Story by Tristan Jackson
Jeffersonville High School has a new state champion.
Camyle Cain, a wrestler in the 138-pound weight class on the female circuit, won the Indiana state competition on Jan. 19 — just one year after the first-ever state competition for girls, in which she placed second against Alara Boyd, the second-ranked female wrestler in the world in her weight class.
“I’ve never felt something so exciting,” Cain said on her experience at the state tournament. “Everyone is so welcoming and nice. Even if you’re going against the girl, she’ll help you warm up.”
Cain was convinced to join the wrestling team by head wrestling and strength & conditioning coach Danny Struck, who has been coaching at Jeff for over 20 years. While she excels on the mat, Cain’s first love was the football field.
“I didn’t want to originally,” Cain said on joining the wrestling team. “Struck would ask me everyday to come. He would say ‘if you don’t like it, don’t come back. Just try it.’ I didn’t like it the first week, but I kept going, and a month down the road, I realized I really liked this sport.”
Cain joined the football team her freshman year, and played under head coach Lonnie Oldham. During her first year, she built relationships with her coaches, including Alfonzo Browning, who would eventually go on to become the head coach.
Cain’s wrestling coaches have helped pave the path to a state title, and her football coach would end up accompanying her to the state championship
“It meant a lot to me, especially after everything we’ve been through over the last four years,” said Browning, on taking Cain to State. “I was honored to be able to take her up there.”
While Cain enjoyed the experience, a high school athlete’s goal is to win a state championship. Her hard work got her all the way to the championship match after winning the first two matches in the competition.
Cain went into her final match with a 8-0 record against female opponents, including a first place finish in the USA preseason national tournament and regional champion.
In dominating performance, her first two wins of the tourney would come by the way of pin. As the favorite, Cain would eventually make her way to the championship round, where she would face off against Westfield High School’s Melody Barrows.
During the final, she continued her impressive display, pinning her opponent less than two minutes into the match.
“When I won I couldn’t even control myself,” Cain said. “I really didn’t know how to act.”
The win is not only a tremendous accomplishment for Cain herself, but a groundbreaking accomplishment for the girls who could potentially follow down the same path.
“She improved both physically and mentally,” Struck said. “She’s grown up and she’s much better at keeping her emotions in check.”
It’s safe to say the win brought a lot of attention to Cain, and she has received an abundance of support from the students and teachers around the building.
“Every time Coach Browning sees me, he’ll say ‘what’s up champ’,” Cain said. “Everyone is so excited for me.”
Although Cain won a state championship, there will always be people who doubt and hate excellence, especially as a female exceeding in a predominantly male sport. Cain is no exception.
“I do get some crap for it. Some people say, ‘You didn’t really win state because you’re a girl,’” Cain said. “I don’t really know why. I guess they are just jealous.”
Regardless of the naysayers, Cain shined on her way to a state title, utterly dominating her competition.
“She’s got a runner-up against the second-ranked wrestler in the world and a state title; that’s a nice resume for when she goes for the All-Marine team,” Struck said.
With the backing of her coaches, teammates and classmates, Cain made her championship dream come true.
“I can’t believe I won state,” Cain said. “That’s something every athlete dreams to do.”
Cain finished her high school career on top, but it’s not the end of the road for the outstanding Red Devil. Although she has yet to pick out a college, Cain fully intends on wrestling post-high school, and the school that she decides to attend will be getting a girl who is ready to work.
“I just want to get better,” Cain said. “Get better for when I further it.”