Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Photo courtesy of SPIRE

Stepping back from a school district and heading to a new confines before a senior season is never an easy task. It was a hard decision to make, but one that Boardman native Alexia Beadle felt she had to make to continue her advancement in wrestling.

Now a student at the SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Beadle has boasted continual success, and even made a college commitment to Baldwin Wallace for the fall.

“At first it was something I had to think about because it was my senior year, and I went to Boardman most of my years of school, but I knew that my area wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be and I needed to leave and to change,” Beadle said. “It was a really easy change; everybody here was really supportive and very helpful.”

Beadle’s father, Jordan, wrestled along with many of his brothers, so the idea of introducing Beadle to the sport at a young age was brought up, starting in late elementary school. He now coaches at Poland.

“My mom, (Courtney), very much didn’t like it at first. She stopped me from wrestling over a couple years until I started wrestling until third or fourth grade,” Beadle said. “My dad stood with me the entire way. He was my first partner with everything because none of the boys wanted to practice with me, really all of my first moves he was the one that taught me.”

“My mom is like the crazy mom in the stands now. She’s always calling me and texting me about it. She actually coaches girls wrestling (at Poland) now, it’s her first year. It’s a lot of support on both sides.”

Some of Beadle’s highlights include winning her weight class at 124 pounds in the 2023 Powerade Wrestling Tournament in late December, a regional event in Pittsburgh that attracts teams from multiple states. She also recently took first in her weight class at the Top Gun tournament in Alliance at 125 pounds.

This is the first season that SPIRE has sponsored a women’s wrestling program, and Beadle is joined by Joelle Scott (Cranesville, PA) and Fiona Gough (Wayne, NJ).

Mike Kulczycki, the director of wrestling and head coach at SPIRE, has seen Beadle’s progress continue in just a short amount of time.

“When she got here, she went right to work. She’s not afraid to get after it with the guys. She’s a really physical wrestler, and she doesn’t care if she’s wrestling with a girl or a guy or me. She’ll club me as hard as she can,” Kulczyski said. “She just knows one style of wrestling and that’s in your face, hard-nosed wrestling. One thing that really helped her this year was not only working out with the girls, but really practicing every day with the boys, you never really heard her complain once. Never cried or ran out of the room, really competitive and never heard her complain about it.

“I think sometimes most wrestlers that are smart and intelligent overthink stuff. When it comes to wrestling you don’t want to overthink or over-analyze, so I think it took some time for us to be aware of it and to help her get over her nerves, not to overthink it, go out there and wrestle.”

In a sport that’s traditionally been male dominated, Beadle admits that there were challenges along the way as a female, but as more schools began to sponsor girl’s wrestling, she believes the amount of opportunity for females within the sport has grown substantially in a short amount of time.

Still, her many years of experience in and around the sport have given her an edge over the newcomers, with Beadle attending some open college tournaments recently just to see some tough competition.

“Since I’ve been wrestling so long, these girls that are coming up now, they’re brand new to the sport, so it’s not even a confidence boost at this point because I know sometimes what I’m walking into at a tournament,” Beadle said.

Individuals like her teammates Scott and Gough have helped Beadle push herself to be an even stronger wrestler.

“I’ve known (Joelle) Scott for a very long time. There’s an old picture on my Instagram of me and her and a couple of other girls wrestling together, we’ve known each for a very long time on a couple of different teams. She’s my roommate now. I absolutely love Joelle, we’ve always supported each other for so long,” Beadle said. “(Fiona) Gough has only been wrestling for a couple of years, which was a very big transition for her coming to a school where all of us have been wrestling forever.

“We put our best foot forward and we’ve helped her and she’s kind of helped us with some of the small mistakes that we’ve made. We all get along really well and we push each other, we’re family at this point.”

This fall, Beadle plans on attending Baldwin Wallace to study neuroscience while also competing for the Yellow Jackets newly formed women’s wrestling program.

“In the fall, this will be their first year with girl’s on the team, so it’s really exciting, I get to be one of the first girl’s for them,” Beadle said.

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