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East Forsyth Wrestler Wins First Girls’ Wrestling State Championship

On the MatFebruary 22, 2024 – East Forsyth High School Sophomore Taylor Williams won her biggest match of the season last week and became the first champion of the North Carolina High School Athletics Association’s state wrestling championship’s 165-lbs. women’s division.

The NCHSAA only officially sanctioned women’s wrestling starting this school year, but Williams is no stranger to athletics. She grew up playing football, and when she got to East Forsyth last year, she took up wrestling for the club team before there was an official championship to contend for. She’s come to appreciate the unique challenges that wrestling provides to athletes, both physically and strategically.

“Wrestling isn’t like other sports,” Williams said. “At first glance, it’s all about strength and athleticism, but it’s not that straightforward. You have to be patient enough to stick with it and keep an open mind about it.”

Celebration

Succeeding at the state level in a sport she was relatively new to required a lot of discipline. Not only was Williams still constantly training her body to meet the physical demands of wrestling, but she also had to get a feel for techniques and tactics that have to be learned and practiced to be implemented at a moment’s notice in a match. Fortunately, she was surrounded by a dedicated squad of teammates who were always willing to put her through her paces when she needed to take the next step. Despite the individual nature of a wrestling match, teamwork can still make all the difference.

“It’s really cool here,” Williams said. “Everybody drills with everybody, and everybody is cool with each other.”

Williams had as successful of a season as her team could have asked for, racking up 29 wins across organized matches on a path to the state championships at the Greensboro Coliseum on February 17. Even so, when the lights shined brightest, she says she felt sick with nerves. Her mental toughness became more important than ever, and she turned to her team and her coaches for the support she needed to focus on getting the job done. With all of East Forsyth backing her up, she completed her undefeated campaign and claimed a gold medal as the winner of the 165-lbs. women’s division, the first such accomplishment in NCHSAA history.

Team Shot

“The entire time, I was nervous, but my coaches helped me keep my mentality straight,” Williams said. “I think it was more mental than anything else.”

Williams has ambitions well beyond this first state championship. She hopes to continue competing at the national level and wrestle in college after she graduates high school. If all goes as planned, she’ll be wrestling in the Olympics some day very soon. Whatever her future holds, she’ll leave behind a proud legacy in East Forsyth High School athletics, particularly for every young woman who wants to prove what she’s capable of.

“It’s probably the most pressure I’ve ever felt,” Williams said. “But it was also the proudest moment I’ve had so far.”

 

 

Jake Browning
jbrowning2@wsfcs.k12.nc.us
(336) 727-8213 Ext. 70545