Terra’s Eric Ward, in the Columbia, MO office, shares his daughter’s successes in this post.
Women’s wrestling is an emerging NCAA sport and is considered the fastest growing sport in America at the moment.
My daughter, Ava Ward, started wrestling at the age of 7. She’s competed against boys in most of her matches, and the first two years of wrestling left her without a single victory. When she was on the brink of quitting, I enrolled her in year-round training. Through countless hours of training, hard work and determination, Ava gained results each year. Two years ago, she placed 7th. Last year, she placed 3rd. Her goal this year was to be a National Champion. To be the best girl in the country at her age and weight.
Above: Ava Ward taking on her opponents.
Ava’s goal became a reality on March 24, 2019, when she became the 2019 U.S. Marine Corp. Women’s Folkstyle National Champion. At just 12 years old, Ava was one of the youngest National Champions in her class.
To earn her national title, Ava knocked out a Texas state champ in the quarterfinals. Then, in the semifinals, Ava faced the reigning two-year national champion and Pan American gold medalist. Ava had lost to this girl many times before over the years, but now she knew what she had to do to defeat her. Ava won with a score of 2-0. In the final round, Ava faced a girl from Japan and won the match 2-1, claiming gold.
Above: Ava Ward at the 2019 Folkstyle National Championship. In the middle photo, Ava is the first person on the left.
Ava is now a four-time MO Women’s State Champion, Viper Pit National Champion, Iowa Women’s State Champion, Tulsa Nationals All-American, and Women’s Folkstyle National Champion. She finished the year with a record of 61-24.
As a father and former competitor, to say I am proud is an understatement.