While some girls may have decorated their bedrooms walls with posters of their biggest Hollywood crushes or favorite bands growing up, Alexis Dunwiddie hung posters of Rhonda Rousey and other major athletes. It wasn’t long before Alexis began practicing her skills — first enrolling in judo, then, at 8 years old, she decided to try her strengths at wrestling.
“My dad inspired me to give wrestling a try after a year of judo, and I fell in love with the sport instantly,” says Alexis.
So far, most of her competitors have included boys within in the same weight class — a challenge she accepted with grace and determination to be even better.
“She wrestled boys from about the second grade to eighth grade,” says Alexis’s father, Kent. “I think she lost one match in middle school, but she medaled with the boys in state. It’s been neat to see her earn her place even in the boys division.”
But that all changed as Alexis entered her freshman year at Jefferson City High School. With a large influx of female wrestlers over the years, girls wrestling became a Missouri State High School Activities Association sponsored sport during the 2018-2019 season, establishing a girl’s only high school wrestling division. There are four districts in the girl’s state division, and within Alexis’s district, district 2, there are roughly 60 high school teams.
Entering the high school division, and at only 13 years old, Alexis took the class 1 district 2 title and was one of two women in her district to compete in the 2022 state championship. Alexis ended her freshman season earning a 44-4 record with three of those losses being from medical forfeits.
“My biggest obstacles so far would have to be my medical disqualification at state and the ongoing dislike with women in a male dominated sport,” Alexis says.
Despite the challenges she faces, Alexis’s driven nature and compassionate personality makes her a natural leader to her peers and teammates.
“Alexis truly cares what her coaches think and is one of the most coachable athletes I have been around,” says Alexis’s coach with Bull Trained Wrestling, Sammie Henson. “She is a caring athlete, not just for herself but as a teammate! Her goals are high and we expect great things from her both on and off the mat.”
After high school, Alexis plans to further her wrestling career into college. Although she doesn’t have a specific school in mind yet, she’d like to grow up to become an educator along with becoming a great wrestling coach. In the meantime, Alexis continues to be a positive role model as a volunteer coach for her youth wrestling club, encouraging others to stay the course and find their strength.
“To the younger girls who are interested in wrestling, I want them to know that they are not weird or boyish for wrestling, and they cannot let what others say affect them,” Alexis says.
Who inspires you?
My inspiration in the world of wrestling would be my Olympic wrestling coach Sammie Henson. He is always pushing me to be my best and has always been there for me.
What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book would have to be my childhood favorite, “Matilda.”
Favorite YouTube Channel?
I don’t exactly watch YouTube, but when I do, it’s usually something about history or a documentary.
What activities are you involved in?
Some activities I like are wrestling, weightlifting, deer hunting, fishing, and hiking.
What’s your favorite subject in school and why?
My favorite subject in school would be history because I love learning about the past and I just really find it interesting.
Who do you like to have lunch with?
I like to have lunch with my close friends and family.
What’s your favorite movie/tv show and why?
My favorite movie would be “The Waterboy.”
What’s your favorite thing to do in Jefferson City?
My favorite thing to do in Jefferson City is to visit the capitol building and downtown shops.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
One superpower I could have would be telekinesis because then the Chiefs would never lose.
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