High school wrestler makes history at state championship

WOODRUFF, SC (WSPA) — When June Welch isn’t strolling the halls of Woodruff High School, you can most likely find her in the gym practicing for her wrestling matches.

“I love the competition and how hard it is to do,” Welch explained.

This weekend, the hard work of the second paid off. Welch won the state championship and took the crown in the 106-pound weight class.

“It was awesome,” Welch said.

“Of course, you still want your child to achieve their goals. Kathleen Welch, June’s mother, added. “Watching this unfold was just amazing.

Welch’s victory is significant. She is the first woman to win an individual wrestling championship in South Carolina.

“June broke a barrier,” Kathleen Welch said. “She made other girls realize that they might be able to do this.”

In his championship match, Welch had to defeat a male wrestler. South Carolina is one of the few states that has yet to sanction girls’ wrestling at the high school level. Welch’s trainer John Harper said that didn’t bother him.

“It’s not something unusual or intimidating for her because she’s been doing it for so long,” Harper said. “She approaches every game as another opportunity to compete. It doesn’t matter if it’s a male or a female. She just loves wrestling.

June says she plans to compete at nationals later this year and hopes to defend her state title in 2023.

Robert J. King