National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Latino American Wrestling Experience

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32 | NATIONAL WRESTLING HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM LATINO WRESTLING EXPERIENCE Jessica Medina was born September 7, 1986 in Monterey Park, Calif. Her mother's family was from Mexico and her father's family was from El Salvador. "My parents were hard working people, the only thing they insisted on was for me to carry a good grade point average in school, otherwise, they let me choose my own path and interest," she said. She discovered her gift for wrestling as a junior at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Calif., when a male track and cross- country teammate of hers went out for wrestling and convinced her to join him. She competed on junior varsity her junior year and then varsity as a senior. "I was always in good physical condition from running all the time and always tried to outwork everyone in the room," she said. Evidently her high school coaches felt she had potential to compete against other girls and offered to take her to some female only competitions. "I was reluctant at first, because I always liked the idea of competing against the males," she said. But she proved to be a competitor when she placed fifth in her weight class at the 2004 USA Wrestling Girls Freestyle Junior National Championships in Fargo, N.D. It was then that she accepted an offer from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., to compete on the women's collegiate wrestling team. Her freshman year was so difficult that she almost did not go back. "It was not a very multi-cultured campus so it was a real culture shock for me to make the adjustment and return after my freshman year," she said. She stuck it out and returned to school joining the Patriots team and winning the Women's National Collegiate Championships as a sophomore in 2006, placing second in 2007 and first again in 2008 (along with the Outstanding Wrestler award) at 55 kg. She also completed a bachelor's degree in Business and Public Health with a minor in Spanish in 2008. Following graduation, she made an unsuccessful run at the 2008 Olympic Trials but National Coach Terry Steiner invited her to become a resident athlete at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. It was then that she took her freestyle career to a world-class level, earning a spot on the 2009 and 2010 USA Women's Freestyle World Teams at 112 pounds, representing the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club. The 2009 Women's World Freestyle Team is believed to be the first with two Latino females representing the USA on a World or Olympic Team as Jessica shared that spotlight with 121-pounder Tatiana Padilla. Padilla is now competing in Mixed Martial Arts, while Jessica continues to pursue the 2014 World Team at 53 kg. "I'm not sure what I want to do after wrestling, I want to get a master's degree and maybe coach if they continue to add more college programs for women," she said. JESSICA MEDINA Wrestled 2005-2008 University of the Cumberlands 112 lbs

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