Timber Creek’s Rachel Bridges added another championship to her growing resume after she took the title at USA Wrestling’s Body Bar Women’s National Championships in late May.
Bridges, a rising senior, is a two-time heavyweight (215 pounds) wrestling champion for the Lady Falcons during the last two UIL seasons.
Now, rather than going to the Fargo National Wrestling Tournament, Bridges is preparing for the upcoming football season. Bridges is a returning varsity lineman for the Falcons.
Last summer, Bridges took second place in both the Cadet and Juniors freestyle brackets at Fargo.
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Body Bar is one of the most presitigous women-only freestyle tournaments available in addition to the Fargo event, which hosts boys and girls divisions.
She won the Body Bar 100kg (220 pound) division in the freestyle tournament held at the Irving Convention Center May 20-22.
And she did it without having a point scored against her all through the tournament.
But that feat is something that Bridges pulled off over the course of the whole season leading up to her second state championship run. She managed an entire undefeated (33-0) season without conceding a single point.
“I have the mindset that if I take a shot, I have to finish,” Bridges said. “Otherwise, it’s a waste of energy.”
She was actually unaware of her unscored-upon streak until Timber Creek head coach Craig Roark made the realization on the way to the state tournament, Bridges said.
Bridges said she thinks about the scoreless streak a lot now.
“It’s pretty awesome and it’s important to me. I hope to keep that alive this year,” she said.
But before the next step onto the mat, Bridges said she wants to take a break before the next football season.
“Going back-to-back gets bad. It’s tough on your body, and I want to be ready for my senior year,” she said.
Bridges was a starting offensive lineman on the freshman team at Timber Creek.
She’s gotten playing time the past two seasons at guard and is now more focused on left guard.
Bridges said she’s weighing about 217 but expects to add muscle during the offseason weight program and get up to 220-225.
“It’s not difficult for me to get down to (wrestling) weight in a few weeks after getting on a stricter diet. I’m not eating super-clean right now,” Bridges said.
She’s the only girl on the varsity football team right now, but Bridges is excited to see others in the middle school programs are giving it a shot, too.
Staying healthy is a concern – more from Roark than Bridges – but the dual-sport athlete loves the aggression and body control she can apply to the mat from the football field.
“Football allows me to be the wrestler that I am,” Bridges said. “My aggression, muscles and strength help prepare me to be a better wrestler.”
She also thinks the agility she’s acquired in wrestling helped her make the varsity roster in football.
After football season, Bridges will embark on trying to add a third state wrestling title with more tools in her wrestling tool box.
“I hope it won’t be just me on the podium this year,” she said, expecting other Timber Creek wrestlers to also place at the state tournament. “We should have a very successful season.”
No doubt, women’s wrestling programs from across the country will be keeping tabs on Bridges, including Oklahoma City University, one of the country’s best women’s wrestling programs.
“I’m weighing my options with medical school as a goal,” she said, stating she’s planning on orthopedic surgery as a specialty.