Former Stone Memorial High School Lady Panther wrestler Ashley Sherrill will be continuing her career for the United State Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University in Marquette University.
"Coach Brian Parker knew my background in martial arts. I came out for the wrestling team after playing football at North Cumberland and the Junior Jets," said Sherrill. "I played soccer then went to wrestling then to track and field, and squeezed in choir."
The three-sport letterman from SMHS will report to Northern Michigan on Aug. 13 to start training for a tournament in Fargo, ND, on Aug. 23-24. She placed eighth in a tournament in Michigan during Easter weekend.
She had to be recommended for the berth into the Fargo, ND tournament. If she finishes first or second two tournaments, she represent the United States in the Junior Olympics.
"Ashley found out about the U.S. Olympic Education Center female freestyle program via http://freestylefemales.com," said Coach Shannyn J. Gillespie. "I found out about Ashley after she contacted me and we started communicating on the process it takes to enroll at Northern Michigan University. After talking with Ashley and her mom Dora on the phone, they both decided to come down to Florida to watch the Body Bar Nationals."
According to Gillespie, Body Bar Nationals is a USA Wrestling national tournament that qualifies wrestlers for the Jr. World Championships (ages 17-20), Cadet World Championships (ages 15-17), Jr. Pan American Championships, and the Cadet Pan American Championships.
"Here, we spoke more about her training and her abilities and what it will take to succeed at the USOEC. I believe Ashley has the desire, dedication, and commitment to succeed at the USOEC and it is up to her to make her Olympic Dreams come true," concluded Gillespie.
Sherrill started wrestling as a sophomore on the SMHS boys wrestling team. She shared time in the 119 and 125 pound weight classes with a couple of other wrestlers. She had a 4-5 record against boys, according to Brian Parker.
"Ashley considered not going out for wrestling in her junior year until she found out that the TSSAA was going to sponsor a girls state tournament," said Parker
"Wrestling at 120 pounds, we found matches for Ashley and our other three girls anywhere that we could wrestle against girls. Ashley's experience against boys in the practice room and during her rookie year really paid off as she captured the 120 state title in the tournaments first year.
"Even though she struggled with some injuries in her senior year, Ashley continued her winning ways with a 13-3 record and a second-place finish in the State Tournament. She lost to one of only two other returning state champions in the 2010 tournament.
"Ashley really has a lot of desire to keep doing well in wrestling and continue her career at the college and possibly Olympic level. I am excited for her and wish her well at Northern Michigan," concluded Parker.
Sherrill will report to NMU Aug. 19-22 for registration, with classes starting Aug. 23. She plans to major in bio-chemistry. The USOEC is taking care of her room, board and meal, and she was also given in-state tuition.