Marian wrestling camp finds balance between competition, community


Many would think the most important part of wrestling is taking down your opponent. However, sometimes it’s more about lifting them up.

This June, Marian hosted its very first wrestling camp. Renowned women’s wrestling coach and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Randi Miller coached the camp alongside Marian Coach Lauren Barefoot. Middle and high school wrestlers from all over Nebraska came and participated in this high-intensity, collegiate level training.

MARIAN WRESTLERS Front Row: Hathia Joseph’23, Makayla Martinez’26, Macaire Harr’24. Middle Row: Jadin Martinez’24, Gabrielle Johnston’23, Hailey Loneman’23, Madeline Wear’24. Back Row: Martha Hinneh’24, Tessa Brooks’24, Hillary Adovlo’23, Aja Smith’24.
Photo from @crusader_wrestling

Marian wrestler, junior Madeline Wear took advantage of this training opportunity. Wear noted that the camp was quite different from typical in-season practices at Marian because of Coach Miller’s training methods. Miller exposed the wrestlers to challenging drills and techniques that they had not used before. As someone who is interested in college wrestling, Wear said “the camp was extremely helpful in giving me a taste of what college practices might be like.”

Millard West wrestler Nevaeh Hascall also attended the camp. She said she “felt a lot of pressure coming into the camp knowing college coaches would watch.” The coaches, however, proved to be very hands-on and supportive. She felt that Coach Barefoot in particular was especially helpful. Hascall said, “She [Coach Barefoot] is great; she still helps me learn new skills even though I’m wrestling against her girls.”

“She wants everyone to be great because she loves the sport and is trying to share that love,” Hascall said.

This sort of support and uplifting of others is something that Barefoot has encouraged within her program since day one. Wear said that “from the beginning of the season she [Coach Barefoot] made her expectations for us very clear.” She said, “Coach creates an environment where everyone is lifting each other up.”

Millard West wrestler Julia Mcklem also attended the camp. Mcklem said that Marian’s team has always been kind on and off the mats. They said “last season Marian was always hanging out with Millard West wrestlers. . . I even remember Marian cheering for my teammate Alicia during her matches.” Interteam bonding is common within the girls wrestling community as Mcklem went on to say “at tournaments, girls from all over will befriend each other and show sportsmanship.”

This year’s wrestling camp was overwhelmingly successful with nearly 40 wrestlers attending. Numbers are expected to grow in the next few years as more girls become interested in the sport. “Girls wrestling needs more participation and less judgment; we aren’t weird or violent, we just love a sport,” Mcklem said.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a part of Marian’s wrestling program, contact Lauren Barefoot at for information on tryouts and preseason training.

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