War of the Roses preseason nationals gives new wrestling opportunities to Canadians

DAYTON, OHIO – Katelyn Bridge was looking for some wrestling competition outside her hometown of Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada.

So the tech-savvy 17-year-old did what comes naturally to her.

She Googled girls wrestling in the United States.

The search brought up the War of the Roses all-girls wrestling series.

“We wanted to go down there and see how the competition was,” Bridge said.

So Bridge jumped on a plane with her father, another coach and teammate and traveled 12 hours to Dayton, Ohio, on Oct. 25, for the War of the Roses all-girls preseason nationals.

The tournament featured girls from 13 states and Canada and all of the participants were able to wrestle folkstyle and freestyle.

“I’d never wrestled folkstyle before,” Bridge said. “I really enjoyed it. I thought it was really fun. It was really fast-paced.”

For the last three years, Bridge has been wrestling freestyle with her club team in Grande Prarie.

“The tournament was set up really well,” Bridge said, adding that she was going around trying to set up her own exhibition matches with other wrestlers outside of her bracket.

Brent Harvey started the War of the Roses all-girls wrestling series as a way for girls to compete against other girls.

In just one year, there have been 26 competitions in 19 states, with more than 1,100 girls participating.

During her stop in the U.S., Bridge also had the opportunity to visit Eastern Michigan University.

This is the first year of competition for EMU.

Harvey said he wanted to start a team at a school that would give girls the most academic programs and opportunities after they’re done with their wrestling careers.

A week after Bridge visited EMU, she signed a National Letter of Intent to compete for the Eagles.

Bridge said she would compete in another War of the Roses tournament in the future.

“They had quite a few girls who were really good,” she said. “It was really an awesome tournament. It was a great opportunity for me to come from Canada to compete.”

Dominic Adams is a journalist and wrestling coach based in Fenton, Mich. He can be reached via email here.