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Tiger girls wrestling to debut at BA Open

Coach Jasperson says team 'so hyped up'

Coach Jasperson demonstrates technique during a practice session.
5dc43ccb595e2Coach Jasperson demonstrates technique during a practice session.
Coach Jasperson demonstrates technique during a practice session.

For the first time in its history the Broken Arrow Open will feature a girls only wrestling mat.

With Broken Arrow Athletics paving the way for girls high school wrestling in Oklahoma, most of the more than 40 female BA Tiger wrestlers will have their first ever competitive match against a girl who is not their teammate.

“They are so hyped up,” said Coach Cassidy Jasperson. “They just want to get out there. They want to compete.”

Twenty-eight high school and 15 middle school girls populate the Broken Arrow girls program in its initial season. Just four of those girls – three in high school and one in middle school – have ever wrestled in a competitive match.

I’ve never been part of a brand new program with brand new wrestlers like this, Jasperson said. “You can literally see the growth. I’ve coached youth clubs, but there have always been kids who have been wrestling.”

From day one, however, these girls have been coached as if they were mat veterans.

“When I first came in I was coaching them like they were higher level athletes,” said Jasperson, who, as an Oklahoma City University All-American wrestler, is in her first year of teaching and coaching. “Why baby them? Why start at a soft level? We started hard workouts right off the bat. I don’t think they know anything different.”

Apparently, that approach is working.

“When the male coaches come in here, they cannot believe these girls have only been wrestling for a couple of months,” Jasperson said. “They don’t realize how advanced their workouts are. We were on the mats the first week of school. No other schools are training how we’re training.

“My thing is a lot of what I just did in college. It’s all basics. Even at that higher level – Olympic trials, World Team trials – they’re doing basics. They’re doing them very, very well, but it’s still basics. There’s no reason to have the flash. We master our basics before we start including the funky, flashy moves. Those are fun, but they’re fun when you have mastered those basics.”

While Saturday’s Open will be the first time the girls have faced an opponent from another school, they did experience the feel of a live match at their Black-and-Gold intrasquad scrimmage a week ago.

“The thing that impressed me the most is that I emphasized try new things,” Jasperson said. “When there’s that pressure, it’s very easy to close up a little bit, because that’s natural. But they got after it. I was so proud.”

After this weekend’s matches, the next time the girls compete will be on the road Dec. 6 at Claremore. Then Jasperson takes the team to her home state of Texas after Winter Break for the Cy-Fair Invitational. Broken Arrow will wrestle Noble in a dual at Jasperson’s college alma mater on January 19, 2020. In February, Broken Arrow will host a district duals two days later before hosting a girls wrestling national invitational on February 8, 2020, to end what Jasperson calls an “ambitious schedule.” Girls exhibition matches will be part of the opening day of the OSSAA State Championships on Feb. 28, 2020, at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.

“Whatever I put them through or whatever tournament I send them to I know they are equipped,” Jasperson said. “Every match they wrestle I want them to wrestle their hardest and not be so focused on the result. If you’re fixed on the result then it just gives you unnecessary worry. It makes you fearful.

“They can fight. They can move. And, they’re very coachable. They are sponges. It’s going to be exciting. They don’t even have a clue to how much success they’re going to have.”

The fight begins Saturday in the history making debut of girls wrestling in Tiger Field House.