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Whetstone Student Sole Female CCS Student at Wrestling State Championships

female athlete poses with coaches

April 8, 2024 — Grace Murphy, a senior at Whetstone High School, has made history as the first female student from Columbus City Schools (CCS) to qualify for the Wrestling State Championships. Her achievement shows that hard work, dedication, and skill in the sport pay off, and it is a highlight for the District in this fast-growing sport. 

"Last year, I looked up to all these wrestlers with previous experience," said Murphy. "I know all the new girls arereferree raises hand of female athlete after winning competition looking up to me and other girls on my team who have done well in the past. Seeing all the other females who have done well in this sport is encouraging."

This year, high school wrestling in Ohio witnessed a historic leap forward as 30 female athletes from eight high schools across the District - Africentric, Centennial, Linden McKinley, Marion-Franklin, Northland, South, West, and Whetstone - took part in the emerging sport. 

Over the last 6-8 years, female wrestling has experienced a notable surge in popularity, and its official recognition by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) for the 2023 - 2024 school year marks a significant advancement for female athletes. This development opens doors for young women to display their abilities and compete at a high level in a sport traditionally dominated by males, highlighting the growing inclusivity and diversity in high school athletics.

Competing in a male-dominated sport, Murphy has shown remarkable determination and talent throughout her wrestling career. Murphy's journey to the state championships results from her hard work and commitment to the sport, which she plans to continue in college. 

"I have overcome [challenges] by proving people wrong," said Murphy. "I've placed at these meets, gotten these medals, and am continuously going to practice. Wrestling encourages me. I truly enjoy the sport and seeing other girls thrive in it, too." 

Although Murphy didn't secure a victory in her weight class, her journey involved advancing beyond the initial round. Her performance highlighted her undeniable skill and determination and demonstrated her capability to excel at the highest levels of competition.

"Because the sport is so new, there is a lot of stage for the younger girls," said Tony Lehnen, the girl's head wrestling coach at Whetstone. "What Murphy is doing right now as a senior inspires younger girls. They look up to her work ethic and what she's done in the short time—just two years in the sport."

Despite the outcome, Murphy's presence at the state championships as the first and only CCS student to qualify was a historic moment. Her achievement inspires others and highlights the importance of perseverance and openness to new challenges regardless of tradition.

Murphy's coaches and teammates continue praising her for her dedication to the sport and ability to break barriers. Her journey reminds us that success is not always measured by wins and losses but by the courage to compete and the resilience to persevere. Murphy's remarkable path has made a mark on Whetstone High School. This milestone is just the start of her next chapter, where she will continue her passion for wrestling at Indiana Tech.

"I fell in love with the sport, and this is what I have to do in college," said Murphy. "I signed on to Indiana Tech to wrestle for the next four years. I want to get my Master's after, and I'm thinking of being a kindergarten teacher. There's a good probability [of me returning to CCS]."

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPriority 2 - Equitable Opportunities for AllPriority 3 - Strong Learning Communities in Every RegionPriority 4 - Authentic EngagementPortrait Attribute 1 - AdaptabilityPortrait Attribute 2 - CommunicationPortrait Attribute 3 - CreativityPortrait Attribute 4 - Critical ThinkingPortrait Attribute 5 - Global EmpathyPortrait Attribute 6 - Technology