Pine River girl wrestler to compete at college level
LEROY — Holly Bailor finished a unique senior season for Pine River’s boys wrestling team, but is about to embark on another challenging endeavor.
Bailor, who was 28-14 at 103 pounds for the Bucks and was a state finalist, signed a letter of intent on Wednesday, May 17, to join Adrian College’s women’s wrestling program.
During the 2016-17 season, Bailor was second at individual district and second in the individual regional to qualify for the state finals on March 2-4 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The women’s coach, Cliff Cushard, was at the signing ceremony. Adrian has had two complete seasons. It’s a member of the Women’s Collegiate Wresting Association. Women’s wrestling is not yet a varsity sport, Cushard said.
“We’re the only one in Michigan,” Cushard said. “There are only 35 in the whole country, I believe, right now.”
Adrian travels around the Midwest in Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee to have competition.
“The closest school is seven hours from us,” Cushard said. “We go to individual tournaments and face competition on top of that. Cushard said he has been coaching Bailor in some of the national women tournaments in which she’s participated.
“I’m really excited,” Bailor said.
Bailor visited Adrian last fall. Cushard anticipates she’ll compete at the 101 or 109-pound classes. He anticipates she’ll help his program immediately.
“It’s still a growing program,” he said. “I expect her to be able to step in and play a key role.”
Missouri Valley was another possibility, Bailor said, for a women’s wrestling program. It was her hope to be wrestling in both the individual and team high school state finals this winter. The Bucks were in the team state semifinals.
It was Bailor’s senior year and she’s been wrestling five seasons on boy’s teams. She’s always been at 103 and has had her most success this season.
“It comes mostly from listening to my coaches and wrestling with my teammates,” Bailor said.
She also took third place at Mio-Au Sable and she was 16-7 in her first 23 matches. She also was third at the Reed City Invitational with a 2-1 record and pinned Colton Palmer, of Wyoming Lee, for the third-place spot.
On the mat, Bailor likes ankle picks, the fireman’s move and other moves. She’s also had success competing in national and state girls wrestling competition. But she especially enjoys boys wrestling and admits to surprising others on how well she does.
Bailor has usually been the 103-pound wrestler for the Bucks. She wants to improve on getting off the mat and working on takedowns.
“She’s doing a nice job for us,” Pine River coach Tim Jones said during the signing. “She’s always been (backup) to some very good wrestlers.”
Bailor also ran cross country and track at Pine River. She indicated running cross country at Adrian, where she’ll study sports medicine, was a possibility.
She decided to start wrestling after watching her brother in the sport.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a girl that’s been in our varsity lineup,” Jones said. “She does a lot in the offseason and enjoys wrestling. It’s something she may pursue beyond the high school level. She has a lot of experience and is strong for a 103-pounder. That helps her out a lot.”
She was Pine River’s first wrestler in the individual state finals.
Bailor plans on wrestling in a tournament at Muskegon this summer and at a camp in Adrian. She was injured in women’s nationals after the high school season and recovering.