A special era comes to an end when Brittany Bates graduates from Doyline
March 25th, 2016 | Written by: Editor



Among the many pleasant surprises I ran into at the CenturyLink Center, my favorite by far was running into Brittany Bates in the stands.  I understood why she decided not to wrestle in her junior year, but had no idea she would come back to compete in the last LHSAA state tournament in which she was eligible.

In 2011 Doyline coach John Smith emailed me to inquire if I knew what Louisiana wrestler had recorded the most wins.  I could not answer that as such records did not exist at the time and are still somewhat "iffy" via TrackWrestling and the now seemingly defunct NWCA-Online database.  The request, though, was really a sign of frustration on Smith's part.  He had a seventh-grader on his team that nobody wanted to wrestle, and hence was only winning via forfeits - a lot of them.  Her name was Brittany Bates.

Brittany's accomplishments are well documented if one looks at the right Webpages or reads this Website enough.  She is not the first girl to compete against the boys in Louisiana, and the simple existence of "passing time" does not allow any comparisons between those who came before or those who will come after.  I can only say I have an inkling of some of the things she faced in her career that were not necessarily fair, that I never heard tell of a complaint by Brittany, and that Brittany rose above all of them like the champion she is.

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When I first met Brittany at John Curtis in 2012 she impressed me by being a typical high school girl.  While she knew it was rare, she never gave the impression that she was doing something many other girls would not deign to do, or something for which she deserved extra credit just because she was a girl.  She was upset for a little while when she lost and she was happy when she won, with the condition that it be either the one match in a dual meet or an entire tournament.  If she felt additional pressure because she was a girl in a male-dominated sport, she did not show it.

She spoke of her parents, and how she wished her father were able to watch her wrestle, but could not due to physical constraints.  She spoke of going to pharmacy school.  But not long after she was playing a game on her phone, just as any other 15-year-old might do while waiting for, well, in this case, her next match.  Her Doyline teammates spoke of her almost in awe.  They mentioned that if they did something at practice of which she was not amused, "The Beast" would appear, and whip them relentlessly on the mats.  Yet at events, when she is not in a match, she is either smiling, looking after one of her younger Doyline teammates or intently studying others on the mats.

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She was gracious in victory and realistic in defeat, which goes a long way as to why a lot of people like and respect her as much as they do.  The LHSAA state championships have never been a stellar event for Brittany - but she more than made-up for that in the national spotlight, in which she earned All-American status 10 times and won one national championship and placed second twice in USAW and USGWA sanctioned events.  Yet she did participate this year, after taking off the high school season as a junior, and only having three matches prior to this event.  Whatever her reason, I was glad to run into her in the stands and watch her again on the mats. 10 x USA/ASICS Wrestling All-American
2014 USA Wrestling Cadet Women's Freestyle Nationals - Runner-up
2014 USA Wrestling Junior Women's Freestyle Nationals - 5th Place
2014 Division III Louisiana State Championships - 5th Place
2013 & 2014 USA Texas Wrestling Folkstyle State Champion
2013 Evangel Eagle Open Champion and Outstanding Wrestler
2014 Brusly Invitational Champion
2014 John Curtis Invitational Champion and Outstanding Wrestler
2014 Jacob McMillan Invitational Champion and Outstanding Wrestler
2013 USA Wrestling Louisiana Freestyle State Champion

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On April 1st, 2016, Brittany will sign a letter of commitment with Wayland Baptist College in Pineville, Kentucky.

Like any wrestler, the years on the mat should prove invaluable in her in the future, knowing that she is capable of things that would more than just daunt other people.  Hard work, attention to detail and how to react in emergencies - all of those traits are taught on the mats.  And though she would never say it out loud, if somewhere in the back of her mind she thinks "and I did it as a girl against guys," she has certainly earned that right.  I will miss her and I hope she continues to come to state championships or other events I am covering.

Editor - Louisiana Wrestling News





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