By Jeff Steers
(February 22, 2022 4:58 PM) Jackson High School wrestler Natalie Tobey said she has felt “defeated” at times in sports over the years.
Then she found wrestling.
And through the trials and tribulations of six-minute matches, tough practices, and the mental and physical strain of wrestling she has found a sport that teaches her not to give up.
That all paid off on Saturday as Tobey qualified for the Michigan High School Athletic Association state wrestling finals by placing fifth at the regional tournament at Hartland High School last weekend.
She finished fifth in the 155 pound weight class. Two regional tournaments were held – Hartland and Howell – and the top eight in each weight class moved on to the state tournament.
This is the first MHSAA state wrestling tournament for girls only.
“This makes me feel special and glad to be part of it before I graduated,” Tobey said of being a state qualifier in the first MHSAA state-sponsored tournament. “No other sport pushes me, relieves stress, and makes me stronger as a person.”
Tobey began wrestling at the urging of a friend in ninth grade. She has worked her way up in the program and placed at a number of girls-only tournaments this winter.
She has earned a pair of second-place finishes and a third at girls-only events.
Tobey has also wrestled a number of male wrestlers for Jackson this winter.
“I found that wrestling girls I am more aggressive,” Tobey said. “I feel like I need to prove myself more.”
The state finals at Ford Field on March 4, 5 may be the final time Tobey puts on a singlet. She would like to concentrate on college to study psychology. Tobey is interested in Michigan State, Western Michigan, or Wayne State.
“If I receive a good offer to wrestle (in college), I may consider it,” Tobey said. “It is going to be hard to say goodbye.
“Wrestling teaches you to get back up and keep going … and that is a great life lesson.”