Wrestling Warrior

Senior Janiah Jones is first Patriot to win state in girls wrestling


Courtesy of Janiah Jones

Senior Janiah Jones holds her winning bracket while on the first-place podium at the State Championship.

After 4 years of hard work, senior Janiah Jones made history by being the first South student to win state for girls wrestling. 

As devoted to wrestling as Jones is, she said it didn’t start that way.

I started wrestling because I missed the bus my freshman year, and my friend dragged me down to tryouts I eventually began to learn, love, and understand the sport,” said Jones.

While Jones may not have originally set out to participate in wrestling, she said she quickly fell in love with the sport.

“Wrestling is such an individual sport, that each little success feels genuine like it’s yours. Your team and coaches may have helped but they didn’t wrestle for you, you did that. I love that feeling alone as well as the friends and family I’ve developed with the sport,” said Jones.

Jones gave an insight into how she prepares for matches.

“I train the same way you would study for a test. Repetition, developing an understanding of the scenarios of when to do things, consistent drilling to minimize scrambles, and how to stay in a good position. Conditioning your brain leading up to the moment it’s time to showcase your skills and athleticism,” said Jones.

The training is only during the winter months, Jones continues working hard throughout the off-season.

I wrestled during the off-season at Purler Wrestling Combative Academy in Wentzville, Missouri, and Valkyrie held at Fox High School,” said Jones.

After completing four matches, Jones became the state champion. During the regular season she compiled a 32-2 record in the 135-pound weight class. At state, she won the title with a 12-6 victory over Annelise Obermark from Washington High School. She says that the feeling doesn’t seem real.

It still has not settled in yet but I can now agree that it’s real. It feels amazing to think about it but it isn’t a reality for me just yet, I’m still very much on cloud 9,” said Jones.

Senior year isn’t the end of wrestling for Jones, She received a scholarship to wrestle at Missouri Baptist University.

Behind every athlete is a coach that is pushing them to work harder. Coach Jori Prater talks about how wrestling is hard both physically and mentally.

“Training involves a lot of hard work on and off of the mat. We do a significant amount of conditioning, technique-building, and character-building with our athletes. The sport takes a lot of disciple, hard work, and passion to be successful,” said Prater.

Prater describes the emotions she felt seeing Jones win state.

“Seeing Janiah win state was hands down one of the best moments of my life. Janiah has become like a daughter to me over the last 4 years and to see her reach her goals after all the hard work, dedication, sweat, and tears she has put in was such a rewarding moment that I will cherish forever. I am so grateful that I have gotten to be a part of her wrestling journey. I truly believe the high school level is just the beginning for her and she has so much more in store for her in collegiate wrestling,” said Prater.

Prater talks about how girls’ wrestling has a bright future at both South and schools across the country.

“Girls high school wrestling specifically has been such a rewarding experience..especially since it is so new to the state of Missouri and really the USA in general. These girls come out and break stereotypes of what a girl can and cannot do. I hope more South girls come out next year and continue what Janiah has only begun for Parkway South Girls Wrestling,” said Prater.

Coach Andrew Wallace talks about bringing his experience from wrestling to Parkway South.

“I bring what I learned being on that team to the Patriot wrestling room. My goal is to cultivate a culture of like-minded individuals that want to make themselves better as well as those around them,” said Wallace.

He mentions how it felt to see Janiah win state after years of coaching her.

“It was awesome to witness firsthand Janiah win a state title. My first year coaching at South was also her first year wrestling, and she was one of the first people I got to work with when I got here. So to see her grow these last 4 years and finally achieve her ultimate goal, was an amazing feeling,” said Wallace.

Jones said she couldn’t have made it to state by herself.

I would like to thank my team, my family, my friends, and coaches, and everyone at South for the continuous love and support to help me achieve my goals,” said Jones.