High School wrestling: Greenon freshman looking to make impact at girls state tournament

Caitlin Reiter, Greenon wrestling
Caitlin Reiter, Greenon wrestling

ENON – Athletes often visualize themselves in specific situations to help with their mental training. As she prepares for the OHSWCA girls state wrestling championships, Greenon freshman Caitlin Reiter admits she hasn’t gone there yet.

“No, not really,” Reiter said. “I’ve never been on top of the podium before so this would be the first time.”

What better place than the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association state tournament? Reiter finished third in the 116-pound weight class at the Southwest District tournament last weekend to qualify for state.

She’s joined by Greeneview’s Alison Calhoun (121), Ellie Harlow (189) and Karlie Harlow (235) and Mechanicsburg’s Morgan Powell (106). Ellie Harlow won the 170-pound state title at last season’s inaugural OHSWCA state meet. Karlie Harlow finished fourth at 189 and Powell returns as a two-time state qualifier.

Reiter is in her second season of wrestling. She’s already made an impact in Greenon’s wrestling room.

“I can undoubtably say she is the toughest person in the program,” Greenon coach Tyler Westlund said. “She gets a bloody nose, runs over and plugs it and gets right back on the mat. Wrestles with our boys all day long. Loves to compete.”

And not just on the wrestling mats. Reiter said she’s been taking mixed martial arts lessons since pre-school and is a second-degree black belt. Her MMA sparring and free rolling has helped her most in wrestling with conditioning and takedowns.

In the Knights’ wrestling room she trains with freshman Shane Small (113), senior Evan Fagan (120) and junior Arlie Benson Jr. (132).

“They don’t take it easy on me, but they don’t pound on me either because they would beat me,” Reiter said. “They don’t let me just have at it. They give me resistance and push me.

“I think that’s mainly the reason I got better. I felt like I got more matches in the wrestling room.”

The state tournament will be split into two sessions, both at Hilliard Davidson High School. Saturday’s session includes weight classes 101 through 131. Sunday’s session finishes with 137 through 235.

Reiter faces Madison’s Lexi Zehe, who finished second in the Northeast District, in her opening match.

“I really think she can win a state title,” Westlund said. “She’s competed with the girls who have placed there before and has done really well. … She’s super confident, too.”

Westlund credits Lance Wagner with helping Reiter develop her wrestling skills. Wagner was the middle school coach last season before becoming Westlund’s head assistant coach at the high school level.

They hope to add more girls into the Knights’ program. There are currently two.

“I’d love to have a larger girls team,” Westlund said. “That’s something we’re trying to develop as well. It’s hard in a rural school. It’s not a huge private school or Division I. We’re smaller so our demographics are a little different. I think once Caitlin gets success it’ll open it up.”

In addition to the area state qualifiers, former Greeneview middle school student Isabell Carrington also reached state. Carrington is now a freshman at Chaminade Julienne. Her stepmother, Britney Carrington, coached the Rams’ girls last season. She’s also chairwoman for Ohio’s chapter of Wrestle Like A Girl, a non-profit founded by Olympic wrestler Sally Roberts in 2016. WLAG focuses on empowering and increasing opportunities for females through wrestling. Among Ohio’s initiatives is getting the sport sanctioned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

“All hands on deck trying to get this movement going,” coach Carrington said. “We’re continuing to try and make this push so girls have more opportunities for sports. I have college coaches emailing me every week asking for juniors and seniors. They have scholarship money available. Just trying to get these girls mat time and experience.”

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