Like most college freshmen, Alexis Porter is adjusting to being away from her family and friends.
Unlike most of her peers, she’s acquired a second family — her teammates on the McKendree (Ill.) University women’s wrestling team.
“It’s difficult being so far from home and not being with my family and friends,” said Porter, who is off to a terrific start in the middle of the Bearcats’ lineup. “They’ve always been my support system.
“But I’ve found a great group of teammates and coaches here who have made the transition easier.”
Porter’s success on the wrestling mat has also helped. The 2014 Junior National champion and Junior World team member went 5-2 in a tournament in her collegiate debut in October, and has maintained that level of success.
“It’s different, wrestling all girls and being part of an all girls’ team,” said Porter, who went 20-12 as a senior last winter with the Shenendehowa varsity. “It’s a different feeling.”
Porter has been a consistent point scorer for the Bearcats, racking up pins and technical falls. She is 33-8 after a fourth-place finish on her home mats in the Bearcat Open last weekend.
“No matter who you’re wrestling, you want to try and finish the match in the shortest amount of time,” Porter said. “In a tournament, it’s important to save energy for the next match.
“In a dual meet, a win is a win, but if you can get extra points for the team, that’s what you try to do.”
Porter’s most recent match never came off. After losing in the semifinals of the Bearcat Open, Porter got to the third-place match. Her opponent? Teammate Cassandra Herkelman.
“Coach told us to scratch the match,” Porter said. “I was going to have to wrestle a teammate. We picked a number for who would be put down.”
McKendree is participating in the Dave Schultz Memorial Invitational this weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo. Porter, with the NCWA tournament two weekends away, will not make the trip.
“I’m a little run down, so I talked with coach and he said it would be a good idea to use this weekend to recover and then ramp up for nationals,” she said.
Unlike the high school schedule, which kept Porter and her Shenendehowa teammates reasonably close to Clifton Park, the Bearcats have traveled extensively.
“Every single weekend, we’re on the road,” said Porter, who has competed mainly at 143 pounds. “It’s Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri. There are so few women’s teams that you have to travel. It gets a little draining.”
Porter went 8-0 over the two-day Oklahoma City University duals early in the season. That helped get her acclimated to the college style very quickly.
“It’s nice to travel, but it was taking its toll. It’s draining,” said Porter
That also plays into the plan to get nearly three weeks between competitions.
Porter, a multiple All-American at the summer national tournaments in Fargo, N.D., plans on getting on the podium when she returns to action at the national tournament.
“I want to win four national championships, that’s the goal,” she said. “At this point, I’ve wrestled the majority of people in my weight class that I need to beat in order to win it or place.
“I think I have a chance of making it to the final.”
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