By Scott Halasz
FAIRBORN — Korissa VanOver doesn’t want to be the girl just participating in what is a male-dominated high school sport.
The Xenia High School sophomore wants to be the girl who has success in high school, wrestles in college and some day represents her country. While making the Olympics seems a little far-fetched for the 126-pounder, she discovered as a sixth-grader it could happen with a little work.
“I (realized) I could actually be something big if I put my heart into it,” she said before her first match at the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament at the Nutter Center Tuesday.
While Tuesday’s matches didn’t go so well — she was pinned by Andrew Oeters of Lakota West in 29 seconds and then was pinned by Bellbrook’s Ben Sherrill in 1:16 in the consolation round — she won’t let defeat get in her way. VanOver didn’t win a match as a freshman and hasn’t won yet this year, entering the holiday tournament 0-7. The losses have just served as fuel to fire her up in the practice room.
“It’s high school, you’re going to lose,” she said. “Losing is part of sports. You have to push yourself harder. This year I’ve improved a lot and I noticed that.”
So has Xenia Coach Sean Schooley, who noted that last year VanOver would struggle to get out of the first period, but this year she is consistently making it to the third.
“She’s really dedicated,” Schooley said. “Her shot has improved 100 percent. She’s trying to get a little stronger.”
It hasn’t been easy for VanOver. At first teammates kept their distance but now she’s one of them.
“They’ll practice with me, they’ll drill with me,” VanOver said. “They’re like a bunch of brothers.”
And of course, there are reactions from the opponent.
“I had a guy fake an injury just because I was a girl,” she said. “I’ve had guys talk trash about me to their team. I go in there and show them I can hold my own.”
But VanOver insists on not letting anything deter her.
“Wrestling has nothing to do with gender,” she said. “It’s skill, and physical strength, and mental strength.”
She stays physically and mentally strong by participating in cross country and track, which like wrestling require endurance and stamina.
— Greeneview sophomore Devin Hendrix, seeded fourth at 106 pounds, advanced to today’s quarterfinals with a pair of wins. He pinned Olentangy Orange’s Cole Jackson in 32 seconds then beat Dublin Coffman’s Kyle Murray, 7-3. Hendrix was set to take on Watkins Memorial’s Mason Boyd in the quarterfinals. Hendrix was a district qualifier as a freshman.
— Carroll senior Jesse Younce knocked off a seeded wrestler on the way to the 152 quarterfinals. He pined Triston Anderson of Trotwood-Madison in 2:17, and Grant Norman of Hudson in 1:47 before beating No. 7 Dylan Schenck of Milton-Union, 8-2. Younce was to take on No. 2 Zane Brown of Louisvile Male in the quarterfinals. Male was second in Kentucky at 132 last season.
— Xenia junior Matt Henrichsen won one match at 113, pinning Moore’s Mason Lesshafft in 1:16 before being pinned by eighth-seeded Shay Horton of Ryle in 35 seconds.
— Xenia freshman Desmond Diggs won his first match at 120, pinning Kage Worley of Preble Shawnee in 3:30. He then lost, 12-5, to Zane Rennie of Watkins Memorial.
— Carroll senior Bryon Uzhca beat Springfield’s Dakato Adams, 10-9, at 145 before being pinned by Edgewood’s Andrew Tevis in 1:13.
— Xenia senior Stephen Holton beat Jake Anders of Miami Trace by a 14-4 major decision at 170 before losing to No. 6 Shota Sisco of Pickerington Central by fall in 3:27.
— Fairborn senior Jesse Jones won his first match at 182, pinning Walton-Verona freshman Colton Maines in 1:59 before being pinned by Northmont’s Gabe Newburg in 5:00. Jones won a pair of consolation matches, one via pin in 3:21 and another by 2-1 decision. He is two wins away from placing.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.