MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) 10-year-old Laylah Yoho started her wrestling career a little more than a year ago simply to teach her brother a lesson.
“My brother told me I couldn’t do it, I had to show him I could,” Yoho told timesleaderonline inside the Bruisers Wrestling Club where she trains with members of the Valkyrie girls team.
With that goal in mind, Yoho went on to place third at the 25th annual Reno Worlds Open Wrestling Tournament in the 9U girls’ 65-pound weight class.
“It feels really good,” she admitted to timesleaderonline. “Wrestling teaches you how to defend yourself.”
The fourth-grade student at Washington Lands Elementary shocked everyone including coach Chris Ward when she won her first three matches all by pin to reach the championship finals before she lost.
“They wrestle for a ‘true’ second place so she wrestled the girl who finished third and lost that one, as well,” Ward explained to timesleaderonline.
Being a West Virginia Jr. State Champion at 70 pounds, a title she won in February, Yoho competed against girls from five different states, including the No. 1-ranked girl from California who she lost to in her last match 4-0.
“She’s been outstanding wrestling mostly against boys. When we get her against girls, which isn’t often around here due to the lack of competition, she’s lights out. We wanted to go to Reno against some national competition to see if she really is the real deal. She proved she is by placing third,” Ward told timesleaderonline.
Ward added, “Laylah is truly our team leader for Team Valkryie. All the little girls look up to her and she plays the big sister role very well. She also has a great attitude towards the sport. She actually yelled at me once after one of her wins because I celebrated. She thought I might have hurt the other girl’s feelings. She’s definitely a class act.”
Yoho has no plans of stopping anytime soon. When asked what her goal is she didn’t hesitate to answer “I want to make the Olympics.”