Freshman Welch Becomes First Female Wrestling Champion in School History
By: Garrett Mitchell, Staff Writer
Members of the Woodruff High School wrestling team finished their season in fine fashion, including freshman wrestler June Welch who became the first female wrestling champion in school history.
Welch, who also competes successfully against male wrestlers, won the state championship in the women’s 104-pound division by winning two matches to take the title. She qualified for the 3A upper-state individual tournament with an overall record of 9-1, including 7-1 against male competitors. Only in the ninth grade, Welch is a star in the making for the Woodruff wrestling program and will be one of the state’s most exciting athletes to watch in the coming years.
Woodruff Head Wrestling Coach John Harper is a huge supporter of female wrestlers in the state of South Carolina and has been at the forefront of an effort to enhance the sport for girls.
“The goal is to continue to grow the number of female wrestlers in SC in hopes that the SCHSL (South Carolina High School League) will eventually sanction the sport, as many states across the country are doing,” he said.
Woodruff sophomore wrestler Genaro DeLaGarza is also closing in on a possible state championship. DeLaGarza, who missed most of the regular season, returned to win the individual Region III-3A championship over Broome’s Israel Davis. The 10th grader finished in the top three at last year’s state tournament in his 112-pound weight class.
Both DeLaGarza and Brad Sharmer, who wrestles in the 195-pound class, qualified for the individual 3A state tournament during the upper-state competition held at West Oak High School on Sat. Feb. 27th.