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In 2002, USA Wrestling launched the first Junior Women’s Freestyle National Championships and the tournament joined the four men’s divisions in Fargo, North Dakota. The fifth tournament in Fargo would feature just over 100 young women. One of those first champions was California’s Malinda Ripley. Twenty years later, you’ll still find Ripley on the floor in Fargo, coaching the women of Team California. In July of 2022, I caught up with Ripley to talk about what she remembers about the opportunity presented at that first championship, her drive to go “big game hunting” in chasing down Mary Kelly of Illinois and what it’s meant to her to coach a generation of girls who didn’t have to break down doors, rather just walk through them as they were opened by people like Ripley.
This is the full interview from the women’s feature released by Mat Talk Online during Fargo back in July.
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Short Time Wrestling Podcast: Episode 710 – July 18, 2022