LABELLE- Jasmine Lynne Barrett is a 15-year-old LaBelle High School student, taking advanced classes, with a 3.3 GPA. She is also one of the first sanctioned female high school wrestlers in Florida, starting in 2021
“I'm a girl in a male dominated sport,” she said proudly. “I've been doing wrestling for a season now. I made it to day two as a freshman for states this past season, won the NAGA US open and now I'm looking for a state title.”
“I did MMA for a little bit but I've transitioned to high school wrestling. My dad inspires me a lot, he's been in combat sports most of his life.”
Barrett said she finds wrestling challenging, both mentally and physically, but she also enjoys the sense of comradery during the many hours of training together, required to do well in the sport.
“Since it's off season, I'm currently doing practices Mondays and Wednesdays, all the way to Cape Coral which is a one and a half hour drive. Train there three hours, then drive back home another one and a half hours, and try to catch a nap in the car. I also practice at LaBelle High School on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
When asked about her other hobbies or interests, she explained that there really isn’t much free time when she is focused on wrestling.
“There is no balance. It's one or the other and most of the time I have to say 'bye bye social life.' I have a younger brother who I beat up on the regular, but when I'm not doing that, I enjoy writing, reading and painting,” she joked.
“It's a lot of hours of hard work, weeks and weeks of preparation, eating clean, intense conditioning, and mental breakdowns just for 10 minutes. Sometimes it feels you cant get that last sprit in, sometimes you don't want to get up from the floor, but you know if you don't, your hand won't be raised,” she said.
The Florida High School Athletic Association has decided to sanction Girls’ wrestling, beginning in the 2021-22 season making it a sanctioned state championship sport. This makes Florida the 24th state in the nation to adopt it. As a sanctioned sport, girls will still be able to wrestle boys throughout the regular season, but will have their own postseason.
“During the normal season it was boys at the same weight or girls that are kind of close. Rare to find a girl at the exact weight as you. So you never knew just how good or bad you are,” said Barrett. “Now that it's sanctioned, that means that there will be competitions during the regular season with a full team of girls versus a full team of girls, all competing in a weight class at the same size. This year is the start of really seeing what the girls can do when the competition is equal.”