Grider family tradition carries on as girls wrestling takes hold in Indiana

December 11, 2017

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - For the Grider family, South Side wrestling has become a family tradition.  All five of the brothers have grappled for the Archers; and now, one of the four Grider sisters has taken to the mat, as well.

Alexis is the first girl to ever wrestle at South Side, thanks to the new Indiana High School Girls Wrestling association that not only gives girls an opportunity to wrestle, but take part in a state tournament.

“Sports are about motivation,“ Alexis, a senior, says. “It’s especially enjoyable during the competition and the performance.“

And Alexis is taking part in the experience along side two of her brothers: Keaton and Tim. Keaton, a freshman, has become Alexis’ sparring partner. The two battle each other daily not only for sibling supremacy, but also to make each other better.

“We’ve always been rivals.” Keaton jokes. “Somedays, we’ll be upset with each other, and it’s like we’re going to have a rough day at practice.”

Tim is a former wrestler at South Side, who has served the better part of the past decade as a volunteer coach. The athlete-to-coach relationship is even more special, he says, when teaching his younger brother and sister.

“You can be a little bit tougher than some other coaches are because we have that brother-sister relationship,” Tim adds.  “There’s a little bit more room for criticism and tough love.”

Alexis says her other Archer teammates have accepted the premise of a girl wrestler on the roster; and that her grit, determination and athletic ability may open doors for other girls to get into wrestling.

“I think they enjoy it,” Alexis beams. “Everybody’s pretty accepting about it, and they think it’s cool I’m trying something that you normally don’t see girls do. 

IHSGW held its inaugural state finals a year ago at Hamilton Heights High School. Individual state champs were crowned in weight classes ranging from 88 lbs. to 285 lbs. Penn won the first team championship. 

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