West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker


"Life is full of ironies."

A few of my readers may remember the scathing senario I wrote on a teenage girl who wrestled her first varsity match. The column wasn't very complimentary to girls who choose to compete against boys in wrestling. Well, on Saturday, February 21st, I had my eyes opened by a very courageous wrestler.

While officiating at the Region I AA Wrestling Tournament at Oak Glen High School, I refereed a match in the consolation semi-finals at the 112-pound weight class. The outcome of that bout had historical significance in West Virginia scholastic wrestling. Weirton Madonna's Amy Alvaro defeated her opponent and became the first female to qualify for states at Huntington. Humbled by the experience, I felt it was my duty as an objective journalist to solicit Amy's side of the story. She graciously obliged to have an interview with me. The following are the highlights this very informative conversation.

MAT TALK: "Amy, what enticed you to go out for high school wrestling?"
ALVARO: "I was a mat maid as a freshman at Weirton Madonna, and I was dating a wrestler on the team. As the season progressed, I began to enjoy the action on the mats so much, I decided I would give it a try. That's how I got started."
MAT TALK: "How supportive was your family and friends when you finally made the decision to wrestle?"
ALVARO: "My mom, dad, and brother Chris have been quite encouraging. It's funny. Mom is very fiery at matches, and Dad watches with quiet nervousness. Even my brother Chris, who plays freshman basketball for the school, supports my decision to wrestle. My classmates and everyone on the wrestling team were surprised at first, some even laughed, but most of them said, 'Go for it'. Even the fans have cheered me on and wished me 'Good luck'."
MAT TALK: "Amy, what do you believe you learned from wrestling?"
ALVARO: "I have always considered myself to be a strong-willed and well-disciplined person. Wrestling put these personal characteristics in motion, especially self-discipline."
MAT TALK: "What has been your most memorable experience in wrestling thus far?"
ALVARO: "I would have to say it was when I placed 3rd at the Cameron Tri-State Tournament in 1997. I brought home my first trophy. Mom and Dad were very proud."
MAT TALK: "Amy, do you have anything else you would like to share with the readers?"
ALVARO: "Yes. I guess the main thing is that I want to thank everyone who has been on my side in my desire to wrestle, especially my coaches, Mr. Lesh and Mr. Miller."

I, for one, am very impressed with Amy's reasons for wrestling. To her, wrestling is not about girls competing against boys, but a sincere desire to compete in the mat sport. Her head coach, Jamie Lesh, made it a point to tell me that Amy Alvaro works just as hard as her male counterparts at practice, and he has been very proud of her efforts on the mats over the last two years. Amy, like many wrestlers, is quite a scholar as well. She presently carries a 3.70 grade point average. This is just another testament to Amy Avaro's uncompromising determination to succeed in life.

Congratulations, Amy Alvaro, on defying the odds, proving that anything is possible if you believe in your dreams, and turn them into reality. Now you'll have to excuse me. I have some very tough "crow" to eat!

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Updated May 3, 1998