A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ryle wrestling sisters among top 25 in girls national rankings after winning four state titles

By Blake Lehmann
NKyTribune sports reporter

Girls wrestling isn’t an officially sanctioned sport by the Kentucky High School Athletics Association, but that hasn’t stopped twin sisters Olivia and Addison Messerly of Ryle from dominating the competition they have faced on the mat.

In February, Olivia was named most outstanding wrestler in the girls state wrestling tournament conducted by the Kentucky Wrestling Coaches Association. The junior pinned all five of her opponents in the 120-pound weight class to claim her fourth consecutive state title and finished the season with a perfect 14-0 record.

Olivia Messerly, right, and her twin sister, Addison, work together during Ryle wrestling practice sessions. (Photo provided)

Addison also won her fourth state title by pinning all four of her opponents in the 126-pound weight class bracket.

“It’s pretty awesome to be able to compete with my sister right next to me and have a built-in training partner who loves the sport just as much as I do,” Olivia said. “It’s awesome how we are able to push each other and also learn from each other to become the best we can be in the sport.”

More than 200 girls from 64 high schools all across Kentucky competed in this year’s state tournament. If any of them want to continue the sport in college, there are more than 90 women’s wrestling programs affiliated with the NCAA and NAIA, including two colleges in Kentucky.

With the rapid growth of the sport, scholarships and roster opportunities have become more plentiful than men’s wrestling and are expected to continue to do so.

“I hope girls wrestling in Kentucky finally gets recognized (by the KHSAA), and I hope it just keeps on growing and more competition comes into Kentucky,” Olivia said.

Addison and Olivia Messerly have won weight class titles in each of the first four Kentucky girls high school wrestling tournaments. (Photo provided)

Olivia competed in the USA Wrestling World Team Trials in May. She’s currently ranked 25th in the 127-pound weight class in the national girls high school rankings.

“I want to keep pushing myself to get better each day to become one of the best that has come out of Kentucky,” she said.

Addison, who was ranked No. 23 in the 138-pound weight class in the national girls high school rankings, has the same goal as her twin sister.

Ryle coach Tim Ruschell was a part of the movement to get girls wrestling started on the high school level. The first state tournament organized by the coaches was held in 2019 and the Messerly sisters won the first two matches in the championship finals.

Both of them have now set their sites on winning a fifth state title in their senior season and possibly attracting college scholarships.

“The key to my success last year,” Olivia said, “was putting in the work and having a great practice partner and coach who pushed me to be the best with a great support system. Being able to wrestle in the girls state tournament was awesome.”





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