For female wrestling champion Jordyn Bartelson, it doesn’t matter that it’s a sport dominated by the boys. After all, she was wresting practically when she started walking.
Jordyn’s dad and Puyallup girls coach Bryan has been taking Jordyn and her sister Brooklyn to the wrestling gym since they were babies, and Bryan began coaching Jordyn when she was four.
“I was a coach at Orting High School so they had little Orting hats, and they were little cheerleaders that were babies,” said Bryan. “They were in a gym every day since they were born. Always been around it.”
Puyallup placed second in state last year, and Jordyn took first in the 118 weight class the last two years. Her freshman year, Jordyn took down Bianca Arizpe, a No. 1 ranked senior from Federal Way. Brooklyn, a sophomore, placed second in the 112 weight class last year.
Now, Jordyn and Brooklyn, are helping lead the Puyallup team, and have coached wrestling on the side. This past summer the girls worked at Washington’s first girls wrestling camp at Puyallup High. Bryan said they have been trained to wrestle like college boys, which gives them an advantage over their competition.
“They’re very technically sound,” said Bryan. “They’re driven by technique and drilling. They understand the success of technique and what it implies to be successful.”
Despite Jordyn’s wrestling accolades, she said it is not her main sport. Jordan made the All-SPSL first teams for soccer and softball last year, and is getting recruited for college soccer.
We caught up with Jordyn about wrestling with the girls and growing up in a wrestling family.
Tell me when you first started wrestling. What was that experience like for you growing up?
When I was little Brooke and I would play around in the gym and just be in the environment. It was fun. My favorite part was probably where my dad was the coach at Puyallup, because that was what I remember. We just went to all of his matches and we were his stat girls. I would sit with the cheerleaders sometimes. I was really close with all the boys.
How has wrestling helped you out in soccer?
I think the mental toughness aspect helps, because I bring a different attitude to the soccer field than other girls do. Probably hard work. Wrestling is probably one of the toughest sports that you can do, and my work ethic probably transfers over into my soccer.
What were some of the toughest matches you have ever had to compete in?
I’m not sure about my hardest ones, but my favorite one was probably my freshman year. I had lost twice going into state to the girl I wrestled in the final [Bianca Arizpe]. She was a senior and I was a freshman. I had won twice, and she had beat me twice going into state and I ended up pinning her in the finals. That was a really big deal. I wasn’t expecting to win. I was actually ranked second going into state.
Having your dad as a coach, is he harder on you and Brooklyn than the other kids?
Oh definitely. He expects more out of us.
What the best thing and most difficult thing about having your dad as your coach?
The best thing is that I always have that coach there helping me reach my full potential, because he’s my dad. He knows my best and my worst. He also can tell when you come in on those days when you’re a little tired. He makes it a little bit easier practice. But we’re still working hard and making sure we’re reaching out goals.
What are some of your personal goals this season?
Since my freshman year, my goal has been to not only get myself to win a title, but have my sister, because she’s my partner, to do the best she can do. I don’t work hard just for myself, I work so my sister has that same opportunity as I have in the past.
Is it difficult for you to be a wrestler in a sport that’s male dominated?
No, because I grew up wrestling with boys my whole life until my ninth grade year when the high school girls had to do their own state tournament. It’s different for me to wrestle with girls, because I grew up wrestling boys my whole life.