Freshman Haley Ward wins gold at Pan-Am Games

Stretching+the+United+States+of+America%27s+Flag+around+her+shoulders%2C+freshman+wrestler+Haley+Ward+celebrates+her+gold+medal+finish+at+the+Pan+American+Games+in+Panama+City%2C+Panama+Nov.+2%2C+2019.
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Freshman Haley Ward wins gold at Pan-Am Games

Stretching the United States of America's Flag around her shoulders, freshman wrestler Haley Ward celebrates her gold medal finish at the Pan American Games in Panama City, Panama Nov. 2, 2019.

Stretching the United States of America's Flag around her shoulders, freshman wrestler Haley Ward celebrates her gold medal finish at the Pan American Games in Panama City, Panama Nov. 2, 2019.

Courtesy @FortOWrestling Twitter

Stretching the United States of America's Flag around her shoulders, freshman wrestler Haley Ward celebrates her gold medal finish at the Pan American Games in Panama City, Panama Nov. 2, 2019.

Courtesy @FortOWrestling Twitter

Courtesy @FortOWrestling Twitter

Stretching the United States of America's Flag around her shoulders, freshman wrestler Haley Ward celebrates her gold medal finish at the Pan American Games in Panama City, Panama Nov. 2, 2019.

Story by Cassidy Newberry, Reporter

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Haley Ward is the 2019 Pan American Games U15 62kg Girls Wrestling Champion. And she hasn’t even started her high school wrestling career yet. She won her first match by fall over Nathaly Maria Obando Rojas from Chili. She then won her second match by fall over Abigail Rodriguez  of Panama. 

The school’s freshman is a member of the 15U Olympic Pan American Team for 2019-2020 and her team went to the Pan American Games in Panama City, Panama Oct. 31- Nov. 2. The USA Girls Wrestling team finished 1st with 175 points. Ward loves learning new skills in wrestling. 

“Just the experience and the different things you get to do and different things you learn,” Ward said. 

Ward has been wrestling for nine years. She practices at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado during the summer and trains for 3 hours a day. Ward asked family and friends to help donate money for her traveling expenses for her trip to Panama City, Panama for the Pan Am Championships. With help from friends and family Ward and her family raised close to $1,000. Haley feels really good about winning 1st place representing USA.

“I feel good about it, I’m glad I got to represent my country in a positive way,” Ward said.

Katelyn Ward is Haley’s older sister who is a junior at the school. Katelyn’s reaction to her sister receiving first place was very heartfelt. 

“I was very excited, almost to where I cried,” Katelyn said. 

Katelyn enjoys being able to be with her sister after she wins and to watch her win and just be happy. She supports Haley in anyway that she can and always makes sure that she’s there supporting her sister. 

“Since she’s my sister I’m usually her practice dummy sometimes and whenever making weight and everything I support her, give her encouragement,” Katelyn said. 

Junior Lauren Hahne is a fellow female wrestler. She was extremely proud when she heard about Haley getting 1st place. Hahne believes that Haley is a very tough opponent and has a very strong work ethic.

“She never gives up even when she’s struggling with something she will work to get better at it,” Hahne said.

Haley has been working out with the high school team since the 7th grade and practices for the upcoming high school season started Nov. 4, 2019. The Indians will open the season on the road with a tournament at Oak Park on Nov. 30.

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