Kaylee Adams, Portage High School freshman, has made history this year as the first female to win the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association girls wrestling state tournament title for Portage. Not only that, but she stands alone as the only girl on the mats- something she hopes will change soon.
“I am currently the only female wrestler for Portage High School, but I'm hoping that in years to come there are many more,” Adams said.
Her interest began when her brother was in wrestling. After she saw his team compete, she begged her parents to let her join.
“I would sit and watch all of his practices and his tournaments and just be intrigued by the sport,” she said.
Finally, in sixth grade, after nearly four years of waiting, Adams was finally enrolled in wrestling, and she’s been hitting the mats ever since.
“What I love most is that I get to be involved in something that keeps me busy and make all kinds of new friendships with people,” Adams said. “I get to be challenged everyday by my own desire for success.”
Adams has competed at many tournaments, but the ones that stand out to her are the 2017 National United Wrestling Association for Youth Nationals where she earned 2nd place, the 2017 Indiana State Wrestling Association Girls Freestyle State Championship and 2017 Indiana State Wrestling Association Folkstyle State Championship. In her latest competition in January at the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association girls wrestling state tournament, Adams became the first female to win the title for Portage as a freshman.
“I feel accomplished that I won, because it’s originally what I set out to do,” Adams simply stated.
However, this is just the beginning for Adams, who has big plans ahead.
“I am hoping to become a four-times state champ,” she said. “That’s a goal that I set out for myself. I might be interested in wrestling in college, but I still have a few years to see how things go.”
Adams practices five days a week, alongside tournaments on weekends and weekly meets. Aside from training with her team from Portage High School, she also does sessions with her all-girls national team in the summer and takes private lessons, as well. However, while she leads the life of a dedicated, award winning athlete, she’s also a normal high school teen.
“Another hobby of mine is catching up on sleep from practices and tournaments,” Adams joked. “But with all joking aside, I love to shop!”
It isn’t always easy balancing training and keeping up with school and the day-to-day, but Adams is surrounded by support and inspiration to fuel her fire.
“My family is very supportive of me and wrestling,” Adams said. ”They push and motivate me to reach my goals and to never give up.”
Her mother, Nickie Adams, has watched her journey proudly from the sidelines, cheering her on with each step.
“I am over the top excited and proud of her for what she’s accomplished this far,” Nickie Adams said. “Actually, I admire her. Her will, drive, and determination is by far stronger than I ever could have been. She’s fought to get to where she is today, and I’ll always stand behind her, pushing her and motivating her to be the best version of herself that she can be. I’m actually her number one fan, besides my husband and my son.”
Nickie Adams said her daughter has a piece of paper on her wall that reads, “What did you do today to become a champion?” that she reads every morning when she wakes up and every night before bed.
“That piece of paper makes me tear up every time I see it, because I was able to witness first-hand what she went through every day to become the champion she is today,” Nickie Adams said. “Kaylee amazes me!”
One of Adam’s biggest inspirations is Helen Maroulis, the first female from Team USA to win the Olympics. Another inspiration is someone who sparked her interest in wrestling in the first place.
“Another person that inspires me is my brother, Devin, because without him being in the sport and forcing me to spend all those grueling hours watching his tournaments, I never would have been introduced to the sport,” Adams said. “He’s actually become one of my biggest fans.”