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News | March 29, 2015

Jaynes-Provisor wins first-ever women’s bout at 2015 Armed Forces Championship

By Alexandra Pernice

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 competitions.

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 the mat.

“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