A pint-sized powerhouse paves the way

Feel Good Friday with Sashem Brey
Feel Good Friday with Sashem Brey(WTVG)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - When asked why she loves wrestling, Adalynn Anthony is very clear. “I like to make the boys cry when I pin them,” the eight-year-old exclaimed with enthusiasm. “I like to be on the mats. It’s my happy place.”

For years, Adalynn was dedicated to gymnastics and pageants. She regularly attended her brother’s wrestling meets, and in January of 2020, approached her mother, Leanne, requesting to try it herself.

“Honestly, I was like, ‘uh, heck no! You’re a girl. You don’t wrestle! Girls don’t do a boy’s sport,” Leanne remembers, laughing.

But the third-grader was persistent, and eventually, her mother agreed to enter her into a rookie tournament at Start High School.

“We said, ok, let’s throw you into it. She trained a week in my living room ... and took third place,” Anthony recalled.

Now, Adalynn is moving full steam ahead, breaking stereotypes and racking up the trophies. She’s already wrestled in more than 350 matches, and traveled to nine states for tournaments this year alone.

“When they see her walk out onto the mat and think it’s gonna be easy, it’s not. She’s gonna give them a run for their money, every day of the week,” said her coach, Jamie Maldonado.

As Director of the Junior Panther Wrestling Program, Maldonado first saw the pint-sized powerhouse at a tournament in Michigan. He recalls seeing a spirit in her that he knew, with training, could make her a legitimate competitor. He says that feat is even more impressive when you consider that “Addy” is 50% deaf in her left ear, and 25% deaf in the right.

“She has no ‘quit’. There is no ‘quit’ in that little girl. at all,” he said.

Mom, Leanne, says she is happy her daughter proved her wrong, and is incredibly proud to watch the little girl rack up win after win, and a boatload of confidence in the process.

“I’m watching my little girl paving a way for younger girls who are getting in our room now.” she said.

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