Cane Bay High has a varsity wrestler currently ranked 6th in the state in the 5A 106-pound division.
The kicker? This wrestler happens to be a girl.
Madeline Bowlin is in her fourth year wrestling. She is in ninth grade, and while Cane Bay High has a couple of female wrestlers on the junior varsity team, Bowlin is the only girl on the varsity team.
Bowlin said she has grown up a bit of a tomboy, and when family friend Kenny Sims approached her about wrestling a few years ago, it peaked her interest.
Sims is a coach for Mafia Wrestling Crew, a program for youth wrestlers in Summerville, where Bowlin lives. After training under Sims, Bowlin knew she wanted to continue wrestling in high school.
She was able to try out and score a position on Cane Bay High’s wrestling team this year.
Bowlin does not come across another female wrestler too often during matches, but it is not fazing her too much.
“I really like how I’m a female and I’m participating in a male sport,” she said. “It’s fun for me because everyone thinks…females should not participate in the boys’ sports, and I think it’s fun to prove them wrong.”
Bowlin attributes her success in wrestling to Sims.
“I owe everything to Mr. Kenny,” she said.
When she joined the Cane Bay High team, Bowlin did not know what to expect from her teammates, but she said she loves hanging out with them, and impressed herself with how much she excelled in the sport this year by ranking on a state level.
“It’s a great accomplishment for me,” she said.
Cane Bay has a match against Wando High on Jan. 6 and a tournament this upcoming weekend at Fort Dorchester High. The next state rankings come out on Jan. 12. Bowlin is currently 12-5 this season.
Bowlin said meeting with other school athletes has helped her build confidence, and she encourages other girls interested in such sports to do just do their best – “and always go hard on boys.”
“If you like it, stick with it,” she said.
She trains under Head Wrestling Coach Tim Wash, along with assistant coaches Aaron Hynick and Bill Parrish. Her parents are Jeff and Paul-Ann Bowlin.