The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

Senior Ashley Schenck uses life lessons, dedication, and perseverance to become four-time MHSAA All-State wrestler


A choice made by a swimmer shed light on an eighth-grade Ashley Schenck to pick up a sport that is a 180 from competitive swimming: wrestling. Now, with her final wrestling season in the books, senior Ashley has set expectations and standards for the future of the FHC girls wrestling with her many accomplishments, including being named MHSAA All-State all four years. 

However, what started it all for Ashley was her sisters—two of the few swimmers who took a great interest in wrestling. With the enjoyment and accomplishments that Ashley saw from them within this sport, she decided to try it out for herself.

“Both of my older siblings were part of the inaugural girls wrestling team,” Ashley said. “Before this, there was a swim team member who wanted to try wrestling, and that team member convinced my sisters and two other swimmers to join wrestling. So they started the wrestling team, loved it, and were both runner-ups at states. So I said okay, I’ll give it a go, and I ended up really enjoying it.”

Even with the influence of her sisters, there were individual aspects that she admired about the sport. One of those is the team camaraderie. Due to the smaller size of the team, the girls become close to one another.

On the other hand, another aspect that drew Ashley in was self-protection. It proved to her that she could stand up for herself if and when needed. 

“To me, it’s having the power to know that you can protect yourself,” Ashley said. “The reason why I really ended up doing it was because I wanted to know that I could defend myself. I have the ability, and I know I’m not going to roll over if someone attacks me.”

Protection and team camaraderie were ways for Ashley to step foot on that wrestling mat, but one part that has proven to be a difficulty is practicing amongst other girls. Wrestling has been a male-dominated sport for a long time, and that is no different here at FHC—with Ashley as the only female on the team this year. 

Due to this, Ashley has had to adapt to practicing with the guys, which was quite daunting at first. Over time, though, it became more noticeable to her that they were all there with the same goal in mind. 

This allowed her to gain more confidence on the mat with the others, even if they weren’t her same gender. Even so, there were precautions about size and skill level going onto the mat that both she and her coaches took notice to.

“I’ll go against guys who are within 10 pounds of me,” Ashley explained. “I don’t go over that because then it starts to get dangerous. I’ll go against someone who’s heavier than me but also in a younger grade; that way, our skillset set and the weight kind of cancel out.”

Although on Ashley’s team, there is a noticeable difference between the size of the boys team compared to the girls, within the sport of wrestling itself, there has been a drastic increase of girls. In her region alone, it has doubled or even tripled in size with the participation of girls. And with that comes greater competition.

With both increases in size and competition, Ashley has taken notice of the change since freshman year, forcing her to fight for her spot at states even more.

“It’s definitely going to be tougher,” Ashley said prior to the state tournament this past weekend. “But I still have to go out there and do my best.”

Even with this change, she has not backed down from the fight but instead stepped up and exceeded expectations every year. This allowed her to take the MHSAA All-State title all four years, making her the first ever to do it in school history. She also finished her senior year in fifth place in her weight class despite the increase in competition. But there was much preparation that went into her achieving this high level of accomplishment, and that started way before the winter season. 

Because this is a highly physically demanding sport, wrestlers cannot walk into the sport coming Nov. 13. They have to go through much training before the start of the season, and that is no different for Ashley with her training beginning in the summer. 

“During the summer,” Ashley said. “Every weekend, I’d go and work out with a partner or the assistant coach and just prepare for wrestling.”

Not only during the summer but even when Ashley was in the middle of her fall swim season, she would still be training in some way. This can prove to be a difficulty in of its self due to the demanding nature of the practices, with the swim season consisting of everyday practices and two-morning weight-lifting sessions—before school—a week. She, however, still made time to get on the mat to sharpen her skills going into her wrestling season.

“During swim season, I would go one day a week,” Ashley said. “I’d go and do a little bit of drills: shooting, takedowns. Just different things like that.”

Due to the high level of demand that Ashley’s sports, wrestling in particular, have placed upon her schedule, she has faced many moments of stress, both mentally and physically. She has always been a person who will show her dedication within a sport, and with her role as a key player in not only two sports but three—her third is water polo—she’s had to adapt to those challenges of fatigue and learn what is healthy for her. 

“I will take a couple of days to make sure I’m recovered enough that I’m not going to injure myself by doing the next sport,” Ashley explained. “Otherwise, if mentally, sometimes I just put a lot of emotional energy into that sport, doing the best I can in the final competition. And sometimes, it takes a couple of days to recover, no matter how well I do.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia Oorbeck
Olivia Oorbeck, Editor-in-Chief
Olivia Oorbeck is a senior on the FHC Sports Report. She is excited about entering her second and final year on the staff. This year, she received the title of editor-in-chief alongside Lily Ohlman. Olivia was a competitive swimmer for eleven years but is part of the ski and water polo teams here at FHC. Her favorite things to do in her free time are art, makeup, or reading. She is an avid sports fan and loves learning new things about different sports. When she graduates, she hopes to go into aviation or aeronautical engineering. Although she doesn't plan on going into any form of journalism, she has a passion for writing and the experiences that come along with it. Her favorite sports team: The Chicago Cubs Her dream vacation: Most places throughout Europe Her pets: She has three dogs and three cats Unusual facts about her: She prefers cold weather over warm weather, so winter is her favorite season; tea over coffee any day; knows how to fly a plane better than driving a boat; and can very much be an introvert at times even though she seems like an extrovert.

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