YPSILANTI, MI – There were 15 girls who battled their way to 2015 War of the Roses Triple Crown titles at the Bowen Field House on the campus of Eastern Michigan University April 18-19.
There were 218 girls from 11 states and Canada who registered to compete in greco, freestyle and folkstyle tournaments.
Champions of all three styles received customized belts.
Triple crown winners included:
- Logan Ryan, of Michigan
- Olesya Mullins, of Michigan
- Isabella Cepak, of Michigan
- Danica Gmuca, of Pennsylvania
- Alexus Shaneyfelt, of Ohio
- Sabrina Nauss, of Michigan
- Olivia Shore, of Ohio
- Demi Allen, of Indiana
- Audriana Beattie, of Pennsylvania
- Faith Keller, of Michigan
- Amber Flynn, of Ohio
- Cara Broadus, of Connecticut
- Zoe Nowicki, of Michigan
- Paige Amy, of Michigan
- Hannah Jewell, of Michigan
- Kenya Spencer, of Michigan
There were more than 20 girls competing in the tournament from Ohio.
Mark Hernandez, head coach of Northwest Ohio Ladies Wrestling Club in Findlay, helped organize wrestlers from two other Ohio clubs to come to the trip. Other Ohio clubs included Shore Things Wrestling from St. Paris and Northeast Ohio girls wrestling in Barberton.
The girls sold raffle tickets for $10 to fund the travel, hotel and registration fees for the tournament.
“I just wanted to make the opportunity for the girls available,” Hernandez said. “We’re a family-based team, so I try to make everything affordable. Whatever we can do to help the girls compete.”
Hernandez said his wrestlers were motivated by the belts that were given away to triple crown winners.
“This is the one we work for,” he said. “The girls were excited to try the new [international] styles. Any exposure at any age to any of these styles is great.”
Hernandez said he just copied the blueprint of the “Grandfather of Ohio wrestling” Dean Olsen when he started N.W.O. six years ago.
At that time, there was one all-girls state tournament in Ohio and one all-girls national tournament.
There are around 10 state and national tournaments now, he said.
“Women’s wrestling has taken leaps and bounds,” Hernandez said. “I think the biggest key is going to be that we all have to support women’s and girls wrestling.
“When there are tournaments, we’ve got to support them or they’re not going to host them – even if it means driving a few extra hours. We’ve got to support it if we want it to keep growing.”
Dominic Adams is a journalist and wrestling coach based in Fenton, Mich. He can be reached via email here.