‘I’m no joke’: Senior becomes first female to place at Ohio state wrestling tournament

Miami East senior Olivia Shore hugs her coach and father, George Shore, after Olivia became the first female to earn a podium finish in Ohio High School Athletic Association wrestling history. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

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Miami East senior Olivia Shore hugs her coach and father, George Shore, after Olivia became the first female to earn a podium finish in Ohio High School Athletic Association wrestling history. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

MARION – As a freshman, when high school wrestlers heard Olivia Shore’s name one of their first thoughts was, “I don’t want to lose to a girl.”

Now, four years later, the Miami East High School senior took her place – literally – among the best high school boys wrestlers in the state when she won a second-round consolation match at the Division III Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship meet on Saturday.

With the win Shore guaranteed herself a podium spot during Sunday’s final rounds. Shore is the first female to place at the OHSAA wrestling state tournament, regardless of division. In 2019, as a sophomore, Shore became the first female to win a championship-round match. She did that again Saturday, too.

“I think I made a name for myself as a girl now that I’m a senior,” she said. “I think everyone realizes who I am and that I’m no joke. They wrestle me just like the boys.”

Wrestling in the 106-pound weight class, Shore (17-3) beat Rootstown sophomore Bryce Edwards (39-5) in the opening round at Marion Harding High School.

In the semifinals Shore was pinned by Barnesville freshman Reese Stephen in 5:18. It was a match George Shore, Olivia’s coach and father, said they knew was “deep water” for Olivia.

That dropped Shore to an elimination match in the consolation round against Versailles freshman Lane Bergman (35-12). Shore stayed on the offensive to score the historic 8-2 victory.

At the district meet last week, Shore beat Bergman 6-1 to claim third place. That boosted her confidence heading into the match.

“I kept telling myself this is my last year. I have to get it done,” said Shore, who in February won her second straight state title at the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association tournament. “It’s definitely one of my best wins because where it put me. I’ll always remember it, that’s for sure.”

Two seasons ago at the boys state tournament Shore lost a 10-7 heartbreaker in her match to place. She had shoulder surgery after the tournament and didn’t wrestle boys as a junior to let her shoulder heal.

“This has always been a childhood dream of mine. This one is probably a lot bigger, but the girls titles mean a lot to me too,” Shore said. “This is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. It feels good to know all the hard work paid off finally. I still have more to come.

“Anywhere on the podium, it’s a bonus for me. I achieved my goal so I’ll be happy with any place. But I’m definitely going to keep going.”

She’s not alone in that family mindset, either. Junior Max Shore and sophomore Cooper Shore, her brothers, both reached the semifinals. Max is a three-time state qualifier and Cooper a two-timer.

Cooper won both his matches with identical 6-2 scores in the 113-pound bracket. Max (15-0) won both his by pin in 1:48 and :27 seconds. Like Olivia, they’re guaranteed to place on Sunday.

Miami East junior David Davis (34-6) won his first-round match, lost in the semis and scored a 9-5 victory in the second-round consolations to also guarantee his spot on the podium.

“Yeah, I’m on fire. I’ve got one goal and I’m going to get it,” said Max Shore, who missed the majority of the season and just started wrestling again at the sectional tournament. “We kind of do good under pressure. We build each other up.”

“It’s especially rewarding, even though we’re not at the Schott,” Cooper said. “I didn’t get my chance (at state) last year to have this experience. It’s amazing. … This was probably the biggest pressure match I’ve wrestled in a long time. Glad I could get it done.”

Another brother, Graham, won state in 2018 and was as four-time placer.

“We’re thrilled. What a great day for our family,” said George Shore, Olivia’s father and coach. " … We’re super blessed as a family. A simple family trying to go for great things.”

Normally all three divisions are held at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the divisions were split up. D-I was held at Hilliard Darby High School. D-II was at Highland High School in Marengo.

Also at the D-III tournament, Legacy Christian Academy continues its bid for a state championship. The Knights qualified seven wrestlers and six remain, including five in the semifinals. Freshman Eli Campbell (106), freshman Dillon Campbell (113), junior Camron Lacure (132), junior Gavin Brown (145) and junior Nick Alvarez (170) are two wins from individual state titles. Junior Logan Attisano (120) is alive in the consolation bracket.

Legacy Christian enters the final day with 51 points, trailing only Milan Edison’s 59. Edison has four wrestlers in the semifinals.

“I’m feeling good about it,” Lacure said of LCA’s title chances. “At the end of the day it’s an individual sport and we’re all looking for our own title. If you do the thing you need to as an individual then the team is going to the reward.

“I got the mentality I’m not satisfied. The best I can do now is first and the worst is sixth. That’s how some people think. I’m going for first and if not, first. I’m going for the title.”

In the D-I tournament, Centerville junior Damion Ryan (120), Lebanon sophomore Jack McCall (120), Wayne senior Austin Mullins (152) and Stebbins senior Marvelous Rutledge (195) reached the semifinals.

Wrestling resumes 10 a.m. Sunday with the semifinals and conclusion of the consolation bracket. The championship matches start at 4:30 p.m.

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