For the first time ever, in an event that has been put on for decades,
the Armed Forces Wrestling Championship held a women’s bout Saturday
during the freestyle competition.
The event, held in Fort Carson, Colo. this year, made history with its
matchup between the Army’s Leigh Jaynes-Provisor and the Marines’
Melissa Apodaca. The bout was not to disappoint, with Provisor winning
by an exciting pin against Apodaca at the end of the first period.
“Winning is great, and that’s what the Army trains me to do,” said
Provisor. “It’s hard to lose when you have such great support from your
team. Everybody here is rooting for you, and they have your back. I
think it was most important that we just had that match with a female
from another service that was able to weigh in, and we had a match for
her on the Army’s side. I think it’s a milestone achievement for the
Armed Forces and women’s wrestling. I am, most importantly, proud that
my match even took place today.”
The Armed Forces Wrestling Championship occurs every year, with this
year’s event occurring in Fort Carson, Colo. The competition includes
teams from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines,
with rosters boasting athletes for both the Greco-Roman and freestyle
Women’s freestyle rosters, however, are not as plentiful in the Armed
Forces. U.S. Army Head Wrestling Coach Shawn Lewis believes Saturday’s
women’s match will change that.
“Right now, with the World Class Athlete Program that the U.S. Army has,
we have five women in our program. We’re just waiting for the other
services to catch up to us, and start bringing more women to this
competition. Today was a great showing for the women at 58 kg, and
hopefully [in the future] it will be from the lowest weight class at 48
kg all the way up to 75 kg. Hopefully we’ll have a full lineup next
year, but this was groundbreaking. We have to start somewhere, and today
was a great start,” said Lewis.
For Provisor, the match means more than just a win, or a mark on Armed
Forces wrestling history. It’s another day to honor the United States on
“I’ve been in the Army for 14 years. There’s no greater pride other than
representing the United States on the world stage in wrestling. I’m an
American to the bone, I’m a patriot and I love this country with all its
ups and downs. I’m proud to be an American, so it means a lot to me to
be able to represent the Armed Forces, the All-Army Program, and
hopefully this year the World Class Athlete Program,” said Provisor.
To watch the historic match between Provisor and Apodaca, visit USA Wrestling’s YouTube channel or TheMat.com.