like the best place so I enrolled her there, and also Wright City Wrestling opened up a girls only practice which remained open for just 5 practices before the school made other arrangements for the gym on the scheduled evening.

At Purler it was really rough for Mialee in terms of competition and partners.  It is recommended that wrestlers have a year worth of experience before enrolling and Mialee had none.  Plus she was paired with all boys who had either a year or multiple years of experience.  It was pretty rough on her in the beginning, which included some tears.  To keep her from losing motivation, I offered to give her a dollar for each time she managed to score - which didn't happen often given her partners level, even when she paired with boys 20 lbs smaller than her.  This helped because she would earn between $2-$5 each practice.  On especially rough days I'd take her to get ice cream afterwards as a reward (and a strategy to chase off negative feelings).  She never once asked to quit.

In July I wanted her to experience a tournament, so I took her to the only tournament I could find taking place over the next couple of months, Midwest Nationals.  This was obviously going to be a tournament she wasn't going to win - perhaps not even a match - but I wanted her to see what wrestling was all about.  I wanted her to see what the practices were for.  So we went, and unfortunately she only had two girls in her bracket, both with many years of experience and highly ranked in their State, Illinois and Indiana.  Mialee was pinned both times.  But at least it was an experience.  She went back to Purler to practice some more but we stopped a bit before the season starts to give her a break so that she could enter her first wrestling season fresh. 

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So now I finally get to the point.  Mialee had her first wrestling season, and she did incredible!  She exceeded all expectations I had!  Early on she made some mistakes that cost her - such as running a power-half wrong which allowed too many reversals and cost her a couple winnable matches (notably in the Missouri Challenge) but she quickly corrected those and improved dramatically during the season.  She ended the season as follows:

31-9 Record

17-5 vs boys (first year wrestlers, like herself) and 14-4 vs girls (of any experience level)

1st Place in SEVEN Tournaments

2nd Place in FOUR Tournaments

5th in State in Girls Wrestling

She ended the season with a 1st Place finish at AAU State Gold in a 10-man bracket at 90 lbs, a weight she moved up to in February.  She also holds a pin victory over the boy who won the AAU Gold title in a 9-man bracket at 85 lbs, the weight she was at most of the year, but started to not be able to make by the end of January. (I wasn't going to make her cut, she's 11 years old.)  Mialee was also the first girl to win AAU Gold (for first year wrestlers) in a bracket with more than 3 kids in it since Autumn Flanigan did it 5 tournaments before this in 2016.  I was curious, so I looked through the tournaments on trackwrestling.  Each season there are around 70 brackets between all of the different age and weight classes, and I had to go back 5 tournaments to find the last girl to win a large bracket for first year wrestlers (maybe 4 others did it during that time frame, but had 3 or less kids in the bracket.  Still a great accomplisment!)  As most will know, Autumn was the undefeated Girls State Champion in High School at 120 lbs this past season.  I was pretty stoked to see that!  I should also add that although Mialee was the first girl to do this in 5 tournaments (in a large bracket) another girl pulled this off as well, later in the evening.  Johanna Watkins of Holt Jr Indians won a 8-man bracket at 112 lbs.  Congrats to her!

Mialee ended up with 25 pins out of her 31 wins, 1 major, and 5 decisions.

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This is why I am sharing this long story¬†and the history behind it.¬† I fell in love with the sport of wrestling almost 20 years ago, and after I never had the sons to wrestle and thought I'd miss out on the experience of rooting for a child competing in this great sport, and along comes my freaking DAUGHTER who has given me more than I could have hoped for during her first wrestling season!¬† You're damn right I'm going to share my¬†excitement!¬† ūüôā

So we are on to the next stage of this journey.  Next season Mialee will have to wrestle kids who are at a much higher level than the ones she competed against during her first season, so there is a lot of preparation yet to come, but I am so looking forward to it.  Even if she only goes .500 next season, I am excited to witness the journey.

Below is my daughter's Wrestling YouTube Channel where you can see all of her matches.  I have been told many parents don't publish their kids matches because their kid's competitors may scout them out.  If that even happens, I don't really care about that.  First off, this is Youth Wrestling, not College or even High School.  Second, I was able to correct many of Mialee's mistakes by watching her opponents take advantage of them and expose them, so if some future opponent watches a video and sees a hole in her game that they end up exploiting, GOOD.  That will help me to fill those holes in practice.

If you managed to spend some of your quarantined time reading this, thanks!  I am exceedingly proud of what my daughter has accomplished as a first year wrestling 6th Grader, and I hope that by the time she hits High School she will be competitive with top girls in the State and make a run for the State Title!

 

Wrestle Mialee  <--YouTube link

Trackwrestling Profile

 

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Edited by Louden
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