Athlete of the Week: McKayla Campbell

WAUSEON, OH (WTOL) - McKayla Campbell's desire to wrestle started at a young age.

"I asked my dad if I could wrestle when I was four, but he said 'no,' he said it was a boys sport," Campbell said.

So when she turned five, McKayla started wrestling.

"The next year I asked him again, and he said 'no' again, and then I told him I could take my brother down," Campbell said. "He made me take my brother down, and I took him down like eight out of ten times or something like that. And then he gave me a spiel about having to be tough,"

McKayla is now a senior on the Wauseon High School wrestling team.

And over the weekend she made not just school history, but league history.

Campbell became the first female Northwest Ohio Athletic League wrestling champion in 58 years of the sport.

"Going in I was just really, really excited to know that information to begin with, that if I did win I would be the first female in history," Campbell said. "So it's always really amazing to see it and to finally be able to achieve it."

McKayla's coach said she is an indispensable member of their team.

"I'm real proud of her," said Wauseon wrestling coach Mike Ritter. "She's been a real big part of our program now for four years, so all of our kids think of her just as one of their teammates. they don't treat her any differently because she's a girl."

Coach Ritter says her work ethic and dedication to the sport is how she became the top wrestler in the league.

"She works just as hard as anybody in the room," Coach Ritter said. "She was the league runner-up last year as a junior and just overcame that last hurdle and obstacle to be a league champ this year. [I am] extremely proud to have that be a part of our program and our name attached along with hers. And she did a great job this weekend."

But her accomplishments did not stop there.

McKayla has competed overseas on two female wrestling teams, but she has higher aspirations.

McKayla's goal is to one day wrestle in the Olympics.

"I would not put it past her to be on an Olympic team in the next Olympic cycle, even the one after that," Ritter said. "Her goals are far-extending from the high school level. And I'm pretty sure she's going to achieve those goals, as hard of working as she is."

McKayla will be competing on the women's wrestling team at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

Before that, she will be training for the world team trials.

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