Contemplating substantial personal changes including the pathway your new life will follow has often taken people to fascinating and sometimes far off places.
It can take the form of road trips, back packing throughout Europe, flights to faraway countries and regions of the world that often promise spiritual enlightenment.
For a number of young high school female freestyle wrestlers this quest has connected them with rural Oregon.
As reported from the Office of the Eastern Oregon University Sports Information Director on August 10, 2018, “The Eastern Oregon women’s wrestling team signed seven student-athletes for the 2018-19 campaign, head coach Dustyn Azure announced. Additionally, the team is seeking a head women’s coach for the year and to assist Coach Azure.”
In terms of the growth of girls wrestling, the information is consistent with the great news that continues to flow out of pristine Oregon. It is a state that has been very friendly and supportive of girls participating in the sport for quite some time.
On February 19, 2018, bendbulletin.com shared, “Last week, the Oregon School Activities Association executive board voted unanimously to sanction an OSAA state championship for girls wrestling. As was the case this past weekend at the state meet in Portland, the girls tournament had been considered more of an exhibition, overseen by the Oregon Wrestling Association, as the boys Class 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A/1A meets took place. Beginning next year, a sixth division — the girls — will be added to the state championships, at which the first official OSAA state titles will be awarded, further legitimizing the fast-growing sport.”
Known as a very progressive state for girls wrestling, Oregon schools continue to lead the way in featuring programs for women’s wrestling.
Eastern Oregon University is such a school.
Their recent signings have attracted female student athletes from Honolulu, Hawaii to Kodiak, Alaska and many of the mainland states as well.
One such top recruit is Macy Higa who finished ranked 13th in the National High School Girl’s rankings and is a four-time high school state placer, taking sixth place, second place and first place twice. She also earned an exceptional 3.8 GPA in the classroom.
Known as the Mountaineers, the team competed at the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals in January of 2018.
They entered ranked at number thirteen.
The university contains 26 buildings, including three living facilities – Alikut Hall, North Hall, and Daugherty Hall – all of which are co-ed. Inlow Hall, Eastern’s administration building, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The leadership is committed to preparing students for the world beyond college with their high-quality liberal arts and professional programs.
Visiting students can see the school’s continual passion to improve and attract potential student athletes with the Building Champions Campaign which has raised more than $2.1 million thus far to pay for the new multipurpose turf, updated lighting in the campus outdoor stadium and an overhaul of the track facilities at EOU.
This persistence to improve is consistent with their core values. At eou.edu they educate, “Our beautiful setting and small size enhance the personal attention our students receive, while partnerships with colleges, universities, agencies and communities add to the educational possibilities of our region and state.”
The population was 13,082 at the 2010 census.
“I grew up in rural Oregon in a log house with bark left on inside and out. We had no electricity, a massive stone fireplace, a grand piano, and tons of books.”… Virginia Euwer Wolff
La Grande grew rapidly during the late 1860s and early 1870s, partially because of the region’s many gold mines and the valley’s agricultural capabilities.
A very friendly region, we are welcome to visit La Grande at cityoflagrande.org where they smile, “We sit at the edge of one of the largest, enclosed circular valleys in the United States, with over a million acres of fertile soil surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks.
The City of La Grande is dedicated to creating a diversified, healthy, and educated economic environment to fuel prosperity for the business community and to enhance the quality of life for residents.
The beauty of our valley also provides a quality of life that few communities can surpass.”
The informative source oregonencyclopedia.org adds, “La Grande, whose nickname is “The Hub City,” hosts the Eastern Oregon Film Festival, the Crossing the Blues Arts festival, and the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra.
With its proximity to the Blue and the Wallowa Mountains, La Grande is a popular year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including hunters, campers, mushroomers, birders, cyclists, skiers, snowmobilers, and snowboarders. Nearby Anthony Lakes Ski Resort boasts some of the best powder snow in the Intermountain West.
Five miles south of La Grande, the 6,000-acre Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, a popular destination for birdwatchers and hunters, is the largest hardstem bulrush marsh in northeastern Oregon, offering a glimpse of what the valley was like before agricultural development.”
That sounds like a wonderful rural experience.
“The older I get, the more I appreciate my rural childhood. I spent a lot of time outdoors, unsupervised, which is a blessing.”… Barbara Kingsolver
As female freestyle wrestling continues to emerge as a national sport it is very encouraging to see attractive campuses like Eastern Oregon University supporting a growing and very competitive women’s wrestling program.
When a young female student athlete is contemplating her future, sometimes a rural setting can take you to places you never imagined before.
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Opening photo Eastern Oregon University photo credit