The Junior College National Championships (JCNC) in women’s wrestling at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon o n Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (Credit Image: © Robin Loznak)

By Bob Balgemann
Harlem High School graduate Mya Turnmire wrestled for the Huskies in a time when participation by girls was strictly as an individual. There were no high school girls teams in Illinois and consistently, no state tournament for girls.
But she had her share of successes and with that experience in her corner, she committed to attending Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. While there, she wound up her two-year career as an individual Junior College National Champions (JCNC) winner at 101 pounds, an All-American for two consecutive seasons, and as a contributor to Indian Rivers’ two-time national dual meet championship team.
During her freshman year she took third place at 109 pounds in the national tournament. As a sophomore, she traveled with her team to Roseburg, OR., where the Warriors came home as both the aforementioned individual team and dual meet champions.
On her way to securing the 101-pound title, Turnmire won her semi-final match by a technical fall, then decisioned Nicole Montojo from Iowa Western, 10-2, in the finals. One of her contributions to the dual meet championship came during the 33-19 win over Umpqua Community College in the title match. There, she pinned Violeta Evangelista of Umpqua in 1:04.
During her years at Harlem, she placed second in the IWCOA state series, which was the original state tournament, and second at the sectional. She was the first girl to win a match in the annual NIC-10 meet and twice placed in the conference tournament.
“Mya was always one of the hardest working kids on our team,” said her Harlem head coach, Sam Enderle. “Even though some of the boys she wrestled were physically stronger, she never backed down and competed with whoever she faced.
“I am extremely proud for her and proud of her being a national champion, not only as an individual wrestler but also her being on the national champion team. She is a nice young woman and I know the rest of our coaches, our team and her former teammates are happy for her.”
Meanwhile, the Illinois High School Association sanctioned its first state girls championship during the 2021-22 season, with 180 participants from 125 teams, in a total of 14 weight classes. Competition was held Feb. 25-26 in Bloomington.
Harlem had no entries; the NIC-10 was represented by three competitors, from Boylan Catholic, Freeport and Hononegah.

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