Eleanor Dean Makes History With State Win

First female state wrestling champion at FHS
Eleanor Dean standing on the podium after placing first.
Eleanor Dean standing on the podium after placing first.
Paige Mac
State champ Eleanor Dean talks about the road to her victory.

Eleanor Dean, junior and female wrestler at Freedom High School, made history on Saturday, Feb. 26, for being the first female state champion for FHS. Dean competed against 50 Virginia female wrestlers in her weight bracket and came out on top.

Dean started wrestling in middle school. After hearing her parents talk to her brother about wrestling, Dean wanted to try it out for herself. With the inspiration from her dad to pursue this sport, her wrestling career began. She later joined the FHS wrestling team.

“My dad signed me up for martial arts and stuff as a kid, and so I think the idea of wrestling felt more comfortable to me,” Dean said.  “In high school, my coaches have been a huge part of keeping me extremely motivated. They are truly the most supportive and greatest guys I know because they lead this team with their hard work. They’re good guys.”

Dean put in much hard work into not just this competition, but throughout her wrestling career.

“We spend a lot of time practicing,” Dean said “I feel like the whole entire season was my preparation for the state’s match. We spent so much time practicing. And I worked a lot with my coaches. I really liked that I watched a lot of my film from the whole season and thought about all the things that I could be doing better going into this tournament.” 

Dean did not start off as a champion though. There was a lot of development and growth that affected her as a wrestler. During her freshman year, Dean said that she started off very hopeful and confident. She did not lose that confidence when she made the varsity team in sophomore year, even though she said that she got absolutely crushed as she was playing co-ed. Though it was a lot, Dean never felt like quitting as wrestling became a part of her life. 

Dean competed in around 12 other competitions, placing fifth and third for two of them. She trained more to place at states this season. 

“I wouldn’t say I was expecting to win, but I would say I was confident that I could do it,” Dean said. “I don’t think I ever expect to win a match because I feel like that’s probably going to jinx me. I try to go in with competence, but I also knew that to be the state champion, I would have to take this season and work as hard as I possibly could because that was my goal.”

Dean was almost immune to obstacles, especially being a female in a male dominated sport. A huge part of overcoming this obstacle was due the atmosphere of the FHS wrestling team. 

“This team has been very good about being supportive of women’s wrestling,” Dean said. “My coach tells me that I’m not a girl wrestler. I’m a wrestler. We’re all a part of one team, and they do a really great job at making sure I don’t face any sort of issue due to me being a girl.” 

Although many of her goals have been achieved, Dean does not plan to stop here. Along with many plans brewing for next year, she would like to now focus on national competitions scheduled for April and July. Dean plans to wrestle in college and continue wrestling for as long as she can.

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About the Contributors
Sunny Panthangi
Sunny Panthangi, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Sunny, and I am a sophomore at Freedom High School. I love to write, read and take pictures. I'm also in the Spirit of Freedom marching band, and I'm part of drumline. Outside of school, I play soccer, take pictures and love watching movies!
Adam Anwar
Adam Anwar, Broadcast Member
Hello, my name is Adam Anwar, and I am a junior at Freedom High School. I took Intro to Journalism freshman year, then proceeded to take Broadcast Journalism I, and now I am excited to be in Broadcast Journalism II. I look forward to helping build upon the broadcast and make it even more enjoyable and captivating than last year. You might see me filming at sporting events and anchoring on the morning show. I attend the Academies, and I am a  huge Dallas Cowboys fan.